Saturday, June 30, 2012

Vacation Time

I’m off next week, I’m going to live in the RV for 9 days and hopefully get the Blu-Ray cable routed to the TV permanently, the wood floor in the bathroom and toilet room put down and the front of the rig waxed.

Doesn’t sound like vacation does it but these projects need to get done and it will feel go to do it. I hope you all have a great weekend and a great 4th of July! Smile with tongue out

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Daily News – Gas Prices Dropping All Over 15 Cents A Week!!

Every morning the past few weeks I turn on the radio only to hear how gas prices have dropped another 14 or 15 cents. Some places are seeing very low 3 dollar to high 2 dollar prices at the pump. Yet here in Chicago I still see $4.29 a gallon and $3.59 by my house. Disappointed smile

Chicago always seems to be the first to get the high prices and last to get the reduced ones. WBBM broadcasts the “cheapest prices” as if any price they mention is cheap. I’d love to see these price drops everybody is talking about… If a Sheik farts in the Middle East gas prices jump 20 cents, funny how the oil reductions never hit the pump as fast.

In January the “experts” were saying we’d have $6.00 a gallon gasoline by July, now they are saying we’ll have gas prices in the mid $2.50 range by Thanksgiving. These experts must be weathermen considering their track record of accuracy.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Relaxing Weekend With Family

Saturday, Ronda’s step son Thorin and his son’s Taylor, Mathew, Brian and their friend J.J. came over so I took pictures of the before and my phone died when they got there so I couldn’t take anymore pictures! I have this great camera, you’d think I’d bring it with some time ‘eh?

So, use your imagination and picture Ronda, two big guys, 1 teenager and 3 boys enjoying a big fire and a BBQ picnic. The boys played football and had a great time, we all had great conversation and on Sunday bless her heart Ronda cooked a massive breakfast for everybody.

Next time I’ll have the camera with so you’re not stuck looking at our rig and the site.

Ronda made up a new batch of bean stew that she will now write down for others because it was THAT good! Unfortunately while taking it out of the RV she fell off the last step looking for the step stool and missed it. She somehow managed to place the pan on the ground flat even though she had flown through the air onto her side. Amazing graze that woman has saving grub she just cooked!! :)

Half was saved and we all enjoyed it very much and we can't wait until she cooks it again!

Here is Ronda’s take on it… Smile with tongue out

Just wow!!!  We definitely saw this from two different perspectives!

My version goes more like this:

‘I decided on Saturday to make a ‘bean stew’ type dish to go with the hamburgers and hot dogs and such.  I didn’t have the exact recipe so had to kind of work on it thru the day.  Starting around 12:30ish, I started making it…throwing in three different cans of beans, a pound of hamburger, a can of tomato sauce (these are the basics)…then adding onion, worschterschier (sp?) sauce, brown sugar then taste testing and adding mustard, salt and pepper, seasoning salt, taste testing, then ketchup, more brown sugar and more worscheterschier (sp?) sauce.  Letting it cook and simmer for about 4 hours.  It was really good and Erik just loved it and it was something I could eat.

I was so looking forward to having Thorin and the boys try it.  So, come dinner time, Erik was finishing up the meat on the grill, the boys were helping me put stuff on the picnic table and the last thing to come out was ‘Ronda’s bean stew’!  I grabbed a pot holder and with the pan of bubbling stew in front of me walked down the RV steps when all the sudden, there was no ground under my foot.  The step stool was gone and I went down about a foot and half on to the ground.  It was weird how it happened.  It was like super fast, but also in slow motion.  I just remember thinking before my body hit the ground ‘SAVE THE BEANS’…I hit the ground pretty hard.  I sat up and Erik and Thorin were running towards me, but all I could think about was all the time and effort I put into those beans which were now all over the ground. 

A split second later, I noticed that although there was a huge pile of stew on the ground…about 2 feet away sat the pan…upright and still almost half full!!! 

Erik and Thorin helped me up and checked to see if I was okay (which I was), but all I cared about was those beans.  Then I turned to my left and saw the stew sauce splattered all over the side of the RV.  (HORROR!!!!!!)  I picked up the pot of beans and put it on the table then ran in and grabbed some wet paper towels to start cleaning off the RV and Erik tried to stop me.  He’s like…hmm RV or wife in hospital.  The RV was fine…leave it!  He grabbed some Windex and started cleaning it.  All was well.

Oh…and my wonderful husband allowed Loki to eat some of the bean stew off the ground.  Guess who WASN’T cleaning up her poo!  (I did anyway..)

Everything turned out okay…just a few scrapes and no broken bones.  Everyone cleaned out what was left of the beans and really seemed to enjoy them.  (They probably ate them just to make me happy after all that, but it didn’t matter…I didn’t have to go to the hospital). 

I’m also very grateful that the stew didn’t end up over anyone.  That would have been really bad!!


Erik again, trust me folks, that Bean stew was AWESOME! Thumbs up  Open-mouthed smile



Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Senior Moments

I found this on YouTube awhile ago and found it again tonight, it’s funny and tells it like it is! Smile with tongue out

Senior moments… brain farts….

Sunday, June 17, 2012


Compromise, in marriage you better be able to or you’ll have one or two angry people, probably for however long the marriage lasts. We came to Blackhawk to spend a weekend and ended up leasing a site. First, we were going to lease # 83, then we found that # 84 (Ronda’s preference) was available, as well as # 79 (Packer Lane) and # 129 up in the woods (my preference because of Internet access and shade).

We took # 129 not because it was my preference but because the park Internet access seemed to be better there because the main wireless was off the main office building. Since I have to work remotely I need to be able to get onto my work network so Ronda compromised but wasn’t happy about it. Then last Sunday the connection dropped, for the entire day on all access points/repeaters, since I bought this fancy antenna it can access any of the 4 wireless access points/repeaters in the park, all of them rejected connections all day making the main supposed advantage of # 129 moot. This is what happened the week before on # 83 as well. In Ronda’s view, moving back to the first area would be best because there isn’t nearly as much work needed to enjoy it and internet access seemed to be the same.

In my view I could spend a couple of weekends seeding # 129 because the Internet connection is still best there (latency wise) plus the shade drops the temp 15 plus degrees in sunny hot weather. Ronda inquired about # 84 Thursday from work but it’s was now taken however, # 85 is now available right next door. Disappointed smile Her excitement meant we’re moving, which we did Thursday, I compromised but my mood showed Ronda I wasn’t happy about the move. I smashed my head on one of the oak cabinets further enhancing my mood. To make it that much better the site was so un-level the only way to get close was to get the drivers side tire almost off the ground putting un-needed stress on the chassis of the coach.

When I got here Friday night I brought the lawn mower, 2 steel rakes and a regular leaf rake plus a shovel. We figured in the morning we’d move the rig and manually rake the gravel which we did, in 95f heat Crying face. The clouds magically disappeared so the sun could make sure we got some sweat equity put in, I soaked a shirt completely through. We got the site nearly level, the rig sunk into the new gravel a bit so we have to make some adjustments as we go but at least we were able to get the rig level finally.

Here is our final site! We promised the owners we would not be moving again this year unless of course one of the premium sites becomes available.

Site # 83 after moving a lot of gravel with a rake!




I like everything neat and tidy so of course this includes the hookups. Smile with tongue out


Ronda’s parents and one of her brothers came over yesterday to celebrate Fathers Day early, we has a weenie roast and sat far away enough from the fire to stay as cool as possible. Everybody forgot to take pictures but we had a very good time.


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Picture Of Mom

This is my favorite picture of my Mom, she has been dead for going on 3 years now and I was thinking about her tonight. So I thought I would post it, I miss her a lot still, she was the best…

She is holding my brother in this picture, we called him the Gerber baby. Smile with tongue out


Sunday, June 10, 2012

Decisions Decisions…. Which Site To Take At Blackhawk?

We had decided on site # 84 because site # 79 was on Packer Drive, there is no way a Bear fan leases a site on Packer lane, that would be just plain wrong. Sarcastic smile  Plus it was very small.


Site # 84 offers the lazy way to camping, everything is done, there is a brick and plastic brick patio and grass and it’s very nice and basic. Part of the day would be under shade and and there is a lot of space to have the nieces and nephews play across from us. Simply park and enjoy!

The big issue to me is the ability to work when I’m here. Since my Verizon MiFi gets zero signal down here and a cell repeater or high gain antenna can’t amplify zero signal it’s useless to me to have it at this park. The RV Park wireless signal is strong but it’s on a repeater in this section that seems to drop off of it’s connection to the main which is driving our decision to try site # 129, I’ll explain that more later.

Site # 84, large and grassy and kind of shady, very nice!IMAG07522

When we got here last night the owner told my wife they did some work to site # 129. We ruled this one out originally because as you can see the sewer pipe was above ground and the water hookup was behind the RV. He also told us that the main internet connection is located off the office and rarely has issues. We were supposed to have the weekend to decide which site we wanted to keep. EDIT: It turns out we actually only had Saturday because a couple came in and wanted one or the other as well, ack. So we chose site # 129 for better or for worse.

As you can see by the red circle LOTS of trees!Blackhawk

Site #129 before they put the sewer pipe underground and moved the water connection.


I didn’t get a picture of the site with the pipe buried and the water moved but this picture should help show that the sewer is now underground, (you can’t see it but it’s next to that brick) and the water connection has been moved as well.IMAG0783

We have to lay grass seed meant for areas that see very little sun.


I am going to manually grade this and get grass seeded next weekend. They made the site bigger which really is nice but will take a bit of work to make usable.


If you’re looking at this picture and wondering how I backed it in there alone, I did it very very carefully! Smile with tongue out  Our neighbor two doors down told me I had “big ones” backing it in alone between all of the trees. The site slopes too much so I need to build ramps for the front tires to raise it up more. The jacks took them off the ground to make it level so I have some work to do.


Loki is staying off of the dirt, such a good dog! We’ll get grass there soon enough!


The playground is right there, the field is at least 5 or more acres!





The only issues with our site is the following, TREE SAP  Disappointed smile I forgot about tree sap and the rig is covered with it today! That and the entire day today the internet was down, all access points were kaput. I’m going to have a discussion with the owner because this is two weekends in a row where the campground is near empty and the internet connection is down on Sunday.

If this is how it is going forward, I may have made the wrong choice, site # 84 would have sufficed for this year. Since we are locked into site #129 I am going to do my best to make it the way Ronda wants it which means getting grass to grow so we don’t have the rig surrounded by dirt.

Here is the HUGE plus for this site, it was in the 90’s today and it was so easy to keep the rig cool! YAY!! Smile with tongue out  In my view this will really save us money since we have to pay the electric now. I’ll just have to wash the rig more than expected and the windshields will get a bath every weekend we are there.

Sorry for the ultra long post, but considering the amount of pictures I took of the entire campground I could have really gone to town!

Have a great week everybody!

Friday, June 8, 2012

The Dragon Is Dead

I want to have a funeral for it, I’m going to miss it very much. I bought this HP HDX Dragon 20” beast of a laptop (lap crusher) in Feb of ‘07 and it was the best machine I have ever owned. Not the fastest mind you, just the best. Where else could you get such a cool machine with a built in 1920x1200 resolution display? Last year after posting about replacing the machine I installed an SSD hard drive which made the machine seem so much faster than it really was.SSD’s are good at that, power on, in Windows in 15 seconds, open any application, instantly. Now.. it’s dead. Crying face


I’m hoping to replace it with the newly revised HP Pavilion Premier DV7T-7000 Quad edition laptop. I just found out today that they finally brought back the backlit keyboard Thumbs up and it can handle up to 16gigs of memory. I already have an SSD from my Dragon to use in this machine so the included 750gig hybrid drive will be the storage drive. The i7 CPU will be the 3820QM Quad Core which is easily as fast as my Dual Xeon Quad Core desktop that I have at home. The NVidia GT 650M has 2gigs of DDR5 memory and will easily handle anything I throw at it.


HP is having a promotion right now lowering the price $200.00 and including an upgrade to 8gigs of memory (I’ll be getting 12gigs) plus a Blu-Ray drive so this will easily handle all of the duties I will be running and then some. If I get it, we’ll see. For now I’m using my 17” MacBook Pro at home and in the RV, which I’m selling as soon as I get a new machine and at work I’m using a 6 year old Frankenstein HP/Compaq 8510p laptop I cobbled back together with spare parts and eBay. Fine for emergency use, not fine as a daily machine.

I haven’t figured out if I’m getting this yet or not but I’m hoping to, we’ll see! If I do I’ll post a write up about it.

Have a great weekend folks! The boss errrrrr I mean the wife and I are heading back to Blackhawk tonight where I’ll be working remotely tonight and tomorrow, what better place to do it than in the RV! Open-mouthed smile

Thursday, June 7, 2012

State Farm Storm Damage Update

State Farm Insurance SUCKS Logo Evil Greedy CEO Ed Rust Jr SMALLER copy

Check out this blog for more details

I posted earlier this year that State Farm dropped us after allowing the claim for the storm damage our house incurred last March (2011). They sent us a check to get the repairs started and also a breakdown of how much they would allow money wise for all of the repairs.

The estimates I have been getting for just the roof alone are much more than the cost of what State Farm was estimating for the roof, all of the siding and the gutters combined. Disappointed smile Oh, you want the same quality that was on the house already? Silly you! The crap they sling onto the houses by the storm chaser companies is horrible. My neighbor got his done by one of those companies and you can almost put your finger through the siding, one side of the house looks completely warped. I’m supposed to be ok with this shoddy work?

Here’s how it works, State Farm HATES the storm chaser construction companies because they cause so many claims to be filed that might otherwise not be filed. They LOVE storm chaser companies to do the actual work because they are much cheaper than real construction companies that don’t chase storms for a living. Funny how that works no? So, State Farm allows the claim, more times than not they drop the people after the claim has been filed so when this shoddy work falls apart due to storms the next insurance company is liable for the repairs.

We held back from filing the claim until State Farm’s rep could come out, when that was scheduled we had a company come out and meet them. State Farm is the one who told us to get the repairs done, THEN they dropped us. So, now we have a check for part of the repairs but even if we got the full amount allowed, we can only get the roof done. What can we do, threaten State Farm to go someplace else with our business? Too late for that.

State Farm estimates the cost to repair everything will be $18,000, the LOWEST estimate I have gotten is $28,000…. they said they can use the same garbage as the other houses have been getting but even then they can’t come close to what State Farm allows for. We are in the middle and now have to battle State Farm to do the job we have been paying them for, for decades with no claims what so ever on the house.

State Farm is running commercials like crazy to get business because frankly they suck and they need fresh meat/suckers to screw over. There are class action law suits all over the country because of how State Farm conducts business and their motto “like a good neighbor State Farm is there” is complete and utter bullshit. One claim and they’re running from you like you’re on fire.

We have moved everything over to USAA, Until they prove otherwise this is the company for us, unfortunately the claim is still with State Farm. I have written to my State Farm agent and I like the guy, he and his staff are good people and they understand how we feel because they are losing customers faster than they can get new ones.

When I hear back I’ll post an update. If the graphic about State Farm offends you or what I say about them offends you, please drop off from this blog. There are two sides to every story and I can only tell this one from ours, the number crunchers at State Farm can tell their to the courts when the law suit gets there.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

HP Officejet Pro 8600 Premium

My old Dell 1600n all-in-one bit the bullet earlier last month so I did some research. What to buy that will make scanning to both a network share or a computer easy enough for my wife to use for a project she is working on? You’d think in 2012 there would be a large choice but that hasn’t been the case. Most had something about them that ruled them out. Then I found this new series from HP, the 8600 Pro Premium.

While this printer is inkjet it is supposed to equal a laserjet in quality and supposedly uses less ink per page. We’ll see how this plays out in use. One surprise is the printer came with two sets of ink, that was nice to see. It also came with a duplexing unit and a second paper tray. Initial printing of documents and pdf files are crisp and as good as my previous laser.

The self alignment failed but the printer seems to print fine. I’m going to finish the project Ronda needs help with and then contact HP to get the unit replaced or get it to align properly since their tools thus far have failed. Maybe HP has something else I can try.

Setting up scanning to both a computer and network share worked perfectly as does scanning to both directly from the printer itself. I also set up the web printing and it tested perfectly, not that I’ll use it but you never know right? The display is easy to use and it’s pretty fast as well. So far I like the printer, even if it failed the alignment process HP should care for that. I’d recommend it for a very small or home office that doesn’t do a large amount of printing but does a lot of scanning. Winking smile 

Here is a video preview from cnet.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

We Pulled The Trigger On A Site At Blackhawk Valley Campground

We gave it a lot of thought and did the math on how much it will cost to go out most weekends and pay RV park prices over the next 5 months. Since the owner pro-rated the site the price was something we couldn’t turn down. The season runs from April 15th to October 15th.

Blackhawk Valley Campground


Site # 84, can’t see it very well because it has TREES! Thumbs up Open-mouthed smile Smile with tongue out. So, go figure, we could have decided this earlier and saved some of the wood we burned and saved the cost of a few days camping, doh!


We spent the weekend as “weekenders” on site 83 and ended it as “members” for the season on site 84. Site 83 is fine but is in need of too much work to be usable for us.


Site 84 has no mud, an easier way for us to decide if we want to keep doing this next year. We move from site 83 to site 84 next weekend and they’ll let us borrow their mower to cut the grass.


The previous people built a brick and plastic patio, not perfect but better than mud and we can fix it up. The campground owner is going to add more gravel and we’ll take it from there next weekend. The money we’ll save will easily exceed the amount of fuel we typically use plus we will still be able to go to Geneseo to begin the season on March 31st and end the season on October 31st in time for their Halloween celebration. Smile with tongue out


We’re going to pick up some solar lights and other trinkets for the site this week, when the owner puts down the gravel we’re going to level the site and put down blocks and rubber pads for the leveling jacks. We aren’t going to go crazy and build a deck or anything like that, just make it nice enough to enjoy when we go there.

There are a few issues, cell phone coverage and their internet wasn’t consistent. So I’m looking into a repeater for my Verizon MiFi, typically if there is no signal though a repeater or high gain antenna won’t help, there has to be signal to boost after all.

I’ll post more as we go, have a great week everybody!