29 March 2021

Road Trip Random Thoughts

-Topeka Kansas is the home of Harry W. Colmery. Who knew?
-Kansas is windy. Fifty knot gusts made me thankful I wasn't driving an 18 wheeler.
-Anyone that thinks Kansas is flat has never been to Ft. Riley.
-Renting a car without GPS is a big mistake.
-But having a "seek" function on the FM radio proved there are LOTS of  "classic rock" stations out there.
-Four cylinder engines are buzzy and irritating in mountains but get GREAT mileage.
-Buzzy rental cars help you realize how much you love your non-buzzy car.
-Windmill farms are majestic and simultaneously an eyesore.
-In fifty mph winds, windmills feather. (Shut down.)
-Cell phone coverage on Interstates is nothing short of amazing.
-There is NO comfortable way to drive more than 700 miles in one day.

Care to add to my list?

Driving Miss Sara

We're two days into our trip home from Phoenix. We spent the first night of our drive in Albuquerque. Experienced a HORRIBLE traffic jam on Interstate 40 near Gallup, NM, nearly dead-stopped for almost two hours. This is the seccond time we've had terrible traffic there and WILL NOT be coming home that way again. 

Decided to take a different route home from ALB this time and headed North on I-25 toward Denver- up the Eastern face of the Rockies. The peaks were snow-capped and GORGEOUS. 

Spent the night in Limon, CO in a tacky little motel room. Since we only spend a few hours in the motel we've always felt so long as they are clean and have basic "necessities" like a TV and microwave, why pay a fortune for those few hours? 

There's just no way to make a 24-hour drive comfortable. But flying, more and more, is becoming such a burden I no longer want to do it. Our rental car, a Toyota Corolla, is a pleasure to drive.
It's getting 35 mpg at 75mph and has something I will NEVER again be without-
"Adaptive" (Smart) Cruise Control. It takes much of the stress out of driving long distances on the slab.

Home tomorrow night, our neighbors inform us our wild onion crop is ready for harvest.
That's a smell/experience I always enjoy in the Spring.

I'm homesick.
And ready for Spring storms and home "Honey-do's".

23 March 2021

"It's Snowing!"

We set out from Phoenix yesterday with a GREAT plan-
Leave comfortably around Noon +-. Drive North to Hwy 74, then go Westbound to Wickenburg. Just Northwest of there, hang a turn onto Northbound 89. Make our way through Yarnell where the "Hotshots" lost their lives in the fire some years ago, then continue to Prescott. Just East of there take 89A through Jerome and Cottonwood, then on through Sedona to just South of Flagstaff and spend the night at the Air Force recreational facility at "Ft. Tuthill" County Park.

All went exactly as planned. Weather was "Clear Blue and 22", and we drove through Sedona as Ol' Sol was getting low in the sky, casting intense red rays on the already red stone cliffs there.

The "Best Laid" plan was to spend the night at Ft. Tuthill, rise at a comfortable hour and have breakfast, then drive a couple hours North to "Horseshoe Bend" near the AZ/CO State line. Time permitting, I wanted to also hit the South Rim of the Canyon to take in the view there. At that point I intended to take the pulse of both Sara Jean and Big Bubba to see if they wanted to pound the pavement back to PHX, or get a room for the night in Flagstaff and head back to Phoenix rested on Wednesday.

The Air Force facility at Ft. Tuthill was a BIG disappointment. The problem MAY have been partly due to the WuFlu virus. The place was... umm... Spartan, to put it kindly. We slept fitfully.

Morning dawns. Sara Jean opened the draperies to the room.
"It's snowing!" she says.
And indeed it was. Four inches of the stuff on the ground.
Not just flurries... big, wet flakes coming down, limiting visibility to about a mile.
The chances of seeing anything at Horseshoe Bend or the Grand Canyon?

So we leisurely lolled in bed until checkout time, then drove and had Brunch at Denny's, after which we all agreed to point the car South to Phoenix where our phones said it was 65 degrees with a chance of rain.

Sara Jean's first view of the Grand Canyon will have to wait for another day.

18 March 2021

How Much Longer Can We Afford this?

Got a "safety recall" letter last month on the Yamaha Super Tenere... the front brake switch might be faulty, and lots of things could possibly happen if it acts up- brake light not illuminating, cruise control suddenly disengaging... other bad stuff. That bike is now 7 years old with almost 30,000 miles on it, but the repair including parts and labor was free.

When the bike was finished the service manager came to me with forms that needed a signature and showed me a few things that he felt needed attention. Front fork seals are leaking. A cover over the ignition parts is also leaking. And the right saddlebag that needs replacing? A steal at $500 !
My question- "How much to fix the fork seals?"
The hardware- $75.
Three hours labor?- $495.

No thank you. I'm sorry, but that sure seems usury to me.
And I'd feel not QUITE so bad if I knew the mechanic was receiving the vast majority of that charge.
But he/she/they will not.

We'll probably ride the thing until the wheels fall off.

11 March 2021

Fastest Way To Lose A Pound!

The entire Greybeard family gave blood yesterday.
It was Big Bubba's first time to donate.
Sara Jean has donated a few times. I've lost count of my donations.
There are many good reasons to donate. Most of 'em you already know. In addition to the instant 1lb. weight loss, I've read that donating will make you live longer and look better...
Something about lengthening telomeres? You can look it up.

Anywho, we increased the supply of A+ blood in the system by three pints yesterday.
Consider donating. It'll make ya feel better and maybe regain some of that "youthful glow"!

06 March 2021

"If You Could See Me Now..."

You'd be lookin' at a guy who just passed his Amateur Radio "General" license examination.
I WAS NOT sure of the result when I turned my test in for grading.
This one had my head swimming. When they grade it they only tell you if you passed or failed, so I may have passed by the skin of my teeth.

No matter. The ticket will arrive in a couple days, and I can now RELAX.
For a while.

05 March 2021


And I don't mean with Navy beans and cornbread!
I'm talkin' about Amateur Radio.

In the early 60's I was dating a gal whose Dad was involved in Citizen's Band radio. When I'd pick her up I'd hear him chatting with others in his radio shack and go visit with him until she was ready to go.
Eventually I realized I was more interested in him and his hobby than I was with her. I learned a lot about radio from him and eventually bought my own "rig", and got my Dad interested in CB in the process.

In those days you had to apply to the FCC for a CB license in order to be able to transmit on the band.
I sent in my application with the nominal required fee and got my license. I became "KNK6124".
(The license to operate on the Citizen's Band no longer is required, going away about the time the C.W. McCall record "Convoy" hit the airwaves. That was also about the time CB became profane and for me, impossible.)

Dad and I were both interested in Ham radio at that time because that realm offered a lot more options than CB...
More available bands and frequencies, and the potential for "around the globe communications".
But there was a problem... at that time you needed to pass a test showing proficiency in Morse Code in order to get an Amateur Radio license. Neither of us had the time or inclination to learn Morse Code.
My interest in CB waned when I was drafted.
Sixty years pass.

I have become a mild "Prepper".
And one of the "nice to have" things, even if it means just communicating/coordinating with neighbors is a little "Handheld radio" and Ham Radio license.
And SMILE with me... the requirement to know Morse Code no longer applies.

Last month I scheduled my exam with the local Ham Radio Club here in Phoenix. I took the "Technician" exam and easily passed it.
I immediately rescheduled for the "General" license and will sit for that exam tomorrow (Saturday) at 1000 hours.
I've had my nose in the study guide now for a week. This exam is NOT so easy as the Technician exam, and I'm a little worried about my possibility of success.
Keep your fingers crossed for me, or if you're of a mid to- say a simple prayer for me.

I'll keep ya posted.

02 March 2021


He may as well have hit me upside the head with a 2X4.
Referring to one of his co-workers, my buddy's Father said, "He's 'chunky' like you."
At the age of 12, I hadn't given much thought to what others thought about my appearance.
But there it was. I was "chunky".

I inherited my difficulties with weight from my Mother.
At 5' 2", I have a photo of her when she weighed 190 pounds. She fought obesity her entire life.
I have too, although thankfully not to the same degree.

In retirement it's easy to develop bad habits.
Sitting in the recliner, remote in hand, I was beginning to enjoy the rut I had dug myself into.
It was when I could no longer button the waist of my Levis that I realized I had do dig myself out.

I hate it. I've ALWAYS hated it.
And my compound fracture in Santorini gave me pause about pounding on my right ankle anyway.
But walking is comfortable for me.
Sara Jean is also noticing "changes", so we agreed that walking was our exercise of choice.
We try to walk a minimum of 3 miles daily.
We walk at a 3mph pace, so our three mile walk takes us...
Duh... an hour. But when the weather is perfect and we have smiles on our faces listening to "Oldies" on our little radio, we'll continue our walk, sometimes up to 5-1/2 miles- shown on our "Map my walk" app on our phone.
The results have been slow in coming. But we put the pounds on gradually, so taking them off slowly is best, isn't it?

When I could no longer fasten my jeans I weighed in at 228 pounds.
I'm now down to 201, and struggling to get below 200. (As you lose weight the body becomes more efficient because it's not doing as much work as it was. Pounds begin to be VERY difficult to lose.)

My stomach is flat.
I'm sleeping better and I no longer snore.

Long ago my friend's Dad did me a favor. He made me take a close look at myself, and I've been aware of my weight and appearance since.

I'm happy to say I don't think I'm "Chunky" today.
I'm workin' on it. ;>)