Fire Cloud...
An irregular marking on the exterior of Native American pottery: usually resulting from burning fuel coming in direct contact with the vessel during firing

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Happy Birthday to Me

Clayton, New York

Up at 4AM. I forgot it was my birthday until I checked my email and saw that two cruise lines had remembered.

The seven grandchildren skyped me later in the morning to wish me a happy birthday.

Mrs. Phred took me on a three mile hike in the woods on Wellesley Island, which is on the St. Laurence River, not far from Lake Huron.

Any birthday where you wake up alive is a good one.

Later, we had ice cream and took a nice nap.

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Good Morning, Vietnam

This is a travel blog, so I am pleased to announce that Mrs. Phred has concocted a plan to visit my old stomping grounds (Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand).

First we'll fly into Bangkok on December 4th. I'll probably be better behaved with Mrs. Phred in tow than I was back at age 24.

After a few days we fly to Chiang Mai north of Bangkok. Mrs. Phred's cousin is a world famous concert pianist who lives somewhere around there. I think he commutes on an elephant. We'll rent a car there and drive to Northeast Thailand to visit the opium warlords in that area.

Ho Chi Minh City was called Saigon the last time I was there. We'll poke around a few days and then transfer to a river boat on the Mekong River. We have stops in Châu Ðôc, Cu Lao Gien, Sa Dec, Cái Bè, My Tho, Siem Reap ,Phnom Penhm, Tonle Sap, Kampong Chhnang and Kampong Cham.

We finish up in Hanoi, which was strictly available only by air (no landing) the last time I was in the area.

Saturday, 3 September 2011

It's Been One of Those Days

Clayton, New York

 It started with a failure of the inverter. That's tied in to all the television equipment (both TVs, the automatic satellite dish, the satellite receiver, the DVD). The inverter supplies AC power to all that from the batteries or by passing though AC from the generator or from shore power. The inverter is supposed to have a smart switch that allows all that stuff to function even when the inverter fails or is turned off. Mrs. Phred found the manual and I was able to restart the inverter. She gave me a kiss of gratitude that she could watch tennis.

Meanwhile, we started browning out on bad shore power. Our smart power manager kept flipping between 30 and 50 amp readings and only one A/C would work even with the electric water heater switched over to propane. I switched over to the RVs generator and everything worked fine. The meter we were plugged into was very hot so we moved rather than to risk burning out our electronics with bad voltage.

We usually have to use the hydraulic jacks to get leveled. This time everything shifted and one of the jacks twisted and started pumping out hydraulic fluid. That's why the RV manual says not to use the jacks to lift the wheels off ground. Duh!..... I'll get down under the RV and take a look, but I think we may be back to driving the wheels up on blocks of wood for awhile to get level.....

To complicate things I accidentally ran a hose to the black water flush fitting after we moved and forget to turn the valve off. After awhile the 42 gallon tank filled up  and started pouring off the roof. Fortunately, the sodium bicarbonate and laundry detergent I've been adding to the tank has made it clean as a whistle and the overflow off the roof was clear and odorless.

Oh Yeah...My 6-love losing streak to Mrs Phred in tennis is now up to ten sets.  We both get practice from playing frequently, but it seems to do her more good than it does me.

Friday, 2 September 2011

Ecclesiates 8:15

Kingston, Ontario

We took a pair of ferries north to Kingston today. I got a haircut, some used books and a Canadian Beer that cost $6.20 plus tip.

Between the ferries is Wolfe Island, which had hundreds of windmills to catch the breeze off Lake Ontario. My barber moved here in 1963 from Greece. He suggested Steam Whistle as a good Canadian beer.

My cousin's wife, Midge,  gave me a nice reference bible back in Watkins Glen. I think maybe that it has something for everyone. It's a very strange, ancient and interesting book. I plan to read the whole thing....

I was especially  interested in Ecclesiates 8:15. " ..A man has no better thing under the sun, than to eat, and to drink, and to be merry; for that will abide with him of his labor the days of his life...

Then I found Ecclesiates 9:7. " Go thy way. Eat thy bread with joy and drink thy wine with a merry heart..." and Ecclesiates 9:9. " Live joyfully with the wife whom thy lovest ..." Cool stuff... great advice...I'll read more...

Thursday, 1 September 2011

The Thousand Islands

Clayton, New York

I think I'm a target for gang stalkers. Every time that I pull out on the highway, they're laying in wait to get right next to my back bumper and follow me everywhere I go. Sometime they work in shifts and one will pass and another takes up the harassment. Usually they drive white vans and wear black baseball caps. Sometimes they're in SUVs or pickup trucks.

The grapes are getting ripe.

After the hurricane passed, there were some nice sunsets.

We came to visit Carol's sister, Jil, and her husband, Tom.

They introduced us to Tom's high school friend, Chuck, and his wife Suzanne. They have a cottage on The River and a boat only a few hours from their home in Rochester.  They took an old, rundown place and turned it into a beautiful cottage.  Chuck was very interesting. He took us for a long boat ride,  fed us lunch and we discussed navigation. 

This area is known for its classic wooden boats and the great wooden boat racer, Gar Wood. More on him later.

There are really a thousand islands along the river. You can buy your own island on either the U.S. or Canadian side and build your own castle.

That's Tom.

The Lustgarten sisters (Jil and Mrs. Phred) have some gross gestalt similarities. Every time we went out to eat some stranger would say "are you related?" or "it's nice to see sisters out together".

Some of the nicer cottages are up at the tip of Wellesly Island where we spent a week last summer.

We stopped in this place, called the Boateak. It's right next to a big old Bordello on the river that closed down in the 1920s. Back then the male tourists would go on fishing trips and spend the day. It's nice that the nature of the average man has changed over the years. Mrs. Phred bought a necklace.