Thursday, January 29, 2009

2009-01-29 Hurricane Caden

Dateline, Richmond, VA

Today we had a visit from my daughter Sarah and her son Caden, who was born on the day Katrina hit New Orleans.

They visited her Grandmother - my Mom, shown here with Shelby.

Caden is possibly the missing link to perpetual motion, and is very difficult to get into a shot.

That is not to say I did not sacrifice many pixels in an attempt to catch him.

Here's one where he was hamming it up for the camera. He's a huge Gators fan, in no small part as they are from the University of Florida, where his dad just picked up his MBA in December.

So not much progress was made on the trip today, but it was great to see Hurricane Boy and my daughter prior to them setting out for their move to California.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

2009-01-28 Ice Storms

Dateline, Richmond, VA

Still here and making ready for the trip.

The whole Eastern Seaboard is reeling from cold weather and storms.

Here in Richmond, freezing rain is making road conditions hazardous.

A stalwart old plant and trellis adjacent to the house collapsed under the weight of the ice today, narrowly missing my car.

I am studying routes, looking at points I plan to hit and will publish the tentative map of the journey in the next day or two.

Meanwhile, Shelby is busy storing up energy for the trip.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

2009-01-27 Update

Dateline, Richmond, VA

To force myself into the habit of updating this blog, I'll report even minor progress updates but try not to just post any empty calories.

I went out to visit the camper yesterday at RV Service of VA, where it has been in storage for the past few months.

The Amerilite survived its brief Winter storage without a hitch (har). Not a drop of leakage, and no funky smells.

I gave Wendell a short list of things I wanted to have done:
  1. Possibly swap the manual water heater for one with an electronic starter

  2. Install a new CD/Stereo and speakers once I provide the new unit

  3. De-winterize (this only takes a couple hours he says)

  4. Fill the propane tanks

  5. Add a hitch lock

  6. Add a kill switch on the battery

  7. Look into the viability of adding a second battery. I anticipate a good amount of boondocking on this trip

  8. and finally, to verify I have the right size hitch ball.

We had already tested everything end to end before Winterizing it, so it shouldn't take much more than topping the tanks and battery and it's good to go.

Today, we had about an inch of "sneet", causing a lot of road problems around here, so I chose to work on things around the house in preparation for this long trip.

I ordered a Solar Charger from to help put a charge on the battery while boondocking. My good buddy Dr. Phil told me of a great DC Inverter at Costco for $20 which could potentially work with the charger so I could use a laptop on it. I paid a visit to CostCo on Sunday (a big mistake) and found the inverter but could not find the patience to wait in half-mile long check out lines for one item, so I will pop back over again during the week for that.

Monday, January 26, 2009

In Search of America, 2009

Dateline Richmond, VA

It has come to pass that I am now able to embark upon a massive round-the-country trip.

This has been in the planning stages for many months, including a kind of false start in June of last year. But that was then.

So over the coming days, weeks and months I hope to keep this blog updated with the results of what we learn and observe in this year of Hope.

By "we", I mean of course Shelby, my 12 year old Lab mix who has been my faithful companion throughout her life.

In the course of this blog I will provide history about her life, how she came to change mine.

I will also use this opportunity to share some of my own observations on a variety of topics.

Since this is a Blog, it invites comments. I can only hope that the spambots don't discover this and use it to sell their evil wares. I will endeavor to remain ahead of them but it's been my experience this is a time consuming and never ending task.

Finally, I hope to pay homage to the great John Steinbeck work Travels with Charley (In Search of America) and if you can forgive my shameless lifting of that timeless subtitle I will use it as a model for crafting and styling my reports from the road.

Mr. Steinbeck's trip took place in 1960 at the age of 58 and in seriously failing health. His objective, according to Thom Steinbeck, the author's older son, the real reason for the trip was that Steinbeck knew he was dying and wanted to see his country one last time.

Mine begins in early February, 2009, at the age of 52, with the country teetering on the edge of what appears to be a Grim Depression that could make the previous one look like a cakewalk, while a new, young, talented President scrambles to fix it. Unlike Mr. Steinbeck, I'm in excellent health if you don't include a couple minor aches and pains as a consequence of working out every day.

Nope, happy to have all my hair, teeth and a good amount of my wits left.

And happy to once again embark on another trip with little Shelby. She's an amazingly good traveler and loves going to new places.

Thank you for joining us on this journey.

Your comments and questions are most welcome.

If you want to reach me directly, the best way is to use my Secure Contact Form.