One last time . . .

for Nick to make me get up at 7:30 in the morning.

At least for a while.

Jan and I headed down to the Vendor’s Building about 8:15 to say our goodbyes to friend’s new and old. Then we started working on cleaning up and sweeping out the meeting rooms. A number of people pitched in to help and the work went quickly. So with everything pretty much wrapped up, Jan and I headed out for lunch and some errands.

Our first stop was the local Goodwill store to dropped a donation of clothes and books, then it was across the street to the Sonic Drive-In. And after a great lunch of footlong chili dogs and Chedr-Poppers,

Next up was that mecca of RV’ers, Wal-Mart for a few things, and then finally back to the rig.

And for the first time in a couple of weeks, a nice long nap, only slightly interrupted by the light rain accompanied by very high winds.

Nick called about 4:30, and a few minutes later, we headed out to CJ’s HighMarks for dinner.

CJsHighMarks 1

The ‘we’ in this case, consisted of Jan and I, Nick and Terry, and Mike and Elaine Loscher. It was really nice to have a nice, leisurely dinner, knowing that we can (and will) slept in tomorrow morning as late as we want.

From our table we had a great view of the neighboring golf course and the approaching storms rolling in.

CJsHighMarks 2

We had a great meal. The steaks that Nick, Jan and I had were some of the best ever, just about perfect.

CJsHighMarks 3

And as usual, we sat around talking long after finishing our meal, just letting ourselves unwind.

We finally got back to the rig a little before 7 just in time for more rain to move in. This is getting monotonous.

Tomorrow, we do nothing.


Thought for the Day:

Be careful of believing something just because you want it to be true.


Bella’s and At-A-Boys . . .

Another morning up at 7:30.

Make it stop! Make it stop, please!

First off, a couple of At-A-Boys (or Girls) for two of the vendors here at the Gypsy Journal Rally.

The first one is for Marla Mallory of Cruising American RV. Two years ago at the last Celina rally, I bought 12 LED lights from Marla to replace the ones in our coach. About a year ago one of the screw-on glass covers came loose and broke. She replaced it at no charge.

Great Service. Thanks Marla.

Second up is Daryl Lawrence of Lawrence RV Accessories. This past March I bought a TireTraker Tire Pressure Monitor System from Daryl at the Gypsy Rally in Yuma, AZ.


Sometime since then, the little pop-up antenna on the monitor unit came loose and got lost. When I checked with Daryl earlier this week to see if I could order a new antenna, he gave me a whole new receiver unit at no cost.

Again, Great Service. Thanks Daryl.

For lunch, Jan and I made our 3rd trip to La Carreta this week for more of their great Chicken Tortilla Soup. Nothing like trying to run a good thing into the ground.

After the last of the classes finished up at 5 pm, we got together for supper at Bella’s Italian Grille with our new friends, Mill and Nancy Pierce. Jan met Nancy at one of the classes and found out that she and her husband have been doing oil field gate guarding down in Texas this last year, so we had to get together and pick their brains about what it’s like.

We had a great time getting to know them, and would have spent longer at Bella’s if we hadn’t had to get to the rally in time for the 7pm festivities. Hopefully we’ll be able to keep in touch and maybe get together with them down in Texas.

Tonight was our final meeting, with Nick giving out the last of the door prizes, including the big ones of a Kindle and Sea Eagle Inflatable Kayak.

Sea Eagle Kayak

Nick and Terry always come up with great door prizes, and this year they outdid themselves.


Rally Finale 1

Rally Finale 2

Next up, to close our the rally, was another great performance by the McKinney Washtub Two.

McKinney Washtub Two 5

Tonight pretty much wrapped up this year’s rally. with only an early morning get-together for coffee, doughnuts, and goodbyes. After that, people will start pulling out, or being pulled out by one of the fairground’s tractors if they get stuck. We’ve really had a lot of rain this week, and some people that got in OK may have a hard time getting out.

Others will probably take the fairgrounds up on their offer to stay over a few days at the regular rate, just until things dry out a little.

It’s been a great rally and everyone seemed to have a good time, despite the weather. I mean, what’s an RV rally without a little rain.


Thought for the Day:

“All warfare is based on deception. Every battle is won or lost before it is fought.” – Sun Tzu


Happy Anniversary to my Beautiful Bride!

First thing this morning I want wish my beautiful bride a happy 44th Wedding Anniversary!

I love you, sweetie!


Jan with our daughter Brandi at Gulf Shores, AL in 1975.



Here she is making new friends in Puerto Vallarta in 1997.


Jan in the Snow

And this is in Billings, MT in 2008, still as beautiful as the day I married her.


This morning started with coffee, lots and lots of coffee. Anything to wake up. 7:30 is just too early for any sane person to awaken.

Of course then, some might ask why it’s a problem for me?

Jan and I headed down to the Vendor building about 8:30 to check out the doughnut selection and then Jan headed off to her 9am seminar while I went back to the rig to finish stapling the handouts for my seminar at 1:30.

About noon I picked up Jan from her second class and then rather than going back to the rig, we decided that the cold, rainy weather called for more Chicken Tortilla Soup so it was off to La Carreta again.

Getting back to the fairgrounds a little after 1pm, we got set up for my seminar on the “Do’s and Don’ts of Computer Security”, We ended up with 35 people in the class and once again had a lot of good questions, and hopefully some good answers. At least everyone seemed to be happy with the class..

After resting up and talking with our daughter Brandi, we headed back down to the meeting room for Pizza Night.

It’s always amazing how Miss Terry has everything organized so that several hundred people get served their pizza in just a few minutes.

After everyone had their fill, it was time for the much-anticipated Buckeye Beauty Contest.

Buckeye Beauties 1

First off, Nick modeled the latest in beach attire for the chunky stud muffin. Doesn’t he look handsome . . . pretty . . . whatever.


Buckeye Beauties 2

There were six entries in this year’s pageant, a fine selection of pulchritudinous womanhood. Why, any man would be proud to have one of these ladies on his arm.


Buckeye Beauties 3

Here’s Nick during the Interview session with one contestant. I think that hat came from Target’s new Lady GaGa line.


Buckeye Beauties 4

And here’s Nick crowning this year’s winner, Rachel Rupugness. That’s one fine looking woman . . . er . . . man . . . er . . . whatever.

I’m very confused right now.


Thought for the Day:


Making money in the stock market is easy. Just buy stock in companies that will merge. Here are the merger predictions:

1. Hale Business Systems, Mary Kay Cosmetics, Fuller Brush, and W. R. Grace Co. will merge and become: Hale, Mary, Fuller, Grace.

2. Polygram Records, Warner Bros., and Zesta Crackers will join forces and become: Poly, Warner Cracker.

3. 3M will merge with Goodyear and issue forth as: MMMGood.

4. Zippo Manufacturing, Audi Motors, Dofasco, and Dakota Mining will merge and become: ZipAudiDoDa.

5. FedEx is expected to join its major competitor, UPS, and become: FedUP.

6. Fairchild Electronics and Honeywell Computers will become: Fairwell Honeychild.

7. Grey Poupon and Docker Pants are expected to become: Poupon Pants.

Call your broker now.


Soup and Seminars – Rally Day 2

Jan and I were both up by 8 this morning for the first full day of the Gypsy Rally. With the cold, rainy weather, the hot coffee and doughnuts in the Vendor Building really hit the spot.

After Jan headed off to her first class I spent some time checking out the vendors and checking in with old friends and new acquaintances. Then I headed back to the rig to finish up printing the handouts for my class.

During the morning Jan met up with Mill and Nancy Pierce, who are doing oil field gate guarding down in Texas, something we’re thinking about doing next year, so we had an interesting talk. Hopefully we’ll have some more time to spend picking their brains before they head out.

At noon I went down and picked up Jan after her class and we drove into town to have a big hot bowl of Chicken Tortilla Soup at La Carreta. And with this weather it really hit the spot.

At 3:30 I gave my first seminar on “Ten Things to Never Do With Your Computer”. We had a good crowd of over 45 people and a lot of good questions.

I try to structure the class so everyone will have plenty of time to ask questions as we go along. When I first did this class back in Yuma last March I only had an hour and ran short on time. But Nick was nice enough to give me 90 minutes this time and we used every bit of it.

Rally Seminar Day 1-1

Rally Seminar Day 1-2

I got a lot of good feedback on the class, and pretty much everyone seemed to be happy with it, so I’m happy too.

We started up again at 7pm for our nightly door prize meeting with Nick Russell in his usual MC role. Once again we had a lot of great prizes, including Roger Marble’s donation of 4 raffle tickets with a 1 in 10,000 chance to win $24,000.


Jan and I won a nice tote bag from Dennis and Carol Hill and the RV Driving School.

Celina Rally Day 2 Nick 1

And here’s Nick demonstrating the latest in orange safety cone bras. Come to think of it, he did say something about ‘man-boobs’ (no whipped cream).

Celina Rally Day 2 Nick 2

After Nick finished with the door prizes, we had a great 1 hour set from Judy and Whitt McKinney, The McKinney Washtub Two. They performed for the Gypsy Journal Rally last year in Elkhart, and afterwards I referred to them in my blog as The McKinney Washboard Two, and was severely chastised by Judy. Well, she did fuss at me a little bit.

McKinney Washtub Two 1

During the show, Judy played the washboard (see I knew there was a washboard in there somewhere), the washtub (or thump bass). the ukulele, and the mandolin. A very versatile lady.

McKinney Washtub Two 2

Whitt just played the guitar. (But very, very well)

McKinney Washtub Two 4

They play a lot of new takes on old songs and a lot of humor ensued.

McKinney Washtub Two 3

They’re doing a different set on Thursday night and we’re really looking forward to it.


Thought for the Day:

Those of us who work for a living are outnumbered by those who vote for a living.


Pizza and Prizes–Rally Day 1 . . .

I managed to sleep in a little this morning, not getting up until about 9:30. After coffee I spent the rest of the time working on my seminars until Nick called about 10:30 and said they needed some help parking rigs

By 12:30 I was back to the rig just in time for Jan to fix me a sandwich for lunch, however, before I could eat it I got called back out for more parking. And this time I didn’t get back to my sandwich until a little after 2 pm. As soon as I finished, I made a quick run to drop off some mail at the PO, get gas in the toad ($3.23 a gallon, Nice!) and stop off at C-Town Wings to pick up a couple of $15.00 gift cards for the Rally.

A little before 3 Jan and I headed down to the Main Hall for the Opening Get-together of the 2011 Eastern Gypsy Journal Rally. Nick introduced the vendors and talked about what would be going on over the next 4 days.

Nick wrapped up about 4 pm and we took a break for about 30 minutes until the RV Quick Tips Q&A Panel started at 4:30.

But Jan and I took a break to make a Wal-Mart run and found out you can’t throw a rock in a  Wal-Mart without running into a RV’er. And in this case I hit two, Al Hesselbart , the RV Historian, and Daryl Lawrence of Lawrence RV Accessories.

Getting back to the rig, we had an hour or so before the 7 pm start of the Door Prize Meeting. Nick had a lot of great prizes, including an Epson All-In-One Color Inkjet Printer, and more.

Celina Rally Day 1 Crowd 1

Celina Rally Day 1 Crowd 2

After all of tonight’s prizes were given out (There’s many more to come Tuesday and Thursday nights) and Nick wrapped things up for the evening, the four of us headed out for pizza about 7:45 pm to Pizza Hut. Ironically, Jan and I won a gift certificate for a free Pizza Hut pizza tonight at the rally, but we decided to save it for later.

Getting back to the fairgrounds about 9, Nick and I dropped off our better half’s and then drove around the park to do a rig count.


Thought for the Day:

“There will be a time when loudmouthed, incompetent people seem to be getting the better of you. When that happens, you only have to be patient and wait for them to self-destruct. It never fails.” – Margaret Thatcher


No Whipped Cream . . .

Was up again at 8 am this morning.


I have no idea. Probably because I’ve had to get up early for last several days, and now it’s just a bad habit . . . that I badly need to break.

I spent the morning working on the details for my two seminars Tuesday and Wednesday, and also cataloging the many gifts and gift certificates we’ve received for door prizes.

About noon we headed over to the Vendor/Registration building so Jan could help with registration and I could be a general troubleshooter and also help with parking if needed.

And later in the afternoon as more RV’s pulled in, I did start parking rigs for a while. The rain pretty much held off, but it was cloudy and cool.

A little before 6 pm Jan and I headed over the Bob Evans restaurant to meet Nick and Terry, and also Roger Marble, the RV Tire Safety Guy.

And I think the word is getting out. This is the first time we’ve been to this Bob Evans, and they put us in a side room all by ourselves.

I’m beginning to sense a pattern here.

After a really good meal and a great time, we headed home. But I did stop off at the Sonic Drive-in right down the street to pick up some coupons the manager had left for me.

BTW Never, ever let Nick taste your Caramel Cappuccino. You won’t get it back, and he’ll bogart all the whipped cream.


Thought for the Day:

Anyone who says we need illegals to do the jobs Americans won’t do has never watched "Dirty Jobs” on TV.


Elvis has left the building . . .

Was up again about 8 am to more cold rain. After a big pot of warm coffee, I drove Jan down to the Hospitality Building for the 2nd day of her Computer Boot Camp given by Jim and Chris Guld, The Geeks on Tour. She really enjoyed yesterday’s class and is looking forward to today’s.

After dropping her off I came back to the rig and worked on the CD and handouts for my two seminars on Tuesday and Wednesday. I’m going to be sure and have enough this time. Earlier this year in Yuma, I misunderestimated how many we would need and had to make more at the last minute.

I picked up Jan for lunch break at noon and we came back to the rig.

Dropping her off at class about 1 pm I headed out and about to round up the last of the door prizes. One place that was very generous with door prize gift certificates was Lost in the 50’s over in St. Mary’s down the road about 8 miles.

Besides being a really nice diner with good food, it has a nice collection of Elvis memorabilia, including his Army uniforms and costumes from some of his movies. In addition, they’ve got items from Gilligan’s Island, Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, American Graffiti, and more.


Before I headed back to the rig I stopped off to get the toad washed, just as Jan called and said her class had finished a little early and she would just walk back to the rig. As it was I got there just about the time she did.

At 5:30 the herd, consisting of Nick and Terry, Jim and Chris Guld, Mike and Elaine Loscher, and Jan and I headed over to the China Wok Buffet, and once again they put us in a back room all by ourselves. I’m beginning to sense a pattern here. I think the word is out.

Leaving the buffet, Nick and Terry and Jan and I drove over to Lost in the 50’s to pick up the gift certificates, coupons, and menus they had ready to us.

Nick said 40 rigs are already here, and tomorrow being the official Early Bird Day, we’ll probably have a lot more then.

So the craziness is about start.


Thought for the Day:

“The liberties of a people never were, nor ever will be, secure, when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them.” – Patrick Henry


Fall has Fell . . .

It officially started at 5:05 am EDT. Needless to say, I missed it, but not by much. I was up at 8 am this morning to bundle my sweetie off for her first day of school . . .  or camp, or whatever

Today was her first day of the Geeks on Tour’s Computer Boot Camp. It’s a two day, 12 hour concentrated computer course that starts with how to turn your computer on, and goes from there.

I’ve learned over the years that teaching your wife to use a computer is like teaching your wife to drive. It’s better done by someone else.

After I dropped Jan off for her class, I came back to the rig and followed up on some possible door prize donors and then did some client stuff before picking up Jan at noon from her class.

She said the class was great and Jim and Chris Guld covered a lot and really explained things well.

Better them than me.

Dropping off Jan at 1 pm I headed out to pick up more door prizes and stop off at some other possible donors.

I picked up Jan at 4 pm and she had just enough time to get in a short nap before about 5pm a bunch of us got together for a fish fry put on by Jack Allen, his wife Nell, and Nell’s mother Blondie.

Jack and Nell Allen and Blondie

Jack, Nell, and Blondie frying up a great batch of Mississippi catfish and hushpuppies. Everyone else brought a dish to share. And the food was delicious.

Fish Fry Group

The Motley Crew consisted of:

Nick and Terry

Charles and Chris Yust

Mike and Elaine Loscher

Tom and Barbara Palmer

Jan and I

and, of course, our intrepid cooks, Jack, Nell, and Blondie.


Thought for the Day:

No matter how cynical I get, I just can’t keep up.


The Things I Do . . .

for Nick.

Like get up at 9am, a whole hour early, so I can go out and pick up door prizes from other people who also got up very early.

This morning Jan came with me, and after we had picked up several prizes, we decided to have breakfast at the next one, which was The Fountain, a nice little family diner on the downtown Celina square, just to the south. The food was very good, inexpensive, and plentiful. And they gave us some door prizes to boot.

After hitting several other restaurants, Jan and I came back to the rig about 11:30 and sorted through the coupons and gift certificates/cards to be sure we didn’t miss anyone. Then a little later Nick came over for a while so we could talk over upcoming rally stuff.

About 1:30 Jan and I headed back out. But our first stop was at La Carreta again for a quick lunch of their great Chicken Tortilla Soup. Some of the best we’ve eaten.

Finally getting home about 5pm, we headed back out about 5:45pm with Nick and Terry for dinner. We ended up going to the one of the places we had collected door prizes from, Big Bamboo’s Dockside Grill.

This place is right down the road from Bella’s Italian Grill, where we ate last night, And like Bella’s it’s right on the lake with a great view.

And the food is great too. Mostly sandwiches, and dinners like Jerk Chicken, Shrimp Scampi, and Fried Catfish. All really good, and not real expensive either. Dick, the owner, and our waitress, Stephanie, were really fun, and we had a great time.

And even better, part way through our meal, the Geeks on Tour, Jim and Chris Guld, along John and Jean Watson, showed up and pulled up a table right next to ours, and the hilarity ensued.

Jan is attending a Computer Boot Camp given by the Geeks for 6 hours each of the next two days, and she’s really looking forward to it.


Thought for the Day:

"If we do not fight when we know we can win, we’ll have to fight when we know we will lose"


Mas Bellas Carretas . . .

I’ll be glad when the Gypsy Journal Rally finally starts so I’ll have more to write about. I know you will too.

It was raining again when we got up, but cleared up later in the morning. Unfortunately though, it looks like we might also have some rain on Monday, the first day of the Rally, but right now it looks good after that.

Nick called a little before noon and said Kevin Mallory of CruiseAmerica RV was at his rig and to come over. Nick is going to have Kevin replace his waste tank valves which will have to be done by cutting a hole in the bottom of the rig. (Better him than me.) And I wanted to talk to him about repairing/replacing my Source Manager Transfer Switch/Inverter that died back in Washington state in July. And after talking to him it looks like it’s going to be ‘replacing’.

Jan and I headed out about 12:45 to have lunch at La Carreta. We really enjoyed it last night, so we decided to have lunch there today and then hit them up for some gift certificates. Which we did.

After that, during the next several hours we stopped by 8 or so more places and got gift certificates at about 6, and a couple of “come back tomorrow’s”. So far we’ve had no turn downs, which is unusual.

We got back to the rig about 4 pm and took it easy until about 5:30 when a whole herd of us headed out to supper. The ‘herd’ consisted of Jan and I, Nick and Terry, Charles and Chris Yust, and Mike and Elaine Loscher, who just pulled into the fairgrounds this afternoon with their newly painted rig. Michelle at Phoenix Commercial Paint did a fantastic job.

For dinner we decided to check out Bella’s Italian Grille on the shores of St. Mary’s Lake. And we had a great view of the lake too.

Bella Italian Grille

And even better, the food was delicious and the service was great. Even Nick liked his.

Sara, our waitress, put up with us without ever losing her smile. And she even reminded us that as a party of 8, the tip was already included in the bill. Because of this I gave her a little extra.


Thought for the Day;

The Pentagon announced today the formation of a new 500-man elite fighting unit called the US Redneck Special Forces (USRSF). These southern boys will be dropped in Afghanistan knowing only these facts about terrorists:

1. The season opened today.
2. There is no limit.
3. They taste just like chicken.
4. They don’t like beer, pickups, country music or Jesus.
5. They are directly responsible for the death of Dale Earnhardt.

The Pentagon expects the problem in Afghanistan to be over by Monday.