"if you are not living on the edge, you are taking up too much room"

Sunday, February 20, 2011

looking ahead towards Spring!

The big melt down occurred (the snow, not me!) and all but the biggest piles of snow and ice have disappeared.
The weather has been down right "spring like" the last several days with mild temperatures and sunshine.
I decided to get the semi fired up since it had not been started for several months. I hooked up the battery charger Thursday evening and let it run all night and all day Friday getting the batteries back up to a full charge.
Friday evening I tried starting it but it would barely turn over. The engine in our truck is a huge Catepiller 6 cylinder diesel and takes a lot of power to get the pistons moving again. The engine was still very cold along with the oil being thick makes it not want to start easily.
The truck is equipped with a block heater that you can plug in to help with cold weather starts. I decided to plug it in and let it heat things up hoping this would allow me fire it up.

We got up this morning (Sunday) to the sound of rain and sleet on the roof of the 5th wheel. The sleet didn't last too long and changed to all rain which continued on and off all morning. I reluctantly headed out to the truck hoping it would start.
I turned the key and hit the start button and that big Cat roared to life. Not bad for a truck that has over 865,000 miles on it :-).

I let it run so the air pressure would build up and to bring the engine temperature up some as well. Rudee suggested we drive it to the store since she needed to pick up some groceries and the truck needed some "exercise" so we hopped in and headed to Wal Mart.
We have not added any fuel to the truck since last summer in South Dakota. The gauge showed we were down just below 1/4 of a tank.
Our truck has two 140 gallon tanks so even at 1/4 full we still have 70 gallons, more than enough to fill up three regular pick up trucks. We try to add some when we can just to keep from having such a huge fuel bill all at once, let's see 280 gallons multiplied by $3.45 per gallons ..... Holy Smoke! That's almost $1,000.00 just for fuel!! :-0
Of course once our tanks are full we can run for well over 2,000 miles before we have to even think about adding more.

The Walmart here in Crawfordsville is one of their "super stores" and has a gas station out front. One of the things we do to save a few cents is to put money on one of their "gift cards" and then use it at their gas pumps to save .03 cents per gallon.
Today we added $200 to the card and then added that much diesel fuel to the semi. Since we have one tank on each side (called "saddle" tanks) the fuel will eventually equalize between the two. The gauge reads only from the drivers side tank (which is the tank I added the fuel) so the gauge showed almost 3/4 of a tank but this will drop once the fuel travels to the other side.

We gave the truck a pretty good work out on the way home by heading a few miles up the interstate before turning around and heading back home.

We are meeting my brother Jon and his wife Cherie in Brownsburg for dinner tonight. He has my parents Urn and we are going to pick it up from them. I have made arrangements to have the urned buried in their cemetery plot down in Florida in March. My sister is coming down from Washington as well as my brother and his family flying in. We had a heck of a time finding a date where everyone could get together but finally decide on the 2nd week of March. Rudee and I are flying down on Friday March 11th and staying until the following Friday. We will have them buried on Monday March 14th. We are planning on just having a small gathering of family at the grave site, no formal services.
Jon asked us to take care of bringing their remains down since they will be traveling with their grand daughter and will have their hands full.

We called our air lines and asked what needed to happen to get the remains on the plane and ran into an issue. They said the container had to be "see through" or able to be x-rayed. The urn they are in is neither of these :-0. The air line referred us to the funeral home for a "temporary" container. I called them and they told us not to worry about it and just show up with the container and they would "have" to let us on. Hmmmm the purpose of the whole trip is to lay them to rest, if they are not there that would NOT be good.

I did some research on the internet and had decided to transfer them to a "see through" container and then just pack the Urn in our checked luggage. I was not looking forward to the "transfer" process but it had to be done.
We were talking to some of our friends about it and Steve and Trish asked what day we were getting down to Florida. They were driving down on Saturday March 5th and not leaving until Saturday March 12th and will be just a few miles from us. They offered to transport the urn down intact for us!! What a fantastic gesture this is. Thanks guys! You don't know how much this means to me.
We arrive in the early afternoon and will meet up with Steve and Trish for an early supper and pick up the urn then. We are staying in my parents old hometown of Zephrhills until after the burial. We are then going to Walt Disney World for 3 days before heading back to Tampa to fly back to Indiana.
We are both looking forward to being in the warm sunshine again. I'll keep you posted.

Saturday, February 12, 2011


Well another week in the books. I had a pretty good week, not so busy that I was chasing my tail and no real "difficult" people to deal with.
In case you forgot I work for a large major insurance company in their auto claims department. If you have a wreck I'm the guy they send out to write an estimate on the damage to your car. Other people do the investigating and make the decisions who is at fault and why, I just look at dents and help people get their cars put back the way they were before the wreck.
Of course there are always some who think they have won the lottery just because they were in an accident. "Sorry, I can't pay for the shop to fully restore your rusted out 1994 Chevrolet Cavalier with 900,000 miles on it when the only damage from the accident is the tail light is broken" :-).
Rudee's week was a little busier and she ended up working overtime most days. I think we are both more than ready to tell our employers "adios".

Friday evening we met Steve and Trish at Stookey's in Thorntown. I was in the mood for a nice steak and they have the best around in my opinion. They are also "famous" for their onion rings and we ordered some to share. Our meals were all good and I got my "steak fix". The restaurant got really busy while we were eating so we didn't get to linger around after our meal. I always hate standing waiting on a table and watching people who have been finished for an hour just sit and talk so I usually get in a hurry if others are waiting. I know there is no "rule" you have to get right up and leave, but hey, if others are waiting it's only common courtesy, right?

We had made arrangements to pick up our grand daughter Avalynn so she could spend the night with us. We have had the other two a couple of times overnight and it has been awhile since Avalynn came over and we both needed some "Grandma and Grandpa" time :-). We are planning on taking her to breakfast this morning and then maybe take a road trip to Plainfield later in the day.

We are looking forward to the big melt down here. The snow (which is now mostly ice) should start melting away this week end. They are calling for temps in the low 40's for the next several days. I'm sure there will be some flooding with the large mounds of piled snow next to all the roads and parking lots until it all melts away. I, for one, will be glad to see our lower step again. The snow is so deep it has covered our step for the last couple of weeks :-O.

Rudee says her favorite season is Autumn, mine is Spring and as I sit here writing I can here the birds singing outside. I have also noticed flocks of Robin's returning from the south and of course that huge "rat" in Pennsylvania didn't see his shadow. That all means an early Spring. Right??? I'll keep you posted :-)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Baby it's cold outside!

Well we survived the big winter blast of 2011! I even made it out to work each day last week. I must have been the only one working because my boss' boss sent me an "atta boy" and I got another one from our regional manager. Cool :-). I guess most of the other guys stayed inside all snug and warm, didn't seem like too big a deal to me, heck I have been in a lot worse when I was on the Sheriff's Dept. out working accidents.
We had several inches of sleet on Monday followed by more ice and snow on Tuesday and Wednesday. All the schools around here were closed for most of last week and several of the surrounding counties issued "snow emergencies" meaning you should stay off the roads.
I did get stuck a couple of times in my travels but was able to get the car moving again by rocking back and forth. The worst time of all was trying to get back into the KOA. They had cleared the main road coming in but not the roads to the sites. I had a hard time making the loop back to our site but made it never the less.
I was worried about losing power to the 5th wheel since there was so much ice on the power lines and then the winds picked up. Rudee said the power flashed off and on a couple of times but always came back on.
Most everything in our 5th wheel can be operated off it's 12v battery including the furnace but it wouldn't take long to deplete the battery and then "no more heat" :-0.
I was looking at a generator last week end when we were at the RV show and thought about buying it but didn't. I think I'll be investing in one soon though, this way we wouldn't have to depend on any outside resources if things get bad again.

This week things have cooled back down again. Actually it's colder than a penguin's toe! :-)
The Montana (and us!) have handled the cold pretty well. The furnace sure does run a lot though when the outside temperatures drop into the single digits. We usually have the thermometer set at 72 during the day and turn it down to 69 at night and stay pretty comfortable.
They say we will have one more day of bitter cold and then it will slowly rise and looks like this week end it may get above the 32 degree mark. We could sure use the melt down to get rid of all this snow that has been around "forever" :-).

This week end may be kind of boring since football season is over and still another week before the NASCAR season starts. Not sure what we are going to do :-) but of course, I'll keep you posted.