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Thursday, July 31, 2014

Alligator Point After A Hard Day of Work

Alligator Point is 40 miles south of town. It is the closest real ocean beach - in less than an hour you can be on the white sand and into the water.

After a day of working the pipe and wire trenches in our yard - we threw our beach tent into the Prius and headed south. We stopped for a picnic supper to take along - and picked up a dashing bathing for Lulu at the world's best Walmart in Crawfordville.

There were only 3 or 4 families on the sand as we arrived around 5 - and they left pretty soon giving us the beach to ourselves. Can you imagine miles of white sand beaches in Florida with warm water and no people? Well that is what we had. 

We stayed until well past sundown - we were tempted to stay in our tent to see if anyone would roust us. But in the dark - we pulled up stakes - folded the poles and rolled up the tent. Lulu drove home - and in less than an hour - we were showered and ready for bed. 

We found someone to take our picture - this is looking east.

The sunset can be seen through Lulu's hair - looking west. In this photo I used a flash because I was shooting into the sun.

Tallahassee to Alligator Point is 40 miles. Traffic is nonexistent on the 2 lane highway - 319.

Gary Shiver's Latest Project

In the woods north of Tallahassee - Gary Shiver is on to his next project. After finishing our home - he moved onto a commercial property. Now he is building this beautiful barn/play house for his friend. 

Upstairs - there is a finished workshop for the wife. On one side is a giant screened in room with a stone fireplace. A workshop is on the first floor - and a place for cars and trucks.

Harry - Gary - the Owner

Step go up to the second floor on the attic.

The building is being covered with rough cut vertical pine planks.

The fireplace is a stainless feel wood burning unit. It will be covered with stone.

The metal roof has a large overhang.

The fireplace will be in a giant screened party room.

Steps to the loft.

Gary Wayne and Josh 

Sawing rough cut lumber - lots of splinters.

The Prius made an appearance.

This is the north side facing the road.

This is a classic Cracker Style barn

Working in the screened party room.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

It Looks Like A Mole Attacked Our Yard

The moles were active at Seminole View.

Do you remember the Looney Tunes of the 1950s? I loved the ones about the moles that would dig up yards making furrows that looked like railroad tracks. This weekend our yard looks like one of those cartoons. 

This trencher did the hard work of digging up our yard.

I rented a trencher. It is a really neat device that digs a trench for wires and pipes. For $80 a day - you can make these neat little tranches without butchering your lawn too much. I can't get my moneysworth any more - I have to stop for a lot of rests. I probably picked the hottest and most humid time to dig. The local rental shop give you a break if you rent on a Friday -you pay one day - and you get to use the tool the whole weekend. That was a good thing - because my job went slower than I expected. I would go broke as an electrician. 

Friday, July 25, 2014

Mower Sale Took Three Days

Mr. Cox from Crestview FL

New $100 Bills With Holograms

I got a text message from a guy in Crestview FL last night around 9 PM. Crestview is 100 miles away - just off I-10. It is where my former students Earl and Jean Eidem live. 

The guy said he would be over at 7 AM with his truck - trailer - and $1200 in cash. This morning at 7 AM - he took a test mow and drove it right up onto his trailer. Right now the mower is heading west on the Interstate at about 65 miles per hour. 

Tuesday I bought my new mower. I advertised it on Craigslist right away. One fellow came by with his truck and $1000. I felt guilty not selling it - Lulu said I should have settled. Today I am $200 richer. 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Today We Bought A New John Deere Mower

New mower on left - old mower on right - already on craigslist for $1200.

I had to wait until 1998 when I was 50 years old to get my first riding mower. I was recovering from cancer surgery and Lulu was feeling sorry for me. I got a Honda 1011 Rider with a 30 inch blade. When we moved to Tallahassee in 2004 - we decided to hire a lawn service for $45 a week - and we sold the Honda. 

In 2010 we bought the brick house with the 1.4 acre lot and a bought a John Deere 48 inch wide belly mower. It has served us well. Usually I could mow the lawn in a little over an hour. In 4 years I used it for 125 hours - cutting the lawns of both of our Seminole Drive homes. 

I always envied those "bump steer" mowers - the ones that have two tillers. Since we are now "cracker rich" from selling the other house - I decided it was time to get one of those little sports car types of a lawnmower. I have been shopping quite a while. 

The official name of the type of mower is a zero turn. By pushing one handle forward and the other one back - you can turn on a dime. I remember as a kid - at the fair the farmers would do tractor square dancing. With one of these zero turn mowers you could be a ballerina. 

Monday, July 21, 2014

We Stopped in Rural Retreat VA To Visit Brother Jackie

This is Jackie and Tami's ranch home - high in the mountains of Virginia. I purchased that van in Florida for Jack. They converted it into a camper - with stove - frig - bed - toilet - AC - generator.

A propane tank helps power the house in winter. The synthetic wooden deck is really nice. We had supper there. In the tent is Jackie's childhood car - a 1980 Pontiac Fiero.

The barn has two tractors inside. The garden was in full bloom.

The white door is a private entrance to the basement. It could easily be a nice full separate apartment. the French doors into into a big hot tub spa room.

We ate breakfast at a quaint little country diner - note the sign about Rural Retreat. 

Lulu's brother Jack Cox left the Tamaqua Valley early and moved south. He ended up in a town called Rural Retreat VA. It was once the Cabbage Capital of the world. Now it is just a small Appalachian town of 1400 people. Jack is a manager at a plastic plant just down the road. 

Rural Retreat sits high in the mountains. In the winter it is a south capital - but during our visit - the weather was beautiful. It was clear and sunny and at night it dropped down to 48 degrees.

Jack has lived in this brick ranch home for 10 years. He is very handy - doing most of the work on the home himself or with the help of Tami. The main floor has real oak hardwood floors. It has a full finished basement with an exercise room and a bar room - plus two bathrooms. Out back - he built a deck of synthetic wood that is made at his plant. The deck is 3 years old and looks like brand new. No weathering - no paint - no wood rot. The house has several fireplaces and stoves for the long cold - snowy winter. 

They have a garden and grow a wealth of fruits and vegetables. They have two tractors - one for mowing their large yard - the other one for plowing the driveway. 

Rural Retreat is just a mile off Interstate 81 in Virginia. 

We Visited The Tesla Supercharger in Tifton GA

On the way home from visiting Drew - Keith - and Jackie - we stopped at the newest Tesla charging station  in Tifton GA. It is right along I-75 behind the Starbucks. There are 8 "pumps" where you can plug any electric car in to re-charge it. 

Tesla has put up 96 of these free charging stations - free to owners of Tesla autos. By this time next year they plan to have almost every one within 50 miles of one of these stations. If we had a plug-in Prius - we could charge it there too. 

It is really just a fancy thick extension cord. It can charge the car to 80% full in 20 minutes. Range is about 300 miles on a charge. 

Tifton is less than 100 miles from our home. To go from Atlanta to Orlando - one could stop here to get a charge and complete the trip. 

The Tesla starts at $70000 - although at the dealership most of them had a $90000 sticker on them. Tesla is a great car - fast - safe - quiet - luxurious - energy efficient. I would love one but cannot justify the cost - even with free "fuel."

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Fwd: The Tifton, GA Supercharger is Now Open

The Tifton, GA Supercharger is Now Open

Tesla Superchargers are now just a road trip away.
Visit to learn more about Tesla Supercharging and Model S.

The Tifton, GA Supercharger is Now Open
Tifton Supercharger
1204 U.S. 82 Tifton, GA 31794
Located at Starbucks
24 hrs/day
Charging Stalls - 8

The planet's fastest charging station is now just a road trip away! We are excited to announce our third Supercharger in Georgia. The Tifton Supercharger enables direct trips between Atlanta and the Florida Panhandle using only Superchargers. It is also part of a growing series of Superchargers that will support travel along Interstate 75 throughout Florida and Georgia for free, for life.

Incredibly Fast, Always Free
Superchargers can recharge half the capacity of Model S in as little as 20 minutes and are strategically placed to allow owners the ability to drive from station to station while minimizing stops. Superchargers are conveniently located off major highways near cafes, shopping centers and travel plazas.

Ready for a Test Drive?
Visit one of our local stores, or request a test drive online today.

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Saturday, July 12, 2014

Lulu Is 60 Today

Picture Taken on our June cruise.

The eternal teenager has admitted she is a little elder than she looks. Lulu turned 60 today. I say that with pride because of how good she looks - and how funny she acts. She had led a very full life and it has only started. 

Now that she is 60 and I am 66 - the age difference does not see too bad. When we eloped in 1971 - it was a scandal. I had just finished my first full year of teacher - and Lulu had a year of high school left. 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Testing The Emissions On Your Car

In Florida - we do not have to have the pollution equipment checked on our cars. We also do not have any inspection stickers at all. Before you start whining about safety - etc - accidents in Florida are like everywhere else. Accidents are caused by the nut behind the wheel. 

If you are a backyard mechanic - you can alter your car almost anyway you want. If you draw the ire of a state cop you may be cited for something like windows tinted too darkly. 

I took this picture of Jiffy Smog in Las Vegas. You drive up - they test your car - give you a sticker. There are all sorts of things you can do to trick the test. So it turns out being another waste of money. In my opinion - when someone says they are doing something to protect you - cover your wallet. 

I guess those orange cones make it look more official. 

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Charleston and Fort Sumter

This statue is in Battery Park - Charleston. It honors those that defended the city against the Yankees.

Charleston is a beautiful southern city with so much history. People do not realize how important it was to have forts around the perimeter of the USA. If you held the fort at the mouth of the harbor - no ships could pass - in or out. 

In 1861 - the federal government manned all the forts around country. The rebels of South Carolina sought to control their harbor and attacked Fort Sumter. The war had commenced. South Carolina left the union mainly because Abraham Lincoln was elected. Lincoln believed that slavery was wrong. But Lincoln claimed he wanted to keep the union together - even if some states had slaves. 

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Watching The Grandkids In Richmond

Drew running the 5 kilometer race

Monday we drove from Charles SC to Richmond VA. We will be staying here the next 6 days - we are watching the grandkids.

Drew and Robin are celebrating their 10th wedding anniversary. They are going to Turks and Caicos for a few days and also for a night on Miami South Beach where they lived for 5 years and where Drew proposed getting married.

I just took them to the airport. they will fly to Miami - spend a night - and then catch a plane to Turks and Caicos. The islands are east of Cuba. It is hot but relatively dry there.

We got into Richmond just in time to see Drew complete in a neighborhood 5 kilometer race (3 miles). We were surprised to see him average 7 minutes and 40 seconds per mile. I have always said I want to run and 8 minute mile before I die.

Drew and Robin look exactly the same as they did 10 years ago at their wedding. Considering they are busy raising a 6 year old and a 3 year old - that is pretty good.

It was 97 degrees and the kids cooled him off with water guns.

The honeymoon will be spent in Turks and Caicos

The race was held at the local elementary school just down the street from their home.

Monday Morning At The Citadel in Charleston

You know what they say about guys with Corvettes - we saw 4 parked on campus.

This ring played a big part in the TV show House of Cards

For discipline you walk the quad - touching every square.

Charleston is a beautiful city. It is also the home of the writer Pat Conroy and The Military College of South Carolina - The Citadel.

If you judge a school by its campus - The Citadel is one of the best colleges in America. Some would argue that it is the heart of the Confederacy. The Civil War started here when the rebels fired on Fort Sumter. This once was the state capital and 40% of the slaves came in through this gateway. Many states have had military colleges similar to West Point - this one seems to be the one to hold onto those old values the most.

Sunday, July 06, 2014

One Night In Downtown Charleston SC - On Way To Grandkids

The US Custom House in Charleston SC

About 400 miles up the road from Tallahassee is Charleston SC. At one time 40% of all the slaves that came to America came through this port. In the harbor is Fort Sumter. In 1861 - the Civil War started here when the rebels attacked the fort being held by a skeleton crew of Yankees. It fell quickly - giving the other Southern states the bravado to rebel.

Today - Charleston is the beautiful home of the Citadel - South Carolina's military college. Downtown is one of the most charming cities in America.

We are staying at the Doubletree Hotel on Market Street next to where many slaves were brought on shore and sold in the markets. The French Quarter reminds one of a cleaner New Orleans without the loud music and boozing. At the dock you can take the ferry to Fort Sumter.

Tomorrow we will get up early - tour the Citadel - then drive 400 miles north to Richmond VA - where Drew - Robin - Jack and Kate live. We will spend a week there watching the kids - while the honeymooners celebrate their 10th anniversary.

On Our Trip North To See Kids And Grandkids

It is 1 pm. We have gone 250 miles with 150 more to Charleston. The Prius has be giving us a whopping 50 miles per gallon going 66 mph.

Lulu is driving now - traffic has been mild and weather is dry and 84.

Lulu got a 5 star Doubletree on points for tonight right on Marion Square down town. We should be there by 4 pm check in time.

We plan to walk the city - tour the Citadel - and have a nice supper.

Charleston is 400 miles from home and 400 miles from Richmond.

It is clouding up now a bit and may rain soon. Now the first drops have hit the windshield.

Yesterday I took the Prius for service. They noted a water pump that showed signs of leakage so we replaced it. I also had a new coach battery installed and changed all the filters.

I am not find of interstate highway driving but it sure gets you from place to place fast. At 66 mph you can get in the right lane and never have to pass.

I will keep you updated on our progress.


Thursday, July 03, 2014