Mexican Connection Progress 2014

It’s mid-summer in Connecticut and we are wearing long pants and an extra blanket at night. Average high is 82° with the last 10 year average being 84°. The monkey wrench is that the last 5 years we have been much warmer.

You may remember that last week I started to replace our 3 Toppers. On the left you can tell that we certainly got our money’s worth out of the 10 year old ones. Removing the old covers required struggling with more seized sheet metal screws (See post last month when I had to cut off the screws holding our storm door on). There are several good U-tube videos that demonstrate the process. You must deal with winding up the very stout torsion spring, not for the faint of heart.

This is the smallest of the 3, I’ll have a few weeks to tackle the 2 large ones while we await Anne-Maries doctors approval.

This is a picture of the impact driver I bought at $30 {Amazon smile) it is a very desirable tool needing only a 5# hammer and a devoted arm.


After engaging the screw bit you smack the tool a mighty blow; this drives the bit into the screw (eliminating it from camming out) and also nudges the screw counterclockwise. Most of my screws required 6 ‘treatments before giving up their grasp. Very sweet!



Thoughts and prayers go out our Son in Law Wayne shown her at an Amaranth sponsored picnic last week. Jim Ratcliffe in in the background. You may note that Wayne’s shirt seems a bit loose, it is! He is shrinking which is a very good thing.


The only Rock Star in the family, Michael Maier working a gig in ‘Frisco I believe.


More to follow…

NCT National Rally 2014

The National Camping Travelers is a relatively small camping club that we have belonged to for about 30 years. Membership is limited to Master Masons and their families. Their Annual Rally was held at the Grange Encampment in Centre Hall, PA this year. We always enjoy visiting this facility as it in in central Pennsylvania’s farm country. We were amongst about 6 Connecticut couples that made the trip, we traveled with Vinnie & Pat Kalinauskas during the 300 mile drive.

The red ribbon on the front of our rig is notification to our youth group that we have paid ‘insurance’ to protect us from being ‘decorated’ with toilet paper. The victim next to us was a National Officer who is unable to protect himself with this insurance coverage.

This is embarrassing; while waiting for our entertainment this brother approached me and commented that he followed out blog. Well, we have thousands hundreds ok, dozens of readers and I cannot be expected to remember all of you unless you comment now telling us how we are doing.

Our entertainment on this evening was provided by The Avalon String Band, one of 17 Mummer’s bands that march in Philadelphia each Thanksgiving. Read their web page to get more information, these band have an interesting history and are very active. The re costume themselves each year with new themes.





While the band played, one of the “Street Dancers would come out and entertain with his very energetic & showy


No Trip to Pennsylvania is complete without a stop at Ollies Bargin Outlet where Everything is Never on Sale. Of course that is my humble opinion and does not convey the true opinion of management.

We returned to Suffield on Friday, not a good choice of travel days. We had the option of staying 1 more night (About $15) and we would have missed the 3 hour Danbury to Hartford parking lot. Note to out of state readers, this is 70 miles in 3 hours!

Anne-Marie’s cataract surgery will start on Thursday, the 31st. Second eye will be on the 8th of August after which we will wait for 6 weeks. Stay Tuned…









Old Friends are your best friends, they know where you’re going and where you have been. ‘Harry Chapin’

Anne-Marie was The Worthy Grand Matron of the Order of The Eastern Star in a 1996. During her 7 year travels in the 8 Northeast States and Provinces she had close relationships with their presiding Grand Officers. One special lady was Debbie Litchfield from Vermont whose state teamed up with Anne-Marie to meet minimum attendees allowing us to sponsor our Caribbean Cruise. Debbie’s husband Al, left us to travel to the country not made with humane hands several years ago. She now travels with Joe Plummer who seems to be fighting retirement. We had lunch at The Marina, a great waterfront bistro that we had never been to before.


How true is this? Our life on the road allows us to visit just about anyone (or not!), it often very sad when we have to leave knowing that if we are allowed another visit it could be years away.


Going back and forth to various social events and Doctors’ appointments has gotten tiresome at 150 miles per trip. The good news is Anne-Maries Doctor has authorized her to go ahead with cataract replacements.



Out trip on Tuesday was enhanced by a stop at Arnolds Meat Market in Chicopee, MA. Their selection and quality has got to be tried. Last night I grilled Delmonico’s that were just wonderful.

We are getting ‘Hitch-up fever’ here. Torrential rains in the last 5 days or so have moved the river up. There is standing water scattered about the campground which indicated that the ground won’t take any more.

Our River which you can walk across in shorts is about 2′ below flood our Rally Field. That happened about 10 years ago when the owner upstream abandoned his dam. Dozens of destroyed campers and the Army Corps of Engineers would not let us replaced our 50 year old concrete bridge as it was not permitted.



Well, it’s about time we left New England for our 2 week ‘Vacation’ in Pennsylvania at the NCT Annual Rally, we will return hopefully to Rick & Connie’s home where we will commute from during Anne-Marie’s surgery.






2 Weeks at Traveler’s Woods, Bernardston, MA 2014

It doesn’t get much better than a couple of weeks at ‘Our’ campground in Bernardston, MA. Started 30 years ago by a group of far sighted and hardworking Freemasons, we were able to join a few years later. Being members, we are able to camp at ½ price as long as we want. The weather has been wonderful, 80° mid-day temperatures’ are balanced with very nice 60° sleeping temperatures at night.

Yes, there were work projects, some completed and some planned.

I ordered 3 new canvas insert for our toppers. The toppers are the awnings that affixed to the 3 sliding rooms, protecting them somewhat from the weather and cutting down on the sun load to help the A/C. Ours are disreputable having survived 10 years in Yuma sun and wind. When they arrive {Amazon} my next task will be to enlist some fellows to help install them.

Thanks to Richard and Ursula Kaminsky for the donation of a step ladder to add to my ‘bag-o-tricks’. Anne-Marie caught me here while removing our screen door for re-screening. The project was made interesting by the use of heat treated 400 series Stainless Steel sheet metal screw that had seized tight. I had to cut the heads off and replace them, an all day job. OK my work day is shorter than some!





We mysteriously lost the 12v control voltage to our refrigerator. To the uninitiated, we must have 12v to run the fridge on gas or 110v. To keep the beer cold, I jumped a line to it a few weeks ago. This week I spend another workday tracing the wiring. Not a very satisfying task as I found no broken wire. One of the several connections I cleaned must have been dirty.

Next Friday we will travel to Centre Hall, PA to join in at the National Camping Travelers annual national rally. This is a small camping club requiring Masonic membership to join, we are 30 year members.

Trying New Software

I’ve been using ‘WordPress’ to host my Blog. I found there service to be good but their software to be cumbersome.

We just loaded the latest & greatest M/S Office Suite, the WORD program has a writer in it so, I am giving it a try.

Our youngest Grandchild is Amelia Mattesen, she is working as a camp counselor this year, July 4th was her 18th birthday so she got to ride The Birthday Chair.

The Rain Stopped! 2014

I guess we will have to celebrate the July 4th on the 5th this year!