Sunday, 30 March 2014

Cold Day In Hell

So, we have all heard those threats, promises, predictions...whatever word one wants to use, stating "it'll be a cold day in hell when..." OK folks, I expect to see a lot of these things coming true 'cause this winter has been hell and it sure is cold, so... Crap, Now I have to worry about my mother-in-law moving in because I did say it'll be a cold day in hell before I let that happen.

This morning's screen on the Environment Canada website has a big yellow bar with "Winter Storm Watch" emblazoned on it. Frankly, I am tired of watching this winter so I would like to decline the offer. Geez, even my vicariously lived life was thrown a curve yesterday when reading my friend Sass's blog where she posted pics of that white misery as it collected on the windscreen of her RV. You're comin' North too early my friend.

A recent commenter on my blog (apparently people do stop by occasionally) queried about my writing about snow. Well, you know what they always tell writers "write what you know" and man do we know snow up here. Also, this blogging about my misery has been therapeutic, like sharing the burden  until I can get back on the bike again, whenever riding season does come around.

Enough about snow. Hopefully the lion will roar, March will go out with said roar and April will bring those showers I have heard about..then I can write about the rain.Yippee!!!!

I have been getting lots of practise in  readiness for my planned retirement in a couple of years. I just finished reading my second book by John Elder Robison called Raising Cubby. Robison was raised in the 60's & 70's and "suffered" with Aspbergers before anyone really knew what that disorder was. His first book about his struggle is called Look Me In The Eye. I recommend it, if you are into reading bios. He has a third book called Be Different, that I plan to get as well. I am a big autobiography/biography fan. I was working my way through an Elvis book, Last Train to Memphis, when I got sidetracked with Robison's book. I will pick up Last Train...again now. By the way, Robison's brother wrote a very well know book, one that was made into a movie, called Running With Scissors.

I do look forward to the days when this reading will be my primary task for the day, that and riding my motorcycle where ever the road and wind lead me. My current status as a junior high school counsellor requires  in depth thinking,  for which I find I no longer have the enthusiasm  that that I once did. I still enjoy working with the kids. It's the adults that leave me shaking my head. I know I am getting close to being paroled though. On Friday a social worker from Child Services called with an enquiry. Here in Newfoundland we  have that small world mentality where we try to make connections to a place or person. So, when the young woman said her name, I recognised it as being common to the Southern Shore. With just a couple of questions it turns out I knew her mom, and, get this, I was the social worker's elementary school guidance counsellor. Now this might make one feel old, and for a moment I did. But, one must get to this point so that one can see the light of retirement at the end of the tunnel. I see that light (Please God, do not let it be a train).

So burying my mind in a good book or in the tales of bloggers out there still sitting in 30+ degree heat in Arizona in March is getting me through. That and window shopping for my future home on wheels, a pic of which I posted in an earlier post. So again I say thanks to those who meander by to take in my musings. Leave a comment as it is always nice to hear from fellow bloggers, plus I am always interested in the ramblings on new blogs I find out about. Stories of road trips down desert back roads or open highways under clear blue sky, or tales of finding an interesting market place and other various sights, sure beats the reality of March in Newfoundland.

See Ya Out There. Ride On...

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

It Never Rains but it Pours...part duex

...just thought I'd update my sad tale of woe from earlier today, if only because the day turned out more positively then it started. Turns out my $300.00 water boiler is almost free (except form Kent's processing fee) because the old one was under warranty. Yahoo!!! As well, the plumber only charged me $80.00 and he was here for over three hours...not a bad deal. It was a blue sky sunshine, spring like day, despite the snow, and that always lifts my mood. As well, I took my son to lunch. We don't do much of that anymore as he has gotten older and it was a great meal and a great chat...a real good chance to connect.

So, not a thrill ride to be sure, but an OK day, none the less. I look forward to reading tales of sunny skies form RV snowbirds and dreaming of the day....

Ride On! See ya out There...

It never rains but it pours...

That old cliche sure suits me today...actually a more apt phrasing would be it never snows but it floods. Either way, its been a challenging 24 hours. Monday saw the return of winter with avegence. That's the snow part. The flood part was when I woke up this morning to find that the hot water boiler had sprung a leak and the downstairs bathroom/laundry room is now quite wet. Ces't la vie! I did get a day off work yesterday. I wish the tank had crapped out yesterday because I had too take another day off work today to fix it.

So, anyways, new hotwater boiler, just a littel over $300.00 Cost of plumber...remains to be seen. With another wollop from 'ol mother nature tomorrow evening, this week just keeps gettin' better. Like many snow bound Canadians, I am wondering will this winter ever end? It will of course. However, in the mean time I will keep following the adventures of you bloggers out there who are livin' the RV dream in the sunny south.

To end on a positive note; it is a brilliant, sunny day. While it may feel more like January than the end of March, there is power in that sun.

Ride On...See ya Out There

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Still Dreaming

Well, it's a bleak, late winter, alleged spring day here on the rock. I know I am not doing my home province's attempts to attract tourists any favour with my dreary talk of extended winter. However, this is NL in March. Actually, it seems like most of Eastern Canada is having trouble shaking off the winter blahs. We  have a pending storm advisory for later this week :(  When summer does arrive, it will be much nicer. I typically put over 10,000 kms on the bike each summer, so there is actual riding weather here...come then if you are so inclined. :)

On a more positive note. I watched a beautiful movie last night; a recent release called "About Time". It was really uplifting. I am working my way through a new book, another biography. This one is about the early part of Elvis' career and is called "Last Train to Memphis". This is what one does to get through this season...and, of course, it is great practise for the planned gypsy traveller lifestyle my wife & I have planned upon retirement. Speaking of retirement, part of my coping strategy for this long 'ol winter has been to dream about what my rolling home will be like. I have traded e-mails back and forth with my friend Denise (Sass), who is currently livin' the dream, and with her help I have constructed a growing must have list of features of what the rollin' Chez Ryan will require. Well, as of right now, here is the leading candidate

I initially found this one in the US.
Just outta curiosity decided to do some comparison shopping in Canada (where of course I would not have to factor in the exchange rate) and voila!  Oh, I know I am a few years away from making the big purchase, but it is nice to dream.

Anyways, the wife is calling me to Sunday brunch. I shall leave my dreaming for a while and turn to a wonderful culinary reality that she creates for me...also I will turn to doing the laundry,a different kind of reality :p

All the best to those who may drop by to mull over my musings.

Ride On! see ya out There...

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Spring...the season that nudges.

Tuesday afternoon, I drove home in brilliant sunshine with the window down and the heat cut back in my truck. There was power in the sun on that recent March day. The next morning, yesterday, I drove back to work in a snowstorm that made the morning commute as challenging as any this year. Today, Thursday, it's a mauzy day...rain and temps above zero. (For those not familiar with our local dialect, mauzy is a colloquial term to describe a day that is cool, but not cold, characterised by wind, rain and fog.)

The past three days signal the subtle arrival of spring. I say subtle, because unless one is used to our weather, it is tough to tell what season we are in. Winter arrives here with a sudden impact, a huge dump of snow leaving no mistake. Fall's onset is characterised by the notable chill that tinges the air shortly after Regatta Day in early August. Summer, when we get that season, can be a hot, occasionally humid, block of five or six weeks. However, there is no mistaking it when it is here. Not so for spring! We will have a 12 to 14 week period now, of the aforementioned mauziness, punctuated by taunts of summer warmth (anything above five degrees, basically); but another blizzard or two isn't out of the question. So it is the season that nudges its way in, slowly replacing winter, not too pushy in delivering summer, and not as abrupt as Fall.

It gives snowbound motorcyclists such as myself a small glimmer of hope. Last weekend, in brilliant and encouraging sunshine I started both bikes. I just wanted to be sure they were ready for when the time does come to hit the highways again; to ensure they would start and that the fuel stabiliser had done it's job of keeping  the gunk at bay. Start they did-- with ease! I stood there and listened for a good 10 minutes with each, breathing in that hypnotic exhaust...aahhhhh ( followed by a bit of hacking and watery eyes...some dizziness too, but all a small price to pay for that sweet  4 cylinder music).

I can only hope now that the nudging season gets a tad more aggressive, or perhaps summer will bully its way ahead of schedule and reward those of us who have endured, nay survived, this dreadful winter; bringing the greatest of extended riding season. I live in hope. Here on this little rock in the North Atlantic, sometimes that's all we have. Until then, I shall live vicariously, following the daily bloggings of those livin' the dream that too shall be mine in retirement.

See Ya Out There! Ride On....

Saturday, 8 March 2014

What to Buy, What to Buy???

So I have a couple of hundred page views in the early days of this blogging experiment I have undertaken. I guess that means someone is at least glancing at my musings, beyond my old friend and riding buddy Sass, who is my sole follower...thanks Sass :)

I figure I shall try to take advantage of the knowledge of those who are checking in to ask for opinions of the type of RV to buy. I am on two minds as to what to purchase, i.e. the RV type mobile home or the travel trailer/truck combo. I love Sass's beautiful rig, especially the toy hauler component. It's like having a mobile shed and I do so love my shed. However, even she broke down recently and bought a tow along, so clearly the extra vehicle is something most people feel a need for.

With the travel trailer/truck option, well, the extra vehicle is part of the package, and I do love my trucks. I have had six. As I also will be doing a fair bit of motorcycle riding, indeed I hope it is to be my primary source of mobility, I'm not too worried about the gas mileage part of the truck. I just figure that for grocery or laundry runs, or on rainy days (hopefully those will be few)... basically when the bike is not practical, it's good to have an alternative source of transportation.

I have recently looked at both the RV style and the travel trailers. Certainly the cost difference is huge. One gorgeous 32 ft. travel trailer with 2 pull-outs, five year sold but in great shape, was going for less than $20,000 Canadian RV's range into the $90,000 + area if you include the tow-a-long vehicle . So the travel trailer, even factoring in the $40,000 or so for a top end truck ( did I mention I love trucks???) is seemingly a cheaper option, and of course as a retired person budget will always be a consideration.

Anyways, I welcome any feedback. One thing I wonder about is the degree of mechanical maintenance required of an RV versus the travel trailer. But if anyone has any other insights about any variety of practical considerations, I am all, eyes!

See ya Out There...Ride On!

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Pot Holes & Piece of Mind

It's March 2, Sunday. Despite what my mom taught me as a child, Sunday is a work day for me, typically. As a junior high school counsellor, I have to prepare for the upcoming week. The nature of my job, or any job in education, is such that you don't walk in the door and start doing it on a Monday morning without having done prep work in advance. Sunday is prep-work day. After 27 years, I'm use dot it, but again it is one of the many aspects of my life I do look forward to abandoning in the near future when retirement does finally become my reality.

So, nothing much to report since last time I wrote. The Olympic break is over and NHL hockey ( if that is what one can call what the Leafs do) has returned, so at least I have something to occupy three or four evenings each week. I'm in between books, having just finished a biography on Bruce Springsteen. I'm waiting to connect with my brother who has a bio on Elvis I am itching to read.

Winter still has a strong hold on us here in St. John's...cold and flurries all day. On top of that the spring "break-up" of our roads has come a tad early and the cavernous potholes are all over the place. It puzzles me how those who are responsible for maintaining the infrastructure of this city can do such an amazingly shitty job, but people in general shrug their shoulders and move on...that's always been a problem for me. One of the things I most look forward to in retirement is what I think will be a certain sense of freedom...piece of mind if you will. My tax contributions will go down with my reduced income, so at least those who do little with, and waste, our tax dollars will have less of mine to fitter away... I recently got a call from my son who was out with his girlfriend, in her mom's car. They were on the side of the highway, having hit a pot hole and suffered a flat. It was a wet, sleet sodden winter's night. I went to the rescue, as my son could not get the lugs of the wheel (they had been fastened with an impact gun). I managed to get the tire changed and as they drove away his girlfriend came to the sad realization she had , not one, but TWO flats...pot holes, indeed. Nothing left to do but call a tow. I had attempted to avoid the tire changing altogether by calling CAA when I first arrived, only to be told there was a 2 1/2 hour wait for response...apparently there were multiple pothole victims throughout our fair city by the sea on that night. Anyways..enough about potholes.

All in all, it was a pleasant enough weekend. I attended a riding brothers retirement party on Friday night. He was leaving the army after 28 years (at 46, mind you--lucky some ways, not all). Last night my wife and I used a Christmas gift card for Montana's restaurant and, along with one of my actual brothers and his wife, we took refuge against the winter's night in screech, nachos, ribs and chicken. Life can be good :) Outside of this, I did pick up a couple of new pieces of handcrafted leather adornments. Maybe I'll write about that next time. It seems with this blogging thing, pretty much any subject is cool--one gentleman whose travellers blog I follow, recently wrote about his new PJs, so....

No pics in this post. Although, I s'pose I could go out ant take  a pic o f the pot holes but that would be a tad bit over the top, me thinks.

To anyone who may happen upon these posts, I do hope the read has been interesting. All the best... See ya Out there! Ride On...