Friday, February 29, 2008

Go to Alaska in February???

I must take a moment to share a special blog with you. Lois and I have been friends since first grade, were college roomies, and have stayed in touch all these years.

Lois taught high school home ec. for 20 years and decided she wanted something different. She went back to James Madison University and got a degree in Psychology (I think that's right.) She became a licensed psychologist and first went into practice with a group. A few years ago, she and a partner started their own practice, which has gone quite well.

As a friend along the way, I had never noticed how totally SMART and curious Lois is. Just being around her makes one feel alive! How many people do you know who go to Alaska in February to help with the Iditarod dog sledding races?

Hope you also enjoy traveling with her:

Friday, February 22, 2008

Dive Buddies and Bowmans – Small World

This small world never ceases to amaze me! I was looking at the blog of Chris and Jim Guld, scuba diving buddies from "way back when". Chris and Jim have been full-timers since 2003. On their website, they have links to other blogs and I assume that these links are from people they've met on their travels.

I opened one of the links and clicked to view his (Len's) latest post. Lo and behold, it was an essay about Obama that was emailed to him from Eldon Bowman!!

Eldon Bowman is one of my favorite cousins and I couldn't imagine that there would be too many “Eldon Bowmans” in the world. I emailed the blog owner, Len. Sure enough, it was "our" Eldon. Len went to J.M.U. with him and they have kept in touch.

Read Eldon's entire essay from February 16 - Inspiration and Politics

"It seems everyone agrees that Barack Obama is an inspiring speaker, .... But some call him inspiring in an almost accusatory fashion--like he is an empty vessel without depth to back up his inspiring words. So, I have been pondering on inspiring leadership as I head down the road, and I would like to share some of my thoughts. Though what I say applies to other areas of human experience, I will limit my comments to politics........MORE>>."

Eldon's wife had another view - Inspiration - a Differing Viewpoint
Len writes: ...Eldon's family is very unique, indeed. There are 9 of them and they cover the entire spectrum in politics and religion. Some years ago they started an ongoing email conversation between all members of his family to include their spouses on these sometimes very contentious subjects in an attempt to find common ground and to better understand each other....MORE>>
Barbara Bowman writes: "....It is pretty typical for Eldon and me to disagree in politics and Obama is no exception. Suffice it to say, I have not fallen under his spell.......MORE>>"

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Pelican Place

Ed, Mother, Phil (my bro), and I went to a restaurant on Cape Canaveral called Grill's, which is on the water. The pelicans hanging around gave us a free show. They were everywhere and we happened to be there in the afternoon when fishermen were coming in to clean their catch for the day. As they worked, they flipped scraps off the table into the water below. It was hilarious to see about 25 pelicans fight and go after each bite. One would get it and others would sometimes take it right out of their beak!
We went back to Grill's another day for lunch and once again enjoyed our food but enjoyed the pelicans even more! Ed and I were ready to go and Mother was still on the dock watching the pelicans.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

"Houston, we have NO problem!"

Mother, Ed, and I have been house-sitting for one of my scuba diving buddies in Rockledge, a town near Cape Canaveral, Florida. We came the first week of January and plan to return to Virginia in the middle of March - yes, we're "snowbirds" this year.

My brother, Phil, came from Texas for a long weekend. Mother, in her usual curious manner, said, "Let's go to Kennedy Space Center." It turned out to be a fantastic day. We got a wheelchair for Mother, which worked well for all. It was one of those blue-sky-fluffy-cloud days,in the 70's, and they were there the whole day!

We first saw an IMAX 3-D movie - the kind where you wear those funny glasses so you feel like you're in the movie - of walking on the moon. We took a bus tour, which included 3 different stops. We saw two of the modules that were to be added to the space station in the next two launches. Lastly, we went through some of the displays and saw another remarkable IMAX movie about life inside the space station. One of our questions was answered - yes, they do shave, exercise, etc. The guy would shave a bit, then release his razor and it would just hang right there in midair.

It's hard to really perceive how humongus these shuttles are! We saw Europe's $2 billion science lab, Columbus, which was anchored to the space station on February 12.

This is a great animation showing all the segments of the Space Station, the modules and the international partners that have helped create it.

On January 7th, (Phil had to leave so missed it by 2 days), we drove about as close as we could get to see Shuttle Atlantis go up. The seven astronauts who went up, switched places with the crew who had been there there for a while. One of the returning team members had been on the satellite for 120 days.

When the shuttle returned, there wasn't really a good place to see it land so we stayed here in Rockledge to watch it on TV. Thank heavens Barbara had warned us about the sonic booms. There were 2 booms and they were LOUD!

We might get to see 2 launches - the next one is scheduled for March 11th.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Jeep, jeep, where are you?

Well, my idea of just finding a little jeep to tow behind the RV hasn't been quite as easy as I thought it would. Seems that jeeps are so popular that if one comes in on a trade, it's often sold within a hour after putting it up for sale!

This tow vehicle must have the ability to be towed 4 wheels down (dollies or trailers are too much of a hassle) and, hopefully, it won't rack miles while being towed. That really narrows the field so we 're looking mostly at Jeep Cherokees and Ford Explorers.

Naturally, we want something at a good price so we're looking at older models. I'm making the whole process more difficult because I want a color that matches or blends with the motor home colors.

Today we thought Ed had found the perfect one online - a beige Explorer. When we got there, it was white (I'll bet a guy put it on their site. Guys don't know the difference in creme, winter white, ecru, or eggshell, do they?). White will "do" since the RV does have one white strip on it. We're going back to test drive it tomorrow.

Update as of February 23rd: We now own a 1997 WHITE Ford Explorer which is in amazingly good condition with leather seats, sunroof, a 10 CD changer, and shiny paint.

We still need to install a Neutral Tow Kit that will allow the Explorer to be towed all wheels down and a supplemental braking system that will cause the Explorer's brakes to be applied when the coach's brakes are applied. This shortens the stopping distance by almost a third and is now required by law.

Lazy Days will install the base plate on the car which lets it be connected to the tow bar. It's one step at a time and Ed's staying on top of it. Who would ever dream there would be so much detail involved?

Thursday, February 14, 2008

An RV Valentine 2008

What a special Valentine gift we gave each other in 2008 - an RV! After relentless shopping (by Ed) since November,we found a 2001 Holiday Rambler Scepter (38 ft.) with tons of wonderful features.

Once he climbed up and saw the roof is one piece with no end cap, there's a Windgard satellite dish, and the real clincher......not one but 4 solar panels......he was a goner!!!

I'm pleased that there's a tub (small but still, a tub) and a washer/dryer. The cabinets are real wood. I leaned toward lighter wood but the salesman told us that cherry is the best reseller. I prefer wood floors in the kitchen but am not going to complain about the tile - another plus for reselling in the future.

I'm also pleased that we're buying from Lazy Days in Tampa - the largest RV dealer in the world. We've heard many good things from people who've bought from them.

"...Our 150-person sales team ... 273 60-ft service bays and over 300 service and parts personnel...They sell about 40 RV's a day..."

Now that we know the colors (browns, gold, and tan) we can start shopping for a little car or jeep to tow.