Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Fox Has Landed


Yesterday morning as I walked out in the driveway to get the morning paper, I saw a large red fox dart between houses about two doors up the street. Was this an omen? If it was an omen…it was a good one as you can see from the picture above. Yes, I finally have taken possession of my new Arctic Fox fifth wheel trailer.

The day was not without it’s little glitches however. The day before yesterday I had gotten a call from the dealer saying that the “capture plate” I provided him to put on the trailer to match my hitch, didn’t fit. That is a big problem and there is no way to tow the trailer without it. After a couple of hours of panic and scrambling I found the correct part and picked it up on Wednesday morning just before driving down to Colorado Springs.

The drive down was uneventful but my mind was racing with thoughts of the trailer, how it would handle under tow, how I would handle it under tow in traffic and on and on. I was pleasantly surprised that the truck got about 20 mpg on the highway on the way down.

I spent about two hours at the dealership finishing paperwork and doing an inspection of the trailer. After all that it was time to hook up and head home. I was nervous for about 5 blocks. After all I have never towed anything this big and I had to drive in fairly heavy traffic for a couple of miles. After five blocks however I realized that this was an easier tow than my old trailer. The more I drove it the more amazed I was about how easy this thing towed. To top it all off I managed to get 14 mpg while towing it home. That may not sound like a lot but compared to the 7-9 mpg I was getting with the old Class A it’s great.fox2

So the trailer now sits in front of the house. I think I’ll christen it “Bivouac”, just like the original trailer I had a couple of years ago. I spent most of today loading it with all the thing I took out of my old rig and dreaming of my February trip. The covenants of my neighborhood only allow me to keep it on the street for 72 hours so tomorrow I’ll have to take it to the storage lot. I expect I’ll make numerous trips to the lot next week bring things that I forgot to pack.

Thanks for visiting.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas Brothers….


These pictures are taken from a winter and Christmas long ago….over 50 years ago. I thought of not only my brothers this Christmas but our Mother and Father as well. Peace…………





Thanks for visiting.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Merry Barbecue!!!


The Bride arrived back home from her trip to North Carolina Monday morning at about 2am. She was supposed to land at the Denver airport at about 10pm on Sunday night but because of the snow storm on the East Coast, her flight was delayed. It was delayed not because of the weather at the airport but because not enough service personnel could make it in to work at Dulles airport to keep the planes flying on-time. In spite of the weather and delays she had a good time with her mother and I got a special gift out of the trip too!

Long time readers will remember that I have an affinity, a yen, a sweet tooth as it were for barbeque. Not just any barbecue mind you but the best barbecue in the land…..North Carolina pork barbecue. Not Texas cow and ketchup not grilled yard bird but honest to God North Carolina chopped pork barbecue. One of my favorite places to get a barbecue fix…when I’m in the area, is Mr. Barbecue in Winston-Salem, NC. I have been going to this fantastic little barbecue place for over 30 years now but it’s been about two years since my last visit and I’ve got to admit that I have thought of that barbecue more than once in that time.bbq7

To paraphrase a saying, “if his-self can’t go to the barbecue, bring the barbecue to his-self!” and that’s exactly what The Bride did. The Bride, bless her little heart, put a whole barbecued pork leg, from Mr. Barbecue, in her luggage and brought it to me as a Christmas present. This is no little task as the pork leg is a bulky item and probably weighs 5 or 6 pounds. She had it frozen, wrapped in tin foil and then wrapped in a plastic bag. From experience I can tell you that a whole leg is by far the most efficient way to transport barbecue. Carrying it in a chopped state is way too bulky and reduces the amount of this culinary gold that will fit in a suitcase.

bbq2 Since I prefer my barbecue chopped, my task this morning was to reduce the leg to chopped ‘cue. While the process is pretty simple, great care must be taken to ensure that nothing gets wasted. After all this manna from heaven doesn’t fall in Colorado very often!

The meat is carefully carved off the bones of the leg ensuring that nothing edible is left behind. In my case the bones are so clean that even ants refuse to waste their time foraging for a meal!

After the meat is stripped from the bones it’s chopped into the desired consistency.bbq4 I prefer a variety of sizes to the chopped meat and chop it so there are small and medium sized pieces.

The barbecue is then packaged in quart sized freezer bags and stored away. Each freezer bag has enough of this redneck caviar to serve about four normal people or two and a half North Carolina barbecue aficionados.

I now have five quart sized bags of Mr. Barbecue, barbecue in my freezer just waiting to please my palate and stomach at the right moment. Life is good!



Thanks for visiting.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Not Feeling Like A Motherless Child Anymore!


My new Arctic Fox fifth wheel was delivered to the dealer in Colorado Springs on Friday so first thing yesterday morning I drove down there to look at it. Due to the Christmas holidays I won’t be able to actually take possession of it until the 29th. The outside has not been cleaned up yet from it’s trip from Oregon and it shows. Apparently it went through a pretty good snow storm in Wyoming and it looks pretty grungy but the dealer promised it would look perfect when I come to pick it up. The dealer has started his inspection and prep and during the initial inspection found that the kitchen faucet had a small leak. He was unable to fix it so he has ordered a new faucet from the factory.

One of the reasons I drove down there yesterday was to give the dealer the “capture plate” that must be installed on the pin box of the trailer before I can tow it with my SuperGlide hitch. After talking with the dealer for a while I spent about a half hour just sitting inside the trailer dreaming of the trips I will begin to take in it starting in February. I have managed to keep my enthusiasm in check up till now but now that it’s actually here I am “overflowing”!

I brought all of the manuals for the different appliances and features of the trailer home with me so my task today is to go through them and read them.

I spoke with The Bride this morning. They didn’t get as much snow and ice as was predicted but it’s still pretty dicey there. While we were talking I checked online for her flights….she flies from Greensboro, NC to Washington Dulles, to Denver. Both flights are still showing on-time but Washington Dulles is starting to report short delays. She will lay over in Washington Dulles for about four hours and leave there around 8pm so hopefully things will have cleared up by then.

Thanks for visiting.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Home Alone – Almost

The Bride left home at about 4am on Monday morning for a visit with her mother, Ladder Lady, in NC leaving The Emmer and I to fend for ourselves until Sunday. Fortunately over the last few years I have done enough cooking so that The Emmer and I will not starve. My repertoire is not anywhere close to as extensive as The Bride’s but it is enough to keep the two of us from wasting away.

I have received a report from The Bride that she arrived without incident and is enjoying the visit with her mother, brothers and their families. She also reports that she timed her trip perfectly to coincide with a potentially major snow storm in the area! This is what Weather Underground is forecasting for Saturday, when the storm finally moves out…


Cloudy. Snow likely...mainly in the morning. Total snow accumulation of 10 to 14 inches possible. Ice accumulation around a trace. Cold with highs in the lower 30s. Northwest winds 5 to 10 mph. Chance of snow 70 percent.

From having lived in the area for many years I can tell you that this is going to be a big deal. Even though she is in the western part of the state where they are a little more accustomed to snow, they still do not have the equipment to keep the roads clear for a storm of this magnitude. Add to that, the fact that most of the electricity is delivered by above ground lines and there is a distinct chance that they could lose power for a couple of days as well. The Brides visit may be a little longer than she anticipated.

On the RV front, my new trailer should be delivered to the dealer either today of tomorrow and the dealer says that they will have it ready for me by Tuesday. That however presents a scheduling problem related to another project I have been working on.

Over the last year or so I have become interested in becoming a member of the Elks fraternal organization. A few weeks ago I went to the local Elks Lodge and enquired about membership. Long story short, this Tuesday I will be going to the Lodge for an interview and indoctrination so I will have to postpone getting my new rig until after Christmas. It’s just a good thing that I’m retired because I don’t think I could manage my schedule and squeeze in some “working” as well.

Thanks for visiting.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Christmas Dinner With The Circle


Saturday the full Circle got together for our annual Christmas dinner. The six of us have been doing this for about five or six years now and it’s something we look forward to. Prior to the dinner itself we normally gather at one of our houses and exchange gifts. This year we gathered at K and Too Tall – Two Timing’s home. They provided atmosphere, hors d’oeuvres, and champagne….can’t have a Christmas get together without a little bubbly.

dinner1 The gifts rely more on imagination than dollars spent and we usually have a fine old time in exchanging them. Some of the gifts are practical and some just plain silly. One year Too Tall gifted the guys with coonskin caps and playing on that theme this year I gifted the guys with some Rasta hats I found while on our cruise last month. I’m not sure when we will wear them but I’m working on a theme camp out for this summer.

Among other things the ladies of the group usually exchange Christmas tree ornaments. It’s fun looking at our tree and seeing these ornaments that represent some really good times.

For the past three years I have been giving everyone a calendar for the following year. Each month of the calendar contains a picture of The Circle or some of us on one of our past adventures. I have edinner2njoyed doing it and I think the rest of the group looks forward to getting it. I never tell them which pictures I am going to use so everyone is anxious to make sure I haven’t used a particularly silly image of them. 

This year’s dinner was had at La Dolce Vita Restaurant in the small community of Castle Pines which is just a little north of Castle Rock, CO. It was a very nice restaurant and it’s hard to go wrong with Italian food. As we were dining a very talented young lady wandered around the restaurant singing to the different groups of diners. For our table she sang a wonderful rendition of Patsy Cline’s “Crazy” that was written by Willie Nelson in 1961…..I thought it fit the group pretty well!

dinner5 Dessert, coffee and after dinner drinks completed the evening. It was another great get together and we’re already searching for that next Circle adventure.

Thanks for visiting.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Comin’ Atcha!


Well the storm system moved out of here this morning but it left bitter cold. The picture above was taken at 7:38 am. Don’t freak, it doesn’t say –95, it’s –9point5 but that still plenty cold. The high got all the way up to +20 but it didn’t stay there for long and it’s now back to single digits.

The storm is now headed east and in watching the news, it looks like readers to the east of me are now getting the worst of it.

Yesterday, in the midst of the cold and snow I had my truck tonneau cover installed. It looks great and will be perfect for what I want it to do. I’ll post a picture later.  All I need to do now is get the snow out of the bed of the truck. That will take a day or so as the temperatures are not supposed to get above freezing until tomorrow.  I also called the RV dealer to check on the status of my fifth wheel. They said it rolled off the line early this week and is scheduled to be delivered next week. The dealer will take a day or so to do his thing and hopefully by the end of the week I’ll pick it up. If the weather cooperates I’ll probably spend the night at Cheyenne Mountain State Park the day I pick it up to try out all the systems before I drag the rig back to the Denver area. That park is only 8-10 miles from the dealership.

Meanwhile, The Bride is scheduled to fly out of here on the 15th to visit her Mom, Ladder Lady, in North Carolina. She will return on Sunday the 20th.

I took this picture this afternoon. If you look close you can see my reflection in the Christmas tree ornament…bulb

Thanks for visiting.

Friday, December 4, 2009

We’re Havin’ A Heat Wave!

Things have been pretty low key this week. It’s been a frigid week with light snow and very cold temps which started on Tuesday. Right now it’s 11 degrees but we’re fixin’ to have a heat wave! The weather shaman says it will break the freezing mark today and get all the way up to 33 degrees! ….And, be still my heart, it will get all the way to a balmy 39 degrees on Saturday!

The title of the 1938 Irving Berlin song I used for the post title is right on point…even if the rest of the lyrics don’t follow my subject line too well.

We're having a heat wave,
A tropical heat wave,
The temperature's rising,
It isn't surprising,
She certainly can can-can.

She started a heat wave
By letting her seat wave
In such a way that
The customers say that
She certainly can can-can.

Gee, her anatomy
Makes the mercury
Jump to ninety-three.

We're having a heat wave,
A tropical heat wave,
The way that she moves
That thermometer proves
That she certainly can can-can.

In contrast to my last post in which I referred to a terrible song (These Boots Are Made For Walking), this is a classic song that I have enjoyed over the years. First sung by Ethel Merman, it was also sung by Marylin Monroe in the 1954 movie, “There’s No Business Like Show Business”. Her version is typical Marylin….

The heat wave is only going to last through Saturday however and then we’re in for another blast of cold weather so it looks like next week will be low key as well.temps

This evening The Circle is scheduled to get together at a local restaurant for their happy hour specials. It’s a nice restaurant and the specials include not only half price drinks but half price hors d’oeuvres. About two months ago we did the same thing and with a couple of glasses of wine and enough food for a good dinner, the cost was only $25 a couple!

On the  RV front, I’ve had a Pullrite Superglide fifth wheel hitch installed in the bed of my pickup truck. These hitches are a bit pricey but have a reputation for being one of the best. The model I bought allows the hitch to “glide” towards the back of the truck when turning corners. This prevents the cab of the truck from crunching the trailer in tight turns.hitch

I am now waiting for the delivery of a retractable tonneau cover for the bed of the truck that will allow me to leave the hitch in the bed of the truck and still be protected from the weather. The cover is also lockable for the security of the hitch and whatever else I may carry in the truck bed. I ordered the cover over two weeks ago and was told that it would only take 3-5 days for delivery but something obviously went wrong because I’m still waiting. The store swears it will be here by today but I’ll believe it when I see it.

Thanks for visiting.


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