Phannie

Phannie
Photo taken at Winchester Bay, Oregon

Sunday, July 1, 2018

New Chairs, A Water Park Weekend and We Head North

At the Santa Fe KOA, Santa Fe, New Mexico...

Upon our return from Hawaii, we had only a few days to reset our body clocks and undo all the packing we did for the cruise. In the process, many vows were made as to what we would do differently in the future in regard to packing and limiting the number of pieces of luggage that would be carried. (Did you know that we had to buy an additional suitcase in Hawaii for dirty clothes and the extra stuff 'someone' bought while there? Well, we did, and this is not unusual for us.) 

It was such a good feeling to carry the excess clothes and suitcases back to storage, leaving our regular accouterments stowed in their familiar places in Phannie. Now, will our fresh vows be broken in the future? Probably; we have never been what you would call strict with that sort of thing or with anything else, for that matter. So, resolutions, for us, tend to be a bit short-lived. Perhaps because we don't take ourselves very seriously, we have a good life and a relationship that is about as strife-free and stress-free as one can be. On the downside, we're probably always going to look like the Beverly Hillbillies traveling with their belongings piled up in their old Model T.

When we arrived back in Conroe, son-in-law Tyler was kind enough to bring out some new recliners that we had ordered and had shipped to his house. They were too large, of course, to fit through Phannie's door, so he partially disassembled them and then put them back together inside the coach. (I wouldn't want him to know this, but he is a really good guy.)



We had absolutely worn out our previous recliners, so we were glad to find these--all leather and very comfy. By the way, we have  nap-tested these, and they passed with flying colors!  Thank you, Tyler, for your help!

On our way northward, we stopped in Burleson, Texas to join our kids at the Jellystone water park. We get a big kick out of watching our grandsons have such a good time:



Here is a fresh photo of daughter Mindy and grandson Pryce: 



Below is grandson Mason with pal Yogi:


Sandy and I seemed best suited for just sitting around and watching the spectacle. These boys are pretty special to us:



Reluctantly, we said goodbye to the kids and headed Phannie northward in our quest to find cool air. In doing so, we stretched our usual 200 to 250-mile leg to 373 miles before parking at Oasis RV Resort in Amarillo for the night. (By the way, I-40 is a mess all the way through Amarillo--lots of construction.)

Unfortunately, catching up on our rest after the long leg proved a bit elusive, as a cold front blew through Amarillo after dark. The  gale-force wind from nearby thunderstorms was so great that we had to bring in the slides and stow the satellite dish, after which the park's electrical power was interrupted.  A few minutes later, the park's water supply also went off, probably because the park's water pump was affected by the power outage. Things calmed down around four a.m., and we were able re-deploy the slides and satellite and get a bit of sleep. Also, it had mercifully cooled down into the sixties--nice!

The next leg to Santa Fe was longer than usual, too--the better part of 300 miles. I mentioned above our historical limitation in a day's travel because we're usually not in any hurry. However, that may be changing, especially if we are traversing some geography that is not particularly appealing or where there are no interesting stops.  Such is certainly the case with the numbing nondescriptness of west Texas and eastern New Mexico topography. In such cases, I just put on an audiobook and keep the big bus cruising 'on the step.' 

I should explain that term, for I'm showing my age here: On the step represents a very old flying technique that may be as much an old pilot's tale as anything else. According to this theory, a pilot can achieve a little better cruising speed at a given altitude by first climbing above then descending back to the altitude into a 'sweet spot' of a cruising configuration. This has been the subject of hangar talk and barroom speculation among pilots for ages, and I've tried it, but the outcome was hardly convincing. I remain neutral but skeptical.  

Anyhow, the passing around of this shibboleth among pilots has diminished rather pointedly since computers began to do more of the flying than pilots. In the more sophisticated airplanes these days, pilots largely monitor the automation rather than doing hands-on flying, and the younger fliers coming up probably have no idea what I'm even talking about. Frankly, I'm not unhappy that I missed most of the automation; I enjoyed flying too much.

It should be noted that Phannie doesn't have much automation either, except automatic transmission and cruise control. She certainly doesn't drive herself, but I rarely get tired of driving unless we spend a good deal of time in a high traffic metropolitan area, which I desperately try to avoid. If we're on Interstate highways and other roads with little traffic and few stops, I sometimes take advantage of this and drive longer legs when appropriate.

One disappointment in reaching Santa Fe was that the place was having a heat wave. In fact, Denver, which is not too far away, recorded its highest June temperature in history! Wouldn't you know it? The temperature was in the nineties when we got to Santa Fe and it didn't abate for a couple of days. This is a bit unusual for a place that's above 7,000 feet in elevation. Another disappointment was the Santa Fe KOA, where we are set up until after the holiday rush. The park itself is okay, but it's all dirt and gravel and, therefore, very dusty. As the place is down in a canyon, the AT&T cell service is weak. But the worst thing is the water, which has a strong mineral smell and taste and is not as clear as it should be. We certainly don't drink it, purchasing our drinking water instead. We would probably already have moved, but getting space elsewhere around the July 4th holiday is unlikely.

We took the opportunity to hop in Mae and take an air-conditioned drive up to Taos and then over to Angel Fire to meet some friends who were staying at the Angel Fire RV Resort. This was one of the nicest RV parks we've ever seen, and the daytime temperature there at 8,300 feet was, mercifully, in the 70s and low 80s. Now that's more like it! We had a very nice dinner with our friends at the Angel Fire Country Club and drove back afterward. What a great evening!


Angel Fire RV Resort

I got a delightful surprise this week from the author of Reflections Around the Campfire, a breezy and well written RV camping blog that I discovered a while ago and have been reading ever since. I think Mary, the author, and I are kindred spirits, to a degree, in our writing styles. We both strive to make our posts readable and entertaining by trying to achieve more of a conversational or storytelling tone than one that comes across as bookish or travelogue-like. This sometimes isn't easy and, coupled with my obsessive-compulsive disorder that requires me to edit these posts to death while trying for perfection, my rewrites are many and largely unjustified, I'm sure. I mean, would you really stop reading this if I were to leave out a comma or use a dangling participle? I hope not, but I've not had much success in finding a help program. As I've mentioned before, I think this neurosis of mine originated with Mrs. Reed, an English teacher in high school who actually rapped her students' knuckles with a ruler if they failed to recite properly the rules of grammar. Of course, she would probably be in jail today, but I will always be grateful--even with the trauma she administered--for insisting on excellence; that experience served me incredibly well throughout my career. Thank you, Mrs. Reed.

But I digress.

Mary sent me a note saying how much she enjoyed Phannie and Mae and that she has included it as a favorite in the new blogroll that she has now added to her site. She linked to it in her latest post, as I have similarly done with her blog title above. This may not seem like a big deal, and everyone likes a high five, but recognition from a respected peer is pretty special to me.  Thanks, Mary; I'm glad we toil in the same vineyard.

After July 4th, we will be making our way to Colorado Springs, where we will meet up with a number of friends who are already there and with others who will be dropping in later in the month.

Thank you, Lord, for this wonderful life; 
please forgive me if I fail to appreciate it as I should each day.

We don't stop playing when we get old; we get old when we stop playing.



15 comments:

  1. Awww, Mike, that was just so sweet of you! Kindred spirits, indeed! I, too, re-read my posts a million times before they’re published (and have been known to rearrange the dirty stuff in the dishwasher if somebody else loaded it “incorrectly”). Thanks so much for the shout out and know that I’m looking forward to the day our paths will cross and we’ll meet in person. Then it will be high fives for real, not just virtually. For now, just know that it’s a pleasure for me to share the blogosphere with you.

    Delightful family photos! Everyone looked like they were having way too much fun and that’s exactly how it should be.

    Keep cool, travel safely and try not to wear out those recliners the first month you have them!

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    1. Thanks, Mary. Indeed, we must visit in person one of these days. We can talk about gerunds and predicate nominatives. LOL! My best always.

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  2. I know you guys had as great a time as those boys. . .onward to better temps and beautiful scenes!

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    1. We did, Janice, just as you guys have been enjoying your little ones. Looking forward to seeing y'all again!

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  3. On the step. It appears to work temporary with underpowered planes like the Luscomb and Swift. Their low drag bodies go faster gliding down, eventually though you bust your altitude and have to make a quick climb again. I doubt it would help in any other condition. On jets you make your FL and stay there and the speed will settle in depending on CG and power. I loved the .72 cruise as we were paid by the hour, but some captains just had to run .92 or .94 because they could. I had not thought of 'on the step' in a long time. Thanks.

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    1. I hadn't either; I was just as surprised when I mentioned it while typing that paragraph. Fun to reminisce.

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  4. Love your new chairs they sure look comfy.
    I always enjoy reading your posts and so perfect they are.
    My postings, well? Even though I proof them I know there is invariably some improper punctuation, typos and grammar eventually will be there. But the that is just me.

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    1. My obsession is not normal, George. I probably need help.

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  5. I also re-read and re-write my posts, but it just doesn't look like it. This time of the year finding cool places is key. We are at Sault Ste Marie Michigan, regular temp 75 yesterday but a feel like of 99. We call it the 'Baskerville Weather Effect', it's always going to be hotter or colder or rainier or .... wherever we go :-)

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    1. I think you're right, but I still think I would like to be where you are. Following your journey closely in case we make it up there one day.

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    2. Thanks, this trip has been wonderful. Really liked that campground in Angel Fire. The last time we were there they just were starting moving dirt around.

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  6. Mike, would you share who you ordered your new recliner from? Thanks
    Becki

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    1. Sure! They are from Macy's, and they were on sale! Normally $1100 each, we got about $500 off. Great deal!

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  7. Enjoyed reading your post today, Mike. You and Sandy look very happy with your grandchildren. I hope you find the warm but not hot spot you are looking for. Nice shout out to Mary. Like you, I try to be sure I have no punctuation, spelling or grammatical errors in my posts BUT unlike you, I know that even after proofreading and publishing, Bill has often found one I missed. :D
    Nice chairs, great job getting them in there, s-i-l!

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    1. Patsy, you always make my day. I hope to run into you guys sometime.

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