The Adventures of Me & My Shadow # 96 in FL 3/15/2004

113 miles this trip. Odometer now 45,523. Miles this year 988.

From Key West, FL, Hi Everyone!!

Well! I have enjoyed the nice weather and had some interesting talks with a lot of new friends and it looks like I’ll soon be heading north. My granddaughter Rebekah needs some one to take her to driver training classes so she can get her drivers license in MD and it looks like I’m elected. A lot has changed since I got my first drivers license in Nebraska when I was 16 years old. I read the manual, took and passed the written test and never even took a driving test. At that time in SD you didn’t need a drivers license, I think it was the last state to require it.

I have seen RV’s of all shapes and sizes here, the smallest one showed up a few days ago. It was a trailer about 4 feet long and about 40 inches wide pulled behind a motorcycle. It was parked close to me and it opened up into a platform for one person to sleep on with a tent like structure to keep the rain off. The owner like me, retired as an E-9 and was one of the few people here that is not over weight. He was a Hospital Medic & a Deep Sea Diver, and like me, he said he really enjoyed his time in the Navy. Not too far from the smallest trailer, were a couple fifth wheel trailers with three axles and three slide outs each. They were parked in the handicapped spaces and needed the three axles to support the extra weight. Like most handicapped people, they were so fat that they would have a hard time getting through the door on my motorhome. In looking around, I would say 95% of the people here are overweight. They are stupid! and, some of them are double dumb, they are not only fat, they also smoke. It got me to thinking. If there were no fat people in the USA and every one could pinch an inch, and no one smoked, just what it would be like. First off, every one would enjoy living, they would be happy and live longer. The only unhappy ones would be the doctors, some of them would be on welfare as there would be very few people with problems. There would be very few handicapped people. When I look at the human skeleton, designed to carry a certain amount of weight and if you overload it, it would be like putting a five-ton load on a pickup truck and driving it around every day. You will have problems with it. Fat people have back problem, hip problems, knee problems, and foot problems. They go to the doctor and he gives them a handicap pass but he does not insist that they loose weight because they would just go to another doctor, he needs the income. All they would have to do is stop eating so much (and the wrong stuff) and drink nothing but water or drinks that have no sugar in them. I know, I’ve been hungry since 1956 when I quit smoking and started to gain weight. I’d rather be hungry than fat or dead. And I am enjoying life more than any one else. I know that this paragraph will ruffle some feathers out there, but just try to prove I’m wrong. If you think you can’t loose weight by not eating so much, just look at some pictures of some Japanese prisoners of WW2. They were nothing more than skin and bones, they could pinch about 1/8th inch.

Like I said in the first line of this letter I heard some interesting stories from other retired Navy men, but one was not too interesting and could have been a lot of BS. I heard it when I saw a set of gold wings on the rear window of a trailer being parked. I asked the owner if he was a Naval aviator and he said he was. I asked what aircraft he flew and he named a few that I was not familiar with and said he flew helicopters in the Vietnam War. I told him the tale that a Marine enlisted pilot told me. (a volunteer at the Naval Aircraft Museum in Pensacola). In a fighter plane he was firing at a cave entrance and got too close to the mountain before he stopped firing. When he pulled back on the control stick to keep from slamming into the mountain, he knew he was going to pass out as the high "G" forces drain the blood from his brain. He said that they told him in flight school to let go of the controls before he passed out. As soon as I told this guy this, he said "that is not right, if the plane is trimmed for strait and level flight, that is what would happen, the plane would go to strait and level flight". I could not believe a pilot would say that, I said, "the controls would go to neutral and the plane go in the direction it was pointed". He raised his voice and said, "there is no neutral in an airplane". At this point I turned and walked away. The Marine lived to tell about it and he said, when he came to, the plane was still climbing just like they told him it would be.

I got in trouble when I saw a "For Sale" sign on a pair of Solar Panels and those little voices that tell me what to do, were telling me to check it out. I asked the guy how much he wanted for them and he said,"$100" We talked a little and I started to walk away and he said," $50". I gave him a check, took them to my coach, rewired them and connected them to charge my batteries and they worked. When I was parked with no hookups for three weeks the batteries got so low, they didn’t have enough power to open the valve to turn the propane on for the refrigerator. I found, that to get the most power out of them, they have to be constantly pointed at the sun. Now the trouble started, those little voices that tell me what to do started arguing about how to keep the panels pointed at the sun. They keep coming up with more ideas when I am trying to concentrate on my genealogy files. I try to sleep and they keep arguing, I’ll have to admit, they have some good ideas, I’ll see what I can come up with before I come back next year. In the meantime I am moving them by hand every hour or so and they provide enough power to keep the refrigerator running and the AC converter running so I can plug my laptop computer in without running the batteries down. I could try to get my generator running but, like me it is old and doesn’t work like it used to. I think the panels are the way to go, they are quiet, they don’t burn high priced gas, and they didn’t cost too much. The price for parking here for one night, with no hookups is $9, with full hookups it’s $16. The panels will pay for themselves over and over again and again. I just hope we don’t have too many cloudy days.

The day before yesterday, the only motorhome here that’s older than mine showed up again. It’s a SOB (Some Other Brand) and it looks like it’s a candidate for the junkyard. When I first got here it was parked to my right, when I came back the day before yesterday from checking my E-mail it was on the left side of me. I found out before, that the guy was a retired Navy electrician. He wasn’t around very much and yesterday I found out why. After he retired from the Navy he has been here, working for the Sheriff’s dept. and he works 12 on and 12 off. He is from Maine and when he got out of the Navy he swore he would never go back up there in the Winter-time. He said that his father recently had a stroke and he will be leaving about the same time as I leave, to go up there to work with his brother to get rid of some property. He said he would have to get some Long Johns, as winter is not over up there yet. I showed him my solar panels and told him how I plan to mount them and control them before I come back next year. He told me he only uses his motorhome to sleep in, his refrigerator is not on and he uses very little battery power. He took me over and showed me a small solar panel lying on the dash that keeps his batteries charged. I told him that someone told me I might need a voltage regulator on mine if I leave it connected all the time. He said he didn’t think I would, but he had voltage regulator from a motor scooter that he would give me if I wanted to try it. So now I have the panels, the voltage regulator and all I need to do is, get them mounted on the roof and come up with a device that will keep them pointed at the sun.

Till next time, Dallas, or Dad if it fits.

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