Thursday, November 30, 2017

Enjoyed Rio

  Our time here has passed but we really enjoyed it. My pics are on FZ80 camera and I only have IPad pics to show now.

  Today was cable car to Sugar Mountain. Great views of city and sailing ships. Then a very cool church and then the thousand steps of graffiti. It was a workout to make it to the top but totally worth it.

Electric powered cog traction train used to access Christ statue

Christ The Redeemer overlooks Rio  

View from cable car on way up to Sugar Mountain 

A most excellent diner was enjoyed at the Copacabana 

 Our bags are packed and will be picked up at 6 am for our next site, the worlds largest waterfalls.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Cog train

View from Windsor Leme bar

  We went up to the Christ The Redeemer statue today on the electric cog traction train. It is very large in deed. Then more sights to be seen.

  Afterwards Kathy took a very long walk on this beach. Diner at the Cococabana Hotel was yummy.

  Inflation is a huge problem here. US exchange rate at our hotel is 1 US= 3 Brazil Reals.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

8 Hours In A Boeing 777

 We had a good flight and no problems with customs. By 11AM we were checked into our hotel on the beach. Low overcast day kinda chilly.

 We met the tour group of 42 people and then went to a fantastic steak house. The food was amazing.

 Wake up call at 6AM and breakfast then ride the cog train to see Jesus. The weather should be better also.

 I had never seen a first class section like on that AA 777. Look it up.

Friday, November 24, 2017

A Bad First 48 Hours

  No pics until we get faster internet.

  It was a long trip down and all went well, just very tired after it. Our bags all arrived OK and we got a nice new Dodge Caravan to drive to the Cabana.

  We parked across the street from our Cabana as neighbors use our driveway when we are gone. As I got out of the car I heard an alarm blaring. I had my keys out and walked toward the sound and my door. It was our Cabana alarm system making all the noise. I punched in the code and it quit. The neighbors were outside and thanked me for turning it off as it had been on for a few weeks now. I asked why they did not ask the two other neighbors to turn it off. They said the cops came and said all appeared secure and they just learned to ignore the sound. 

  It was at this point I decided; 1. The two neighbors with the keys and code are deaf. 2. The other younger stoner neighbors were not too bright indeed. 3. The police respond to check premises yet do not contact alarm company. 4. The alarm company had just put an ignore on the alarm and did not contact me to have some one disable it. 5. No one seems to be upset by it. 

  As we hauled our bags into the Cabana I noticed it was warm. I tried the Air Conditioner and It did not work. ( hum) I then opened the windows since it was cooler outside. We went out to eat and grabbed some things for breakfast.

 I was up early and went to get the car off the jack stands and driven around a little, before going to get Kathy to help with the car swap and rental return. I also sent a text to realtor who sold us the Cabana in 2009 and has stayed in touch, she knows high quality repairmen of all types.

 The key would not turn the garage lock and I had to get some WD-40 and monkey around a lot to get it open. Then I saw there were no lights on the battery trickle charger. I put my key in the car and nothing happened. The battery was completely dead. I removed the burned up trickle charger and got out my high quality never used jumper cables. The rental van has a big battery and this would be a quick job. Boy was I wrong. The battery had an internal short. It got too hot to touch quickly and no power to car either. I got the jumper cables off before they melted and enjoyed the bright arc.

 As I waited to let the battery explode or catch on fire, I decided to look the car over and take it off the jack stands. Well that did not happen either as one of the four brand new tires I had installed before we left was totally flat and one side had detached from the rim. ( Well F me! ) This required a removal and haul to tire shop. The battery was still way too hot to remove but had not caught on fire.

 The tire had a loose valve core or so they said. Anyway they fixed it free. Then I went shopping for a new battery and the one that fits that car is expensive. Walmart and BJ's had one with BJ's EXIDE costing less. 

 Back to the car and with knowledge on the process to remove the battery I went to work. It is theft proof for sure. After replacing it and the wheel, I drove the car around to make sure no other gremlins were in there, then noticed no frigging cold air from the A/C. URG!

 I returned to Walmart and they were sold out of Freon except for a 12oz can with dye and lube. I bought it and started car A/C and connected to low pressure side and dumped the 12 oz inside. Most of it anyway, I have glow yellow hands now. The A/C works great again!!!

 Returning the rental went smooth as I really needed a break now.

 Returning the cable box which I had paid to keep and then got billed for each month was a little harder. The company I had paid got bought by a company that did not honor old contracts.

 The house A/C guy showed up and I met him outside and said I think it is a failed Capacitor or at least hope so since that would be cheap and quick to fix. He was a great technician and took my advice with a laugh. He came in with a small tool bag and went to looking and ten minutes later had replaced the failed capacitor and shown me how to do it next time. He left me the part box to know the correct one to buy.( $ 20 on Amazon ) He quickly checked Freon level and said it was great. I paid the $ 180 for the service call, labor and part. 

  The neighbor has also shown me a stack of vinyl siding and said some of that is yours. I am missing about a ten square foot section at the peak of my roof. That is a job for another day. 

  We had a safe drive to and from Tampa and a Happy Thanks Giving with family. That went very nice.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

18 Hours Left In The Land Of Squeaky Snow

  We have everything agreed on with the cat sitter who will be living in our home this Winter. I have enough food, meds, and litter for the duration on hand.

  Today is last minute packing and return library books. Our mail is forwarded, Giant trash cans being swapped for one very small can. All I know I have left to do is replace the batteries in all the smoke detectors and thermostat. This is the first year we have encountered anxiety leaving home. We have had that issue leaving the Cabana for years now. Is everything packed, did we forget something etc?

  My camera bag is packed as is my backpack. The backpack being the most important as it has the keys for the Cabana and car in it and our passports and visas. I have emptied and packed it twice since it has caused me problems in the past. All music players and Kindle Paper Whites are downloaded with books and charged. My chargers and cables live in there also.

  The two-degree weather is due to change as a front with warm air and snow arrives today.

  Kitty knows something is up and he hopefully will be happy to stay in his home with a girl he likes. We are going to be away from the Cabana so much this Winter we would have not seen him much at all. This was decided to be the best choice to cause him the least stress.

  Our neighbors had us over for a very nice dinner and last goodbyes. They leave for short trips in the Winter also as they are starting to prefer warm weather. Most of their trips are family visits.

 It is warmer up here than it was in the 1990's as I flew a lot then and today was always 10 to 20 below zero and a lot of work to fly. It is currently 9 degrees outside.

Update: 4 hours until our neighbor drives us to the airport. We got another three inches of snow and the squeak is gone as the temp rose to 16 degrees. I have all cars on a trickle charge now and garage door opener unplugged for the Winter. All smoke alarms have new batteries as well as the programmable thermostat. Our bags are packed and we had pizza for dinner. Just going through lists again and hope we are set to leave. My 15 Gig of high-speed data is now gone and that means no more posts unless I am in a hotel or Mc D. It still lets me add updates to this post, so that is what I will do.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Cliff and I had our goodbyes at Air Museum.

A nice Sunset today
I was up early and started shredding more unwanted papers. Last night was dinner with friends and our goodbyes for the season. I took a nap after getting the suitcases out for packing. I awoke to Kathy moving around the room and was awake and dressed when my friend Cliff called to say he would pick me up for an afternoon at the air museum. I started shoveling the driveway as we got three inches of heavy snow this morning. It was 6 degrees when I was shredding and 23 degrees when I was shoveling the driveway. It is 21 degrees at midnight as I type this.
Fairchild 19 will fly again. I never noticed the BD-5 hanging from the ceiling

 Cliff took off work and took me to lunch and then to the museum. It made for a fun day and he enjoyed skipping work also. It was also a goodbye for the season event with him. I will see him again next summer if all goes well for both of us.
Wings fo Fairchild 19 and that red white and blue BD-5 top right

 After he dropped me off at home, I finished shoveling the driveway. I then did the Commissary run and picked up mail and filled the van with Gas and bought a few things at Costco we wanted.
This Fairchild back in its working days

 All vehicles except the old AWD van we are driving are parked for the Winter and have their batteries on trickle charge. I felt the 'oh shit we are leaving' feeling I get before we leave each year tonight. Most chores are done and it should go easy. I have old departure lists and will make a new one from them, just to make sure nothing was forgotten. 

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

A Land Loards Nightmare

Gensets produce low voltage DC current to thaw house heater pipes.
  This duplex has a hot water baseboard heating system like we do. For reasons unknown to me, the furnace quit making hot water and hundreds of feet of copper pipe in walls froze. 

 That is a costly event to repair. It is 6 degrees inside and outside the home. The doors and windows are open as it is the same anyway.

  The boiler gets fixed first and then each zone is isolated and a Neg cable on one end of the copper pipe and the Positive on the other and current applied to heat the pipe which melts the water. They then push hot water through the pipe and then connect it back to the boiler and keep it flowing hot water. Then they repeat with each zone and then check for leaks from split pipes etc. 

  They were working on it at 07:00 Hrs this morning and still at it at 10 PM.

Kitty staying home this Winter, hope he calls me if the heat fails

  We have been very lucky so far and had no major furnace failures.

  Lots more Doc appointments completed today and now that is over. Just a few meetings with friends and packing to do.

 We saw a  very funny play on Sunday, 39 Steps. If it is playing at a local event near you I would recommend seeing it. It is a comedy with four actors playing about twenty parts in quick order. 

Monday, November 13, 2017

A Call From an Old Coworker

Boeing 727 internet pic
  I got a call today from an old coworker who has now moved up on the power ladder. Do you still miss the cockpit? " Yes." Are you now bored with retirement and ready for adventure again? " Er No!." It has now been ten years since I worked in this office. After saying no to a temp desk job until a seat opened again, I went back into electronics which paid a lot more, yet was not as much fun.  I then retired for the 2nd time from an electronics job.

 It was good to hear from him and hear about the old gang. They are still complaining about pay and work conditions, same as when I worked there. He wanted to know what I did to occupy my time, after which he said I was not living the same life as the other retired pilots he knew. I retired early after my wife retired early also. He wished me well and says call him in Spring for a ride in his Super Cub.

 I may not live long enough to enjoy Winter after all the free meals provided for vets and my food choices there. Thanks, Applebees. Thanks, Texas Roadhouse. Thanks, Golden Corral. It was very nice that they provided good meals and made their times different at least for gluttons like me.
Alto Clef has been on my mind this week

 Near zero at night and teens in afternoon. The streets are icy and slick. It feels like Winter now. We have six more days of it.

 Today we had the first monkey wrench thrown into our vacation plans. La Quinta cancelled our Miami reservations before and after our flight to South America. Hurricane damage caused then to close and rebuild. So we spent the day setting up new reservations with car storage. That was stress we didn't need. We are spending a lot more but basically have same reservations at Holiday Inn. 

 Kinda odd that I do not have a burning desire to leave for the Winter this year. I was even looking at new snow blowers at Home Depot! Perhaps 6 tropical Winters can cure Winter burnout.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Happy Veterans Day!

 To all who served in the US military. Happy Veterans Day!

 This is also Armistice Day which marked the end of WWI. The War To End All Wars.

 This also the date  I chose to retire from the workforce in 2011. I last worked for pay 11 am November 11, 2011.

 Thanks to all who served.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

12 days until we are in Florida

Today just after 12:15 PM 

  School in Florida confirmed my Aerobatic instruction was scheduled and they look forward to it.

 Otherwise still getting the house ready to leave and reading etc. Kathy has Doc appointment early tomorrow and I have one the next day. Pneumonia shots for both of us also. Then a concert La Santa Cecilia on Friday. Time is zipping by now. There are only twelve days left before we are in Florida. That is good, as it is forecast to hit 5 degrees tonight with clear skies.

 Just wondering if I am going to miss this.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Las Vegas acro flight video

  This is the link to the video taken of my flight in this Extra 330 aerobatic aeroplane. It was an Afterburner ride and costs $ 529 total. They have many different types and lengths of rides available.

 I totally enjoyed this ride and it was just what I wanted from them. They picked us up at the Luxor and returned us after the ride. If you are a coaster fan or just love acro like me, this is the ride to take.
They operate out of Las Vegas, San Diego, and Lake Tahoe. This may become a yearly event for me if I am lucky.

Enjoy the video.

Update Sunday 9 AM: The fog is gone!!!! Now have low clouds and 3" of snow that came in the night. Everything is white for now and it looks pretty. Last night we enjoyed a great concert featuring Storm Large a very talented woman and her excellent band. She had a mind blowing performance. Kathy and both thought it was fantastic. You can hear her on youtube. Otherwise all quiet on the Northern Front.

Update Sunday 5 PM: 70 accidents due to new snow. 29 cars off road / stuck. Shoveled our driveway and put trash cans out. It looks very nice outside, everything is white.

Update Tuesday 1 AM: Still have 54 Kbps internet and can't make a real post. Today was 31 degrees clear and streets slippery as were parking lots.

Sun at 1 PM getting low on the horizon
 I did the errands today as we had not been out of the house since the concert Saturday. Storm Large is great. you can hear her and the band Pink Martini at this site.

Clearing sidewalks on base
  I picked up mail, taxes due on Cabana $ 1404.04 for 2017. That includes trash and recycling charges. Then headed over to Costco for Gas $ 1.83  and then a few groceries and headed home. That took a while as people have not learned to drive on ice yet. Spinning tires and going nowhere except into other lanes. No accidents seen, just slow.

  We are down to 13 days until we fly South. Shredding papers like a politician has been the activity lately. Transfering pics etc to travel Hard drive also to have them in Florida.

 Our free 'Obama Phone' shut off today and wants more money to operate. I contacted Verizon to raise my blood pressure and find best phone option for our four-nation trip at the end of this month. They suggested we buy the international plan for ' Obama Phone' before we fly out of the country. It will cost $ 40 and only give us 120 minutes and 250 Mb data and unlimited incoming texts. That is way better than the charges if we took our post-pay phones with us. It will only be used in an emergency anyway.

Friday, November 3, 2017

More Las Vegas pics

  Still Foggy and below freezing up here. Even the news guys are tired of the fog that just keeps staying. It is starting to seem like a horror movie scene. So once again I will post some cell phone pics of things seen in Vegas. 

Luxor Buffet room

    Today we got an email to come back to Las Vegas and stay for $ 28 a night at the Luxor and get gambling credits to boot. Our schedule is just too packed for that but it is tempting. 

  The hotels Mandalay Bay-Luxor-Excalibur are connected by hallways lined with stores, bars, and places to eat. Others have monorails or walkways to get between hotels.

Yes the buildings are leaning, kinda mind blowing

Just one of many amazing things from the past to see at the Mob Museum

 There are a lot of good shows to see on a week visit and a lot of good food to eat. Just seeing all the great buildings is fun. That is why we can enjoy a trip there even though we are not gamblers.

 The Titanic exhibit is a must see. They have a giant piece of the ship and you can see all the rivets required to hold it together. There are hundreds of dishes, passports, electric parts, water plumbing and more. I am amazed how some things survived like new and others just rusted or rotted away. A big cooking pot made of an alloy is just missing one of the metals, that is cool to see. There is a modern recreation of the grand staircase and crystal ceiling above it, very nice. They do not allow pictures, bummer.

 A few more pics of this fine car. 

Friday at 2 PM and it is still foggy and 32 degrees.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Dense Fog Icy Streets Very Slick

Extra 330 unlimited aerobatic aeroplane
 It has turned cold and the dense fog came the night before Halloween and has stayed. It has made parking lots and sidewalks dangerous to walk on. Many cars have had boo boos also.   Kathy had to be at Doc appointment at 07:45 and I drove her. Thankfully we have good tires and all-wheel drive. After snow comes again it should be back to normal but for now, it is a hassle. 

Extra 330. all planes at SCA Sky Combat Ace
   I downloaded the pics from my phone and so you are seeing Las Vegas instead of fog. Nothing going on around here except making arrangements for the cat sitter to live in our home and care for Mr Kitty while we are away this Winter. 

PA-32 300 Like I once had

It will be the first time we left him behind and it is for his own good. He is a nervous traveller and it takes him time to adjust to each house and this year he would be left alone way too much. He is a social lap cat and not fond of humans being gone. He also likes the cat sitter a lot.

8 KCAB Decathlon aerobatic aeroplane like I took lessons in  

 Reading Sleeping Beauties by SK now. It would make a good miniseries or long scary movie. 

Motown Review was great to hear. pic was taken from the last row of cheap seats

  Home cooked meals and smaller portions, H2o replacing beer, to get my weight back down to 220 Lbs. I was 228 Lbs dressed to fly yesterday, I hope to reach this before January. I am scheduled to ride in a smaller Extra 300 in February and they have a firm weight limit of 220 Lbs. Good motivation for me.
Luxor Hotel

 November is racing by as I have much to do and only 18 nights till we fly away.