Showing posts with label Ben Miller Inn. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ben Miller Inn. Show all posts

Saturday, October 22, 2011


Our cold gray Novemberesque morning magically morphed into a fine late October Autumn afternoon. Nice day for a second walk in the forest with Ram Jam Pheebs the Rocket Dog. Been a few years since I have deviated from the trail so we made our way over an embankment and down along a creek through a thick and soggy cedar swamp. Didn't take me long to get a soaker and muddy up my new blue jeans pretty good. But, that's what Saturday afternoons and boys with their dogs are all about:))
And would you believe we both forgot about the last dog obedience class this morning.  Missed last week when Kelly was working and I was under the weather.  Pheebs and I were about two thirds the way around the trail this morning when I suddenly remembered our morning class, but it was too late:((  Not as bad as when I signed up early for a computer course at a local high school back in the late 90’s…………. and then forgot to go!!
Loaded up our satellite dish and tripod this morning and took them down to our handyman and neighbourhood friend Bruce’s place. Between the two of us (mainly Bruce) we were able to figure out the logistics of the tripod, drill a hole here, tighten up some nuts there and exchange a few brain wobbles before finishing up the project. Tripod and satellite dish are finally good to go.  Bruce is the same fellow who rebuilt our utility trailer last summer, did some renovations in our rig over the years and looks after our place when we are away for the winter.
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In Friday's post I talked about why I like Blogs, Bloggers and Blog Land. Here is another reason I find blogging not only interesting, but educational as well. How many of us would know this country as well as we do if it was not for our fellow RV Bloggers. Yes, we all learned about History and Geography in school but how many of us were really interested in all that boring stuff at the time. Too many other cool things going on in our younger lives to think about traveling to distant parts of the country.  Every day now is a history lesson as we read and follow one another's blog travels around our fair land. We are all far more knowledgeable about travel and the ways of travel than any of our previous generations. And, through the countless photos we all share, the land becomes much more familiar and personnel than the usual old generic history book pictures of yesteryear.  And, a lot of those old history book photos were in black and white too!!
DSC_8870For any of you RV folks with Olympian Wave 8 heaters in your rigs you might want to read KAREN'S POST  about a couple simple maintenance tips which could save you costly repairs with your unit. We at the Bayfield Bunch have a similar propane powered unit called a Legacy Blue Flame.
While searching for some additional info on our Blue Flame heater this morning I came across a post I had written back on April 22nd 2009 entitled, AFTER A FEW WRONG DECISIONS...HERE ARE SOME RIGHT ONES.   Found it interesting to see my line of thinking at that time. Apologies to Florida of course. 
I still have not made much progress in the Google+ department. Have received a lot of emails from folks adding me to Circles or something but I just have not been able to perk my interest in another social media site yet. I think I may have added all the folks to my Circles of whatever Circles I seem to have but of course I'm not sure. I'm just kind of going around in circles I guess looking for a logical reason as to why I would need Google+. I also receive occasional emails from people about joining something called 'linkedin'. Again, I have no idea what this is so have passed on the invitations. And then there is something called 'Stumble Upon' but after giving it a quick look see I decided that wasn't something I was interested in either. Like I said in a previous post a few weeks interests are a changing.
GROANER'S CORNER:((  A wise old man celebrating his 100th birthday got a visit from a local television reporter at the nursing home to interview him.
"Are you able to get out and walk much?" the reporter asked. "Well, I certainly can walk better today than I could a hundred years ago today!!"
-Tourists see the world, travelers experience it.
-Until one has loved an Animal, their soul remains un-awakened.
The only thing better than right now will someday be the memories of
right now...AL.

Monday, October 25, 2010




I came away with a feeling of disappointment after reading a friend's blog Sunday morning & that kind of set the tone for my day.  It would be a full 24 hours before I sat down at the computer again.  A work related schmozzle later in the morning didn't help my frame of mind any & I had to finally throw my old sack of bones in the Jeep & take them for a long drive along some quiet country roads.  Every once & awhile I just have to get away from things so I generally grab my cameras & some favorite music CD's & away I go for a few hours.  It is a good way for me to mull things over in my mind, make some decisions, see some different scenery & just generally get myself back on track with myself.  I once again questioned this whole blogging thing & by the time I got home in the late afternoon I just didn't have the mental energy to put a blog together.  It was the first day I have missed writing a blog for about a year & a half.   I like writing & I like the photography end of things, so with a few necessary changes, a short one day blogging break & a self motivated pep talk I am again back at the keyboard:))



We are into our second day of exceptionally warm weather.  Mid 60's yesterday & today coupled with a healthy splash of sunshine  this afternoon.  In fact it was so nice it actually spurred us on to make a last minute renovation to the rig's interior.  Some of you may remember a couple years ago in Quartzsite when we took out all the cheaply made & hugely uncomfortable furniture in our rig.  Sold the dinette, tub chair & couch at a business called, The Gambler.  A few days later we headed east & purchased all new stuff at the Ikea store in Tempe/Phoenix, AZ.  You can see our shopping spree here....IKEA 



But, going back to Quartzsite for a minute.....we were looking for a computer desk & Kelly found a used one that had come out of a Tiffin Motor Home at the Le Mesa RV dealer.  I think we paid $40 for it.  It was made of oak with a marble like top & of course was very heavy.  It was a solid good quality desk but it was actually too big for our rig.  We liked it anyway & that's what we have been using the past couple years.  Last winter we finally accepted the fact it was maybe not the best desk for our particular set-up so this morning, that desk came back out of the Motor Home!!

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We had a much smaller el-cheapo wooden student's desk in the carport but when we put it in the rig we realized it was much too high for a laptop computer.  Kelly set off for Goderich to see what Zeller's & Wal-Mart had in the way of desks but came back saying all the computer desks were too long for our short space.  We have now opted to have handyman Bruce build us a nice shelf type of thing for the laptop & he's going to do that this week-end.


I again recognized our latest blog supporter, cowboy hat & all.  That's Froggi Donna from 2 TAKING A FIFTH.  I first met Froggi D here on my blog about 3 years ago.  I had written a post about a bunch of vehicles I had owned over the years & a comment came in from a 'Froggi' person saying they once had the same type of vehicle as one of the one's I had.  Well, with a cute name like that we had to email her back of course.  Froggi D was traveling solo in those days & Kelly actually met her in Ajo Arizona one day when the Froggi gal was filling up some propane tanks.  Kelly recognized her rig from the pictures on her site.  She & Stu were two of the people who came out to our boondocking spot last winter in the Kofa Mountains.  I've always had one regret though since that day.  We never really did get to know anyone really well that were there & I remember thinking that as I watched Froggi D & Stu pull out on their motorcycles heading back to Yuma.  Yes, we had met them alright, but we really didn't get a chance to talk to them much.  Maybe next time we can make it 2 on 2 & do that "Howdy Neighbor" thingy all over again,  Thanks for your blog support guys:))



GROANER'S CORNER:((  A big earthquake with the strength of 8.1 on the Richter scale hits Mexico.  Two million Mexicans have died and over a million are injured. The country is totally ruined and the government doesn't know where to start and is asking for help to rebuild. The rest of the world is in shock.
Canada is sending troops to help the Mexican army control the riots.  Saudi Arabia is sending oil.  Other Latin American countries are sending supplies.  The European community (except France) is sending food and money.  The United States, not to be outdone, is sending two million Mexicans to replace all the people lost in the earthquake.
God bless America!!!!


Until one has loved an Animal, part of their soul remains un-awakened.




The only thing better than right now will someday be the memories of right now...... AL.

Monday, October 11, 2010




Our Autumn colors are peaking now & the forests are ablaze with color as I spent another work day cruising through the  beautiful pastel countryside.  One of the things that make my job pleasant is a radio station out of Toronto called, AM-740.  You can still hear Big Band music on this station (Big Band Sunday Night) & all their music is of a lighter nature & familiar to all us older folks.  A very laid back format with mature announcers.  They also play old radio programs from the bygone era.   If your looking for music from the good old days you can find AM 740 right here on the Internet:)) 

I am going to shift my blog focus away from the blogging world & get it back on track to the RVing world which is why & where I originally started this blog years ago. 



I have recently received some RVing questions about one of my favorite topics, Boon docking.  First, an explanation of Boondocking & for that I refer you to this short explanation here...WHAT IS BOON DOCKING?? 


JUDY wondered what the above thing was in the reflected water & I must say I don't know. If you enlarge the pictures below & look just above center to the right in the left pic you can see a small object in the water & that is the above flower pot thingy.  I took the reflected pic above from just beside that building on the left at 230mm.  It is about dead center in the pic at right which I took from a bridge.  Yesterday's first pic was taken at 300mm.

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Ok, back to the questions.  Had an email this morning from some folks out in BC asking the following questions..............

We just read your post from yesterday and we were talking with regards to your Boondocking expeditions and the beautiful night sky that you get to enjoy...we have a few questions for you though...we know you have solar panels for your power issues...but our questions are

1. what do you do about internet service?  - For internet service we use a Verizon air card & it has served us very well.  When I'm driving Kelly can be on the internet too.  That's pretty darn nice.  Have been very pleased with the total overall coverage.

2. how long does your fresh water last?  - We take on a full tank of fresh water every time we dump our gray & black water tanks but we also carry half a dozen plastic water jugs that we can fill at any time between bigger fill ups.  We generally only use the rigs big water tank for dishes, washing, showers & the toilet.  We buy bottled water for drinking & coffee because we don't have a water filter system.  I do add a touch of bleach to the big tank's water though to keep it free of bacteria.

3. black water tank?  - On average we get about 2 weeks out of the black water tank before dumping.  I'm sure the newer & more expensive big big rigs can go longer than that because they have much bigger holding tanks than we do.  Our water tank is 6 gallons where bigger rigs are 12 I think.  Our black tank holds 60 gallons where upon the bigger rigs can hold a hundred.  Fresh water tanks are bigger on the newer rigs as well so it all depends on how big your holding tanks are.  For people interested in boon docking I would say the size of the holding tanks is a priority when purchasing a rig.

4. how long can you actually last out there in the wild blue yonder before you have to head into town and dump the tanks and refill the water?  - We could stay out boon docking indefinitely if we didn't have to dump the black water tank every couple of weeks.  Water can always be brought to the rig in jugs & transferred to the big water tank if need be & we have done that on occasion. many solar panels do you have to run all the equipment?  - We have two 130Watt??panels on the Motor Homes roof.  They can stay flat or be raised from either side to face the sun.  They store the power in 4 batteries.  We have never had a 'running out of power issue.'  If we run into a series of cloudy days we can just charge the batteries by running the generator.  Driving also charges them.  We are in the habit of running our generator for a few minutes each morning when we make coffee.  That's not totally necessary but it keeps the genny active & puts a little charge into the batteries first thing in the morning.  Arizona nights (depending on altitude) can easily drop down to & below the freezing mark at night.  Also, we are not power hogs.  No hair dryers, washers & dryers, dish washers, etc. etc.  After boon docking for a short while you will learn power needs & how to conserve power to suit your needs.  Had our Solar System installed by Solar Mike in Slab City, California 3 years ago & so far have been trouble free.  We highly recommend him.  The cost at that time was somewhere over $3000.00.  A little math will quickly tell you it is a much cheaper way to go in the long run than spending money on high priced RV Park rates every night.

6.medical costs?  - Medical costs are something we are going to have to deal with in the next couple of weeks again.  Last year I think it cost us $1,500.00.  It all depends on one's medical history.  I would say high medical insurance costs are one of the main reason for bringing an end to a lot of people's RVing days.  It cost me a little more last year again because of a kidney stone that landed me in an emergency room for a few hours in Colorado 3 years ago.  My rate should drop back down to around $700.00 this year.  There's no way of getting around medical insurance.  Those companies are in the business of making big profits & have got you coming or going....regardless!!


Another RV question we had regarded the PITA job of having to do laundry.  We don't have on board washers & dryers so it is always a trip into the nearest town for a boring couple of hours at the local Laundromat.  It was suggested we could cut down on that time by drying our clothes on a clothesline back at the rig.  Main problem there is where to string a clothesline.  Very few trees around in the desert & to get two trees the right distance apart for a clothesline is just about impossible.   We have thought of rigging a line from the Motor Home to the Toad but it just ends up not being practical.  The other problem in the Southwest of course is the sudden & unpredictable high winds.  I don't think the people of New Mexico would appreciate my underwear flying through their neighborhoods!!


YOU CAN SEE THAT OBJECT IN THE WATER ABOVE CENTER LEFT (close up's were taken from this point)

I like when folks email in RVing questions.  If they are emailed in I have a better chance of remembering to answer them.  If they come in the comment section I have a tendency to forget.


GROANER'S CORNER:((   California vintners in the Napa Valley area, which primarily produce Pinot Blanc, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Grigio wines, have developed a new hybrid grape that acts as an antidiuretic.  It is expected to reduce the number of trips older folks will have to make to the bathroom during the night.  The new wine will be marketed as, PINO MORE!!

I heard it through the grapevine:))


Tourists see the world, travelers experience it.

Until one has loved an Animal, part of their soul remains un-awakened.




The only thing better than right now will someday be the memories of right now...... AL.

Sunday, October 10, 2010



Another bonus day as I toured around the beautiful Autumn countryside shuffling folks here & there with the mobility van.  Profusions of yellows, golds & crimsons are breaking out everywhere.   A great day & it was after dark when I got home tonight again.


ALL OF THE PHOTOS WERE TAKEN TODAY AROUND THE BEN MILLER INN.  Luckily I had to go right through Ben Miller between passenger stops & had enough time to pull over for a few pics


And it was well after dark by the time I finished my last mobility van run Saturday night as well.   I am reminded of something I have been missing so much these past few years.  The night sky!!  When we lived in the old farm house 10 years ago we had a clear view of the ebony velvet sky overhead with twinkling stars from horizon to horizon.  I would be outside with my telescope set up & my sky charts laid out illuminated by a soft red light.  I taught myself the night sky, it's stars & it's constellations.  Every night Max & I walked down the quiet country road out front of the old farm marveling at the the nocturnal beauty all around us.  Night time was by far my favorite part of the day. 



We are surrounded by pine trees now & it's rare for me to see the night sky anymore unless it's a small patch through the trees.  Saturday night, driving through the countryside I was once again reminded of a favorite part of my life I have been missing.  A glance out my side window showed me my old summer night constellation friends, Sagittarius & Scorpios, in all their starry beauty.  I would sooooooo much like to be living back out in the country again but I'm afraid it's probably not going to happen.  Things are just getting to late now.  


It is only while we are traveling 5 months of the year that I get to see & spend some time under nature's big dark canopy.  It's one of the many things I love so much about the American southwest with it's wide open spaces & diamond studded night skies.  And it's another reason I prefer to be well away from all sources of light pollution.  Towns, cities, campgrounds & RV Parks all have street lights, spot lights, security lights, headlights, etc.  Did you know there are people living in cities who have never seen the majesty of the night sky.  It's true. 


A cool desert night with millions of pin point stars shimmering overhead for as far as the eye can see, glowing embers in a campfire with the lonely wails of coyotes in the nearby hills is not most people's cup of tea, but it sure is mine.


Back here in Ontario I could get in the car each night & drive a few miles to resume my stargazing but it just isn't the same.  A car parked alongside a gravel road with a guy standing outside with his nose stuck up in the air with stars in his eyes always draws suspicion from passing cars & not only that, but vehicles with blazing headlights destroy the ambience of a beautiful darkened & serene world that most people never see or even take an interest in.  The beauty of the night is a whole different world altogether & I miss it sooooooo much.


GROANER'S CORNER:((   The American President was in the Oval Office when his telephone rang.  "Hallo, Mr. President " a heavily accented voice said. This is Archie, up'ere at the Harp Seal Pub in Badger's Cove, Newfoundland, Canada eh?  I am callin' to tells ya dat we are officially declaring war on you eh!"  "Well Archie," The President replied, "This is indeed important news! How big is your army?"  "Right now," said Archie, after a moments calculation "there is me, me cousin Harold, me next-door-neighbor Mick, and the whole dart team from the pub. That makes eight!" 
The President paused. "I must tell you Archie, that I have one million men in my army waiting to move on my command."  "Holy jeez," said Archie. "I'll have ta call ya back!"
Sure enough, the next day, Archie called again. "Mr. President, the war is still on! We have managed to acquire some infantry equipment!"  "And what equipment would that be Archie?", the President asked. "Well sir, we have two combines, a bulldozer, and Harry's farm tractor."  The President sighed. "I must tell you Archie, that I have 16,000 tanks and 14,000 armoured personnel carriers. Also, I've increased my army to one and a half million since we last spoke."
"Lard T'underin' Jaysus, bye", said Archie, "I'll be getting back to ya"  Sure enough, Archie rang again the next day. "Mr. President, the war is still on! We have managed to git ourselves airborne! We up an' modified Harrigan's ultra-light wit a couple of shotguns in the cockpit, and four byes from the Legion have joined us as well!" 
The President was silent for a minute then cleared his throat. "I must tell you Archie that I have 10,000 bombers and 20,000 fighter planes. My military complex is surrounded by laser-guided, surface-to-air missile sites. And since we last spoke, I've increased my army to TWO MILLION!"  "Jeysus, Mary and Joseph," said Archie,"I'll have ta call youse back."  Sure enough, Archie called again the next day. "Mr President! I am sorry to have to tell you dat we have had to call off dis 'ere war."  "I'm sorry to hear that" said the American President. "Why the sudden change of heart?"
"Well, sir," said Archie, "we've all sat ourselves down and had a long chat over a bunch of pints, and come to realize dat dere's no way we can feed two million prisoners."


Tourists see the world, travelers experience it.

Until one has loved an Animal, part of their soul remains un-awakened.




The only thing better than right now will someday be the memories of right now...... AL.

Saturday, June 26, 2010



PART OF THE BEN MILLER INN COMPLEX ABOUT 20 MINUTES FROM OUR PLACE & ABOUT 20 MINUTES BEFORE THE RAINS CAME TODAY!!...Supposedly a 'movie stars' retreat.  Rumor has it that Bert Reynolds & long lost love Lonni Anderson were here years ago.


Worked today & my mobility van travels took me to a wedding!!  Picked up wheelchair lady in a neighboring small town & took her to a well known place for rich folks called the Ben Miller Inn.  The outdoor wedding took place outside the main building around 4 & just beat the rain by about 20 minutes.  All of today's photos are from the grounds of the Ben Miller Inn while I had a 2 hour wait before returning the lady to the little town of Brussels.



Thursday's trip over to Waterloo Ontario quickly brought back the harsh reality of why we do not live in a city.  Mass suburbia!!  I lived in the Kitchener-Waterloo back in the late 60's & the area around Erbsville where we went Thursday was familiar to me.  It is not familiar any longer!!  We might just as well have been transported to some far off planet from the future.  Miles upon miles & rows upon rows of crowded houses interspersed with the ever present acres of shopping malls, twisting streets, traffic lights, & the ever present metal monsters all racing & competing for space to get to whatever seems so important for them all to get to.  The shopping malls I suspect!!  Kids on the sidewalks, kids on the roads, & kids on the lawns of well manicured houses all squished together.  All perfectly fine & normal for the people living there but what a contrast it is to our lifestyle. I think that is why big city living just jumps right out at us every time & bops us on the nose whenever we see that sort of thing.  It's always a good reminder for me of why I totally avoid all cities wherever possible!!  We are sooooooooo fortunate to live where we do both here in the summer & in the southwest during the winter.    And, whenever I start my blustery complaining stuff about being home I should just be put in the car, driven to the nearest city & forced to spend half an hour in the madness.  Instant cure for AL!!!!


Finally got my pocket voice recorder to a practical level of understanding I can use.  I am now well on my way to recording miles & miles of mindless drivel to annoy myself with on miserable rainy days.  The instruction manual goes on in detail how to use the device for a multitude of operations, & I expect, had I read the manual to the end, I would have found on the last page how to directly plug the USB cord into the operational flight deck system of a 747 Jumbo Jet & program the recorder to not only fly the jet but land it as well on obscure runways somewhere in southern Zimbabwe.  However, I just took it to a level where when RVing down the road I can easily record trivia like what State lines are being crossed & when.  Maybe comment on a traffic incident like a passing car exploding in a ball of flames or a dozen alien space craft blocking traffic on I-10 west of Tucson.  Stuff I would normally forget about by the time it came to write the blog at the end of the day. 


For any RV'ers traveling in risky weather areas where there may be severe thunderstorms, tornadoes, etc., be sure to read LAURIE'S weather experienced post  today on how they prepare themselves for any worst case scenarios.  And it sounds like RV'ers JOHN & JUDY'S have themselves pretty well surrounded by all the G8 & G20 stuff going on up around Huntsville & Gravenhurst Ontario, Canada.  Military aircraft, limousine convoys, army maneuvers, & RCMP everywhere.  They are currently in a KOA campground right beside an airport being used as a command center.  A couple of days ago John found himself inadvertently at the head of an RCMP 3 limo motorcade......on his motorcycle!! (check back a day or two in his blog when you get there)

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I am still waffling badly on the decision to sell the motorcycle.  It is a classic heart & head battle going on within.  My head tells me that selling the bike is the right thing to do both from a financial & simply logical point of view but my heart is on the opposite side of the fence saying, 'nooooooooooo, do not sell the bike dummy!!'  So, it is quite a tussle I am having with myself here for sure.



GROANER'S CORNER:(  And here's what some of those computer terms mean to our local farmers....

1. Log on: when you want to make the house warmer.

2. Log off: Timberrrrrrrrrrrr.

3. Mega Hertz: when your not careful getting the firewood.

4. Lap top: where the cat sleeps.

5. Hard drive: maneuvering through those rocky fields on the northern range when there is snow on the ground.

6. Windows: what to shut when it's cold outside.

7. Byte: what mosquitoes do.

8. Modem: what I did to the hay fields last week.

9. Keyboard: where the keys hang.


Tourists see the world, travelers experience it.




AL'S SMUG MUG PHOTO GALLERY (a work in progress)

The only thing better than right now will someday be the memories of right now...... AL.

Saturday, September 05, 2009



As mentioned in previous posts my favorite time of the week is Saturday morning. Has been for as long as I can remember. In 1970 the Sandpipers came out with a song called, Come Saturday Morning & for me it sums up my feelings exactly. The words, "we'll travel for miles in our Saturday smiles" have always stuck with me. The harmonies are soothing. You can listen to it here....SATURDAY MORNING. Two of my other Sandpiper favorites from the 60's are, GUANTANAMERA & Misty Roses. (couldn't find free music for Misty Roses)

Had a mobility van run to London & back this afternoon & other than that things have been quiet here at the 5 Seasons. A bit of shrub trimming & that was about it for Al to-day.


Some of my posts lately have been rather lengthy so think I'll keep this one short & finish it up with a few photos. On my bike ride a few days ago I came through a scenic little place not far from where we live called Ben Miller. It is the location of the well to do BEN MILLER INN alongside the Maitland River. It has been a quiet getaway for a few celebrities & many politicians over the years.
GROANER'S CORNER:(( How do you get holy water............ Boil the hell out of it.

The only thing better than right now will someday be the memories of right now...AL.