Saturday, September 16, 2017

Meat Candy

I do the shopping and cooking. During a routine run to the store I bought a ½ pound of ‘premium’ bacon on sale. It was tough and only remotely tasted like bacon.

Yearning for some real bacon, the next time I was out I went to Fresh Market. I call this place the food museum because it has the best of everything – and of course prices to match. Nonetheless, I bought a pound of their Market Bacon and drooled as I took it home. I’d have it the next day.

The next day’s bacon adventure got a little complicated when my daughter and two grand-kids came over. I waited for a window to cook and eat my prize bacon in private but it didn’t materialize, so I decided to just ‘do it’. Mealtime ensued as I was cooking and my bacon became part of the bill of fare of the family meal. Bottom line – I got only one piece.

So today, I went back to Fresh Market and ordered a pound that I would eat by myself. Turns out it was on sale so I got two pounds. I like to cook outside on the patio table using an induction cooker w/ Teflon fry pan. This is for several reasons:

1 – cooking outside means the household cooktop doesn’t get ‘dirty’ too many days before the cleaning lady comes.

2 -  the temperature of the induction cooker is a no brainer…set it to the temp you want and it maintains it.

3 – the Teflon pan cleans up with a paper towel.

4: the cooker itself is streamlined and can be easily cleaned up with Windex and a paper towel.

5. when the patio table gets greasy enough, it gets a stiff brush with comet and the garden hose – maybe every 5th or 6th cooking.

It took 3 beers to cook 1 1/2 lbs of bacon and the grease in the pan looked so good I threw a couple eggs in it. I was brought back to reality thinking about eating enough bacon to put me in a coma when my dog Merlin wet nosed my hand, indicating I guess, that he too was expecting some bacon.

During all this potential bacon ecstasy I didn’t think to take any pictures, but when Merlin got into the picture and reality set in I thought I’d snap a pic of some of the chicken I cooked for him so I didn’t have to share my bacon.

Induction cooker with Merlin's chicken

You’ll likely read my obituary tomorrow, with my veins so clogged that Draino couldn’t open them, but the bacon was worth it. And if I do survive, I have a dozen Tums at the night stand, after which I’ll probably cook that last ½ pound.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Land and Sea Rescue

Every now and then when I have time to kill, I'll look up trailerable houseboats for sale and post the listings on a houseboat group I frequent. Classictrailerablehouseboats.   Many of the folks who hang out there are looking for boats.

A couple who recently joined the group was in the process of looking for a boat to restore and liked a Land And Sea on the list. The boat was in Wichita and they were in Colorado. Before I could offer encouragement, they were off to see/buy the 1973 houseboat for 5 grand. I talked with them on the phone while they were on site looking at the boat. When the owner came down to 4K they were sold...they just needed to replace all 6 tires on the triple axle trailer, buy a tow vehicle and the boat would be on it's way to their home in Colorado.

While they were negotiating for an F350 they got a call that the husbands job was in jeopardy due to management changes. They called me to tell me they couldn't risk buying the boat under the circumstances, and did I know anyone else that might be interested.

I'd had a couple inquiries from folks interested in Land and Sea boats but calls/texts yielded nothing promising. Then a buddy of mine, Nicky, who had been looking at $100,000+ trawlers, realized that the only thing a trawler could offer over a houseboat was more responsibility and more headaches. He and his wife committed to buy the LNS, then learned they had to take delivery in 2 weeks for the 4K price or the boat would be put back on the market.. This was a challenge in that the boat was over 1,000 miles away and Nicky would need to get time off work!

Nicky couldn't find anyone to go with him on the trip, then get the trailer ready for the return.   There was no way he could manage on his I volunteered to help. We foolishly planned a 3 day trip to go the 1,100 miles there - get the trailer ready - and bring the boat home.
Tow vehicle was a 2005ish Ford Excursion V10 w/ over 150,000 miles (and a dirty windshield)

Nicky was at one time an over the road driver and drove the entire 1,100 miles without my help, stopping only for gas and potty thanks to his wife packing enough food to get us into day 2.

We arrived in town about 2am. The road to the boat was at best confusing thru construction zones. We finally saw the boat behind an auto parts store to the left, but because we had been straining to find the entrance, we weren't really prepared to turn. Nicky saw the entrance at the last minute and swerved into the lot. We stopped as soon as we were off the street to evaluate the way back in to the boat (at 2am). We had no more finished congratulating ourselves for being at our destination when a flashing blue light pulled up behind us. 

I''m thinking License and Registration but before I got the glove box door open Nicky had engaged the advancing cop in conversation. By the time the cop got to Nicky's window you'd have thought they were long lost friends swapping stories about the girls in High School.

After a few minutes of conversation the cop apologetically mentioned that the reason he pulled Nicky over was because of his erratic turn in to the lot. The cop thought Nicky was drunk.

"Naw," Nicky responded, and explained that he'd came to buy that boat back there behind the shop and didn't know where to turn to get in. They jawed for another 5 minutes or so when  Nicky eventually inquired, "We've been on the road for over 24 hours - where's a good cheap motel?"

The cop gave us the name of the motel and after Nicky asked and received directions the cop turned and almost started walking back to the squad car. About then a light must have go on in his head and he returned to Nicky's window.

"Could I see some ID" the cop asked?

He 'ran' Nicky and we were on our way to the motel for about 3 hours sleep before the meeting with the owner the next morning - at 7am. We stopped at an all night store on the way for a six-pack, but they wouldn't sell us beer because it was after 11pm.

I waited in the car while Nicky checked in at the motel. He took a little longer than was normal, probably because he encouraged the clerk/manager to tell him their life story? But he did show up with a couple beers that the manager said he wasn't allowed to give Nicky.

Talk about luck -- the next morning we were heading for the car when we ran across the clerk/manager. He and Nicky were talking like they were old friends when the manager casually suggested that if we wanted to stay another night, we'd better book it now because there were only 6 room left. Nicky said, "Do it!" and we were off to the lot to meet the owner and have a good look at the boat.

Wow - an original decal!

Giving the 'find' a once over.

All 6 tires were junk. There were 3 different kinds of tires and two different rim sizes.

Even though the boat was significantly rougher than expected, Nicky was sold. "Where do I sign?"

Except for the tires and lack of brakes, the trailer was in excellent condition.

The compressor and generator Nicky brought and the a pneumatic jack I brought saved us considerable time and effort.

The first order of business was to jack up each wheel and give it a spin to evaluate the bearings. Nicky is placing the jack.

All the wheels spun smoothly and freely except one. We removed the hub and discovered a little rust on the dragging drum which was remedied by backing off the shoes.
There were brakes on the front and rear axles but there was no way to activate them from the vehicle. The hydraulic master cylinder with the funny fork we believe was only a break-away safety.
 We'd been led to believe that the trailer had 5 lug wheels. This was a disappointment because the ultimate plan was for 16" wheels/tires that are only available with 6 lugs. We figured we'd make do somehow for the trip home, with new 15" tires - because of a clear picture of a 15 forwarded by the other couple.

Talk about luck - even before we jacked up the wheels to check the wheel bearing we realized that all the hub were 6 lug that would take 16" wheels/tires. After the bearings checked out we went back to the motel to regroup and get out of the heat. Once there, Nicky asked me to get on the horn and scout out some mounted 16's. He said no one would understand him on the phone with his thick southern accent (more on that later). I had no luck with 3 calls and mentioned it to Nicky. He said to look for a horse trailer place...which was the next call on my list.

Talk about luck! That MCT trailer store did have two 16" mounted tires, but said they could get 4 more in a couple hours. I told the fellow there that I'd call him back after I checked out the $150 each price with Nicky. I'd barely hung up the phone when Nicky said - "Call them back."

We needed lights for the trailer too so we decided to head over to Harbor Fright (Freight) during the wait for the tires. By the time we were through tat Harbor Fright about 1 1/2 hours had past so we decided to head over to the trailer store and check on the tires.

After about 1/2 hour wait, the tires showed up via courrier from their warehouse. We piled them in the back of the Excursion.

Here's Nicky paying the bill. Turns out he has several layers of Southern Accent and even a "Proper English" accent. He had no trouble conversing with the guy behind the counter.

Getting ready for the new 16's.

Damn - ain't that a pretty sight?

Let's make sure this generator isn't going to fall off on the way home.

Nicely hooked up.

Now to get all this stuff back in the Excursion.

This boat has been places.

A work site generator - wired into the electrical system mounted on the aft deck will need lots of work.

Twin AQ drives behind twin 170 HP 6's - each with 3 carburetors.

Strapped down and road ready!

Off we go!

Me and the boat back at the motel ready to head out the next morning.

Nicky the morning before we left.

On the road back home.

Janet was waiting at the curb when we pulled up.

Proud Nicky and the new boat.

Me and Nicky backing her into her new home in Springfield SC.

Janet and Nicky anticipating their new adventure.

Finally at rest and right on schedule.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Wolf Pup - Cross Country 2017

Here's a few pics of the cross country trip in our Wolf Pup camper.

Wife, Suzy and dog, Merlin ready to hit the road.

Merlin waiting for me to return to the Walmart 'camp site' after my trip for groceries. We call it Wallydocking because we started staying at Walmarts with the boat.

Wallydocking with Big Duck

Am I going to have to make up the dinette to sleep?

Did you bring me a cup of ice cream?

This is the dump station at a Flying J. I use a macerator and garden hose rather than the big gravity dump hose.

Then fill up the water tank.

Merlin likes to hang out in the shade while Wallydocking.

Merlin likes to join us in the comfortable queen bed.

Ah - the open road

Hey Dad - when you get back, I have to go potty.

If we'd have had Big Duck, we'd be out on Lake Powell

Suzy visiting a High School boyfriend in Pioneer CA.

Suzy watching a play her old boyfriend is in.

Overnight at Flying J w/ Mount Shasta in the background.

Our destination - friends in Grants Pass OR. When the Rogue River floods the water can be up past the hedge.

Our Oregon family - Roy, (wife) Suzy, Kathleen with Merlin and Quigley in front.

Merlin wanting to swim with the birds.

We spent a lot of time just looking out at the Rogue River.

Merlin after a hard day chasing ducks.

This is how Merlin likes to ride - if the window is open he has his head out.

Walmart in Colorado?

Routine stop with Merlin at the wheel.

We have a cot in the van that Merlin occasionally sacks out on.
We logged 6,600 miles there and back. Then 4 days after we got home we took the Pup up to Washington Island WI for a week - another 1,000 miles each way.