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Monday, December 24, 2018

Lulu's Christmas Tree - On The Way To Tamaqua

We are spending Christmas in Washington DC with the family. Next stop is back home in Tamaqua for a few days. Lulu had to leave her Christmas tree behind - but I thought you would like to see her and some of her ornaments. 

We hope to have a Merry Christmas - and the best New Year ever. 

Here are some of Lulu's ornaments - and where she got them. 


Athens, Greece

Cocoa Beach, FL                

Sedona, AZ (gift from Drew and Keith who attended the Fiesta Bowl 1999

New Zealand

Tamaqua Elementary Santa's Secret Shop 1985

Canada Cruise - Maine

Gift from Ruthann Busolits - Bedford Springs is where Keith and Liz held their wedding.

Ben and Jerry's ice cream plant, Vermont

Berlin, 2015

Brooklyn, NY, 1996

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

All Dressed Up And Somewhere To Go - Home To Pennsylvania For The Holidays

All Dressed up and ready to go - 2004 Dodge Roadtrek

When retired - one often says "All Dressed up and nowhere to go." Yesterday - I was busy dressing up our motorhome for a road trip north to Pennsylvania for the holidays. For so many years - we lived up north and we made the long trip south to the Sunshine State. Now we will welcome the Winter Solstice - waking up in our camper hopefully covered with snow. I wonder if I can still drive in it.

We will stop to see friends and family in North Carolina - Virginia - Washington DC - and Delaware. We will be staying at the Residence Inn north of town when we arrive at Tamaqua. Of course we want to experience snow - but will pull over for highway storms. If we are marooned - we have bathroom - kitchen - king bed - TV - and furnace.

Yesterday - I spent the day washing and waxing everything. I used a new wax you can see in the picture below. It is highly ranked and is easy to wipe on and wipe off. Using a step ladder - I was even able to get the roof.

Our camper is a Roadtrek - made in Canada by Hymer - a German Company. They are prepared for cold weather. We will see. For Christmas - Lulu got me a rear/front camera system. It gives a full 3 lane view out back - and recording capability - out front - out back - and inside. Maybe we will try a little Camper Karaoke.

The three top windows are the Roadtrek trademark

The camper is 14 years old - has 18,000 miles on it.
I have replaced the tires - shock absorbers - battery - and brakes. Inside we added a 24 inch flat screen TV - a 1500 watt inverter to produc 120 volt AC power - and two coach AGM batteries.

The camper is just 19 feet long and fits a a normal meter space. In that space is stuffed - a king bed - furnace - TV - microwave - generator - stove - sink - hot water - shower - toilet - two tables - closet - cabinets - tons of lights - electrical outlets - two fans with vents - GPS - and rear view camera.

I used Car Guy Hybrid Wax on the entire camper. It can be used on paint - chrome - fiberglass - plastic - glass. It is easy to wipe on and wipe off. The fiberglass roof sparkles - I did it with a step ladder. It also did a nice job on the wooden cabinets inside. 

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Installing Rear View Video Monitor In My Roadtrek Camper

Rear Monitor - Finished Installation
2004 Dodge Roadtrek - 18,000 miles

Santa left an early Christmas present for us. I just installed a rear view video system. It is an Auto Vox A-1. It has front and rear view cameras that record the action.

We are driving north for the holidays in our camper. One of the things about driving a camper is limited visibility out back. This rear view camera gives us full three lane wide visibility out the back.

It took about 2 hours to install it - mainly finding a way to route the video wire to the back. After that it is just plug and play. It has touch screen controls.

You can follow along as we travel north and use the camera.


We completed a 2500 miles trip form Florida to Pennsylvania and back - using the rear camera system. It worked fine. I moved the camera to outside on the rear door using a sticky bracket - no holes. The wire goes thru the weather stripping - no leaking. We experienced lots of rain - and there was no leakage. Sometimes the rain would blur the lens.

Overall - the view was great. I did not cut in front of anybody. I had a clear view of all 3 lanes behind me. It was great for backing up too. We had the curtains across the rear view glass - but still had a perfect view. For $200 - it is a nice system. The camera also recorded the whole trip - front view and back view. I did not use the recording for anything - but it was neat having.

It was a Christmas present from my wife - a great one - I intend to keep it.

The installation with the open wire path

The complete installation

Interior camera and microphone

Front view

Monday, December 10, 2018

This Tangerine Was Picked 10 Minutes Ago

Lulu just picked these tangerines.

Lulu just made lunch.  She just picked a couple tangerines and came in from outside shivering because it is 47 degrees and cloudy.

About 3 years ago - we planted 5 citrus trees. With the exception of the kumquat tree - each tree has produced some beautiful fruit - oranges - tangerines - lemons - grapefruits. The trees only stand about 6 feet tall - but they produce very sweet fruit. Usually my favorite is a lemon for my hot tea - but in my old age I am experimenting with other alternatives.

When you peel the skin off a tangerine - the fragrance reminds me of an old Coal Regions Christmas. It was a treat to find a tangerine in the bottom of your Christmas stocking back in the 1950s in Tamaqua. We used to try real hard to take the peelings off in one big piece.

Sunday, December 09, 2018

FSU Beats UConn in Newark NJ - 79-71

Senior Terrance Mann Scored 20 and had 9 rebounds

Florida State is 8-1 this season and have some pretty impressive victories including last night's 79-71 over the University of Connecticut. Lulu and I enjoyed it right here in our living room - the game was part of a tournament in Newark NJ. 

Team leader Terrance Mann scored 20 points and had 9 rebound - not bad for a guy that does a lot of the point guard duties. 

FSU has taken on some strong early season talent - LSU - Purdue. Their only lost has been a close game with national champion Villanova in the Bahamas. FSU has been doing all this without the service of their high returning leading scorer Phil Cofer who has a foot injury. 

The Seminoles are ranked Number 11 this year - and are coached by Leonard Hamilton. The future Hall of Fame coach has been the leader at FSU for 17 years. Only 2 of his players have not gotten their degrees. That is an amazing statistic in the world of college basketball - where many players play one year and go to the NBA. Coach Hamilton is 72.

The Seminoles are the third winningest team in the ACC since they joined in 1992. 

Perennial front runner Duke plays here in mid January. I am guessing that is one game we won't get in for $5.

Apple Wireless Earphones - AirPods - Why This Old Guy Bought Them

At $170 an ounce -
more expensive than drugs

Airpods have been out for two years. They seemed very nice - but the $170 price tag scared me away. Read on to find out what feature changed my mind.

I have been hard of hearing since I was tested in school back in 7th grade. In those days there was not much they could do for me but yell at me - and they did :-)

I just went overboard and bought a pair of Apple AirPods for myself for $170. My son had a pair for over a year and marveled at them - I just thought they were too darn much money. But I found out about one special feature that put me on board. 

First - I will say - they are a work of art. The case is a beautiful jewel - if they put it on a string - you could wear it as a necklace :-) It is so practical - functional - beautiful. It feels so good in your hands. Like a talisman. 

Saturday, December 08, 2018

We Toured The Florida Governors Mansion

Florida Governors Mansion - built in 1956

Lulu in the library on the main floor
Yesterday we toured the Florida Governor's Mansion. It is available free for groups of 20 or more. Our friends Lena and Aaron Seiler organized this tour. It was beautiful sunny weather as we gathered at the mansions front gate off Adams Street. On the other end of Adams Street is the Florida State Capitol. 

Presently - the mansion is occupied by Rick Scott. He has been governor for 8 years. He is a multimillionaire with a mansion near Tampa - so he seldom spends time here. Our new governor Ron DeSantis will live here in January. He is young - has two babies - and they will childproof the mansion. 

The mansion was built in 1956. At that time Florida had 2 million people and had 5 million visitors a year. Today Florida has 21 million people - and it is the third largest state behind California and Texas. If trends continue - we will be the second most populous state in 2030. 150 million people visit Florida every year. Florida taxes are based on real estate tax and sales tax. We charge 7.5% sales tax and 10% hotel tax - two things tourists pay. 

Florida became the 27th state in 1845. Before that it was a territory since 1821. The biggest problem then was fighting off the Seminole Indians. Some locals think the biggest problem today is fighting off tourists. 

Back to the mansion. Our curator gave us a wonderful tour of the whole main floor. Upstairs is a private residence. The basement has functional rooms. The main floor had a beautiful dining room - library - living room - guest room - and a "Florida Room" which is an old enclosed porch. There is a swimming pool out back along with a large party garden. The place is surrounded by an iron fence with gates - and support buildings.