Newbie Screwup - Cleanup Underway

Trip Start Aug 19, 2006
Trip End Oct 30, 2006

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Flag of United States  , Texas
Tuesday, September 12, 2006

September 11th; 9/11... Is it really possible that it's been 5 years???

By the way, do you know why we (humans) are making such a big deal about the 5th anniversary as opposed to the 3rd or 4th? Don't laugh... look at your hand. the reason that we mentally categorize time in increments of five is because we have five digits on our hands... Funky, huh?

So, here we are in Highlands, TX outside of Houston... which means that Blue is fine, got a clean bill of health from the Toyota mechanics in Gulfport and we no longer have to stay in Mississippi!!! WOOHOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!

People, you have no idea just how awful being stuck in Mississippi as the guest of the "cat killer." Oh, the latest on the cat killer is that the next-door neighbor has found a home for the feral colony (all 6 of them) on a farm in Arkansas. She has agreed to build an enclosure (let's hope it's a big one with shelter and a way for the cats to get off the ground and away from the fire ants), for her cats and then trap the feral ones. Once they are all trapped, humanely of course, they will be out of Jason's way and hopefully harm. Okay, that's it on the cat front for now.

I, being the good Southern girl that I am, did leave the "cat killer" a thank you note and a bottle of wine. Before you think I'm a hypocrite, a) it was a shitty bottle of wine and b) the thank you note was 1 part "thanks for the electricity and water" and 6 parts "the cat situation is being taken care of. Do NOT, I repeat do NOT shoot or poison them in the meantime." Okay, that's it on the cat front for now.

And btw, a very public "thank you" to my step mom for the AMAZING cards she made for me and sent before I left. I had yet to open the package (kept forgetting) but when I needed a thank you note, there it was! I'm only sorry to have wasted one on the "cat killer"... but seriously, Terry, the cards are GORGEOUS! Thank *you* so much for them!

Mostly, we drove today. On I-10.
Baton Rouge: A-double S
um, pretty much every town between New Orleans and Houston, A-double S.

It's nothing but plants, and I mean gas, oil, manufacturing, you name it - all spewing toxins into the air. It could have been worse, though, it could have been clear skies, with the sun beating down on us, hot as hell. Instead, it was dramatic clouds,

rain here and there, mostly sprinkles, some downpours. Enough of the weather report...

as we are making our way across Louisiana and into Texas, we're thinking to our collective selves, "What did we ever do before XM radio?!?!?!"

(ALERT: Incoming shameless product placement pitch)

If you haven't gotten on the XM crack pipe, you just gotta!! Chris had heard about it years ago from a friend of his, but he always thought, "sure, if you're a trucker..." When he headed down to Katrina with Jay, who had one, he was an instant convert. If you cover news stories in rural places, it's a must-have. No rural station is gonna interrupt Rush Limbaugh or the Farm Bureau report to announce that Dick Armitage is the leaker, you know? Anyway, so we don't leave home without it, literally.

I think everybody who travels together frequently and has XM radio eventually finds themselves playing "Name That Tune." It's a natural. The passenger changes the station and doesn't look at the display. Both driver and passenger get a chance to name the Artist and the Song. Whoever gets it first, wins. And, if you travel together with XM long enough, you discover things about each other you might not have if not for XM... For example, I grew up on AM radio, and Chris grew up listening to albums - some he heard about from his older brothers, and others he discovered on his own. As a result, Chris pretty much owns "Deep Tracks" and I *RULE* on the 70s channel...

Seriously, test me, I'll scare you. It's my dad's fault. He would always challenge me to name that tune quicker than he could when I was a kid. As a result, I can name tunes before the song even gets going... I can tell the difference between the Four Tops and the Temptations; Neil Sedaka and the Captain and Tenille; I know who Paul Davis and Cliff Richards are and what they sang. I even know the words to Elton John's "Island Girl." As Napoleon Dynamite would say, it's my skill...

Chris on the other hand, scares me on anything Classic Rock, or blues, or, of course, Bluegrass... he's not bad on 80s too. So, when we're playing "Name That Tune," we tend to defer to each other on certain stations and then others are up for grabs. Chris pretty much dominates the station, "Deep Tracks" which features B sides and songs you'd only know if you'd bought the album and listened to it until you memorized it...

So, as we're flipping thru the channels, barreling down the road at 35 mph, the sound of truckers screaming by us doing 55... if Chris is stumped, I'll let him know it's Deep Tracks so he's not thinking 70s or 80s. I tend to punch in the channel (40) and not look at the monitor to see if I can guess who it is... Yesterday, we were both stumped, so I look and lo and behold, it's Al Dimeola!!! Our favorite photographer!!!

Now there are only four people in the world who get why this is hilarious, five if you count Ed's friend Ronnie. In fact, some of you might know who Al is and be scratching your heads as to what is so funny about one of the greatest guitarists of all time... here's the story:

When we were in New York last year prepping for the Corbis trial, we were deposing Corbis' "expert" witness. This woman was supposedly so knowledgeable, she was qualified to say that Chris was a "dime a dozen" photographer whose pictures were "good but certainly not iconic." Ed, our attorney, is grilling her about who she thinks *is* an iconic photographer...

Richard Avedon? Yes.
Herb Ritts? No.
Henri Cartier-Bresson? Yes.
Brooks Kraft? Yes.
Larry Burrows? No. No???
Bill Eppridge? No. No????
Robert Frank? No. What???? Are you kidding????
Al Dimeola? YES!!
David Burnett? YES!!!

Chris and I were sitting there dumbfounded. We knew she was an idiot, and clearly, Ed had used the Jedi Mind-Trick to get her to agree (as opposed to her just knowing, as any expert would) that the photographers he was listing were actually the best of the best, historically and currently... but, we wondered, who the heck was Al Dimeola...?? Turns out he's this jazz legend, if you're into Jazz, but even if you're not, he's played with just about everyone, from A to Frank Zappa... but has never taken a photograph in his life as far as Ed knows. We howled... she really didn't know who Robert Frank and Bill Eppridge are, but she did know she should have known, so she just started saying yes, he's great to whomever Ed named... I have always wondered if she went home and looked up his name...

Thank goodness Chris thinks on his feet, because I totally never thought to take a picture to document our first "newbie" incident. We decided to park at the Houston Leisure RV Park. It has free wi-fi, cable hookup, and is just east of Houston. Rates are reasonable - $78 for 3 nights. We get a spot right across from the laundry facilities, a pool, the main office and sparkling clean bathrooms and showers. We're getting the hang of setting up and it's close to a system. In fact, we're so efficient, that Chris is hooking up the cable (our first time) and I'm unloading the car within 10 minutes of arriving. This means that we've already leveled the trailer, adjusted it with the handy-dandy stack blocks we have for this purpose, lowered the stabilizer jacks, unhitched Blue, dismantled the hitch, and put it away. We've also hooked up the power, turned on the AC in the trailer to start dehumidifying it, connected the white water hose from the spigot to the trailer, pulled out the awning, and situated the complimentary picnic table under it.

As I'm milling about inside the trailer, thinking a) how nice it is to be parked before dark and b) what a leisurely evening we have ahead of us after such a long and tedious drive, I hear this dripping noise. Well, not dripping, more of an overflowing sound... and it's coming from the bathroom. I open the door and look at the sink - no water coming from there... and then I look at the edge of the shower tub, and see not a small bit of water pouring over the edge!!!

Um, what the #$%!@????

It is then, that I realize what has happened. Remember when we were having problems with where to stow everything during transit? Bokeh was too heavy in the front so we had to redistribute the weight. My original system had the freeze-dried food in plastic tubs stacked in the shower. But, we moved stuff around and decided to use the shower as the storage spot for all things that sit on the shelf over the bed when parked, or are just out and about and need stabilizing while driving. Somehow, during transit, these items rubbed against the faucet handles in the shower until they were in the "on" position. When I hooked up the water hose, I turned the spigot on all the way. The hilarious thing is that it actually occurred to me that a faucet might have accidentally been turned to an on position and I actually went into the trailer with the express purpose of listening for running water. I didn't hear anything... and here's why. What, you might be wondering, was stowed in the shower tub? Well let's see. First, have a wonderfully sturdy ripstop nylon Mountainsmith bag that fits in the tub near-perfectly and protects the sides of the tub from the two backpack/lawn chairs with cotton webbing. They, in turn, provide stabilization for, and here comes the best part, our backpacks.... which are stuffed to the gills with:

2 down sleeping bags
1 down jacket
1 tent
1 yoga bag, cotton, containing miscellaneous clothes and
2 yoga mats
2 Therma-rests
1 laundry bag, FULL of dirty laundry, including, but not limited to, 800 thread count bed linens

Now the good news is that *IF* those items had *NOT* been in the tub, the water would have overflowed much sooner and the trailer would have sustained a serious amount of flooding - just what the particle board it is made of would have needed. The bad news is that we look like the Clampetts right now, with shit hanging everywhere under the awning and on the picnic table. The down absorbed so much water, making the overflow minimal. But, to give you an idea how much water came out of the faucet, once we removed everything from the tub, the water would not drain because the 25 gallon "grey water" tank (where all non-toilet water goes when it goes down the drain) was so full, we had to empty it in order to drain the tub. And, yes, the tank was empty before the incident.

Pretty hilarious, if you ask me, but not conducive to a leisurely evening at the Houston Leisure RV Park! I am currently drying the down and washing the towels and laundry... and catching up on the blog ;-)


It had to happen, a not so great review of an Adventure Foods product...

Adventure Food Greek Pasta Salad
7 out of 10
Even though we didn't love this meal, it still warranted an above average rating. I made it in the morning and let it hydrate for several hours, so I can't really attest to its speed of hydration. If you like sun-dried tomatoes, you will love this - but the taste is a bit strong. This dish is also very salty, without us having added any salt, so be aware of that. We decided that this would be best served as a side dish, thus, the 2 serving would be for 4 people. On it's own, it wasn't satisfying because neither of us wanted to eat that much of it, not that it didn't taste good - it just wasn't a meal on its own - to us.

MRE (Meals Ready to Eat) Shortbread Cookies
10 out of 10
Remember the pan-shaped chocolate disks that were just M&M Chips Ahoy cookies? Well, I guess the feds couldn't get Chips Ahoy to give them packaging with their cookies, because when I opened this package up, there was a Lorna Doone package of cookies inside... It's all about the licensing, I guess. Anyway, if you dig Lorna Doones (which I have been known to on more than one occasion but not several), it is what it is.

Things we LOVE
XM radio

Things we HATE
moving about the country at 35 mph
Slideshow Report as Spam
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