Saturday, December 31, 2005


Goodbye 2005!

I can't say 2005 was a good year for me although it did have some good times in it. I head into 2006 not knowing what it will bring as my life will be so different from the past 38+ years, my years with Annie. Time marches on and I don't have much in the way of choices, so I'll have to make the best I can out of it.

I did get to the post office yesterday and I had entered the end date wrong on my mail forwarding paperwork. I am sure glad I didn't feel good about it and checked. My poor little mail box would have been way over full long before my request to start holding my mail kicked in. I got a couple of things from the RV that I need to get loaded with things like extra food, extra cat food, etc., things that will store below in one of the basement compartments until needed. I also have a growing pile of things on my living room floor that are to go but that I don't want to put out there yet as there is no heat in the rig. I should be on the road in 3 1/2 days.

The two books I ordered Monday from arrived today. One is Publishing a Blog with Blogger which is the place my blog is hosted. I'll start with it as it is specific about my blog and "only" 125 pages long. The other is nearly 700 pages and on writing and using HTML and CSS, the codes used to setup web sites and blogs. It will take a bit longer to work through but also offers a lot more options, if I can learn to use it. From what I have seen so far HTML isn't too hard to use and like much computer coding a big part of the problem is knowing what you can do so you can find what you need in the book. We will see how this develops for me but it promises to be interesting.

I am getting ready to go to a New Year's Eve party here in the mobile home park where I live that is sponsored by the singles group within the park. I sure wouldn't have thought a year ago that I would qualify to belong to that group this year. A year ago Annie & I were in our RV park in Ft. Mohave, AZ and watching the events play out in the Phoenix area on TV. Our neighbors who were also with us had gone to the Avi Casino in Nevada in the hope they would have a fireworks display (they didn't) but we decided to stay home in the RV. We didn't realize I would be spending the next New Year's Eve alone.

Thursday, December 29, 2005


Here a link to a blog I really like....

This is a blog that I found when it was listed on the Blogger site in their Blogs of Note for the day a month or so ago. If you are uncomfortible with language that can get a little course then it may not be for you but I think she is a very good writer and has been doing this blog for over three years, building up to an average of 700 readers a day before Blogger put her in the spotlight, when it went up to about 10,000. To check out Bored Housewife, click here. Let me know how you like it but do look around at some of the various posts she has both on her front page and in the archives. There are also some nice photos of the area of Utah where she lives.


Details, details, details

I guess my preparations to head out are progressing. Today I went to the post office and filled out the paperwork to have my mail forwarded to Escapees Mail Service in Livingston, Texas starting next Wed. Jan. 4th. I intended to have it forwarded until mid-April but think I filled out the form for mid-March instead so will have to go back tomorrow to check and change it. Then I need to remember about April 10th to mail in a form to have them hold my mail at the post office for 30 days or until I get home first and cancel it, starting on April 15th. I also got the newspaper set to stop beginning on the 4th and re-starting with the Sunday paper on May 7th. She asked me if I wanted them to just hold the papers until I got back, before she realized how long I would be away.

I took Huggy to her vet for annual shots this morning. That trip isn't one she likes. Whenever I take her out to the car she gets excited and not in a good way as all the trips seem to be to the vet for shots, once a year. It is a good thing she likes to travel in the motorhome. There she has a lot more room to move around in and perhaps doesn't notice the movement as much. Anyway, she is now all set for another year and I have the paperwork to prove she is a healthy cat.

The DVD movie case is loaded but not the music CDs nor books yet. Over the weekend I can get some of them out into the rig and also take out the satellite TV receiver and get it hooked up. The weather reports show it shouldn't freeze between now and next Wed. so I can go ahead and put the plug back into the hot water tank. I have forgotten to do that once and it went through a lot of water with the pump running until I remembered what I had forgotten! I won't have heat out there yet so won't take clothes out until the day before I leave but there are some things that can go like canned food, cat food, extra kitty litter, the step ladder, the propane tank for the portable BBQ, and others. I will probably start a pile of things on the living room floor so I can get things at least that far before I risk going off and forgetting something I will really need.

Bob came after work yesterday and stayed overnight. They are leaving tomorrow to drive to San Diego for about a week to visit DJ's sister who is in the Marines stationed there and will leave on a deployment sometime in Feb. That was the last time I'll see him until after I get back in May.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005


Getting ready to head south

Now that I have a blog started I decided to look into broadband speed Internet connections that I can use on the road from the motorhome. I am aware of Directway satellite systems and have & use WiFi when available but two years ago I tried using a high speed connection with my cell phone when it was with AT&T. It worked fine in large cities but was very expensive to use so I dropped it.

While browsing the Web on Christmas day I found an article on broadband speeds over cell phones Click here that I read. (If this link works right it should open in a window of it's own.) The article is about a new broadband system from Verizon and Sprint that is lower in price than my experience in early 2004 with AT&T. I contacted Verizon today as they are my cell provider and went to their store to purchase a Kyocera KPC650 PC card and broadband service. This card is $180. but allows you to connect to an outside antenae and that may sometimes make the difference between getting connected or not while boondocking out in the desert. There is a card with a fixed antenae available for $100. The service regularly costs $80. per month but is on a "special" price of only $60. per month with a one year committment. That is for unlimited access at broadband speeds of up to 3 Mbps. If broadband speeds are not available it will fall back to their National Access system which is slower but still unlimited access and fairly fast. The card has it's own phone number.

When I got home I went through the setup steps which worked fine until I got to the point where I needed to activate the phone. My home is in a low spot and the cell signal strength is only 1 to 2 bars and the activation failed. So, I hopped in the car with the laptop and card and drove closer to town where I got 4-bars and it worked fine. The rest of it was a piece of cake and I was soon online, surfing at a high rate.

Will I like it? I think so, as long as I can get a strong enough signal for it to work. It still will not work at home which isn't serious as I have my DSL connection here. I think it may turn out to be good that I spent the extra money for the card that will connect to an external antenae. When I get to Quartzsite I will probably look into getting a Wilson Trucker's Cell Phone antenae installed on my rig. I understand they tend to give a boost of up to 2 bars or so of signal strength and that may make the difference. I guess I will have a year to play with it and decide if I want to continue the service or not.

In the meantime I am trying to get things ready to head south in a week and a day and I have a lot to do. I did go ahead this morning and list my blog publicly so it is now "out there."

Monday, December 26, 2005


The Day after Christmas

We all slept in this morning, so breakfast was almost more like brunch. After that Bob & DJ started gathering things and packing the cars. I keep telling them they need to trade in one of the cars for a van, now that they are a family of seven, as they can not all go anywhere without driving both cars. Anyway, when they were all packed up I took them to Starbucks for a mocha, tea for DJ and hot chocolates for the kids. Then they headed for home about 13:15 with a heavy overcast and drizzly rain, but warm.

I went to the Verizon store in Burlington to check on the availability of something I saw yesterday on the Web, called 3G EVDO, where you can get speeds similar to those achievable with DSL from your cell phone. I should have phoned first, as the Verizon store was closed, the employees taking the Christmas holiday today. But the malls and other stores were NOT closed and I think there must have been close to 100,000 people in the area. Well, I may have exagerated on my people count, but there were a lot of people and traffic was bad. I just came straight home. Anyway, if I can get that feature that supposidly starts for $25 per month before I leave to go south I will probably do that rather than starting another dialup connection for $9/mo. Its availability and where all it can be accessed are the questions I need answers to.

I went back to Starbucks with my neighbors, Dick & Barbara, but this time I had a hot cider. After that we went to a homeowners meeting here in the park where we live. I have been home long enough to have fixed dinner, gotten the garbage ready for pickup tomorrow and checked email. I should have sent some of that ham home with Bob as I don't know if I can eat all of it.

The house is real quiet although I do have the TV on for background noise. If Annie were still here she would be watching the show that is on, so that makes it feel more normal, like it should be. I also found the lighted Christmas tree decoration that we had in our front window two years ago when we were here for the holidays and put in the motorhome front window last year for the holidays in Bullhead City, AZ. It was behind the door into the spare bedroom. I guess I never saw it because whenever I opened the door to go in there, the door covered it. Tonight I was looking for things Bob & familymay have left behind so I closed the door from inside the room and there it was! I did get it put up in the kitchen window, but the day after Christmas.

My next goal is to get ready for my Snowbird trip that I plan to start on Wed. Jan. 4th. There is a lot to get done if I am going to be ready to leave by then so I should be busy for the next eight days.

Sunday, December 25, 2005


Merry Christmas every one!

I've had about as good of a Christmas Day as I could expect, considering the very important empty chair we have here this year. Bob, DJ and all five of their kids arrived about 10 last night. The kids slept all the way up here in the car so of course they were not ready to go to sleep, so we all watched the movie, "Daddy Daycare." I was the first up this morning about 8 but all the kids where up soon after, followed by DJ and finally Bob. We had orange juice and sweet rolls, what Annie always liked on Christmas morning (it was quick and she also wanted to get to those packages under the tree.) Then we had to keep them occupied until Mike, Joyce and Katie could get here, shortly before 10.

I played Santa, distributing the packages. I like to do that as I can enjoy watching everyone opening their packages and then have all of mine to do when I have finished the Santa job! I think everyone enjoyed what they received but I forgot to tag some of them as being FROM Santa and Kimmy at least noticed the absence of a visit from the old gent. They all wanted to play with the new games and other gifts but we were concerned about loosing or mixing up pieces if they were all opened here, so some limits were placed, like one at a time. Happily the weather was warm and it was not raining so they were able to play outside some, too. We had pizza for lunch and Mike, Katie & I took a drive and found a mocha drive through stand open so were able to get the daily mocha. Joyce used my digital camera and took some photos.

Mike & his family left about 3 for Joyce's family gathering and DJ started fixing dinner. It was great to have a real home cooked meal that I didn't have to fix. My cooking abilities are pretty much limited to things like Nally's chilli and Papa Murphy's pizza. Ham, scalloped potatoes, peas & onions and dinner rolls, with pumpkin pie for desert, was a real treat.

Dinner is over now, the kids are playing games or watching videos on TV so I decided to take a few minutes to write something in my new blog. This way there will be an entry made on Christmas Day. Some of the presents given out today had actually been picked out by Annie before her death on July 23rd so she really participated. I feel that she is still with us, guiding and observing us through our days, so she really was here this Christmas, just in a different way than in past years. One year ago we were not with family but with our neighbors in Bullhead City, Arizona on our Snowbird trip and we went for Christmas dinner to Harrah's Casino in Laughlin, Nevada. This year there will be left overs to enjoy.

Saturday, December 24, 2005


Sea Breeze interior

Sea Breeze interior
Originally uploaded by Dick Phillips.
This is the main living area of our Sea Breeze motorhome, looking forward from the walk-through garden bathroom area. Behind the bathroom area is the bedroom with a queen size island bed. The coach is 8' wide (not a wide body coach) and there are no slide outs but it has been comfortable for the two of us and Huggy likes to ride in it. You can see Huggy's basket on the passenger side of the dashboard. She likes to ride there where she sleeps or looks out the windshield at the scenery going by, unless it is in the sun and too hot.



My Sea Breeze motorhome

Sea Breeze 2002-09-22 (1)
Originally uploaded by Dick Phillips.
This photo was taken on Sep 22, 2002 at the summit of Stevens Pass on US-2 in Washington State. It shows our 33' Sea Breeze motorhome with the Saturn car connected in tow position behind the RV.



Test post from Pocketmail

Here is a short message to test if I am posting from my Pocketmail account correctly. If it works, then I am heading for bed as it is now after 1am. I'll try to do more with this tomorrow (well, really later this morning) but I still have lots of Christmas gifts to get wrapped and some shopping to do. Anyway, here goes this test posting from Pocketmail to Blogger.

Sent via PocketMail
Email Anywhere


Ann & I at Quartzsite, AZ

This is my first attempt to put a photo on my blog. This photo is in my photostream on the Flickr site and I think if you click on the photo or the labels beneath it you will be taken to those photos on Flickr. I was exposed to Flickr this fall as that is where those of us who took the Art184 class on Digital Imaging at Skagit Valley College uploaded our photos. It is a site from which it is easy to move photos to a blog, so that is how I plan to handle my online photos while traveling. I will upload them to Flickr and transfer some to this blog. There probably will always be more photos on my Flickr site than here as I expect to only move those that are either most interesting or directly relate to the subject I am writing about on the blog that day. The words beside the photo can be added from the Flickr site and this paragraph is being added in the blog management area provided by Blogger (I edited the paragraph below in Blogger, too).

Ann_Dick_Phillips at QRang
Originally uploaded by Dick Phillips.
A photo taken of Annie and I while we were at the Escapees RV Club Boomers Q-Rang at Quartzsite, AZ in Jan, 2005. Boomers is a group of Escapees members who were born roughly between 1940 and 1960, although there are some both older and younger. Their get togethers are called Boomerangs. The Q-Rang is the Boomerang held at the annual boondocking gathering in the desert at the small town of Quartzsite, AZ which is on I-10 about 20 miles into Arizona from the California border. I tried adding a link to the Escapees club web site that you should be able to click on and be taken there.

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Friday, December 23, 2005


RV Travels With Huggy

Today I am starting this blog with my first try at posting. It is two days before Christmas, my first in many years without Annie, and a week and a half after Christmas I expect to head out with Huggy in the RV for the warmer, sunnier southwest. The RV is nearly ready to go, only needing to have it's fuel, propane and water tanks filled as well as adding the personal things that will go along and of course food for both of us.

Annie and I were together for over 38 years. This trip will be a lot different from our others in the past and I do not know if I will like traveling alone but have to try it to find the answer to that. I'll be leaving family and friends here in the northwest so am going to try this method (my blog) of staying in touch with you all. I hope you will use the comments feature that appears at the end of each day's postings to "write back" to me or ask any questions you may have about the posting. I will try to check the blog on a regular basis but will have to have access to the Web in order to do that and I won't have that access all the time. I can post notes from my Pocketmail device so hope to have a new posting on the blog about every day, but it may be a few days between when you enter a comment and I can access your comments, so don't be surprised if you don't get an answer back right away. Send me an email note to the Pocketmail address if you want an answer right away and/or call on my cell phone.

I have listed this to keep it un-listed for a few days to give me a chance to try posting over a couple of days and to try to figure out how to get photos onto it, but I understand you can go to it even that way if you have the web address to access it. If you get here, please try making a comment so I will have something else to check out how it is working. I am going to go ahead and post this now, then go to it on the Web to see how it looks.

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