Summer Travel Map

Monday, November 26, 2007

Off to Florida

November 26, 2007
Lake Park, GA

Well, we’re back on the road again…

Sunday was a cold and gray day in Albertville. We stopped by to see Mom in the morning, and Rick made turkey soup for lunch. After lunch, Alyson left for school in Mobile and we headed out as well. We had made arrangements to stop at our friends, Linda and Wendell, in Birmingham. It only took a couple of hours to get there, so we were able to enjoy the afternoon and have dinner with them. We parked the coach in their driveway (a tight fit but manageable), and were all set to leave in the morning.

We left Birmingham just before 10:00 AM, and found our way through some back roads to I-20. Outside Atlanta, we used the I-285 bypass to I-75 South, and were congratulating ourselves on not getting bogged down in traffic. The last time we passed through that way, in early June, we got caught for over 2 hours on I-20 just before I-285 due to an accident. Of course, we were premature in congratulating ourselves, as we soon ran into a severe slowdown on I-75 well south of Atlanta. Fortunately, it didn’t last too long and we were cruising at 60.5 MPH again in about 20 minutes.

We had rain most of the day, some light and some heavy. I thought it was going to clear in the late afternoon, and there ended up being an absolutely beautiful sunset as we got to South Georgia. Unfortunately, as soon as the sun went down, the rain came back. It rained pretty hard as we arrived at our overnight stop, a Flying J truck stop. We filled up and parked with the other RVs for the night. There are quite a few more RVs on the road this week. All the way East from Arizona, we commented on how few RVs and trucks there were in the rest areas and travel plazas. It must have been a pre-holiday lull, because traffic is way up this week.

We had one little problem today. Somewhere along the highway, the electrical connection for the lights on the Range Rover came unplugged. I noticed that the lights on the car weren’t working in the rear-view camera, so I checked at our next rest stop. Of course, the connection was completely gone from rubbing on the ground for however long. I picked up a new plug in the Flying J store, and I’ll temporarily wire it in tomorrow morning before we leave.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

A quiet few days, with Thanksgiving and Turkey Day

November 24, 2007
Albertville, AL

Given that Erik was marching in it, we watched the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on TV. I think it was the first time I’ve actually watched the whole thing, to be honest. It’s usually on but my short attention span causes me to lose focus at some point. We also watched the dog show, but that was probably because we weren’t ready to head over to the nursing home yet to see Mom (guilt, guilt). We stopped over there for a while in the afternoon, and she was doing better, sitting up and watching TV. She seems to have lost the remote for the TV, but somebody must have turned it on for her.

Thursday may have been Thanksgiving but not “Turkey Day” for us. Since it was just Geri, Alyson and myself, we made a pork roast. It was cold and rainy out (temperatures dropping to near 40°F in the afternoon), so I decided to pass on grilling it, but it came out fine in the oven with roasted potatoes and Geri’s sautéed carrots.

Yesterday (Friday), the weather cleared but it turned even colder, below freezing overnight. It was a sunny and brisk fall day, just like we remember from living in New England (and part of the reason we love wintering in Arizona). In the morning, I did some odd jobs (replaced a mangled fitting on Rick’s garden hose, lubricated their garage door) after a quick trip to Lowe’s and the local Food Land grocery for some last-minute items. We visited with Mom in the afternoon, but she was tired and wanted to nap so we didn't stay long.

Rick and Annette got home late in the afternoon; their flights from Albany to Baltimore and on to Birmingham were uneventful and on time, thank goodness. Since they were traveling, we’d volunteered to make dinner. We planned ahead and brought the filet mignons with us from home. I’d bought a whole beef tenderloin at Costco, and trimmed it up and vacuum packed it before we left. Annette’s parents (Gerry and Lois) joined us for dinner, so the only one missing was Erik (he had to ride the band bus back from NYC).

Rick’s making the turkey dinner today (Saturday) since everyone’s back in town from New York. And it’s already in the oven and starting to fill the house with nice aromas. Geri and Annette are brave enough to be out shopping (is it “Gray Saturday” after “Black Friday”?), and Annette’s parents will join us again for dinner.

I spent a bit of time over the last few days working on our travel plan for the rest of the trip. Before we left Arizona, I had enough details mapped out to get us here. I thought it’d be a good idea to get us back home, especially since Geri has a doctor’s appointment on December 6th. That means we need to get home early enough on the 5th to unload and get the coach into storage. When mapping out a route like this, I like to make sure we know where we’re going to get fuel and sleep. Food, we usually bring with us. I list out all the rest areas as well, so we know where we can easily stop for meals and bio-breaks. In our case, I also had to make accommodations for a detour, since a big part of I-10 in Louisiana will be closed due to a gas well explosion. I’ve got us mapped out in a way that will allow us to add an extra day to the trip somewhere. This will be good, since I’d like to break up the drive across the country. Maybe we'll stop in San Antonio and see the Alamo.

Well, gotta pack up and put my trip planning stuff (atlas, rest area guide, exit services guide) away before Geri gets home…

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

We're Heee-re...

November 21, 2007
Albertville, AL

We arrived in Albertville today as scheduled (+/- 10 minutes - not bad for an 1,800 mile drive).

Yesterday was another straight drive, just with an early start. We had stopped for the night just west of Ft Worth, and I wanted to get an early start to avoid traffic. We hit the road just after 5:00 AM, and were able to successfully get to the east of the city before too much traffic was on the road.

We had pretty good driving conditions, with the exception of bad roads in populated areas (Shreveport, Vicksburg, Jackson). There wasn't as much traffic as we'd expected, and even the construction zones didn't generate too much of a delay.

Last night, we made it to the Alabama line on I-20. We stopped at the state Welcome Center. We had stopped there before (as we had at several of our stops on this trip), so we knew there would be plenty of parking. There was and it was relatively quiet. Or maybe we were just tired after 3 days on the road. We parked next to another RV and they were gone in the morning when we got up, and we didn't hear a thing.

As we continued east through Mississippi and into Alabama, we saw more foliage; leaves were falling all along our route. We stopped for provisions in Attalla just off the Interstate, and rolled into Albertville around 2:00 PM, just as it started to rain.

Once we were set up, we headed for the nursing home to visit Mom. She was getting ready to take a nap, so we interrupted that, but she stayed awake to talk a little bit. She's still pretty weak and it's sooo hard to hear her when she tries to talk, but she was more alert than I'd expected her to be. We're not sure she knew who we were, but she was polite about it anyway. We'll stop back tomorrow after we watch the parade.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Still in Texas

November 19, 2007
New Salem, TX

Today was an uneventful driving day, unless you're Maya Lynn. We got an early start and drove exactly as planned. At our first rest stop, we walked the pups and Maya got a load of burrs stuck in her fur and paws. I have no idea how she got so many (probably 30+) and Merlin got essentially none, since they walked in the same grass. She was having a lot of discomfort, and it took 10 minutes to find and remove all the burrs from her, and from my pants legs.

We drove right through the heart of Texas oil country (Odessa and Midland). It doesn't help with prices, of course. The truck stops right around the Midland refinery don't even display their prices (around $3.29 for diesel) on their big neon signs. Chickens.

As we continued east, the oil fields gave way to cotton fields (just like around Phoenix). We saw a couple of large wind farms for electricity generation, one operating and one under construction. It was ironic to see alternative energy installations i nthe shadow on an iconic image of big oil. On the other hand, we've seen absolutely no sign of biodiesel or ethanol. Too bad...

We're stopping for the night just west of Ft Worth, and we'll leave pre-dawn to get past Dallas before traffic gets too bad.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Greetings from Texas

November 18, 2007
Anthony (El Paso), TX

We hit the road today, just about on schedule (we were about 10 minutes behind our planned 10:00 AM departure). It was a beautiful day for driving: no/low winds, reasonable temperatures, little traffic and no construction delays. We’ll pay for this, I’m sure! :-)

Our route took us from the RV Park east on AZ-74, south on I-17 right through Phoenix, and then east on I-10 for the rest of the day. Actually, we’ll continue to follow I-10 for a good chunk of tomorrow as well.

We stopped for fuel in Eloy, AZ, about 60 miles east of Phoenix, because I like to start out close to a full tank, and our last fill-up was in Kingman after we left Las Vegas in October. We entered and crossed southern New Mexico through the day, and made it to the NM-Texas border just after dark. We pulled into a Flying J truck stop at “exit zero” in Texas (it’s right on the border), adjusted all the clocks to Central Standard Time, fixed up a nice dinner of pasta (pre-made at home just for travel purposes), and had a nice Chianti. We're about as far west in Texas as possible and, speaking of borders, we're less than 15 miles from Mexico. Tomorrow, as we go through El Paso, we'll be able to see the Rio Grande (here, it's anything but) and Ciudad Juárez on the other side right from the Interstate.

We’ll call it an early night and get a quick start (after a dog walk and a coffee run) in the morning. We’ll follow I-10 to the western terminus of I-20 and then head toward Dallas. We’ll stop just short of “the big D” tomorrow night, and try to beat the traffic around the city before dawn on Tuesday. We’re on target to get to Alabama early Wednesday afternoon.

A concert to remember

November 17, 2007
Peoria, AZ

Even though we were planning to leave the next day, we had a concert to go to in Phoenix Saturday night. I'm not sure whatever possessed me to buy tickets to the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, but I did. I made dinner reservations at Kinkaid's in the Collier Center downtown (right across the street from the concert venue, the US Airways Center), so everything was close.

We closed up the house in the morning and took everything to the coach. I know I've mentioned it before, but I'd expected the RV park to be closer to home; the 35-to-40 minute ride is what I get for eyeballing it on the map instead of calculating it by computer like I usually do.

We showered and changed, and left the pups in the coach while we went to the concert. Dinner was nice but pricey (to be expected, I suppose). I think that Kincaid's is a chain; we used to have business dinners at one in Norfolk, VA, years ago.

The concert was interesting. Picture yourself in the '80s. Then imagine Journey, Pink Floyd, and Metallica all getting together to put on a concert telling the story of Christmas, with a light show that would make an epileptic seize. Well, that was the first half of the show. The second half was an eclectic mix ranging from a guitar duel between "Jimmie" and "Stevie Ray", a version of Beethoven's Fifth, and music from Charlie Brown. Yikes!

Overall it was fun and interesting, and we were glad we went, even if it was close to midnight when we got home (to the coach). We're definitely not used to that!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Just about ready to roll

November 14, 2007
Peoria, AZ

We’ve had a productive few days, and we’re pretty much ready to leave on Sunday. I’ve caught up on a few projects around the house and Geri’s got a lot of stuff packed.

Monday, we made a “shopping run”. With fuel prices on the rise again (we paid $3.099 for premium at Costco this week), we definitely make sure that we pack as much as possible into each trip. We went to the Napa Auto Parts, Costco (gas plus shopping), Sportsman’s Wine, and AJ’s grocery. While we were out, I got a call from the local Freightliner shop that some axle seal parts I’d ordered were in, so we added that to the list of stops. I needed a couple of super-heavy-duty clamps to fix the coach’s turbo loop, and Freightliner had them as well (Napa didn’t).

Yesterday, we made our last pre-trip journey out to the coach. I changed the turbo clamps, and installed a storage frame that I fabricated to hold a couple of hoses in front of the generator. It’s always fun to find ways to maximize the storage space available, and I’ve had my eye on this space for a while. Weight distribution is also important, and this will allow me to move some weight forward, which is a plus for our situation. I also cut and installed a series of Plexiglas panels in the forward cabinets. Each of the cabinets over the couches and the dining room table has a boxed in area about 3” square in the rear, probably for running wires. The problem is that anything stored there tends to fall off. “Please use caution when opening the overhead storage compartments as items may have shifted during flight”; I used to hear this several times a week when I was traveling for work. By putting 4.5” Plexiglas in place vertically, I hope to reduce this problem.

Today, I started tackling a job I’ve been putting off. I mean really putting off. Ever since we bought the house, I’ve avoided cleaning the outside of the windows. Last year, I power washed the outside of the house, and then pretended that was good enough. Not so much, especially since the screens were filthy. I bought a good window cleaning kit (solution, cleaning head, squeegee), but then convinced myself that it was too late in the season (“we won’t be here and it’ll only be dirty again when we get back”). So, I knew I really needed to get this done early in our winter stay. I hooked up the power washer today, and got about 60% completed, which is good progress. I’m washing the house first (the stucco really holds the dirt) and that helps knock a lot of grime out of the window tracks at the same time. Then I remove the screens and fix any places where they’ve started to unravel. Then I wash the screens on both sides with the car washing brush and power wash to rinse. I can then use the window cleaning kit to get the glass, and by the time I’m done with that, the screens are dry enough to put back up (it helps to have less than 20% relative humidity). I power washed the sidewalk while I was at it and then did the driveway for good measure. I’ll finish up the rear of the house tomorrow, washing the patio and grill while I have the equipment out.

Monday, we made a new recipe that’s a “keeper”. Poached red snapper (we had to substitute red rock fish) with fennel, vermouth and orange vinaigrette, plus rice with peas and toasted pine nuts. A mouthful! And the food was great as well. We’ll be trying this one again, and it went well with a 1999 Savigny-les-Beaune Les Lavières (red burgundy) from Domaine Chandon de Brialles from the wine box.

Last night, Geri made a light meal: gourmet soup-and-sandwich. She made a wonderful French onion soup with cibatta croutons and brie. Since we made a run to Chili’s for lunch while we were at the coach, it was plenty.

Tonight, Geri made another excellent meal: creamy spaghetti with pancetta, carrots, and white beans. This is another “keeper”, and we’ll have enough left for dinner on Friday (no cooking before we head out). We had another excellent wine from the wine box, this one a 1999 (is it 1999 week?) Dolcetto di Dogliani from San Fereolo. We love Italian food and, of course, the wines. This one was exceptionally good. It was one we picked up in NYC, at a store called “Italian Wine Merchants” (clever, eh?) near Union Square that’s actually owned by Mario Batali. Excellent…

Saturday, November 10, 2007

A “Coach Day”

November 10, 2007
Peoria, AZ

Over the last few weeks, we’ve been heading out to the coach a few times to check on things and do some routine maintenance. It’s easier sometimes to take care of things when we’re not living there every day, but it’s a pain to have the “commute” to work. We’ve arranged for a storage space closer (and a whole lot cheaper) to the house for when we get back in December. I’ve been working out various lists of things to do: before Alabama/Florida, before January-February rallies, before we leave for the summer. It helps to prioritize.

Today it was things like adding water to the “maintenance free” batteries (you have to cut the covers on the caps with a knife to be able to get in there – they must assume people will just replace them without realizing they need to be checked after a few years), vacuuming out the basement bays, tracking down a pesky water leak (plastic fitting on the accumulator tank), lubricating all the sliding parts (battery trays, bay slide-outs, entry steps). You know the drill, a hundred little things that keep you walking back and forth to the toolbox.

Geri did more interior cleaning, working on a process for quickly and effectively doing the floors. We still need to work on the hardware – “Swiffer” heads don’t cut it, so next time we’ll try some of the pad cleaners I have for the outside of the coach.

We have maybe one more work trip to the coach before we head out a week from tomorrow. We’re leaving on the 18th for Alabama. We have a concert to go to on the 17th (Trans-Siberia Orchestra), so we’ll get everything loaded Saturday morning/afternoon, leave the pups at the coach while we go to the concert, and stay in the coach after the show so we can head out first thing on Sunday.

I spent quite a bit of time yesterday working on the travel plan, at least the eastbound leg. The planning process involves fuel, sleeping, eating and “resting”. I usually tackle fuel and sleep first, since they are the hardest to organize. We stop for fuel every 600-700 miles, and many of the major truck stops are spaced quite nicely for us. We tend to use Flying J Truck Stops for fuel, since we had a discount card that gives us 1 cent off the cash price (truck fuel stops still charge about 6 cents more for credit than cash). It’s not much these days on a percentage basis but, hey, we’ll take it.

Overnight stops are another story. If we can make it work in the schedule, it’s generally better to overnight at the fuel stops on a trip like this. There is usually a place to squeeze in between the 18-wheelers, and it’s sometimes easier than finding a spot at an Interstate rest area. Unfortunately, the planning so far makes the fuel stops too early in the day for the overnight stops, so I’ve identified rest areas that should work. We have a couple of things working in our favor in this area: we’ve been across the country several times so have some history in this area, we have RV directories that help identify rest and fuel stops, we use computer mapping software to lay everything out on a timeline, and we use Google Earth to actually look at the places we’re planning to stop at before we get there. I can tell exactly where we need to turn, and can gauge the size and shape of the parking facilities before we get there. How did we ever survive without these tools?

It’ll be interesting when we get to Alabama. Mom has been in the hospital since mid-week, and her condition has weakened to the point where the assisted-living facility can’t handle her. Rick’s arranged for her to move to a nursing home close to them when she’s discharged next week. We’ll have to get the rundown on the new place when we get there.

Well, that’s it for tonight…

Friday, November 9, 2007

Puttering on both "houses"

November 9, 2007
Peoria, AZ

The last few days have involved puttering with various projects. It's a little more complicated when there are two "homes" involved, with the Peoria house and the coach both needing a few things done.

On the "stick house" front, I've continued to work on the conversion off Cox cable. I have the new DirecTV HD dish mounted in a new, stronger, location out back, but ran into a technical snag that's brought that project to a halt. I did my research and purchased a new signal meter for aiming the dish. The old one I had in the coach when we used a manual dish isn't sophisticated enough to handle the new dish, which has to "see" 5 different satellites at the same time. Anyway, I found the right tool and ordered it, but the unit was DOA on arrival. So, I had to invest in several phone calls with the manufacturer to get a warranty return authorization. I started that process on Monday, and it was finally picked up by UPS this afternoon. Of course, the manufacturer won't send the new one out until they get the old one back. That means that the replacement won't arrive before we leave for Alabama on the 18th, so we'll have to impose on someone local to watch for the package.

In the meantime, I'll continue to work on the non-satellite portion of the program. Yesterday, I hooked up a network router that will allow us to have Internet access via a broadband data card. We'll be able to use that in the house and in the coach, where it'll be a back-up to the MotoSat dish. I bought the card when we were in Oregon and set it up to work in our notebook computers. The router will allow us both to access the Internet at the same time and to connect the printer as well.

The other portion of the program is to deploy an “over the air” antenna to get local HD channels. There are community rules against having any kind of non-dish antenna outside the house, so I’ll have to position it carefully. We need this add-on because we can get the locals for free without paying extra to DirecTV. This is important for the TVs in the kitchen and bedroom, where we usually watch network channels (local news, etc.). I’ve got to place the antenna in an appropriate spot and position a splitter to minimize the wire runs needed.

Wednesday was a “coach day”. I used the Bissell on the bedroom and dinette carpet again. It still doesn’t look completely clean but the thing picks up a lot of dirt, so I’ll hit it again when we get back in December. Geri cleaned most of the inside windows, and I did a few routine maintenance items. I’ve separated the list of things we need to do into those required before we head out next week, and those that will wait until we’re back in early-December.

We’ve had a few good meals this week, continuing our program of fresh ingredients and planning for leftovers (don’t you prefer pre-made, planned-ahead meals?). We found some nice sea bass at AJ’s, which I baked with a dusting of a chipotle-lime seasoning and served with a mushroom risotto. We also made a peppered flank steak from a Food Network recipe that looked interesting because of the sauce. Well, the sauce (a cabernet-balsamic reduction) was too acidic (made according to the recipe) and the flank was really tri-tip (an acceptable substitute), so it was OK but not a “keeper”. Wines have been off the “everyday rack”, so nothing special to report in that department.

Today, Geri gave the pups each a bath and I worked on our travel plan. We’re leaving on Sunday, the 18th, and should be in Albertville by Wednesday afternoon. I’ve purposely scheduled more stops and a slower speed to make the trip out manageable. We could make it sooner, but the strain isn’t worth it. We’ll have Thanksgiving with Mom (she’s back in the hospital this week, but hopefully she’ll be out by the holiday) and Alyson (she’ll be back from college and isn’t making the trip to NYC to see Erik in the parade). Rick’s planning the traditional meal for Saturday (they get back on Friday afternoon), and we hope to catch up with our friends Linda and Wendell in Birmingham before we leave on the 26th. We’ll visit with Dave and Sandy Thompson at their Florida place for a few days the following week and then head back to AZ. Geri has a doctor’s appointment on December 6th, so we have to be back by the 5th.

Tonight, it’s a pre-planned meal plus: we’re having pasta with sauce started from some that Geri made and froze a while ago, and (of course), we’ll have enough for two meals. I’m really getting the hang of this…

Monday, November 5, 2007

Food and wine update

November 5, 2007
Peoria, AZ

I'm a little behind in posting about our recent food and wine selections, so I'll do a quick update. We're actually doing pretty well with two "resolutions" we made when we got back home. First, we're working hard at shopping every few days in order to have fresher ingredients and (more important) to avoid having to throw things out after they start turning to compost in the kitchen. Second, we decided that it's OK to make recipes that call for 4 servings (instead of trying to scale them down or -- worse -- overeating) and planning to get two meals out of them. By shopping more frequently, we seem to be getting more fish (buy it today and cook it tonight) and are definitely not wasting much. By planning better, we're also avoiding those "what are we having tonight?" conversations. So far, so good.

An unexpected side effect of all this is that we're trying more new recipes out this year. Of course, some of them are "impulse buys" after seeing something on the Food Network that looks tasty, but we're cracking the cookbooks as well.

Sometimes, we work with base recipes and improvise or merge. I made Gnocchi with a vodka cream sauce the other night and added chicken-parmesan sausage to the mix and it came out pretty well. We paired it with a Poggio Antico 1999 Altero Brunello di Montalcino from the wine box. I think the '99s may need a little more cellaring, but it was good to try one out.

On Saturday, we made one old and one new recipe, as our friends Ana and Larry were coming over for dinner. We hadn't made Geri's "tuna tower" (diced raw tuna dressed with wasabi topped with avocado and julienned pepper strips, done in a ring mold) for a while, so that was the appetizer. For the entree, I merged several recipes for a chicken roulade, using proscuitto, toasted pine nuts, basil leaves, and Fontina cheese. The sauce was a stock reduction with tomato puree and demi-glace that came out pretty good. We had a Mount Veeder 2002 Cabernet Sauvignon (thanks to Ana and Larry for that one) and two wines from the Piedmont region in Italy from an obscure producer (G. D. Vajra), both 2003s. The Dolcetto d'Alba was very good, but the Langhe Nebbiolo was slightly corked. Since we're a long way from Moore Brothers Wines in NJ, there's not much that can be done about that. We started out with Al-tinis, so maybe I'm the only one who noticed...

We also found a couple of "value wines" that we've had in the past at the local Costco. Both are from Chile and are blends based primarily on Cabernet Sauvignon. The 2004 Aureus Gran Reserva is a little tight and not quite as good as the 2003 we got last year. The 2003 Escudo Rojo is excellent (I think I hear a bottle calling our name for tonight's leftovers).

Well, gotta go walk the pups. The temperature is dropping a bit when the sun goes down, but we're still supposed to have a few more days of record breaking temperatures over the next few days. It's in the mid-90s when it's supposed to be in the upper-70s at this time of year.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

No good deed goes unpunished...

November 3, 2007
Peoria, AZ

Yesterday, we thought we did a good thing. We'll see how it works out...

We were walking the pups mid-morning and were about halfway through our normal route when a small dog, about the size of ours (length and height, but not girth), appeared from between two of the houses. He shied away from us, but was very interested in getting to know Merlin and Maya Lynn. Geri rang the bell on the house he came from, thinking he belonged there, but the lady said he'd been roaming around loose for a while. We figured that someone would be looking for him, so continued on our walk. He followed along, and eventually I was able to get a grip on his collar. He had a name tag and a license tag, and Geri called the number but got voicemail.

We let him follow us home, and he walked with me right through the gate into the back yard. I hopped in the car and drove over to the address from the dog's tag, about 6 blocks away, but nobody answered the door. The house was ill-kept, the yard was strewn with debris, and there were two junk cars parked there, so I went home.

A little later, the owner called Geri back and came over to pick the dog up. She had a lame story about how her kids let him out when they went to school and how he was going to the vet to get "fixed" because he was roaming around "looking for love". She put him in the car and off she went.

End of story, good deed for the day done, right? Not so much.

Yesterday afternoon, we headed out to do some grocery shopping. When we got back, I started unloading the stuff from the back of the car. As I got my second load of bags and turned to go inside, there was the same dog standing 10' away looking at me. It seemed like he had just come from the side gate like he was looking for Merlin and Maya Lynn. I tried to grab him, but he trotted off down the street. I alerted Geri, who called the owner again. This time, it was the husband who let him out, but there wasn't anyone to come and get him.

I finished unloading the car and, as I closed the tailgate, I could hear one of the neighbor's dogs barking several doors away (we call him Cujo; that's another story). I saw the little stray (his name's apparently "Morgan") wandering back, crossing the street to "visit" another house. I walked halfway down and called him, which got his attention but not enough to get him to come to me. Doing my best Cesar Millan impression ("dogs want to be followers"), I called him again and started walking home. Within 30', he was walking along behind me and we went right back into our back yard. This time, I called Animal Control. We let Merlin and Maya Lynn out in the back, and we hung out until the officer came.

It was sad to watch him get loaded into the truck, and it's possible that if he's not claimed he'll be put down. On the other hand, it's not fair to let him wander around and become a snack for the coyotes, either. We tried to do a good deed, but who know how it'll work out in the end?

Anyway, the last couple of days have been productive on the project front, as planned. I cut, painted, and mounted the reinforcing joist needed to mount the new HD satellite dish, and removed the old dish and wires. I'll run all new cable and route it in a less visible location. I'll also relocate the ground wire from the dish, which was originally connected to the patio light fixture.

I also cut, assembled and stained the new shelves for the coach cabinet. They're not large, about 6"x8", and will turn one under-utilized cabinet into a better place to store small containers with spices, etc. Today, I'll polyurethane them and they'll be ready to go. We'll probably make another "coach run" tomorrow.

Well, I'd better get going on today's list of things to do...