The Adventures of Me & My Shadow #61 in NE, IA, MO, IL, IN, KY, WV, VA, MD 05/28/01

1962 miles this trip, odometer now 7944 total, miles this year 9485.

From MD, Hi Everyone!

I got my navigator back now. I had to lay Gus off just after getting into WY. He was behaving and doing his job but the rectifier that powers the computer gave up and I didn’t want to run the battery in the computer down so I turned it off. I knew I could get a new rectifier from Radio Shack in Omaha so after dialing up a local number with Earth Link and sending my adventure story I had my nephew Gordon take me to Radio Shack. That was the second rectifier that has bit the dust running my computer, the gal told me she had two rectifiers in stock for $149.95 each but she also had a new DC converter device that Radio Shack came out with about a year ago for $ 49.95 that should work. I did the math real quick and told her I would try it, it can be configured to run just about all laptop computers. Gordon and I adjusted it for the 20 volts DC and set the polarity correctly and it sure enough did run my computer. It worked well all the way up to Coleridge, NE. I then started doing some reading and now I wonder how long it will last, the manual did list some of the smaller Dell Laptop Computers as being compatible with it but my Dell Laptop computer was not listed. It consumes much more power than the smaller Laptop computers. I decided to try to repair the rectifier or get a second DC converter and run two of them in parallel to provide enough power for my computer.

I started making the rounds of friend and relatives in the area bumming meals so I’ll have enough money for the high price of gas. I was right about May 1 being the date the price of gas would go up. The price when I got to Coleridge was $1.699 and when I came back from visiting cousins west of town after May 1st the price was up to $1.809. I wonder what the price will be when I get to the East Coast? I can’t say much for the weather here in NE. The first day wasn’t too bad but I’ve seen enough cold & rainy to last me awhile. I hit my cousin Elno and his wife Barb up for some meals and spent the night there. I did have an interesting adventure while there, Elno is restoring an old F20 Farmall tractor and asked me to help him set the valve clearance on it. Both he and I had driven the F20 Farmall in our younger days and neither of us could remember ever oiling the valves on one. The book said they were to be oiled daily by hand with an oil can. Inside the valve cover were two reservoirs with wicks going to each rocker arm to provide lubrication. The wicks in this engine were all in need of replacements. I was telling Elno how I feel about antiques, I said they were all a bunch of junk. He then looked over at my 25 year old GMC Motorhome and asked me about it, I had to admit that it was one antique that was not a bunch of junk. I guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder. After going by Elaine and Don’s (Elno’s Sister & husband) for a few meals I headed back to Coleridge for a few more meals with friends before heading to Gladstone, MO. They were talking about Monday being windy, I hope it is a north wind because I’ll be heading south to Gladstone, MO to have a visit with my brother Gerald before heading east. With a west wind I hope. With the price of gas going up I’ll just have to set and bum a few more meals and wait for the wind to get behind me.

I made it to Gladstone late on Sunday. As soon as I discovered a good stiff tail wind that came up Sunday afternoon I headed South. I’ll bet I saved over ten gallons of gas. Now I had another adventure working on a 1990 Pontiac Grand Pre that belongs to my nephew. The rear disk brakes were dragging and it is not an easy task to back them off. It looks like I’ll have to make me some special tools to work on them as most cars now have them. I’ll head east on Thursday, it sounds like I’ll have a tail wind. I called the Portsmouth Naval Hospital on the 8th and could have had an appointment 11 May in just 3 days, I settled for 22 May, if I wait very long the gas price may go up another dime. Remember, the hospital in Sioux Falls wanted me to wait five weeks for an appointment.

It was raining when I headed east, I ran out of it in about an hour, had good tail winds on the first day, the wind went down with the sun so I parked for the night, hoping the wind would come up in the morning. It didn’t happen, when the wind did come up it helped a little but was too much to the south to do me much good, but at least it wasn’t a head wind. Overall it was a good trip, checked in with Virginia (my sister-in-law) in VA Beach to wait for my Dr. appointment. I decided to clean the rain gutters, they were filled with pine needles. I made some stinging insects very mad (I think they are called yellow jackets), when I messed up their nest. One of them nailed me on the ring finger of my right hand. I’ll have to remember to be more careful next time. While I was waiting for my Dr.’s appointment my Neice Susie & husband John, had a surprise 16th birthday picnic in Red Wing park for their youngest son John, it was quite an affair. We didn’t get the weather I like (it was cold and windy) but the rain held off till it was over, everyone had a fun time and ate too much. Now John’s Twin 18 year old sisters Jennifer & Elizabeth will have to find a way to share the cars with little brother till they go to college next year. They are graduating with honors, have scholarships and are into singing & music in a big way, so they will be going to college in Knoxville, TN. I just happened to be at their home when they were getting ready for the prom, I got some pictures of them before & after their dates arrived.

I went to my Dr. appointment and he agreed with me, that my heart was not pumping enough blood so he ordered the pacemaker part of my defibrillator be adjusted to make my heart pump faster. He informed me that this could shorten the life of the battery a little. The gal that adjusted it told me that the defibrillator will start beeping a few months before the battery goes dead, I won’t be able to hear the damn thing so it will be up to you folks to tell me if you hear me start beeping. I wonder how long it will be for them to figure out a way to recharge the battery while I’m driving down the road. Maybe I could plug it into the cigarette lighter and it could be powered by the coach battery. Technology is advancing at a rapid pace. She told me the next defibrillator I get will be much smaller that the one I now have. The one I now have was the latest technology when It was implanted in Jan of 1997. It will soon be five years old.

It has been 3 years since my Colon Cancer operation so I’ll get another colonoscopy when I get my defibrillator checked in November before heading to Florida to spend a couple months working at the Naval Aircraft Museum before heading West. I hope they get the funding for putting the F3H Demon together, its been 40+ years since I worked on them so it will be like backing the clock up. After getting my defibrillator adjusted I headed North to the Eastern Shore of VA. The toll taking gal rang up $13.00 without an argument so it looks like I’m getting them trained. I see they have finished replacing the overhead lighting on the East side of the North tunnel. Work is progressing on the replacement of the overhead lighting on the East side of the South tunnel. It is a slow process as they have to shut down one lane of traffic when they are working on it and with the heavy traffic now days it is hard to find a day with light traffic. I believe they do most work at night. I stopped in Nassawadox for a short visit with my son Mark then up to Sanford for a few days with my daughter Jenny’s family. Then it was on up to my son Jeff, Rebekah & Alexis’s and backed the old GMC into the shed where I’ll put it up on blocks to give it some TLC. The price of gas here in VA & MD has been available for less than $1.60. I hope it stays there for awhile, of course I wouldn’t complain if the price went down a little but that is unlikely.

Till next time, Dallas or Dad if it fits.

Me & My Shadow & Gus on the road.


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