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About this blog

An account of our travels and tribulations.

Entries in this blog

 

A Good Year to Visit Canada

On our way through New Brunswick we encountered a toll road. I pulled up to the toll booth and asked what the toll would be for us. The man in the booth said it would be $5.25. I asked if he could take US money and he said yes. I handed him a $5.00 bill. He punched that into his register and laughed, "It looks like I owe you 75 Canadian pesos." I laughed as I took the change and replied, "Gracias." He laughed. Yes my friends, the US dollar is riding high against the Canadian "peso." The

tbutler

tbutler

 

Adventures of a Shadetree Mechanic

Our travel schedule for this summer is taking shape. We have a short trip coming up in two weeks so it is time to get the motor home road-ready. I took it out for a short drive several weeks ago and had it safety inspected for the Texas license renewal. Lights, wipers and horn all work. A brief look a the tires and a check of the current registration and insurance papers, verify the VIN and I'm good to go. On that drive I was reminded of a recurrent problem we've had. Our alternator has b

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tbutler

 

The Great Repair Adventure

The bane of every motor home owner is maintenance. I'm a relatively handy guy and can handle lots of simple things but over time there are problems that occur that are better done by someone with more knowledge and experience than I can muster. As I've aged, the line that separates what I want to do and what I will pay someone else to do has moved. Part of that is wisdom, simply learning that my fix may not be the best way to repair something. Another thing that moves the line is my physical

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tbutler

 

I Love My iPhone!

One night on my way home from calling Mexican bingo at Flip Flopz, the community building in our park, my cell phone fell out of my pocket. I got home, noticed it missing and retraced my route. Turning a corner I saw something in the middle of the street and it was my phone. Unfortunately, someone had run over it with a golf cart. It wasn't destroyed but was damaged. I tested it and it worked. Within a week it became apparent that it was not fully functioning. I was getting static during

tbutler

tbutler

 

Texas Parks and Wildlife Magazine Looks at the Rio Grande Valley

For sixteen years we have returned to the Rio Grande Valley, in the southern tip of Texas, each fall.  We enjoy the mild winters and the abundance of recreation, natural resources and wildlife in the area.  The December issue of Texas Parks and Wildlife Magazine is dedicated entirely to the Rio Grande Valley (RGV).  This publication from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is an excellent resource for those looking for a spot to visit in the winter, perhaps like us, you'll find it to be just

tbutler

tbutler

 

I Should Have Bought a Squirrel

In the 2001 movie, Rat Race, Kathy Bates tries to sell a squirrel to Whoopi Goldberg and her daughter.  They defer but ask Kathy Bates for directions.  Being a race, they are traveling at breakneck speed down one road after another following the directions.  Finally at one point, hurtling down a gravel road with dust billowing behind they pass a sign:  "You Should Have Bought a Squirrel."  That is followed by a scene of them going over a cliff, landing on a pile of rusted and wrecked cars.  It i

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tbutler

 

Fleeing the Cold, Rain and Clouds

We spent most of this week with our daughter and her family at their vacation home in Oregon. During our stay there were several days of rain and clouds. Nights were cool enough that we had the furnace running. Oregon is beautiful. Their home is on the Umpqua river about 30 miles inland where they can actually fish from their back yard for salmon. In fact, the oldest girl, age 8, landed a 20 pound Chinook Salmon on Wednesday. Her father assisted by powering the rowboat and helping her with

tbutler

tbutler

 

Good News - Bad News

As of our last post we had just entered Colorado as the heavy rain and flooding occurred. We stayed for a week and got a first hand look at some of the damage. What we saw in the Denver/Arvada area was minor compared to the real damage which occurred in the mountains and out on the plains as the flood waters continued to disperse. There are towns in the mountains which have no road access to the outside world and likely won't have until sometime next spring or summer. Countless roads washed

tbutler

tbutler

 

Harvey was a Rabbit when I was in High School

The Junior Play when I was in high school was Harvey.  My best friend played the lead role, Elwood P. Dowd.  Elwood, a grown man, had an imaginary friend, Harvey.  Harvey was a rabbit, a six foot tall rabbit, according to Elwood.  I had a minor part, acting was never my thing.  Anyway, these days there is another Harvey and it isn't a rabbit.  Harvey is dumping a huge quantity of rain on the upper Gulf Coast of Texas and now Louisiana.  A stalled storm can unload a huge amount of water on any gi

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tbutler

 

I Can See Clearly Now

I can see clearly now, the rain is gone, I can see all obstacles in my way Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind It’s gonna be a bright, bright Sun-Shiny day. Those are some of the lyrics from I Can See Clearly Now, by Johnny Nash. It is one of my all time favorite songs and I've been whistling it a lot lately. What follows is a detailed description of my encounter with a common eye condition, cataracts. If you have cataracts and have had them surgically removed, you know the story.

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tbutler

 

The Quinault Valley - Land of Giants

The Quinault Valley of the Olympic Peninsula was our last stop visiting the peninsula. Arriving at the Rain Forest Village Resort RV Park, we located an open site. We arrived on the Thursday before Labor Day weekend so we were glad to get a site at this first come, first served RV Park. They do not take reservations. The park is more like a state park campground than the usual commercial RV Park. Upon arrival we were given several brochures detailing local attractions, most of these were related

tbutler

tbutler

 

Comments on Big Rig Facilities in Newfoundland

That is a place I have wanted to go. You have a 40' and I a 45', will there be a problem for me? On roads and campgrounds? Do you reserve ahead, before you go? Thanks Carl Carl asked a good question so I'm going to answer it with this post. I've seen a few 45's on the road here. We've been able to find places to stay without a problem though the number of places with full hookups is limited. The standard is 30 Amps with water and a dump station. There may or may not be wifi and signal s

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tbutler

 

Labrador - Part 1

It has been almost a month since we finished our trip to Newfoundland and Labrador. I needed the time between the trip and this post to put it all in perspective. We had a wonderful interesting and sometimes challenging trip through Newfoundland. On the 22nd of August we took the motorhome on the ferry from St. Barbe, Newfoundland to Blanc Sablon in Quebec. While waiting to board the ferry we were treated to a very interesting event. A moose swam across the bay from the far shore to St. Bar

tbutler

tbutler

 

Motor Homing and Family Visits

When last you heard from us we were winding up a huge tour of the National Parks in the Four Corners area.  We arrived in Las Vegas for an extended stay.  Actually, it was planned as a departure point.  We stayed at a park in Henderson, a southeastern suburb of Las Vegas.  The rates were good and the security was by all accounts very good so we felt comfortable leaving our coach there while flying to St. Louis to be with family for the big 50 birthday party.  Las Vegas RV Resort turned out to be

tbutler

tbutler

 

Labrador - Part 3 - Rocky Road

Our trip through Labrador picks up on Sunday morning as we depart the Paradise River Rest Area. The bridge over the river is a long metal bridge and it was talking to us as the morning sun began to warm the cold metal structure. As the metal expanded there were occasional loud metallic bangs that echoed through the canyon of the Paradise River. We crossed the river and continued on our way. Traffic on a Sunday morning was very light. I counted five vehicles in the first two hours on the roa

tbutler

tbutler

 

Countdown to the Total Solar Eclipse 2017

In a previous entry I described the total eclipse of the sun which is happening next month, August 21, 2017.  Total solar eclipses are rare.  How rare?  It has been 26 years (July 11, 1991) and that was only seen in only one state, Hawaii.  The next solar eclipse for the US will be April 8 2024.  This one enters from Mexico into Texas and slices northeastward through New England exiting the US in Maine, continuing on through New Brunswick, and Newfoundland.  There have been many partial eclipses

tbutler

tbutler

 

Exploring Old Territory

This summer is our 15th summer on the road.  We've traveled in every state in the US (except Hawaii) and every province in Canada (except Nunavut).  Given that experience, there are still new things to do and see.  We left Scottsbluff, NE on August first headed for Denver.  We have family, a sister and daughter there and we've stopped there at least once every year.  Still, we found something new on this trip.  Louise's sister and her husband have now retired and we had a nice visit with them an

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tbutler

 

Visiting the 50th State

It has been a while since my last entry but I have an excuse ... Louise and I have just returned from a visit to our 50th state. It was the 50th state we have visited together and also the 50th state for the U.S. Of course, I'm speaking of the only state that is impractical to visit in a motorhome! Hawaii is one long wet drive and the puddle is so deep. We elected to make our trip on a cruise, which, in a way, is a little like living in a motorhome. Our ship, the Celebrity Constellation, was t

tbutler

tbutler

 

Waitangi Treaty Grounds - Early New Zealand History

We left Orewa Beach Sunday morning headed north to Whangarei and beyond to Russell and the Waitangi Treaty Grounds. After several days in the campervan we had a list of things we needed. Groceries were at the top of the list. Yes, despite our purchase on Friday we were in for another purchase of food. We located the Countdown Grocery and Louise went in to start shopping. I went to a housewares store, Briscoes. I thought it was going to be more like a Lowe’s than a Bed Bath and Beyond but I

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tbutler

 

Life Happens When You Aren't Looking

I had to check my last blog entry to see when it was posted.  It was September 6, not quite three months ago.  Since then we have been on the go... We spent a month with our daughter and her family in California.  Our granddaughters are growing up fast but a few golden moments still to go.  We took them to a working farm.  A 1940's version of a poor working farm.  We slept in the rehabbed chicken coup.  The girls fed the cows, gathered the eggs, bottle fed some really large calves, made fri

tbutler

tbutler

 

A Farewell to Newfoundland

By mid-August we had been in Newfoundland for three weeks. Our final week we explored the Northern Peninsula. This is the large peninsula on the western coast of the island. The peninsula is defined by the Long Range Mountains which run the length of the peninsula. At the southern end of this area is Gros Morne National Park. We stayed for two nights at a campground on Bonne Bay while exploring the southern portion of the park. The campsite was a parking lot type campground which doesn't s

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tbutler

 

An Unexpected Move

Let me introduce our motor home, VGER.  VGER is named for the villainous character in the first of the Star Trek movies.  VGER has been in our family going on 15 years this summer.  It (VGER was an it) was purchased at a Monaco Come Home Rally in Raine, LA.  We traded in a 10 year old Monaco we had purchased as a used coach in the spring of 2001.  We sold our home and moved into that used coach full time on July 7, 2001.  VGER was purchased new, 1235.4 miles on the odometer when we took possessi

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tbutler

 

Eastward Ho! U.S. 50 California to Colorado

After our stay in California, we set out on our way east to St. Louis, Missouri. We’ve made this trip many times. The default trip going either way is to travel to I-80 east to eastern Nebraska where we pick up I-29 south to Kansas City and then I-70 to St. Louis. When we make this trip we are usually on a schedule so time is important and the interstate fills the bill. We’ve detoured several times, to visit friends, to see the Grand Tetons. We sometimes stop in Denver to visit relatives so

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tbutler

 

Descending to Eden

At the town of Adaminaby we stopped at the visitor’s center and talked with several natives. They had a statue of the Man From Snowy River, the supposed subject of the poem of the same name. Louise bought a copy of the poem for $1 and read the poem to me as we traveled on through the mountains. As we drove on, the road once again descended a steep slope and large vehicles were advised to use lower gears. I down shifted and we started our descent. Just a kilometer or so down the road we cam

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tbutler

 

Trees: Love 'em, Hate 'em

I've been up on the roof washing and cleaning for the last few days. The experience brings to the fore one of the conflicts that plagues me. At heart, I'm a big advocate of trees. They are essential to our existence. Trees are beautiful and useful. Trees are also a nuisance. On the good side, trees provide shade and keep our motor home cool. We're in San Andreas, California, and the forecast for the next two days are temperatures in the 100s, so I'll really appreciate the trees around us. I hav

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tbutler

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