Tuesday, December 31, 2013

SD - Day # 26 - Eight thousand, six hundred forty-two

Ever wonder what our 2013 travels look like on a map?  This is what 8,642 miles looks like.....a lot of friends, scenery and memories come flashing back as I look at this map.  I wonder what next year's map will look like, and begin to feel the excitement, the anticipation mount within me.

8,642 miles.....give, or take a few

After sitting still here at Rancho Jurupa for the past 6 weeks......back where we started 23 months ago today.....feeling so far away from Campbellsville, Key West, Washington D.C., Indianapolis, Coeur d'Alene,  Jasper, Alberta and most of all today.....Cedar Key.....feeling so far away, and yet feeling so connected to each of them,  and many more places.  Our tires have rolled the roads connecting all of those places....our eyes have seen the sites, our arms have embraced the people who connect us to those places.  It is a good feeling to reflect, but an even more wonderful feeling to know there are still so many new places to be experienced, new roads to leave our imprint on, and new people awaiting us out there.  We are not the same people who left RJRP January 30th, 2012......we are nomads who have logged 21,087 miles traveling the highways and bi-ways of this amazing country in our beloved Newell.....and that does not count one single mile we have traveled in the T-Bird.....you could easily add another 8 to 9,000  miles to that total.  And yet......and yet we have barely scratched the surface.....barely.

Today (December 31st) will be the last daily weigh in for 2013......from this point on I will report my weight every Saturday.   A new numbering system will begin.....a countdown until we say our "until next times".....we now have a tentative date for departure.....February 9th.....the day after my daughter, Sharon, has scheduled her engagement party.

So what, you might wonder, happened on Monday?  For one thing, there was an absence of wind.....just a nice sunny 80 degree day.  The park is full of New Years revelers in waiting.....lots of kids on bikes, skateboards, scooters.....lots of dogs barking at people and other dogs, and me getting irritated with this intrusion into our weekday solitude.

TLE finished her VW dashboard cover project, and it came out nicely, but I neglected to take a picture of it when it was daylight, so you'll have to wait until next year to see what she did.  She also started another project adding a corner to the sunscreen......I know that seems a little obscure, so I will illustrate with a picture when it is to a point where it will make sense.

Around 7:30 TLE headed over to start cleaning Cabin #1, and I followed about 20 minutes later to do the floors.  BUT.....before that I got an e-mail through eBay that a young man who lives in L.A. wanted to buy my Azonic MTB frame that was listed on eBay.  I started the auction at .99 cents, so he had no idea how much I was hoping to get out of it.  He asked, in the e-mail, what my cash price was......instead of responding with a number I asked him what his top dollar offer was.....he came back at $250 (I was hoping for $150), so I immediately accepted his offer, and made arrangements to meet him that evening at our coach around 8 pm....yay!  I have already recovered my purchase price of the entire bike ($240), plus a profit of $10.  Everything else now will be profit.

Back a couple of years when I started parting out bikes I would just list each and every part with a starting price of .99 cents with NO reserve......there is, obviously, a risk that I will not get a good price, but over all it always seems to work out well.  The .99 cent price attracts a lot of lookers, and ultimately increases the number of people bidding in the end.  That is another thing I didn't do on the last bike.

Around 10:30 I took off on a 12 mile bike ride, this time riding around Fairmont lake clockwise, and finishing with a climb up to the top of Mt. Rubidoux......no times to report, but I did cover the 12+ miles in just over 57 minutes.

I spent the rest of the day watching 3 college bowl games, the most interesting one was Old Miss and Georgia Tech ultimately won by Old Miss.

The guy interested in the frame arrived just before 8 pm as I was sitting by the fire.....TLE had gone in earlier as it was getting very cold, very fast.    He quickly examined the frame, gave me $250 cash and was on his way back to L.A. within minutes......suweet!

Since Tuesday was another day of iniquity we hit the sack relatively early........another great day!

Thanks for stopping by!!

Monday, December 30, 2013

SD - Day # 25 - Week 17, Santanas and 200.8

The Santanas came again, but not with the initial ferocity we had been lead to expect by the "guessers", so we did not have to get up in the middle of the night to take down the patio awning, or window awnings.  Even as we headed over to our Kiosk duty about 6:30 they were still not bad.  However, about 8:30 I had to leave the Kiosk to go back and put the awnings down as the wind was gusting up to 30 mph.  With the help of a neighbor I got the patio awning down in a couple of minutes, and then went back to the Kiosk.  As we had suspected there was not a lot of traffic due to the winds....I think we sold two fishing permits during our 4 hour shift.

From our Kiosk duty we went directly to clean Cabin #2, which took around 35 minutes....we love it when tenants leave the cabins just like they found them.  Then, all we have to do is basically sanitize them, clean the floors, and put out new linens.  

Naturally, with the advent of the New Years celebration coming in just a few days the park began to fill up on Sunday.....not empty out as is the norm.  I spent the better part of the day watching week 17 of the NFL season.  There were a number of great games throughout the day interspersed with several nice naps.  The night cap saw the Cowboys come up 2 points short in losing to the Eagles.  On another note, Peyton Manning threw 4 more touchdowns raising the regular season record to 55, plus the Broncos set a new regular season record by scoring 603 points in 16 games.

I'm still on that weight loss roller coaster.....my weigh in today was 200.8.  All I can do is remain patient, and keep doing what I'm doing and I know good things will continue to happen on that front.  I had intended to ride, but the winds did not abate until late in the day.

I got a few more parts from the latest bike listed on eBay.....right now I have 22 items up for auction so this time next week I will be busy packing things up for shipment once again.

That was our low key Sunday.......thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

SD - Day # 24 - Up and Down

Looks like I'm into the rollercoaster faze of weight loss.....just one day back to my normal footlong club and I go back under 200 pounds once again......today's weigh in news......198.8.  Order is restored, and now maybe I can make a dash down to 190 over the ne2 t couple of weeks.  I know I'm losing inches because my shorts are starting to move southward....I'll have to tighten up the draw string on them, instead of loosening it like I have been for the past 22 months.....by the way in another couple of days we will have been fulltiming in our coach for 2 years, 11 months and on the road for 23 months.

Saturday morning we had Kiosk duty once again at 10 am.  TLE headed over first giving me time to work on some more VW detailing, and take my bike ride.  Since there was already someone on duty until 11:30 we didn't think it necessary to have three of us cluttering up the office.  Around 10:45 I took my ride up to the summit of Mt. Rubidoux once again....I felt strong, but not strong enough to equal or better my personal best, nonetheless, I did top out at 25 minutes, 2 seconds, and once again continued on down the hill without stopping to catch my breath.  I was able to stand in the pedals all the way down again, too.

Just before I left on my ride my daughter, Meredith, stopped by to do her laundry.....seems the dryer at home is on the fritz.  After returning from my bike ride I took a shower and headed over to the Kiosk just after 11:45 to find TLE and Sara quite busy.....in fact, our four hour shift was the busiest one we have had.  It probably owes to the fact this is really a holiday week.....we ha a lot of RV's coming into the park which is unusual on a Saturday.....usually by Saturday morning the weekenders have all arrived, but these folks are coming in for the New Years celebration and will be here until Thursday.  After about 30 minutes TLE suggested I take the opportunity afforded by a break in traffic to drive over and buy my footlong.  I arrived back just in time for the next rush, and it stayed that way until after 2:30 when I finally left Carolyn to handle the rest of the afternoon shift.

We had one of our cabin tenants check out during our shift, and the other will check out Sunday so we'll have two cabins to clean Sunday in preparation for their new tenants coming in Monday for the New Years.

After returning from Kiosk duty I took a short nap while TLE and Meredith went to TJ's again......when there is one so close you must go there often, right?  Then it was time to list the next batch of bike parts on eBay.

Sunset Friday night - forgot to post it

We spent the evening watching more old black and white movies (and one color one) we had recorded off the TCM network such as "Out of the Past" with Robert Mitchum and Kirk Douglas (1947), "Suspicion" with Cary Grant and Joan Fontaine (1941 Alfred Hitchcock movie), and a 1967 movie starring Tony Curtis called "Don't Make Waves" (comedy) set in Malibu, which also had Sharon Tate and Claudia Cardinale...which I don't recommend.......I'm sure it would be classified as a "c" movie....."b" at best.

Sunday is an "iniquitous" day so we were in bed by 10......

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

SD - Day # 23 - Salted Pigs

Well, my 2 day stay below 200 pounds ended rather abruptly......why will become obvious shortly.....my weigh in this morning.....200.6.  To find out the why, read on....

Saturday started out slowly......I had my usual oatmeal breakfast, and puttered around in the trailer, airing up TLE's bike tires, doing a little more organizing, etc.  Around mid morning my daughter, Kate, sent a text message reminding us about our lunch date suggesting a change in venue from Simple Simon's (a breakfast/lunch place) to the Salted Pig (a gastro pub) on 12th and Main.   This is the last place someone on a diet should ever enter.  Both places are rated highly on all the various food rating services...Yelp gives both establishments a solid 4 stars.   

Our original plan was to ride our bikes to the original lunch destination, and when we found out the Salted Pig was just a few blocks further we got on the bikes and started our ride around 11:30 am.

The air temperature was in the low 80's, and very dry as we departed RJRP on our bikes for our lunch date with Kate and Nick......we've known Nick for years, and like him a lot, and it appears that their relationship is moving in a good direction, so we were glad to be invited to lunch to spend more time with them as a couple.

We timed our ride perfectly arriving at the Salted Pig at exactly 12 noon to find Kate and Nick waiting for us near The Salted Pig entry.  I don't think I've had a beer in almost a month now......pre-dating the start of the Subway Diet.  As you know I love dark beers, so just after sitting down at our table I began to peruse the draft beer offerings settling on a Jolly Roger Black Ale....no doubt there are a lot of calories in one pint, but if I had stopped at one pint I might have stayed below 200 pounds......but, alas, it was not to be.  Along with the beers I had their "Street Tacos" which were delicious.  This is the kind of place we love, and is the main reason we gained so much weight in the last 2 years on the road.  If we are going to continue to frequent these great eateries we will have to start sharing plates, and keeping our beer consumption to 1 pint each.  Some might say that will happen when "salted pigs fly"......perhaps, but I prefer to be optimistic.  

The "Really Good Burger" - what my daughter had

All of the food was presented beautifully......I wanted to eat everything I saw come out of the kitchen, but, alas, I am on a diet.  I think I showed remarkable restraint, but I can dream can't I?  I mentioned before that Yelp gives them a solid 4 stars.....and that is were we come down....is they had al fresco dining I would bump my rating up to 5 stars......on a nice balmy day like we had Saturday it would have been nice to sit outside.

After a leisurely lunch with Kate and Nick we bid them farewell as they motored off on Nick's Harley, and we mounted our trusty Cannondales for the ride home......bike riding is an excellent way to ride a "buzz" off, but those two Jolly Roger Black Ale's really stuck with me.   I was in my recliner within a few minutes of arriving back "home" to take a nice early afternoon nap.  While I napped TLE went off in the Beetle to TJ's (Trader Joe's) do some shopping.

I spent the rest of the afternoon cataloging bike parts, and taking pictures of same for listing on eBay.  I have 21 things to list from this bike, which is an amazing number.  I managed to get 7 of them listed, and will continue to list 5, or 6 a day until they are all up.....don't want to have to ship 21 things out on the same day!

There were a couple of college bowl games on during the evening of which I watched parts in between dozing off for short cat naps......we finally headed off to bed around 10:15.  

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, December 27, 2013

SD - Day # 22 - Even Steven

I am pleased to report trumpet scream from the highest mountain top that I have stayed below 200 lbs now for 2 consecutive days.  Of course, who doesn't want to see a weight loss every day....well every day when you are trying to lose weight, right?  After spending most of the last week bouncing above and below that mark I am content to say I'm "Even Steven" this morning at 198.6!  I was commenting to TLE Christmas day that I wore my heretofore jeans for 4 hours with no discomfort.....those 36" waist jeans I bought at the Goodwill in Polson, MT fit perfectly now.  There are a few other pairs of jeans I'm looking forward to wearing again....it's nice to have a 36" waist again.......those 34" waist jeans I bought at the Goodwill in Spokane a couple of summers ago because they were brand new and only cost $3.99 may come out of storage soon!  When I bought the ones in Polson I really should have bought 38" ones, but then I thought I would just be giving up.....I'm glad I didn't give up!

Thursday was a delightful day....a day, finally, where we didn't spent half the day in the car, which we have done a lot of lately.  I spent most of the day cleaning bike parts so I can take pictures of them, and then list them on eBay.  That was pretty much my day.....the kind of day I enjoy a lot.......60's music playing at the proper volume in the back ground with no one suggesting a lower volume........the trailer door wide open letting in the 80's weather....and putting shine back on old, dirty bike parts.  The only time I left RJRP was to purchase my usual footlong club at Subway.

TLE had a project also......our VW came with a dashboard cover that was not quite the right size so she spent the afternoon removing the seam binding from it, cutting it down to size, then sewing on the seam binding again.  It came out great......now she just has to cut the holes for the speakers and it is done.  I will take a picture of the finished product when she finishes.  She has a few other projects lined up, and "we" will get to them in the next few days.....my assistance will be required.

One thing I almost forgot, around Noon we got a call from the Kiosk advising the tenants in Cabin #2 were checking out, which meant we had to get it cleaned so the next tenants, arriving at 2 pm, could check in.....no problem there......we can, and did, turn a cabin over in about 40 minutes if it is not too dirty, and this one was not very dirty at all!  I was just finishing a bike part when TLE let me know about the cabin, so I finished what I was doing and then walked over to join her, and we were done before 1 pm.

I had recorded a few black and white movies on TCM (Turner Classic Movies) on Christmas that we watched in the evening......."Carefree" (Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers), "Narrow Margin" (Charles McGraw and Jaqueline White), and "The Bishop's Wife" (Cary Grant and Vivian Leigh)....the Bishop's Wife is one of my all time favorite Christmas movies and we watch it at least once a year.

Another day lived well spent with my best friend........thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

SD - Day # 21 - Christmas Hobbit

May I please have a drum roll?  Rata tat tat tat tat........today's excellent weigh in news.....198.6!  I gave myself the day off from Subway (no choice of course.....they aren't open on Xmas day) Christmas and just trusted myself not to over do it, and apparently I did not.  I hope I shall not see anything north of 200 again for.....well.....never!

Christmas Day dawned clear and balmy.....the balmy part left over from a mild Santana condition that began Tuesday afternoon.......we got the warm off shore breezes flowing down down through Cajon Pass from the high desert, but not with the normal Santana intensity....maybe 8-10 mph at most.

Since we were having breakfast at my oldest son's home I waited until then to eat.  We arrived at Chris and Rochelle's beautiful home around 10 am to find most of our kids already there with their families.  The drive up to their home was a breeze with very few cars on the road at 9:30 in the morning.

When we arrived Chris, my son, was just putting the finishing touches on breakfast.  My, son, by the way, is a great chef, and loves the culinary arts so he always makes Christmas breakfast for whomever shows up, which this particular morning included scrambled eggs, bacon, chorizo, fried potatoes and gravy.   I resisted the temptation to have champagne and orange juice, and just stuck to the Keurig coffee.  A number of Christmas' ago  I gave Chris a Keurig coffee machine for Christmas and he loves it.....so much so that he now has one in his motorhome and has upgraded the one at home to the really high end one.  Even though I had a couple of helpings of breakfast I managed to lose weight....of course that was the only meal I had all day......well.....other than a box of popcorn I shared with my daughter Sharon at the movies.

After breakfast, and the opening of the gifts we gathered around the Christmas tree to take our traditional Christmas pictures.....words are insufficient to convey how great it is to have all my kids and grand kids in one place on such a special day.  

 Cynthia, Christopher and Elijah.....3 of the grandkids!

 Our amazing children - Christmas 2013

Chris' family: left to right - Rochelle, Cynthia, Chris, & Christopher

All the kids, grandkids and significant others

It is a little sobering for me at times to think that none of the people in the picture above would be in my life except for the fact I fell in love with The Lovely Elaine almost 43 years ago.

We did the traditional opening of the Christmas presents, spent time talking as only Hockwald's can do, and then headed home around 12:30.....we had a date with Sharon, Rod, and Meredith to meet at 3;15 pm at the Ontario Mills AMC theaters to see our annual Christmas movie, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug in 3-D.  At $17 a ticket that is one of the most expensive movies I have every seen.....well, only $16 for us senior citizens.......:-P  TLE and I watched the first Hobbit movie exactly one year ago Christmas in Campbellsville, KY.

Has anyone noticed that the number of trailers being shown before the actual movie you paid to see starts has like doubled?  I'm pretty sure we watched a good 20 minutes of trailers before The Hobbit started.  Of course we all loved the movie....loved, and hated the way this episode ended with Bilbo Baggins asking the foreboding question"What have we done?"  Now I have to wait a year to find out the answer.

We got home around a quarter to 8.....TLE settled in to read, and I watched a Cary Grant/Katharine Hepburn moved called "Holiday"....one I had never seen before.....and enjoyed it thoroughly.  You know, of course, there are really no bad Cary Grant/Katharine Hepburn movies......if there are I have yet to see them.

We were in bed by 11 with smiles of contentment plastered across our faces......Merry Christmas everyone....Merry Christmas!!

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

SD - Day # 20 - Christmas Eve, Proposals, Engagements.....yada, yada....

First, let's get this out of the way......my daily weight in, Xmas morning.....200.0.  Just trying to get below 200, and stay there, but it's all good....down .4 lbs from Tuesday.....still going in the correct direction.

We had Kiosk duty first thing Tuesday.....one of those 6 hour shifts......TLE and I worked it together until 11 when I departed to go get my ears lowered.....I think the last haircut I had was in Idaho Falls back on October 26th.......I was beginning to get a little shaggy to say the least.  I've taken to getting a haircut and shampoo the last year, or so.....the shampoo washes away all the hair clippings so they don't end up on my collar later on.  This day I was asked if I would like the "Tea Tree Experience"......I heard myself say "Yes", not really knowing what that was.....well, it was like a spa for the head......WOW!  I think I fell asleep at one point I was so relaxed!

I got home just after TLE have arrived back at the coach from the last 90 minutes of Kiosk duty.  She headed off in the Beetle to our former "sticks and bricks" home to work on Christmas cookies, etc. with her daughters (Mere, Kate and Sharon).

While she was off playing house with the girls I dug into the latest bike disassembly project.....it pretty much took me until TLE arrived back home around sunset.....and there was a little blood shed.....I'm glad I had my gloves on or there would have been a lot more blood!

Around 8:30 we decided to run over to see the Mission Inn Festival of Lights...we've never been to it on Christmas Eve before, and usually it is very difficult to find parking in close, but on this night Lady Serendipity was with us, and we found a spot about 1/2 a block from the Inn. Our daughter, Meredith, had called to say Sharon and Rod where there with friends, so I called Sharon to find out where she was.....the first thing she said after I said "Hi Bunny" was......."Rod proposed!"  Of course we wanted to see her and give her a hug, and see the ring, and congratulate Rod on getting a "Yes" to the big question.  Within minutes we found each other......

The proposal

The ring being accepted

The happy couple!

The ring!

Festival of Lights

We caught Santa in the act!

They set up an ice skating rink for the Festival of Lights every year

The site of the proposal

It was a magical evening filled with serendipity.......I wrote just a few days ago how we were hoping Rod and Sharon's relationship would take the next step, and look what we got for a Christmas present.  

We headed home to have a celebratory toast to our youngest daughter's engagement....TLE broke out the bottle of the good stuff.....

To all our friends and family, wherever you may find yourselves this Christmas Season, whether with family, friends, or both, Elaine and I wish you the best Holiday season ever.  Know you are in our thoughts daily until we reconnect with you again.  May God Bless you and yours!

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013




SD - Day # 19 - Smogging, DMV, XM and..........plateaus

Sunday.....another full day....left the coach around 10 am to drive into Joel's Automotive to get the VW smogged so I could register it, to leave the T-Bird to have a "check engine" light checked out, and to find out what we can get for her at auction. But before we left her we took out the XM Radio to re-install in the VW later in the day.....wow, that kind of makes it even more final when we take out the XM Radio huh?  Whenever you buy a car via private party you are always taking a risk that it will not pass the smog certification and will have to spend money to get it to pass.  We both had a good feeling about this car, and we were right....it passed the first time.

From there we headed to the gas station as the low gas warning light had just come on....what a pleasant surprise to find it took less than 13 gallons to fill her up.  We still have to put 91 octane gas in her just like the 'Bird, but at least we will be getting about twice the mpg  of the 'Bird, and it takes less to fill her up.

Then it was on to my son's office where we had a couple of packages to pick up.  A few weeks ago I bought the new Craftsman Bolt On drill that you can also attach a small skill saw to, and a jig saw as well as multiple other attachments.  My old Black & Decker drill was going south fast, so this is the perfect replacement and it gives me some additional power tools I would not have room to carry otherwise.

While I went into AAA to register our new car, TLE went over to Target to finish our Xmas shopping.....I was in and out of AAA in about 15 minutes, but TLE was not done at Target, so I walked across the street to Active Ride Shop to get my grandson, Christopher, some new wheels, bearings and "trucks" for his skate board.....wow those things have gotten expensive, but it's only money right?  We've been shopping at Active going back to when Christopher's father, our son, was asking for skateboard stuff for Christmas.  As it happens Sharon's boyfriend, Rod, is the manager at the Rancho Cucamonga store, and was there to help me decide what exactly Christopher wanted and needed....by the time I was half way through the long check out line (they are popular) TLE joined me.

One thing I want to add about AAA.....if all I did was register cars, and pay for our annual registration at AAA it would be worth the annual membership fee.  Going to the DMV to do anything is a nightmare.....of course, now you can most things online with them, but if you have anything a little complicated AAA is the way to go.  In the case of the VW the guy we bought it from had bought it from someone else a few months earlier, and had never registered it as his wife didn't like the stick shift, so he gave me a "Bill of Sale", which was what made it a little more complicated.....of course at AAA nothing is complicated, which is why I prefer going there for something like this.

We got home by 2 pm.....while I installed the XM Radio in the VW TLE took her daily power walk....man that chick can walk fast.....I have a hard time keeping up with her pace....by the time she returned the radio was in and working.

Around 3:30 I took off on my 8 mile bike ride around the lake, and was back before 4:15.......it was such a lovely day for a bike ride.....the air was balmy with a very slight breeze.

After taking a shower I sat down to eat the other half of my footlong Hot Pastrami Subway sub from the night before....TLE heated it up again, and it was delicious!

Tuesday is Iniquitous Tuesday, so we were in bed early....nothing on Monday night, but Monday Night Football anyway.

I seem to have hit a weight plateau, which I did expect would happen at some point in my weight loss.  I keep skipping back and forth across that 200 pound threshold.....at my weigh in this morning (Tuesday) I read the number 200.4 on the bathroom scales......at least every time I cross it I am less over than the time before.

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, December 23, 2013

SD - Day # 18 - Kiosk, NFL, biking, and bumpers

After a brief blip on the weight loss front resulting from a one meal deviation from the diet Saturday night I am back down to 199.6 as of this morning's weigh in....now to stay south of 200 for good!

Our volunteer routine is pretty much set for the next month......we work Saturday mornings from 10 am to 2 pm, Sunday mornings from 6:30 am to 10:30 am, and Tuesday mornings from 6:30 am to 12:30 pm, and on Monday clean any of our two cabins that may have been used.  Sunday was pretty routine for a Sunday after fish have been released into our two fishing lakes.....we had a steady stream of fishermen during our shift, and by 9 am  when Carolyn came on duty we had sold over $300 worth of fishing permits.  The fishing permits we sell here in the park are only good for fishing in this park....they do not take the place of a California Fish & Game license which is also required, so we need to remind everyone as they come in to be sure and have their fishing license with them as Fish & Game does come into the park periodically to check.....the fines can be significant, including a lifetime ban on fishing anywhere in California if one is caught sans license.

I haven't mentioned it, but the weather these past 3 days has been spectacular......high 60's, no wind, and clear......exactly the reason one wants to be in SoCal this time of year.

TLE left the Kiosk shortly after Carolyn came on duty.....no need for 3 of us mid morning....and I stayed on until 10 am when Carolyn told me I could go home early....yay!  Of course, Sunday is NFL day and the first game up for me was the Broncos vs. Texans....Peyton Manning only needed 3 touchdown passes to exceed Tom Brady's single season record of 50......Peyton threw his 51st TD pass late in the  4th quater.  Ironically Tom Brady previously bested Peyton Manning's record of 49 just a few years ago, and now Peyton has reclaimed it.  He has one more regular season game so any more touchdowns he throws next weekend will just extend the the single season record.  The rest of the televised games were not noteworthy for me, so I spent time in the trailer working over the new MTB acquisition....I have a couple of people interested in it, so I won't take it apart for a few more days until I know if they want it.  This bike promises to bring a good return if I part it out....if I can sell it as a whole bike I'll make about a $100 and move on to the next one.

Around 2:30 I put on my cycling clothes and headed off on my ride to the top of Mt. Rubidoux once again.  There was no wind, and I was feeling pretty strong as I climbed steadily up the mountain path.  I was finding my average speed was closer to 9 mph, and sometimes as high as 10 mph so I was thinking I might set a new personal best time on this climb.......and a new personal best it was......23 minutes and 45 seconds for the 4.5 mile climb.....I beat the old time by 90 seconds!  Wow!  There were two more notable accomplishments on this day.....1) I didn't stop at the top to catch my wind....I just continued riding past the summit and back down the hill, and 2) I was able to stand in the pedals all the way down the hill without sitting on the saddle once.  When I was doing this ride back in 2011 I could do both of those things every time, so more evidence my conditioning is returning.

On Saturday one of the members of the Newell Gurus forum posted a link to an eBay auction for Classic Newell bumpers (front and back) for $125 +$125 shipping.  The market for these old bumpers, as you might imagine, is pretty narrow.  Those of you who have been reading my blog for a long time know that back in July of 2012 I damaged the right rear portion of my rear bumper when I jack knifed my trailer backing up.  Newell still stocks these bumpers, but the cost is quite high....about $700 for one bumper....so I had essentially resigned myself to living with the bumper I had, and just having it straightened out.  When we were visiting our friends, the Flickemas, in South Dakota this past June to help them with some work on their 1984 Newell I noticed their front bumper had damage from the previous owners.  Todd happens to live about 60 miles from the gentleman who is selling the bumpers, so I contacted him and asked if he wanted the front bumper, and of course he said yes, and that he would go pick them up if we won the auction.....well....we won the auction!  So we are splitting the $125 down the middle, and Todd will go pick them up in the next 2 weeks.  We will then swing north sometime in April and stop by to visit them once again, and pick up the rear bumper.....how amazing is that?   The bumpers appear to be "new old stock".

Look at that pristine rear bumper.....the front bumper is in three pieces just like ours.

After returning from my record setting bike ride I took a shower and settled in to watch what was left of NFL Sunday while eating my Subway Hot Pastrami sub.....a reward for my great bike ride....a few more calories, but as I reported above I still got back below 200 pounds.

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

SD - Day # 17 - Kiosk, another bike, and dinner

My friend, Tom McCloud who retired just a few months ago, calls today "first Saturday", and Monday "second Saturday" and Tuesday "third Saturday".....you get where I'm going, I'm sure.....of course Sunday is still Sunday.....a lot like Saturday, but still Sunday.  Before he retired I had been telling him that every day feels like Saturday once you are retired.....you know that feeling when you wake up on a given Saturday thinking at first you have to get up and go to work, and then seconds later realize no you don't have to go to work.....it's Saturday!  I have the feeling every day since I retired, and, apparently, Tom does too.  It seems like the more retired I get the busier I get....it just seems like there are not enough hours in the day to do everything I "want" to do.....get that phrase...."WANT to do"......not "HAVE to do".

Before I go on here is my daily weight report: 203.0.....:(.......the penalty for too many taco chips last night.  No beer was consumed, and no diet drinks.....just water, and a single glass of red wine.

We started out the day with Kiosk duty at 10 am....this was a 4 hour shift, so TLE and I basically split it....I worked 10 to 1, and TLE 11 to 2....worked pretty well.  Saturday was the day after the most recent trout stocking of the two fishing lakes by the state and county, plus the weather was spectacular, so we had a LOT of fishermen coming into the park most the of day.  I like it when it is busy, because the time flies by.  Around noon time I make a quick trip up to Subway for my footlong sub, and arrived back at the Kiosk to eat my lunch by 12:30.  Ranger Robyn had organized a potluck Xmas lunch for staff, so all of our fellow volunteers showed up between noon and 1 for the free food.  TLE related that my daughter Sharon had called about having dinner with us Saturday night so I called her back and we made arrangements to meet at Zendejas Fresh Mexican Grill in Ontario at 5.  This has been one of our favorite local Mexican places for a couple of decades.

I had made arrangements earlier to meet a young man over in Ontario near our old sticks and bricks home to look at his full suspension Azonic MTB.  He has exactly the kind of bike for which I am looking.  I headed over to Creekside around 1:30 to meet Efrin at 2 pm.  He was a few minutes late, but the bike was worth the wait.  We dickered a little, and got the price down to $240, and then traded greenbacks for aluminum.  I had to take the wheels off to get it in the VW, but the frame fit easily....the wheels went on the passenger seat.

As soon as I got home I set about cleaning it up good enough for a few pictures, then posted my find on Facebook. Someone out there may be interested in the whole bike, and in fact I had a couple of inquires by early evening.  It it doesn't sell as whole in a few days, I'll begin the disassembly process and list the individual parts on eBay once again.  This bike should do very, very well on eBay.

We met Sharon, and her boy friend, Rod at Zendejas and had a delightful time talking, eating, and more talking for over 2 hours.  I think that's the first time we have had dinner with just Sharon and Rod.  We like Rod a lot, and think he is a good man....of course we are hoping their relationship will go to the next level....a proposal of marriage....that would make us very happy.

We had an early, iniquitous Sunday morning coming up at the Kiosk, so we headed to bed before 10.

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

SD - Day # 16 - Storage wars

I know I'm supposed to be writing about what happened Friday, but today's news takes a little precedence over Friday....at least for the first paragraph.....at my weigh in this morning I officially broke the 200 pound barrier for the first time in close to 3 years......I came in at 199.4!  I am still amazed at how such a simple diet can bring such dramatic results, but who am I to question, or complain......keep those Subway Clubs coming!

Friday morning I spent time wiping the rain off the Beetle, and continued to clean the interior until around 10:15 when we had to get ready to drive into my son's office to go through the rest of what we have stored there, sorting out the things we no longer need, and setting aside Xmas decorations the three girls may want to keep.  TLE found my year books from junior and senior high school, and our college year books.  I need to scan pictures from the high school ones so I will have them handy when I need them......no room in the coach for a bunch of year books.

We spent a couple of hours sorting through our stuff, much of it I had forgotten about, so we began to create 3 piles.....stuff to toss, stuff to donate, and a very small pile of things to bring home....the donate pile ended up quite large....the biggest, by far, of the three piles.  I have a lot of backpacking stuff that is sitting unused, but I don't want to get rid of it, so I gifted it to Chris, my son, in the hopes he and his son will get more use out of it that I am.

A little after 1 pm we headed over to Fontana to look a potential bike I wanted to purchase to part out on eBay, but like many things on Craigslist the pictures looked way better than the reality.  The shock was low end and NON-functional....as in NON-repairable, so I politely passed and we headed to the Subway on Rubidoux Blvd. to get my last two meals of the day.  After lunch I spent the rest of the day finishing the cleaning of the Beetle. Earlier in the morning I had discovered that two lug bolts were missing on the wheels.....one on the left rear, and one on the front.  We had stopped at the VW dealership just off I-15 on our way into my son's office and picked up the two bolts for about $8 each.....a very fair price.  I installed and torqued them, then continued working on the inside until the daylight gave out.

Before going in I put up some more Xmas lights we had found in a box at the office to add a little more Christmas cheer to our site, but the cold, damp night air chased me inside within a few minutes.....I'll have to finish that Saturday.  Speaking of Saturday there is another bike over in my old neighborhood I want to look at.....the pictures and description look good, but we shall see how reality compares!

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, December 20, 2013

SD - Day # 15 - eBay, rain, detailing....yada, yada, yada

I was awake at 4:45 am....why, why, why?  I don't know, but around 5:30 I surrendered and just got up.  I had a big day ahead of me anyway, and that is probably why I woke up early.  I had to get my last, and two biggest items I sold on eBay packed and shipped.....the bike frame, and front suspension fork....both require big boxes, and careful packing to prevent damage in transit.  But, first I wanted to start cleaning up the interior of our new to us Beetle.  Since I was up so early I got an early start on that project, and was just finishing some of the cleaning when the rain began.  Since I no longer have the EZ-UP canopy I have no protection from the elements anymore when I'm outside working on the cars, so I headed inside, and out of the rain.  It was okay, because I needed to drive into my son's office to get the aforementioned packing done.

The weather guessers forecast a 70% chance of rain by 11 am, and they guessed right....at almost exactly 11 am it began to rain.....but not for very long.  I was on my way into the office by 11:30, and by 1 pm had the bike frame and suspension fork packed and addressed.

As I was finishing up I was remembering I had not bought my footlong sub yet, and I was getting hungry.......really hungry, but I still had to stop by FedEx to get these packages into the shipping system.  Of course, after spending 10 minutes filling out the bills of lading, and then waiting in line I found out I had used the wrong forms......sigh......back to the counter to fill out the correct forms, then back in line.....all the while I feel my energy level dropping....it is now close to 2 pm.  Finally the packages are released into the system and I am on my way  home.....I decide to pass up the nearest Subway and head for the one closer to home, but wouldn't you know it....there was an accident on the freeway....imagine that...an accident in the rain......hardly every happens...:D  So, I get off the freeway and drive the last few miles on surface streets....I finally get my footlong, and arrive home around 2:30 totally famished.  By now it is raining hard again, and it continues on into the evening.

Around 3:30 I lay down for a much needed nap, and wake up at 5:30 feeling more rested.  One thing I have noticed though.....during this diet I have taken fewer naps, and frankly, have not felt the need to nap as often.....I seem to have more energy.....certainly a nice bi-product.

Just realized I have not updated you on my weigh in this morning (Friday)......I am now down to 200.2....so close to breaking the 200 barrier.....a barrier I have not seen the south side of in a couple of years......yay for me!  I have gotten a few comments on Facebook about this short term diet so I thought I would take a few lines to compare the Subway Club with the Veggie Sub (all vegetables):

Subway Club - 620 calories of which 80 are fat....has 9 grams of fat
Veggie Sub ---460 calories of which  40 are fat.....has 5 grams of fat

These are not significant differences.....I only add 4 more grams of fat, but get 160 additional calories, which I need to avoid being famished 24/7.  The meat makes up around 10% of the total sandwich contents.....the rest is fresh lettuce, tomatoes, onions, olives, bell peppers, pickles, banana peppers and jalapeno peppers wrapped up in a freshly baked honey oat roll.  Sure, it is fast food, but that does not mean it is unhealthy.  Everyone has an idea of what constitutes healthy food......some eat only vegetables, but add in dairy, while others limit themselves to a strictly plant based diet.  I respect each of those choices, and have immense respect for those who can spend their lives without eating meat, but that is not me.  Human beings were designed to eat plants, dairy and meat....we are carnivores.  The most important thing you must do no matter which diet lifestyle you choose is to eat what you eat in moderation and balance. In addition to diet, regular exercise plays a significant part in ones health.  There are obviously many other factors that determine your health status such as genetics, mental outlook, rest, recreation, a little vino, or beer (in moderation, of course), friendship, marital status, etc.  

If one only focuses on diet thinking that will mean a long life they will be disappointed......there are no guarantees in life.....no one knows when their number will be up.....mine could be up today, or in 20 years....who knows?  In the interim I am going to do my best to eat a little less, and move a little more and enjoy all of the food groups God has blessed us with.....in moderation, of course.  My current diet is a short term option I have chosen....it works for me......it may not work for you........I will not be eating Subway sandwiches every day for the rest of my life....it is a short term means to an end. My inherited genetics have been a blessing to me....at age 64 I have NO health issues.....no high blood pressure, a strong heart, no joint issues,  no maintenance medication of any kind.   The body you were born with determines, in the long run, what you can eat....plain and simple.  Do what works for you, but please to not expect those of us who can eat meat without apparent consequence to stop.

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

SD - Day # 14 - Cars, eBay, bike rides, and more cars....

Wow, what a long day Wednesday was......what a day!  It felt like at least two days rolled into one.  But first, of course, some of you want to know the answer to the daily question.......how much does Clarke weigh today?  Okay, I get it,....some of you may not care a lick about how much I weigh, but I know some of you do care, because deep down inside you want to lose some weight, but you know it's going to be painful, take a long, long time, and you'll have to eat stuff you would never choose to eat, and probably don't like, but now you're hearing about diet food that is actually kind of pleasant to eat, and you can lose weight fast while eating healthy. Can I have a drum roll, please?  I weighed in this  morning (Thursday) at: 201.0!  I am now down 10.5 pounds in the last 18 days......the last 14 days on the Jared Fogle Subway Diet.

Wednesday was the day we hoped to close the deal on the 2003 VW Convertible Beetle.  We arranged to meet up with the seller at 10 am, so we headed over to our bank to pick up a cashier's check around 9 am, and were at the meeting place by 9:55......the seller a few minutes later.  We dickered with him and got the price down  couple hundred dollars, but still wanted to take it out on a 30 minute drive to be sure.....there were some lingering doubts in our collective mind......TLE more than moi.  After running east on US 60 for about 5 miles, we got off at Country Village Road and stopped in a parking lot convinced this was the one.......convinced, that is, until we attempted to "drop the top"......we found there was something wrong with the top lowering mechanism as it wouldn't go down all the way, and then discovered the interior lining in the rear area was completely unattached as all the securing points were broken....here we were more worried about  the drive train mechanicals, and it turns out to be the top that was the deal killer......ugggh.....not knowing how much it would cost to fix, and the fact the owner had not disclosed the problem (you know, "what else hasn't he told us?") we kindly declined to finish the transaction, and went back to our bank to cancel the cashier's check.....once again.....BUT, instead of putting the money back in our account we just took the refund in cash, so the next time we could just hand over the cash to the next seller if we decided to pull the trigger......will we ever pull the trigger?

We did, however, still have one ace up our sleeve....we had test driven a 2001 VW Beetle hardtop on Sunday that we kind of liked....or should I say TLE really liked....it had a sunroof, a turbo, heated seats, a 5 speed manual transmission, and the high end leather seats that were amazingly comfortable!  I texted Keith, the owner, to find out if it was still for sale, and it was........so we made arrangements to meet him after 6 pm in Upland at his home to look at the car one more time.  It has some interior cosmetic issues that can be easily remedied, and it was the one TLE really liked.  I should really pay closer attention to her intuition....I'm getting better at it, but after 42 years I seem to have a ways to go yet.

As soon as we got home I headed out on an 11 mile bike ride including another summit of Mt. Rubidoux......came close to matching my personal best, but topped out at 25 minutes 32 seconds....about 17 seconds off my best....then rode around Fairmont Lake on the way home....took me about 53 minutes total to cover the 11 miles.

Fairmont Lake

In the mean time, I had a number of bike parts to box up and get in the mail to my eBay buyers, so I spent a couple of hours doing that and then taking them into the Post Office to mail.  Then we headed back up to my son's office where I left some of my packing materials 2 years ago, to finish packing the rest of the parts, then delivered them to the local Post Office (just across the street).  Have any of you ever used those automated postal machines that many USPS locations now have?  I love them, and the line is always shorter.....they have 4 of them now at the 91730 Post Office.

These machines are so easy to use!

From there we headed to Keith's Upland home arriving just before 6 pm.....Keith was not home yet.....he has a long commute over to West L.A.  and back everyday, and he does it on his motorcycle, so his arrival time home varies from day to day....... anyway, we headed down to the local Walmart to look at a new digital scale that provides weights in 2/10's of a pound increments....our current one gives weight in 5/10's of a pound increments....when you're trying to lose weight every 1/10th is important, right?  We ended up with a new scale that will remember your past weights....cool.

While we were there Keith sent me a text advising he had arrived home just a few minutes after we left, so we headed the few blocks back to his home to try and close the transaction.......after a few questions, and a little dickering we finally exchanged money for a pink slip and were on our way home........so it's official.....the search is over.....we are the proud owners of a 2001 VW Beetle 1.8 turbo......she runs fast, and flawlessly.  

So we went from the "agony of defeat" to the "thrill of victory" in just one long, long day.....our new girl has heated, high end leather seats, a sun roof, a turbo, and cool wheels, and is about 2 feet shorter than the 'Bird, so we'll have a little more room in the trailer for more stuff.......if we choose.

We arrived back home around 7:30 with big smiles on our faces feeling like a small burden has been removed from our shoulders.....now to get the 'Bird read for sale.

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

SD - Day # 13

We are beginning to notice a trend, and at this point it is strictly a theory, that when we have a glass,or two of red wine with dinner is when we see the weight loss the next morning.  Monday night I had 2 diet Dr. Peppers with dinner (ZERO calories).....no wine, or alcohol.... and gained 1.5 pounds over night.....otherwise all was the same.  Last night we had Zinfandel (dry, red) wine with dinner and TLE recorded a 1.5 pound weight loss, and I a 1 pound loss back to 203.5.  I will be interesting to see how this theory proves out over the next few weeks.  It may be the red wine helps us digest what we east more efficiently, and helps keep our metabolism up.....I am not a doctor, or scientist, so these are just anecdotal, uneducated guesses.

Tuesday was an early day for us.......every Tuesday for the next month we will be working 6:30 am to 12;30 pm......this is fine, because once we get the Kiosk opened and it is not a Tuesday immediately following a fish stocking Friday then one of us can leave to go clean cabins, or whatever, and then come back and spell the other so neither of us is there for the entire 6 hours.  What's nice about that is we are working one hour less in each of our weekend shifts.  On our walk over to the Kiosk we were greeted with this spectacular sunrise....

My shot

TLE's pano shot

On this Tuesday (2nd Tuesday after the last fish stocking) traffic was almost non existent, so TLE left around 7:40 to go do her part in Cabin #1, and then I left at 9:30 to go do my part (floors, mirrors, trash cans, etc.).  Once I was done with that I headed over to the Post Office to pick up some Priority Mail Flat rate boxes for the bike parts I auctioned off on eBay over the past 10 days.  It looks like when all is said and done I will make about a $125 profit on the bike.....not as good as I would have hoped, but this is the first bike I've done in 2 years, and I think I paid about $50 too much for it.....nevertheless, I turned $275 into $400 in about 10 days.....not a bad rate of return for doing something that gives you pleasure.

Once I had all the boxes matched up with an item I headed over to a new Subway up by the freeway that is actually a little closer than the one on University in downtown Riverside, and is in a lot less congested area....easier to find parking when I am driving my car.....the one downtown works well when I'm stopping off on my bike ride to get my foot long sub.  While I was eating my first 6 incher of the day I called the owner of the 2003 VW Beetle we were waiting to hear from to see how the replacement of the thermostat had gone, and were pleased to find out that had solved the check engine light problem.  He decided to drive the VW down to Orange county on business and back (about 100 miles round trip) to just be sure the light would not come on again, and would call us later to let us know how that went.

TLE had a hair appointment in Claremont.....about 25 miles away......why so far away you wonder to yourself?  Well, that is where Amanda, a long time family friend, works.  Amanda does a wonderful job on TLE's hair, and I wish we could just fly her in to wherever we happen to be every month or so. Surprisingly, for TLE, getting a good haircust on the road is a challenge.

From there we headed over to my son's office to pick up mail, and for me to borrow his pickup truck to go over to USA Cyclery, a few blocks away, to get a bike frame box (free) from them so I can ship the Specialized MTB frame I sold.  This works out well for them because don't have to break the box down after unpacking a new bike, and it works out well for me because I don't have to buy a box.  

Once again we got home just at sunset.....neither of us had taken any time during the day to get in some exercise so we headed off on a 2 mile walk........during that walk I got a call back from the VW owner saying he had just returned from Orange County and the light had stayed off, so we made arrangements to meet him at 10 am on Wednesday to test drive the car again, and to negotiate the final price on the car.....starting to get just a little excited!

Tuesday night is what we call the "big three" night on TV....NCIS, NCIS L.A. and Person of Interest.....all were new episodes, and the Person of Interest was the last new show this calendar year, and, of course, it was a a cliff hangar.  We will have to wait until after the first of the year to see the resolution of this episode.

It was a good day....Wednesday I'll get all my bike parts boxed and mailed to their individual buyers, and maybe we'll be the owners of a new car!

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

SD - Day # 12

Shortly after I finished yesterday's blog entry I went off on a 9 bike ride around Fairmont Lake.....no climbing this day.  When I returned  weighed in again, and had lost another 1/2 pound bringing me down to 203!  Today's weigh in (Tuesday) I came in at 204.50.....must be retaining water gain!

We had an appointment to meet the owner of the 2003 VW Beetle convertible at a local mechanic to have the code read......the check engine light was on while we test drove the car, so the owner offered to have it checked at his cost.  The first, and primary code was for a coolant system deficiency and a second one for catalytic deficiency.  Typically, according to the mechanic, this means the thermostat is not operating correctly, which sets off a coolant deficiency, and then sometimes sets off a false code for the catalytic deficiency.  At any rate they are going to replace the thermostat and see if that fixes the problem, so one more day until we know if this is the one.  

We stopped off at the local TruValue Hardware store to pickup some woven nylon string to repair one of our Levelor mini-blinds, and a short extension cord to plug in our 32" Xmas tree lights and headed home where I went to work immediately fixing the mini blind.  Surprisingly it did not take more than 30 minutes and the mini blind was working again.

That was pretty much our day......oh we did head out one more time around 2 to look at a 2002 VW Beetle, but that one ended up being a "dog"......I should have known when the owner asked to meet us in the parking lot of the local Burger King.....lol.  It had custom alloy wheels that had been painted to match the car color, but recently the right rear tire had gone flat on the freeway, and the owner drove the car to the next exit...about a mile, and basically toasted the rim......it is no longer usable.  He seemed puzzled that I didn't want to buy a car with spare tire on it, and only three matching rims....go figure.....I guess I'm just too picky.

We hooked up the short extension cord to the Xmas tree after hanging the decorations on it and it turned out just fine.

Thanks for stopping by!