Friday, January 31, 2014

Rain Delay

I have not posted because it will not stop raining. Every day the weather forecast is for clear and warm/hot for "tomorrow" but when "tomorrow" arrives, it is raining. This morning it is pouring! Another day of laying around watching TV and eating comfort food.

The forecast is now calling for rain along with high temperatures for the next five days, with he exception of Sunday which they say will be dry. Maybe dry enough to set up the TV and grill on Paul's nice nice big patio to watch the Game! We shall see.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Lakeland, FL

We headed out from Cedar Key at about 9:30 AM. It was sprinkling rain on and off and we were in no hurry. We had told Paul and Dodi we would be there in the afternoon and it was only a three hour drive. We stopped for propane, gas and breakfast and when we made our last stop, we stepped out of the cab into 80 F weather! This is what we came to Florida for! It was clear and warm!

We arrived in Lakeland at about 3:00. No one was home but we knew where we were parking so we started setting up. Paul soon arrived after picking his grandchildren up from school. We delayed setting up the StarChoice in favor of Happy Hour which turned into ordering Chinese food. It was great catching up with our friends and lots of stories were exchanged. We went in and talked to Brooks on the phone and then to Dave and Doris who are looking after the house for us. All is well!

I woke up this morning to a pitter patter on the roof! I thought it was birds but soon had to admit it was rain. We got up, had a coffee with Paul and then I headed out to set up the dish. The rain had stopped which was good because it took longer than usual to find a signal. I moved the dish just in case a tree was interfering and that was the trick. We had a good signal in a few minutes. We will take it easy for today and maybe tomorrow when more rain is forecast. Weather wise, the weekend is looking good!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Pete Seeger 1919 - 2014

No voice is too small to be raised in protest. Rest in Peace, Pete, you have inspired generations. The writing on his banjo says, ""this machine surrounds hate and forces it to surrender".

Monday, January 27, 2014

Rolling On Down The Road

Tomorrow morning we are pulling out and heading to Lakeland, FL. It is about a three hour drive so we will get there early in the afternoon.

It is a beautiful day here in Cedar Key, quite warm in the sun - naturally, our last day! Some people are even wearing shorts for the first time since ever. Maybe there will be a photo opportunity at sunset time.

We have had a good time here, meeting some great people including Chris and Cherie from their website Technomadia who are parked two spaces down from us. The weather has been cool cold for the most part but it has not stopped us from seeing the area and sampling a couple of of the areas many restaurants.

Here is our route for tomorrow.

And some memories of Cedar Key:

Chris and Cherie's bus:
"Our" dock:

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Little Known Facts

About Cedar Key.

Cedar Key shows signs of human occupation dating back to at least 500 BC. A 28 foot high shell mound in the area produced artifacts dating back to 500 BC in the top ten feet of the mound and a 2000 year old skeleton was found on the key. The area was used by the Seminole Indians, by the Spanish as a water stop for ships returning to Spain and by pirates Captain Kidd and Jean Lafitte.

In 1861 the Florida Railroad was completed just weeks before the start of the Civil War with the rail head in the present day location of Wharf Street.

In the Civil War the Key was an important source of salt for the Confederacy which ended after a raid on the salt operation and rail line by Federal forces in 1862. 150 bushels of salt per day were produced by boiling sea water in sixty huge kettles.

Many of us will recognize the name Eberhard Faber from the pencils we used in school. Faber, a German industrialist, recognized the wood found in the Eastern Red Cedar (actually a sub-species of the Juniper) for it's excellent pencil making qualities and in 1865, built mills in the area. The cut wood was sent first to Germany and later to the Northern States to be manufactured into pencils. In 1896 a category 3 hurricane swept over the area with a ten foot storm surge, wiping out the red cedars and destroying the mills. This, in conjunction with the moving of the railroad to Tampa was the start of a decline in business opportunities in the area.

Since then the area became a fishing center and then after Florida banned commercial net fishing, a tourist area boasting several famous restaurants and with some of the now unemployed fishermen being retrained to operate a farm grown clam operation.

Looking Good!

I know all my Blogging friends in California, Arizona and Mexico (except for Juan and Chris in Monterrey where it is -3) have been basking in the 80's for weeks but we have not. We have been looking forward to forecasts above the 50's! This is about to change as we contemplate our next stop in Lakeland, FL where we will be parked at our friend's Paul and Dodi's backyard RV parking spot! The weather there is looking just fine, thank you. We move on Tuesday.

Last night we drove into Cedar Key's Wharf Street for dinner at the Pickled Pelican. Norma had fried shrimp and I had a combination steamed clams with marinara and blackened grouper. It was very good and the restaurant looked over the Gulf. A nice evening although WAY too cold to eat on the deck.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Cedar Key Sunsets

The sunsets have all been great here at Cedar Key but last night we had just enough cloud cover to make it spectacular!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Some Beach, Somewhere

With apologies to Blake Shelton whose song title I just stole.

This particular beach is at Port St. Joe, just east of Mexico Beach. It is at a beach condo development that was almost deserted. Winter, at least this winter is not the time to spend at the beach. Note my winter jacket.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Crossing The Suwanee River

Yesterday we crossed the Suwanee River made famous by Stephen Foster and Al Jolson, although neither of them knew how to spell the name of the river they made famous. The song was re-written to a more politically correct version in 2008, but the spelling error was not corrected.

We continued down the secondary road to the turnoff onto the narrow road to Cedar Key. We found the friendly but cramped Sunset Isle RV Park and Motel and checked in for the week. As soon as we arrived a downpour started and I got soaked hooking up just the basics. A few minutes later it stopped and the sun tried to peek out so I found a spot behind the rig and set up the StarChoice dish. I aimed it in the general direction and Norma started yelling that there were flashes of green signal! I turned it a degree or two and there it was, a signal of 95, one of the best we have had.

Not long after one of the sunsets the Key is famous for started to form so I took the camera out onto one of the little docks. A couple of doors down I noticed another couple on another dock whom I recognized as Chris and Cherie of their Blog Technomadia so I walked over to introduce myself. They were in a rush to go to put on a discussion group on "Working On The Road" and they invited me to join them. Well, I don't work on or off the road so I politely declined. We will see them again.

From a 1938 Postcard:

Sunset and RV park photos to follow.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

"__it Happens"

As The Boondocks said in a comment in the last Blog!

It could have been worse.

We got a call at just after nine this morning telling us the dolly was ready. Norma was off looking for a nail job so I told them we would be there in a couple of hours. Everything was ready. They replaced one bearing and re-packed the other. There was a problem with the electric brake as well and the drum fell off when he took the wheel off. The drum is ruined (not from falling off, not sure why or how) and since dolly's do not require brakes in Florida, no one has parts. I will be without trailer brakes (like everyone else in Florida and most other States). Maybe I will see what it costs to get it fixed in Lakeland. I am not sure if the brake problem is associated with the bearing failure of not. The mechanic said the bearing had been running with no grease.

The bill was $250, two hours labour at $70 and $100 in parts, plus tax. A fair deal. If you are passing through Perry, FL and need work done done, give Yarbough Tire Company (they do other stuff) a call. They were great with us, took us right in, showed concern and had us back on our way in hours. The mechanic took the time to tell us everything he did and to make sure we were comfortable with no dolly brakes.

Thanks guys!

Smoking Wheel and Blackened Tire

No, it's not a BBQ joint.

As we were driving from Mexico Beach towards Cedar Key yesterday, I noticed a "squeaking" noise from the rear every once in a while. I thought little of it because we had gone through a little mud getting out of the RV park yesterday and this has happened before when some dirt has gotten into the brakes and made a little noise for a while. I continued to hear the minor noise when we passed parked cars or on a bridge that allowed sound to echo. I thought of stopping to check but but being the procrastinator that I am, I didn't.

We stopped for gas just outside Perry, Florida where we were planning an overnight Walmart stop anyway and when we looked at the right dolly wheel, it was covered in black, burned grease and the hub was smoking. Well, this can't be good! The hub was hot, not red hot, but hot to the touch. I thought it was likely either a dragging electric brake or a wheel bearing, I disconnected the trailer electrical cable in case it was the brake and we continued cautiously into town. A few blocks later we passed a Firestone store and pulled in. The mechanic thought the same as me, that it was brakes or the bearing but he thought the bearing was more likely. We unloaded and parked the car and they took the dolly into the shop. It was about three o'clock by now and he had concerns about finding parts but said they would do their best to get it done quickly. I told him if was the bearing, to replace both of them as the dolly has made five trips through Mexico and one and a half to Florida. A lot of miles and the bearings have never been serviced. We continued on to the Walmart where we parked for the night with a couple of other rigs.

We called them at 8:00 this morning to remind them that we had reservations at Cedar Key tonight and since it was about a two hour drive, we would like to get away by noon or one if at all possible. He said to check back by noon, that they would try to have it ready. In the meantime, we will relax here in the Walmart lot where we shared the far wall with four other RV's last night..

Oh, oh! It just started to rain!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Martin Luther King Day

For MLK Day I have decided to re-post the Blogs I did in March of 2011 when we visited the MLK museum in Memphis.

The Lorraine Motel

Memphis’ Lorraine Motel was the site of the 6:01 p.m., April 4th, 1968 killing Of Dr. Martin Luther King, civil Rights leader and anti Vietnam War Crusader. He was shot in front of room 306 where he stood on the balcony talking to members of his team in the parking lot. The site has been preserved and is now the National Civil Rights Museum at The Lorraine Motel. The site consists of the motel, the surrounding land and the buildings across the street where the fatal shot came from.

The Lorrain Motel and room 306, in front of which King was shot:
The Motel and parking lot:
The buildings across the street. The police insist the fatal shot was fired by James Earl Ray from the window on the second floor, top right.
Here is James Earl Ray’s bathroom window, partially open as it was that day. This photo was taken from as close as I could get to the balcony outside room 306.
The actual bathroom window is inaccessible due to a Plexiglas surrounding erected to replace the bathroom walls and to protect the room. This photo was taken from the taller window in the next room and gives an almost identical view. The wreath on the motel balcony was where King was standing. I resorted to my old photography tricks learned in Dallas at the Kennedy assignation site where cameras were also banned inside the buildings. This photo was shot from the hip while I looked in a different direction. Pretty sneaky, eh?
So, what is wrong with this picture? Well, if we believe the official story, everything fits. The problem is, many people including the King family did not believe the cover story and started their own investigation. It was then that the “evidence” started to fall apart. There was a conspiracy trial in 1999 in Memphis that found that there had been a far reaching conspiracy in the murder. The participants in the killing were found to be the Mafia, FBI, CIA, Military and the Memphis Police Department. This trial was hushed up and the findings suppressed.

What was so dangerous about the 1999 Memphis trial that it had to be suppressed? The evidence presented — under oath and on the record — made it abundantly clear that the reports of the 1997 House Select Committee on Assassinations, of the Civil Rights Commission appointed by Clinton’s AG Janet Reno, and the New York Times were all wrong. James Earl Ray did not murder King.

The all Black police detachment that normally protected King when he was in the city was replaced that day with no reason given. The only two Black firemen from the station across the street were told to take the day off while the army told the fire chief they needed his rooftop that day to photograph and observe King. They carried a package to the rooftop which they said contained “cameras”.

The owner of the building next door swore under oath that the bag that contained the weapon police insisted was used by James Earl Ray to kill King was dropped off at his door ten minutes BEFORE he heard the shot.

Federal Judge Joe Brown (yes, the same one you know from TV) found in another trial that this gun was not the murder weapon, that the bullets did not match, the scope had never been sighted in and that the gun was incapable of making this accurate a shot.

Loyd Jowers, the defendant in the conspiracy trial was connected to the Mafia and admitted that he was involved in the assignation of King, that he had participated in the killing. He also stated that he had received a “smoking rifle” from a Memphis Police Department marksman which he later disposed of.

Immediately following the shot, two men ran from the bush area in front of the building across the street. One jumped into a green Chev and burned rubber leaving the scene right in front of a Memphis Police car which gave no apparent notice. The other fleeing man jumped into a different police car which drove away.

All this evidence they uncovered was put before a jury in Memphis, TN, in November 1999. 70 witnesses testified under oath, 4,000 pages of transcripts described the evidence, much of it new. It took the jury 59 minutes to come back with their decision that Loyd Jowers, owner of Jim’s Grill, had participated in a conspiracy to kill King, a conspiracy that included J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI, Richard Helms and the CIA, the military, the Memphis Police Department (MPD), and organized crime. That verdict exonerated James Earl Ray who had already died in prison.

Good question. Martin Luther King was adamantly opposed to the Vietnam War. He was organizing a mass protest in Washington to force the Government to abandon this war. He had the charisma, the organizing ability and the public support to accomplish this. There was also speculation that he was planning a run for President of the United States.

This was unacceptable to the American controlled multinational corporations that stood to lose billions if the USA abandoned the Vietnam War. These corporations had (and still have) the power to direct policy. King stood between them and their profits and he had to go. There was more than one rifle aimed at the Reverend King that day. If the marksman had missed or was interrupted, there were backups. His fate was sealed. He was a dead man walking!

All of this information has been suppressed. William Pepper’s (the King family lawyer) 2003 book, An Act of State, The Execution of Martin Luther King, published by Verso, gave a detailed report of the trial. The book was systematically ignored. Pepper said in February 2003 that he had been personally turned down by reviewers for major media. They did not want to put their jobs and reputation on the line. I have my copy on order from eBay.

Rosa Parks Bus

This is the actual bus that Rosa Parks was riding home on December 1, 1955 after a long day at work in Montgomery, Alabama. A white man got on the bus and the driver told the 42 year old Ms. Parks to give up her seat for him. She had a hard day at work as a seamstress and the man looked like he could stand with no problem so she stayed in her seat. The man complained to the driver who stopped the bus and called a policeman aboard. Rosa Parks was escorted off the bus and arrested.

This act led to the Montgomery Bus Boycott and forced an end to the discriminatory practice. One more step in a very long journey was taken!

Photos were banned in the museum so I had to revert to my old sneaky practice. I see no harm in taking these photos and actually believe that these issues should enjoy wide circulation. I do not feel I am doing anyone any harm by doing what I do. I hope you agree.
This is what Ms. Parks had to say of her actions that day. This is from a 1992 interview:
“I did not want to be mistreated, I did not want to be deprived of a seat that I had paid for. It was just time... there was opportunity for me to take a stand to express the way I felt about being treated in that manner. I had not planned to get arrested. I had plenty to do without having to end up in jail. But when I had to face that decision, I didn't hesitate to do so because I felt that we had endured that too long. The more we gave in, the more we complied with that kind of treatment, the more oppressive it became.”

Saturday, January 18, 2014

This Is Why I Hate Reservations

Tomorrow was supposed to be a travel day as we have reservations for a week at Cedar Key. This morning Norma realized her Screen Actor's Guild awards show was on tomorrow night and my friend Dave just emailed me to remind me the Seattle Seahawks play the 49ers tomorrow!

We called the next place and asked to move our reservations back one day and I went to pay for another day here. Everything worked out. I can watch the game!

Last Of The Mud Bugs!

Well, that is it! I have finished my Cajun crawfish (Crawdaddys, mudbugs, freshwater lobsters). I had the last container of crawfish etouffe over a baked potato last night. It was so delicious I was tempted to drive back to Suire's Cafe for more.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Three More Days

We will be here at Mexico Beach for three more days. We called Sunset Isle RV Park on Cedar Key and they are full until the 20th when a waterfront site (#10) opens up. It is a little costlier at $250 for the week but it is a waterfront site so we can live a little! Sunset photos coming!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Making Plans

Now that the weather is getting a little bit nicer we are starting to look at where we would like to go next. Our neighbors here told us about Cedar Key, a funky little set of small islands further along the Gulf Coast (B on the map). This will of course depend on availability and weather.

This morning we got a call from our friends Paul and Dodi who we had met in Mexico several years ago and with whom we visited in 2011. They live in Lakeland, FL where the weather is much better. They also have an extra RV hookup on their large property. Dodi has been down with a bad back and Paul says he would enjoy the company so that is where we will head after Cedar Key.

The route will take us on secondary highways, just the way I like to travel!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Sochi Travel Alert for LGBT Travelers

State Department issues LGBT travel warning for Sochi Olympics

Posted on 13 Jan 2014 at 10:33am

Sochi bear
The U.S. State Department issued a travel advisory Saturday for citizens traveling to Russia for the Winter Olympics next month, including a specific warning that “vague guidance” from Russia about its new laws making “it a crime to promote LGBT equality in public” could be used to fine, deport, or jail foreign visitors.
The LGBT warning was part of a longer advisory alerting Americans traveling to Sochi, Russia, for the Olympics that such highly publicized global events are seen as an “attractive target” for terrorists and that several acts of terrorism have already been perpetrated in Russia in the past few weeks.
The advisory, issued January 10, urges American citizens to “avoid large crowds in areas that lack enhanced security measures” and to use caution “in any areas where protests, demonstrations, or other public disturbances are taking place.”
“Demonstrations intended to be peaceful can develop quickly and unpredictably, sometimes turning violent,” notes the advisory.
The possibility of LGBT-related protests in Russia has been a concern since last June, when the Russian government approved its anti-gay laws. Although the Russian government says the laws are just focused on protecting children from “non-traditional sexual relations,” the legislation goes much further. Signed by President Vladimir Putin in June and July, they also prohibit any public displays of affection by same-sex couples and any public events related to LGBT people.
Early talk by activists of staging protests or wearing rainbow pins or waving rainbow flags at the Olympics was met with promises by the Russian government of tough enforcement of its laws. Putin and Russian officials have softened their tone in recent weeks, and earlier this month and said they would provide a designated area in a nearby village for protests. Then earlier this month, Putin signed an executive order that will require protesters to secure approval in advance.
But tensions seemed to be ready to escalate again over the weekend, when the head of the Russian Orthodox Church suggested the Russian people vote on whether to re-criminalize homosexuality.
The State Department advisory notes that foreign citizens could be fined as much as $3,100, jailed for 14 days, and deported for violating the laws.
“The law makes it a crime to promote LGBT equality in public, but lacks concrete legal definitions for key terms,” notes the advisory. “Russian authorities have indicated a broad interpretation of what constitutes ‘LGBT propaganda,’ and provided vague guidance as to which actions will be interpreted by authorities as ‘LGBT propaganda.’
The State Department maintains an LGBT Travel Information page.
LISA KEEN  |  Keen News Service

This is very troubling. The Russian government passed this homophobic hate law but then stated it would not be enforced for the period of the Olympics. They then said the law would be enforced but would not target travelers. Now they are saying it will be enforced against travelers engaging in "public displays of affection" or "displaying LGBT propaganda" whatever the hell that means. Hugging when meeting another man or to celebrate a goal? Two female gold and silver medal winners kissing on the podium? What is the Russian definition of a "public display of affection"? What is "displaying LGBT propaganda"? Wearing the "wrong" colored tie or scarf (putting a multi-colored scarf on the teddy bear above)? They have not defined it so that means it is open to interpretation by individual police officers (or religious inspired mobs as has already happened).

The Russian Church is calling for draconian laws against gay people similar to those recently passed in Uganda where gays face decades in prison just for being gay or straight people for "assisting" a gay person (like being a doctor, employer or landlord).

This is something we ALL should be deeply concerned with, not just those who are gay. Straight people must make their voice heard. We must speak loudly against hate legislation wherever it is threatened or passed.

I normally laugh off Travel Advisories by the US State Department because they usually center around the made up dangers of traveling in Mexico. This however is different. An easily identifiable class of people have been targeted.

A bit better bear:

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Port St. Joe

Yesterday afternoon we made a short road trip to the neighboring town of Port St. Joe. There is a Piggly Wiggly there and we needed some groceries. We drove around the nice, clean little town and found the Sunset Grill where we decided to stop for an early dinner.

The place is aptly named because it looks out over the beach directly into the setting sun. One of their specials was grilled swordfish which I like but have not had the chance to eat for several years. I was set on grilled tuna before I was told of the specials but I am glad I switched. The tuna can wait. Norma ordered a half order of ribs. The swordfish was excellent and Norma claimed the ribs were truly falling off the bone. As usual she could only eat half of her half order and took the rest home.

This morning we woke to a sunny sky and low 60's temperatures. We were making plans to drive to the Panera Bread Bakery in Panama City but Norma saw figure skating on TV so we will put that trip off until tomorrow. I love retirement!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

The Thunder Roared

We are sitting here in Mexico Beach, Florida. The temperatures have come up quite a bit and we are nit even using the electric heater. Last night there was a small group of musicians over in the common hall and they were selling beer for $3. We went over and ended up at a table with another Canadian couple from Nova Scotia who lived for several years in Puebla, Mexico where he worked for Magna Corporation. It was a fun night.

Not long after we went to bed the rain started, accompanied by cracking thunder and lightening! It lasted on and off all night, sometimes directly overhead and very close. It is continuing throughout the day today, blocking out the StarChoice much of the time.

We need a few groceries so we may venture out later to check out the town. There is a grocery store listed on Google maps but it has a name I do nor recognize.  The next closest grocery store is in Panama Beach, a few miles back on the highway. Just another day in Paradise.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Mexico Beach

We left Mobile by 9:30 which is unbelievably early for us and drove to Pensacola on I-10, turned off towards the beach and followed 98 along the Forgotten Coast to Mexico Beach. The Time Zone runs right through town so we got here at 3:00 or 4:00 depending which side of 15th Street we are on.

We checked into the Rustic Sands RV Park and paid $22 per night (Passport America rate) for the week, There is a light rain falling but it is supposed to be clear and 70F tomorrow (according to the guy who checked us in). There is cable here so I will not set up the Starchoice until tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Thinking About Moving On

We got a call from the Honda dealer at about 11:00 telling us the car was ready. We returned the rental and they drove us to AutoNation Honda. I like Enterprise, they have nice vehicles for a reasonable price ($21 per day) and are happy to pick you up and deliver you. It helps that our BCAA Auto Club is picking up the tab for the car and our Gold Visa card covered the insurance.

The Honda was $375 for the new ignition switch and they had done a safety inspection on it as well. Everything passed. We drove downtown, had lunch and walked a bit but had to quit because it is just too bloody cold! We went into the historic Battle Hotel which Stonewall Jackson once made his headquarters. I think the hotel was rebuilt since then but it still looked very old but elegant with many of the original dishes and ornaments on display.

Photos from Google Images. It was too cold to take photos.

We are heading out on Thursday morning. It is just not that much fun when it is this cold. We have seen only about half of what we planned here.

20F, -7C

Norma called from the bathroom this morning, "There's no water"! We were frozen. She turned on the pump and it worked. Phew, dodged that bullet. The hose is frozen solid. My choices are, 1) go outside and freeze my hands while I undo the hose and try to stuff it in the cab to thaw and then clean up the mess after it does or, 2) pour another coffee and wait for the temperature to rise a bit. I am tending towards #2.

And we came south for the winter because.......?

I just called Honda and the part is not in yet. She is sure it will be on the truck this morning and will be installed by noon. We will see. The rental has to be returned by 1:00 or rented for another day.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Dauphin Island

Yesterday found us and our rented Ford Escape on a road trip to Dauphin Island at the entrance to Mobile Bay. This Island and it's fort played an important part in the Battle Of Mobile Bay on August 5, 1864. The Confederate held fort fell to Union forces allowing Union warships access to the important Southern shipping port. It was on Dauphin Island where Union Admiral David Farragut shouted the words, "Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!" during the attack. Well, he may or may not have shouted this. History is vague, it may have been a case of, "I wish I had said....".

There really is not much to see on the island. It is a seasonal destination and winter is not the preferred season so many things were closed. The shores on both sides of the island are dotted with houses, most on stilts to protect against Gulf storms and hurricanes. In 2004, Hurricane Ivan covered the island in two to four feet of water, destroying many ground level homes.

We stopped at a beachfront "Gourmet Restaurant, flip-flops allowed" for a late lunch / early dinner. Norma had spicy Asian shrimp (not too spicy) on a bed of cole slaw and I had seafood gumbo. Her shrimp were good (as usual, she could not finish them so I helped) but my gumbo was seriously lacking after tasting true Cajun gumbo as they tried to make up for the lack of flavor with spicy heat, not a normal ingredient for gumbo. Here are a couple of shots.

Dauphin Island is at the blue pin, not the red (which I can't get rid of)

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Short Term Plans

We are in search of warmer weather! Another Blogger was on Florida's "Forgotten Coast" around Panama City and Mexico Beach and his description of the area sounded good. We called Rustic Sands RV Park in Mexico Beach and booked for a week starting on the 9th. We hate reservations but it is Florida and they are almost full. It is about a five hour drive (for us) which is more than we normally do. Stay tuned! Life Is Good and getting better!

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Saturday, January 4, 2014


Enterprise Auto Rentals picked up at around one and drove us down to pick up the rental, a new Ford Escape SUV. We will have it for three or four days while the Honda dealer orders and installs the new ignition switch. We stopped for lunch and carried on for our first look at downtown Mobile. It is a beautiful city with oak tree lined streets and friendly people. There is a big college football game in town tomorrow (The GoDaddy Bowl) so there are thousands of visitors in town. We will be back in town but here is a sample:

Good deal on a suit! Not bad looking suits either.
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One New Ignition Switch Please

The Honda needs a new ignition switch. They have to order the part and it will be here Monday or Tuesday. The job will cost $379. They wanted to do a timing belt kit on it as well, something it should have but would be another $699 so we said no thanks. I should have done that done in Mexico for about $300. I thought of it but didn't do it. Maybe next time, if we still have the car. I can't complain, the Honda has not cost us anything above regular maintenance in 25 years and 300,000 KM other than the $300 Mexican paint job last year and shocks, brakes, mufflers, etc.

One problem is I will have different keys for the ignition and the doors. Something else to confuse me.

I called Enterprise Auto Rentals and they promised to be here by noon and it is now one. Hurry up and wait... At least my BCAA Road Service will pay for the rental.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Joe Btfsplk

Remember him?

"Joe Btfsplk was a character in the satirical comic strip Li'l Abner by cartoonist Al Capp (1909–1979). He's well-meaning, but is the world's worst jinx, bringing disastrous misfortune to everyone around him. A small, dark rain cloud perpetually hovers over his head to symbolize his bad luck. Hapless Btfsplk and his ever-present cloud became one of the most iconic images in Li'l Abner". - Wiki

Well Lately it seems I must be related to him. First it was the motorhome troubles that required two tows and the $1800 repair and now it is the Honda!

For a while now I have had a problem with the engine shutting down immediately after starting. It has always continued to run after two or three tries. Last night at the grocery store I thought the battery might go dead from all the attempts I had to make but it did eventually keep running. Now this morning I turned the key, it started but turned off as soon as I let go of the key. I tried many times and same thing. I suspect the ignition switch.

I called the local Honda dealer and they are convinced they can fix it so I called AAA for a free tow and they are on their way. It is Friday so I doubt it will be done before Monday. This is the first time in it's 25 years the Honda has been towed! AAA offered me a discount on a rental from Enterprise which we might take them up on.

Stay tuned.

Problem Solved

We started fresh with the Starchoice this morning. We found that the skew settings given by the DishPointer site were WAY off. they called for 112 while other sites called for 123. This is a huge difference. We reset the skew, moved the dish a few feet, re-leveled and started again. It took a few minutes but suddenly we had a decent signal of 51. It was still in the "yellow" range but good enough. We even get the HD channels which we were not getting in NOLA where the skew was also set wrong.

It is bright and sunny today but COLD with a high of 43F forcast. We may put our city exploration off until tomorrow which is going to be a little warmer.

Well, I am off to make banana pancakes. Want some?

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Mobile in Mobile

We added a day to our New Orleans stay because we just did not feel like packing up on New Years Day plus it was raining on and off all day. This morning was clear so we headed out, taking US 90, a far more interesting road than I-10. It was a leisurely drive along the coast to Bay St. Louis, MS where we stopped for lunch and groceries. I like this town and would liked to have been able to spend a day there but we pushed on.

We drove past the Cajun RV Park in Biloxi where we stayed for a week a few years ago and considered stopping again. The last time we were here we saw pretty much all there was to see with the exception of "Beauvoir", the Jefferson Davis Home and Presidential Library. Jefferson Davis was President of The Confederate States Of America throughout the entire Civil War. The last time we were here the Library was closed for renovations. 

We followed US 90 for a while longer before switching over to I-10 near Mobile, Alabama, We checked into the Shady Acres RV Park at $130 for the week. There is lots to see in and around Mobile so we will keep busy.

We spent a while attempting to find the StarChoice signal before giving up for the night. All the RV parks down here brag about the shade they provide guests but the trees providing this shade block out the view to the satellite in most spots, ours included. The only possible spot for a signal was right on the edge of the paved driveway in front of us and the yelling back and forth method of finding the signal was not working so I drove down to Walmart and bought a cheap $99 TV so I could look at the setup screen as I was tweaking the dish. It did not work, the signal still eluded me. I am not sure what I will do. Maybe I will walk around the park tomorrow and see if there is an empty spot with a clear view to the West. 

We will drive into town tomorrow. The adventure continues.