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Monday, December 16, 2013

Ask and you shall receive

        I would like to officially welcome the newest member of our family:   Eva Kate Olivier.  Eva was born to Scott and Bevi on December 10, 2013 at 10:42 am and weighed 6 pounds 1 ounce and was 17.5” long.  We’re so glad both Bevi and Eva are healthy and beautiful.  Thanks guys!

Our plans are to spend the winter in Paincourtville.  We’re about halfway between Thibodaux and Baton Rouge.  Works out great to spend time with Scott and his family and Mike.
Thanksgiving was very nice at Cindy’s sister Rhonda and Dave’s house.  Almost all of the Landry family was there.  A few out-of-towners couldn’t make it in but we should see them for Christmas.  Plenty of good food and drinks.

I’ve been working on a few updates to the coach since I have access to my tools and the tractor shed to work in.  I put a couple shelves in the basement to make storage more manageable.  Got a few more to build.  Put in a new rearview camera since the original one was giving me problems.  But the biggest project will take a couple more weeks to install.  I’m replacing the 6 huge 8D batteries for the house system with Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePO4) batteries.  The old batteries weigh about 900 # and the new ones will weigh only 400#.  They should also give me a bit more capacity and recharge in a shorter period of time.  That’s pretty important when you’re using the big 20KW generator.  Best thing is the cost will be about the same as buying AGM batteries and they are expected to last 4-5 times as long.
The batteries came in this week and I still have some work to do in the compartment before I install them.  Hopefully I’ll have them working in a week or two.

Yesterday we spent a nice day in Thibodaux.  Started out at Scott’s house.  Then we all went to church.  Eva was very good and slept the entire time, Ella was very good also and enjoyed going to children’s liturgy.  After we made paninis for lunch and just enjoyed the afternoon.  Such fun to spend time with family.  Unfortunately unca Mikie couldn’t come in.  He had his office party Saturday night.  He should come down next weekend.   Ella is such a good big sister to Eva!  She has been helping mom and dad take care of Eva.  And she loves to try and share her "friends" with her.  We are all so very proud of Ella.

Life is good!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Factory visit and back home!

After Salt Lake City we headed east on I-80 and spent the night in Rawlins, WY.  Not much there but an easy campground and lots of wind.  We left the next morning trying to outrun the snow that's on its way.  We arrived back at Pepperpod Campground and hooked up the coach, packed some clothes, and drove over to David & Denise's new home in a 55+ retirement community.  This place makes the Greens look small.  There are over 800 homes and they have plans to double that in a few years.  A gorgeous clubhouse with views of the mountains just makes it special.  We spent a few days, took a drive out to see the aspens turning colors then stayed in the next day to watch it snow.

Then we started heading east again for our service appointment at Newell factory.  We arrived on Friday afternoon to find the spots with hookups all filled.  Fortunately one of the managers was there and moved a coach that was waiting to be picked up for us to hook up.  We spent the weekend getting to know a few other Newell owners and re-connected with James & Carol who we met earlier in Spearfish.
Monday morning at 6:30 they rang the doorbell and pulled the coach into the shop where we spent the next couple days having a few things repaired.  While we were there we drove over to Bentonville, AR where I saw another "Blair Doc" that the chiropractor in SLC recommended.  After examining me he said the procedure looked like it was holding.  Still feeling good so far!
Wednesday around noon we headed out and spent the night in Russellville, AR then arrived at Steve Magowns on Thursday.  We spent a few days there working on a few things and just enjoying each others company.
Tuesday morning we left Steve's and drove south and arrived at our "winter quarters" near Cindy's mom.  It's nice to get back (except for the humidity) and re-connect with everyone.  So now we're getting into our winter routine.  We plan to be here until March.  Of course we may take a short trip to Florida or somewhere.  I have a bunch of projects to do to the coach and Cindy is spending a lot of time with her mom and aunt Lou.
Saturday we watched Ella play soccer and were happy to see her actually enjoy the game.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Salt Lake City

First a couple pictures from around Arco.  We took the truck to do the Arco Loop and found this small cave.  It looked interesting so we parked and hiked (climbed) up to it.  At the entrance there was a wooden ladder tied together with really old rope.  Wow, must be treasure or something up there right?  I tried climbing up but couldn't reach the upper level or quite see into it.  So the treasure is still there if anyone wants to find it.

Taking a break after the climb

We left Arco and had a nice drive to Salt Lake City.  The campground is really nice and convenient to the airport.  We hooked up the coach then caught a flight home to Thibodaux.  
We had a nice flight and picked up our rental car.  Drove to St. Joseph and surprised Ella at aftercare.  She had no idea we were coming in and when she saw us she wasn't sure if she was seeing things or it was really us.  She was really excited then we took her to gym practice.  After visiting with Scott & Bevi we met some friends in Houma for seafood.  Had a nice visit with Mike & Linette.  Then Friday afternoon we went back to school for Grandparents Day.  After we took Ella for ice cream, yummy.
Saturday we spent the day at their house and Ella spent the night with us at the Carmel Inn.  Sunday we all went to Unca Mikie's new house for a BBQ.  Got to see Sam, Jake & Laura's new son.
Then Sunday afternoon we said our goodbyes until November.
But, Cindy said Scott told us to have lunch with Ella at school Monday.  So we did and surprised Ella again!  What a great weekend spending so much time with our family.
Back to Salt Lake.  Tom & Darlene came in later in the week for a few days on their way home.  We enjoyed spending time again with them.  They took us to Temple Square which is like the Vatican to the Mormons.  Really nice architecture and I have to say some of the nicest people you will ever meet.
Of course we had to drive out to see the Salt Lake.  It reminded me of home to smell the salt air.

Yes it really is salty!

We also visited the Cathedral of the Madelaine and took a few pictures.  Very pretty but not as large as our Cathedral in Thibodaux.  Guess there aren't as many Catholics here.

Wish they were playing the organ

Such a beautiful Tabernacle

Then David & Denise came in for the Habitat build.  I worked Monday and Tuesday until my back started hurting so I quit.  Cindy hung in there and is finishing the week out today.  One of the projects is to help tear down a Mormon church.  The church was donated to the American Cancer Society who wants to build a Hope Lodge there.  The ACS donated the lumber to Habitat.  
While here I had another vertigo incident so went to an ENT and he said I may have Meniere's disease.  After researching it and finding there is no cure I started looking into alternative care.  There are some supplements and diets that have been effective for some people.  I also found out there is a special Chiropractic procedure call the Blair Procedure.  Just so happens there is a Chiropractor nearby that specializes in the Blair Procedure, or is a "Blair Doc" as he calls it.  He claims an 85% success rate with vertigo sufferers.  So Friday about 11:30 I call his office explaining that we are fulltiming travelers.  They told me to come in and the doctor would see me during his lunch hour.
So I did and after examining me and taking X-rays he scheduled me for a treatment on Saturday morning.  After having the treatment on Saturday I have felt better than I have since I had the first vertigo attack.  My balance is as good as it was before the attacks.  One interesting thing is before the procedure he laid me on a table and said my left leg was 1/2" shorter, Cindy said she could see the difference.  After the procedure my legs were even!  Cindy said it was amazing to see the difference.  Only problem is there are no "Blair Docs" in Louisiana, closest is Dallas.  So if or when I need another procedure I'll need a road trip.  He has given me a list of "Blair Docs" he knows in different areas of the country if I can't get back to Salt Lake.
Last night we went with David & Denise to watch the Mormon Tabernacle Choir practice. Really nice performance.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Flying nuclear reactors?

Really!  When we decided to stop here in Arco we had no idea what attractions were in the area.  Well one of the neatest things is Arco was the first town to be powered by nuclear energy.  There is the Idaho National Lab that built the world's first breeder reactor and to prove that it was a viable energy source connected the output to the town of Arco.  Today we toured the decommissioned original #1 reactor and the #2 reactor.  Really interesting to see how Mr. Fermi developed the concept and Mr. Zinn put it to a practical use.  Too bad that breeder reactors are outlawed by international convention.  It is really a neat and very safe concept.  They even have the radioactive material from 3 Mile Island stored here.
A flying nuclear reactor prototype

Lead lined locomotive used to pull the reactors for testing

Another flying reactor prototype

When I was a kid I was very interested in science and read everything I could, especially Popular Science.  I remember articles on breeder reactors but had no idea I would get to see the place where they were developed.  Another thing I remember was the concept of a nuclear powered airplane.  Well they started developing one here.  There are 2 different nuclear reactors on display outside.  The reactor heated the air to spin a turbine to produce thrust.  The reactors were a success but the project was discontinued as it was thought to be unsafe to have a flying reactor.  The 2 examples were huge, but I'm sure would be miniaturized if they were ever put into an airplane.  There is also a lead lined locomotive they used to haul the reactors out into the desert for testing.  Really was an interesting tour.

A few days ago we rode the RZR up above Mackay to tour the old mines.  Had a nice day riding even rode over a really old railroad trestle.  We even found a neat little cave in a canyon that had smoke stains in the ceiling.

Then yesterday we rode from the campground out to Wood Canyon.  We went up to 8400 feet riding through a tree lined canyon then up and up to a gorgeous overlook.  It was another great day here in Idaho.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Number Hill?

Well our 3 weeks at North Fork are about up.  We spent the day riding the truck around the countryside enjoying the views.  We'll be glad to get down to Arco where we should have cell service and better internet.  We'll say goodbye and good luck to some dear friends.  They are having engine trouble so will take their time driving to a repair shop in Spokane.  We're heading south.

The drive followed the Salmon River about 70 miles and was just an incredibly beautiful drive.  Very curvy with 35mph and 25mph curves around the river bends.  Mountains on either side, just gorgeous.  The rest of the drive was through the Lost River valley with a few hard climbs then descents down to the valley.  The campground is really nice with huge sites, and free egg and pancake breakfast each morning.  Pretty nice for the price and very good food.
The view from our site overlooks Number Hill.  Back in 1920 the graduating class  decided to climb the mountain and paint their class year on the cliff edges.  Since then each graduating class has followed suit.  Pretty impressive!

Saturday we took the RZR through town and drove up to King Mountain Launch Site.  Para-gliders use this to launch and fly around the area at 8100 feet.  Great view overlooking the little town of Moore.  As we were driving down we saw a truck climbing to one of the sites so we followed them.  As luck would have it there were 3 guys and a girl that set up and launched.  Really neat to be so close as they took off.

Earlier that morning we attempted a hike to Natural Arch.  This was at 7000 feet and turned out to be a very steep hike through loose rock.  We made it about halfway then turned around.  Not enough oxygen up there for us.

Today we drove over to Craters of the Moon National Monument.  A 2000 year old lava flow.  We hiked up to the top of a dome for an overlook of the area.  Then hiked to some caves and explored a bit.

Tomorrow we'll haul the RZR to Mackay and take the gold mine trails.  Should be another great day.
Tonight we were able to FaceTime with Scott, Bevi, Ella, and her "little sister to be".  It was really nice to see them.  We really felt so isolated at North Fork without cell service.
Last night we face timed with Mike and Jessica and saw his new house.