Enjoying life where you live when you can

Posted By on November 28, 2014


Our family was not together this year for Thanksgiving, but Katelyn, Drew and Taylor made the most of the holiday … well particularly Taylor and his friends Tyler (L) and Nick (R). The three buds up in Williston, ND stretched the weekend out and decided to drive up to the Canadian Rockies in Baniff, Lake Louise and Canmore, Alberta.


LINK to a few more photo on Flickr

Happy Thanksgiving–Do you have your Christmas tree yet?

Posted By on November 27, 2014

EarlyChristmasTree141124I couldn’t believe it, but Katelyn and Drew have picked out and set up a real Christmas tree already. I know she is probably anxious for Christmas, but before a tree before Thanksgiving seems a little crazy … but then it is Minnesota?


Christmas aside, it is time to celebrate Thanksgiving … like they did in 1598 in El Paso, Texas. Yes Texas. It seems according to some that in 1598, a few years before the pilgrims in 1621, the first Thanksgiving celebration was in El Paso, Texas. I read a little questionable history about the Spanish explorer Juan de Oñate who may have celebrated the first Thanksgiving in North America (although it might be a Texas bias claim?)
Winking smileIt’s an interesting thought though that the Spanish may have “had a thanksgiving” and were breaking bread with the Indians of the area.

Juan de Oñate was a member of a distinguished family that had loyally worked for the Spanish crown. His father had discovered and developed rich mines in Zacatecas, Mexico. Oñate, himself, had opened the mines of San Luis Potosí and performed many other services for the Spanish king. But he wanted to carve an unquestioned place in history by leading an important expedition into unexplored land.

He was granted land in the northern Rio Grande Valley among the Pueblo Indians by the viceroy of New Spain. The viceroy moved to a new post, however, and his successor was slow to grant Oñate permission to begin his expedition. Finally, in 1597, approval came. To reach his new holdings, Oñate chose to bypass the traditional route that followed the Rio Conchos in present-day Mexico to the Rio Grande and then northward along the Rio Grande into New Mexico. In the summer of 1597, Oñate sent Vicente de Zaldívar to blaze a wagon trail from Santa Barbara in southern Chihuahua, along which could be found adequate water supplies. Zaldívar underwent many hardships, including capture by Indians, in carrying out his instructions. No mention of the hardships was made, however, when he made his report to Oñate. (The trail blazed by Zaldívar has become the route of the modern highway between Chihuahua City and El Paso.)

By early March 1598, Oñate’s expedition of 500 people, including soldiers, colonists, wives and children and 7,000 head of livestock, was ready to cross the treacherous Chihuahuan Desert. Almost from the beginning of the 50-day march, nature challenged the Spaniards. First, seven consecutive days of rain made travel miserable. Then the hardship was reversed, and the travelers suffered greatly from the dry weather. On one occasion, a chance rain shower saved the parched colonists. 

Finally, for the last five days of the march before reaching the Rio Grande, the expedition ran out of both food and water, forcing the men, women and children to seek roots and other scarce desert vegetation to eat. Both animals and humans almost went mad with thirst before the party reached water. Two horses drank until their stomachs burst, and two others drowned in the river in their haste to consume as much water as possible.

The Rio Grande was the salvation of the expedition, however. After recuperating for 10 days, Oñate ordered a day of thanksgiving for the survival of the expedition. Included in the event was a feast, supplied with game by the Spaniards and with fish by the natives of the region. A mass was said by the Franciscan missionaries traveling with the expedition.


Sailboats are a great place to relax, even when not sailing

Posted By on November 26, 2014


Took this photo while enjoying a warm and quiet evening relaxing in the cockpit before heading for home and back to less attractive weather, but it will soon be Thanksgiving and a time to be “thankful.”  I’ll need to keep reminding myself that when the snow starts to fly! On the positive side, having a mid week holiday make for a nice short week.


Nearly 8 years and 10,000 tweets as @richc on Twitter

Posted By on November 25, 2014

twitter_richc_9999Twitter has been my preferred social networking connection since February 2007 as @richc (and as a blog announcement @mydesultoryblog) and tweets are nearly 10,000Hmm, I wonder what it should be … maybe this post?

As for social networking, I prefer Twitter for immediate news, customer service issues and a quick exchange of ideas or thoughts. For family I’m partial to Facebook, but prefer keeping the two sites separate. As for a third social site, Google+ is at least checked, but my circles are too busy and filled with photos, animated GIFs and video reminding me a little bit of MySpace … and its not easy “for me” to scan things quickly on a phone.


Might be time for less restraint and more proactive policing

Posted By on November 25, 2014


I’m typing a few thoughts after watching the opportunists tear up cities in our country after the grand jury decided not to prosecute the police officer in Ferguson, Missouri late Monday night. The police were obviously “once again” told to maintain a defensive posture as we ended up watching businesses being looted, property destroyed and fires set. It’s as if the rule of law does not protect the law abiding tax paying citizens, but bends over backward to permit criminal behavior and chaos.

I say make a few examples out of those committing crimes and inciting violence — use a little excessive force and send a clear message as a deterrent. At what point do the good people in the United States let the hoodlums know that enough is enough; maybe we need to “protest” that the police aren’t doing enough? (and don’t even get me started on President Obama’s lack of law enforcement when it come to securing our southern border or enforcing current immigration laws. I do remember what he said, “faithfully execute,” at his swearing in ceremony 6 years ago.) I’m disgusted.

Encore weekend, LED Navigation lights and Solar Nicro Vents

Posted By on November 24, 2014

EncoreIMG_4289A little damp where I’m at, but at least it was far warmer than points north this past weekend. I’m sure glad not to still be closing up my mother-in-laws farmhouse in western New York … whew, just missed traveling in the “Snowvember.”

One of the projects I worked on was installing new LED navigation lights after figuring out that Encore was illegal. The previous owner install a masthead tricolor “sailing” light for navigation purposes, but disconnected the non-working bow and stern lights. After researching it was pretty obvious that when under power the boat still needs to have bow, stern and mast steaming lights (still not working). So I’ve opted for the least expensive LED lights, might have gone too cheap, but they work.

Another project was getting one of my “fairly new” Marinco Nicro Solar Day/Night Vents (Link 1 and 2) working again. I had thought it may have been the NiMD “C” cell, but after replacing determined it was the small motor. They make a motor replacement kit according to Dave the tech service guy (800-307-6702), but since the the vents are relatively new, I’m going to see if they honor the warranty or how they stand behind their product. Submitted info … stay tuned.

NicroVentTesting141122 NicroVentMotor141122

Shocker: Ridiculously HIGH turnpike tolls in Pennsylvania

Posted By on November 24, 2014

penna_turnpikeWe’ve driven the PA turnpike several times in the past, although the last trip traveling the full length was probably close to a decade ago, but the 2014 tolls structure gives a new meaning to the term “highway robbery.”

This past weekend, my wife drove to Philadelphia from Cincinnati for a bridal shower and thought she had enough cash to pay the tolls (they don’t take credit cards) … but she did not. I can’t believe how much it now cost to drive on the Pennsylvania Turnpike … residents in that state should be ashamed.

A westbound trip across the entire 359-mile east-west Turnpike next year will increase by $1.90, to $39.90 for cash payments, and by $1.36, to $28.60, for E-ZPass users.

Going eastbound, tolls will increase by $2.20, to $46.10, and by $1.57, to $32.95, respectively.


Thought 10 speed transmissions were only for 18-wheelers?

Posted By on November 23, 2014

Think again — According to Carxmotor.com reported in AutoExpress, the UK automotive news source, Volkswagen’s generation 8 VW Golf will have a TEN speed DSG transmission in their 2017 model. As much as I enjoy driving a manual, this is one gearbox that I’ll be glad is an automatic. Ten gears?


DSG gearbox will be available for VW Golf GTI, GTD and R models. It will be designed for a peak torque of 550 Nm & will be the same size as current 7-speed DSG. And by report, the transmission will put less stress on the engine, thus reducing fuel consumption and improving CO2 emissions.

By previous news, VW Golf VIII will be revealed in 2017, while the current generation VW Golf will likely receive a facelift for MY2015 or 2016. The new Volkswagen hatchback will get a more potent version of the 2.0 BiTDI, recently introduced with the new VW Passat, which will power the GTD version.

Source: AutoExpress

Aging Toyota Rav4 door dings–what to do?

Posted By on November 23, 2014

Rav4DoorDamage1_141122For those of us driving older cars already having their share of bumps and bruises … we face a dilemma when a new door dent appears AND we see the person who did the “dinging.” That’s what happened to my wife the other day and she confronted the lady who’s door blew into Brenda’s Toyota Rav4. Brenda directness means she has little reservation in confronting a person so decided to point out the damage and ask for insurance information (I’m not sure others would do the same?)

Rav4DoorDamage2_141122Anyway she handed the dirty follow-up deed and phone conversations to me.  I decided to call the person first before going further … sort of to gauge the reaction; the lady was very polite and didn’t debate the incident … which in a way makes it more difficult to follow up with a repair on an already less than perfect car. It was obviously an accident as the wind caught her car door (understandable) and not just careless behavior. She would rather not have the claim against her insurance since the repair will most likely be under the deductible coverage anyway. What to do?

EDIT: So far I called a guy who does Dent Wizard kind of repairs and buffing. After seeing the photos he thinks it can be massaged out like he did on my Mercedes Benz door dent and I may be able to buff the paint back to “acceptable.” (Est $250)

North America to see the VW 4Motion AllTrack as a 2016 model

Posted By on November 22, 2014

VWAlltrack1 VWAlltrack2

Volkswagen announced their AllTrack concept to a warm reception back in early 2012, but to me they seem a bit slow in getting it to the dealerships. Finally though, we are getting closer, since it looks like the bolstered Golf Sportwagen will be in the U.S. as a 2016 model. For Subaru Outback and Crosstrek advocates, there will be something else to look at. For others one of the most attractive additions will be the inclusion of a TDI diesel powertrain. According to Road and Track, the transmission options haven’t been announced, but we are one step closer to a Volkswagen all-wheel drive TDI diesel crossover.  

Both should be offered with all the normal Golf engine offerings, including the TDI, and both will also be offered with 4Motion. However, it’s unclear what transmissions will be offered with all of the potential engine and driveline combinations. The announcement, made by Volkswagen of America CEO Michael Horn, came a little ahead of the company’s planned announcements on the car, so additional details are sparse.

Desultory - des-uhl-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee

  1. lacking in consistency, constancy, or visible order, disconnected; fitful: desultory conversation.
  2. digressing from or unconnected with the main subject; random: a desultory remark.