Tues. June 1, 2021 – Summer. Is this the summer of our discontent?

According to the national forecast we are right on the edge of a system, in two directions, and there is a front lined up on Houston too. Which all means that any small variation in any direction and we are outside the predicted rainstorm area. Or we could be deeper inside of it. I’m betting on being outside of the storm area though as that’s what usually happens when we’re close to the edge. Yesterday stayed nice all day. Cooler and part sun, nice in the shade, a great day to be outside. I was the only one in my family to take advantage of it.

Stayed home for the holy day. I am increasingly uncomfortable with the festive atmosphere, even though I know that after the remembrance comes the celebration…which I suppose is why the flags are at half staff until noon, then return to full for the rest of the day. I say return, because half staff is where you end up after first raising the flag to the top. For most people it doesn’t matter at all, but for those who care, it matters a lot. It doesn’t take much to do it properly. In any case, I’m not in a big hurry to go out partying on Memorial Day.

My wife spent the day cleaning the house. I kept chipping away at cleaning, organizing, and doing auction stuff. I did go out and made my morning pickup. The ladies running the sale seemed embarrassed to be working, and insisted that the national auction site set the pickup rules. Someone’s an idiot, and someone should have put their foot down. Traffic was very light. It felt more like 6am than 10am although the donut store was doing a brisk business.

Today I’m starting my summer routine. I’m home with the kids while my wife goes into the office. I am going to try to be a bit more structured this summer than last. One thing I’d really like is dedicated time with each child to do something physical, or at least with physical stuff. I’m thinking craft and handiwork mainly, but also stuff like flying the drones and launching the model rockets, or just flying the kites. I guess we’ll play it by ear and see how we all like it.

Dropping them at the pool in the afternoon should give me the free time I need to do auction stuff, but I don’t know when I’ll find time to get over to my secondary location to continue cleaning it out. So much to do, and very little progress in the last month.

Speaking of much to do, I need to do a grocery order today. I like being back in the store to see what’s there and what’s on sale, but I can make better use of the time ordering for delivery, and I don’t have to drag the kids along. My fresh grocery inventory has fallen lower than I’m comfortable with, and I’d have restocked on Friday if the stores weren’t crowded with people shopping for the weekend. Three days delay, and I’m getting anxious. That’s despite having more food in stock than some small Quik-E-Marts.*

Some people have more guns and ammo than the local National Guard Armory, I like to have food stacked.

Which brings this to a close, with my customary admonition… find what you need, and keep stacking it.

nick

*only a small exaggeration for effect, in reality I have more than most people, but not as much as I’d like.

Author: Nick Flandrey

Mid 50s, stay at home dad, with two elementary school age girls. Love my family and my life.

85 thoughts on “Tues. June 1, 2021 – Summer. Is this the summer of our discontent?”

  1. Stayed home for the holy day. I am increasingly uncomfortable with the festive atmosphere, even though I know that after the remembrance comes the celebration…which I suppose is why the flags are at half staff until noon, then return to full for the rest of the day. 

    The flag at the Post Office close to the house was still at half staff at 4PM. Someone was definitely there, possibly Amazon contract delivery.

    Which reminds me, news of this anti trust suit against Big River started making the rounds over the weekend. After our trip to Florida in March and seeing all the infrastructure they’ve built along the freeways in the sections of the Fort Orlampamyers Beach metroplex we hit, I wondered who was really paying the bills for the “free” shipping.

    https://mattstoller.substack.com/p/amazon-primes-free-shipping-promise

    Nothing has changed, if the monetary price is zero, the product is you.

    The metroplex has very limited locations for those kind of facilities since freeway mileage per capita is fairly low, even in the tourist areas. I’ve lived Big River being loathe to pay tolls with the design of their vans, but I cracked the code … which the customer promptly shoved under the rug.

    As I’ve noted before, the first warehouse outside Tampa plowed under what were and what may yet be again the most productive tomato fields in the world.

  2. Thinking long and hard over the holiday.  Now my wife has passed I have no real obligations. I have a decent income from Social Security and my business and investments and no debts. My business requires a  few hours a week and my son has agreed to do that for pay. So I  have lots of free time and plenty of disposable income.  At 69 I’m not planning on a long future to worry about.  While I still have my health I am going travel. This summer I’m going on a road trip from Oklahoma through Texas, New Mexico,  Arizona, and Nevada stopping at any and all sights of interest from the petrified forrest to the meteor crater. In California I’ll stay at my brother’s for a couple of weeks exploring my old haunts in San Francisco and the wine country.  After that I’ll return via Yellowstone and the northern route. In the fall, I’ll visit another brother At his apartment in Puebla Mexico and see the sights there for a while.  In the spring I’m going to get an Air B&B in Venice Italy  for a couple of months, less expensive than one in San Francisco. I dearly love Venice.  After that, who knows.   I  have some life left and I want to use it while I can.

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  3. @harold, after my dad passed, my mom was weird for a while, as her whole possible future changed. She said that finally she could sit and read ever book she wanted to. One year later and she decided she wants to live as long as possible and started going to the Dr and getting small things taken care of. She started losing weight. She cut way back on meds. She is out and active with her neighbors. She is enjoying talking with the grand kids. She traveled with my dad before he got too sick, so I don’t think she has any interest in that anymore. She does have an interest in the world around her though. Two years later she is more alive and engaged than she has been in years.

    I guess my point is that your circumstances have changed, and it’s normal to change with them. Be open to them changing again. Do what you want to do.

    n

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  4. @mratoz, your link is not a real link, no actual url got inserted.

    n

  5. 77F and 90%RH this am. It was 77F and 80%RH when I went to bed. I see some standing wetness outside too. Looks like a yuck day after all.

    Talk about second and third order effects, this from one of my EMgmt newsletters—

    Microchip shortages impacting auto industry lead to shortages in ambulance production, supply chain disruptions

    The American Ambulance Association (AAA) and the Commission on Accreditation of Ambulance Services (CAAS) Ground Vehicle Standards announced earlier this month that the global semiconductor shortage currently stalling production of motor vehicles in the United States and worldwide is now impacting ambulance production.

    Ford Motor Company, which supplies approximately 70 percent of the ambulance chassis used in the U.S., shut down production at various plants that produce the E series, T series, and F series ambulance chassis in mid-April. The shortage of the critical microchips is predicted to run into 2022. Ford currently predicts an overall production loss of over 1.1 million units in 2021.

    This equates to a major supply chain interruption for chassis needed to produce ambulances in North America. Both Ford and GM report that the duration and extent of the semiconductor shortage and resulting production shutdowns are not yet known and “the situation changes daily”.

    The shortage was brought on by a combination of factors.

    According to a recent article in the Journal of Emergency Medical Services (JEMS), when automotive factories shut down last year due to decreased demand during the COVID-19 pandemic, semiconductor makers shifted production from automobiles to personal electronics to meet the demand of more people working from home. An economic rebound then happened faster than economists predicted and automotive plants began restoring full-scale production. Chip makers were unable to keep up with the demand.

    Matters weren’t helped by a fire at a major microchip factory in Japan in March 2021, which stopped production of about 30 percent of the automotive sector’s microprocessors globally. The consequences of the fire on the global supply chain are still not clear.

    According to a recent article in Autoblog, it may take longer than a few months for the market to normalize. In the bigger picture, investors are looking at expanding U.S. microchip production. Semiconductor fabrication is a complex and expensive process, which limits the size of the field, and not every manufacturer is capable of supplying the chips needed by car manufacturers.

    In the meanwhile, EMS organizations currently awaiting new ambulances or looking to purchase ambulances soon should contact manufacturers for details and begin planning for the impact of these delays.

    –a shortage of ambulances. Jeez. Did ANYONE have that on their list?

    n

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  6. While I still have my health I am going travel. This summer I’m going on a road trip from Oklahoma through Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and Nevada stopping at any and all sights of interest from the petrified forrest to the meteor crater.

    If you’ve never been, the Oregon Coast is good for about a week, particularly in August.

    Any more than that, however, and the place starts to be irritating IMHO. And realize that “August” literally only lasts until the beginning of September when the weather out there starts to turn.

    Also, parts of Florida are still unspoiled, mostly where people who lived there made a decision 50+ years ago to prevent development from making the entire coast look like Collins Avenue on Miami Beach.

    I’m having health issues looked into in the near future. Hopefully my parade of cr*p jobs didn’t cut too much time off my life, especially the last one, but we will start looking at getting out to see things once the youngest child graduates high school in three years. At the rate things are going in Texas, we may also need a new place to live at that point.

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  7. If you’ve never been, the Oregon Coast is good for about a week, particularly in August.

    We really enjoyed Seaside, OR. Driving through the mountains and then popping out at the ocean was awesome.

  8. Re SpaceX: This is the first step for independence. No more issues having to deal with Governors and their antics. No more state taxes.  Less hassles with environmentalists.

    As I have pointed out before, as a US company, SpaceX will still be subject to US laws regarding space launches, liability, ITAR, etc. They can’t get around it. Musk couldn’t create an offshore company and transfer everything to it from SpaceX because rocket tech is controlled under ITAR and needs permission from the government to transfer the designs and data outside the US.

     

  9. Re: Gateway Pundit’s story on Iranian oil.

    It’s false in its implication that the Biden Administration is ignoring sanctions on Iran and giving them money.

    It was sold by the US government after the tanker carrying it was seized in February after trying to evade sanctions by claiming the oil was from Iraq. The money is being held in escrow as there are court cases that need to be settled concerning the seizure.

    Here is an AP story about it.

  10. “If you’ve never been, the Oregon Coast is good for about a week, particularly in August.”

    We really enjoyed Seaside, OR. Driving through the mountains and then popping out at the ocean was awesome.

    The drive out to Newport from … Corvalis? … used to be similar, but the last time we went home that route, shortly before we left the Northwest in 2014, we noticed an effort underway to straighten/shorten the road.

    From what I understand, Roseburg to Coos Bay also has a similar twisty road through the mountains.

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  11. @Harold

    If you like bugs and things, when in Venice take a hike through its winding little byways and visit Vittorio. Most amazing glasswork, ever.

    Vittorio Costantini

    Last time I went I brought him a calendar with the work of Gwynn Popavac and the guy was on vacation — in Seattle!

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  12. The specifics of this financial failure are not something I’ve been following, but check out one of the practices they engaged in…

    Bluestone companies received financing over a three-year period, and when the first set of loans matured, Greensill replaced them with new loans in a process that became known as a “cashless roll,” just one of the sketchy practices embraced by Greensill and its borrowers. In one particularly egregious process, Greensill and Bluestone embraced “prospective receivables” which haven’t yet been generated. These “prospective” loans were sometimes booked from “prospective buyers”, some of whom (likely many of whom) never actually became Bluestone customers.

    –they just blatantly MADE UP customers and revenue. I’d bet that they are not the first or the last.
    n

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  13. I just applied for Social Security. Hopefully I’ll get some before the ProgLibTurds take it all away.

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  14. I have some life left and I want to use it while I can.

    Excellent. Enjoy the journey as much as the destinations. Want to stop somewhere, just stop and spend some time. Only want to move 100 miles in a day, then only move 100 miles. Many interesting little places. I was impressed with La Push WA, about as far west as you can get on the coast with an easy drive (forget Alaska). Nothing to do but relax and enjoy the beach. I would return.

    I just applied for Social Security. Hopefully I’ll get some before the ProgLibTurds take it all away.

    You will. Once applied the money starts appearing fairly quickly. The big question is whether the program will remain until your final demise.

    Bad news today on the probate process. It has to be done in Texas, Bexar county. It may very well require a trip to Texas, or two. I need to contact the Bexar county probate court and see if I can get the forms and file them myself. It is a simple will so I don’t feel a lawyer is necessary. Bexar county may disagree.

    The entire legal system is designed to strip people of their money and reward the attorneys and the courts. A revenue stream force upon us by lawyers who make the laws to benefit themselves.

  15. Ah, 90F at 9am here in the California high desert.

    Humidity is dropping like a stone, so the swamp cooler will be enough until mid-afternoon.

    If the conditions of the long weekend persist we will get some cloud buildup then, temps will drop into the 90s again, and it’ll be a lovely evening.

    If not – it will be brutal, and I will regret not replacing the cooler fan motor that I cannot run on high.

  16. You will. Once applied the money starts appearing fairly quickly. The big question is whether the program will remain until your final demise.

    The program will remain but is not under any obligation to pay out a dime. Checks and amounts are at the discretion of Congress.

  17. More bad news on the probate. Bexar county requires an attorney to do the filing. An attorney from Texas. We are screwed. Found a probate attorney in Bexar county. Cost is $3,500 and includes all filing fees. Credit Card only. Must FedEx documents including original will and death certificate. Hopefully can use zoom for court appearance. The entire system sucks.

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  18. Designed to keep the middle class in the middle.

    sorry that it’s a burden for you ray, play the game, and don’t let them win by default.
    n

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  19. Jeez, my neighbor across the street, who is moving to a rehab facility closer to his son, sold his house for $250k before it even hit the market. It’s a full remodel, with every surface needing updating, two baths and a kitchen to redo, and CATS, lots of cats, with lots of cat urine. Landscape and drainage need to be addressed, and I’m sure all the mechanicals need to be replaced too. NO maintenance or cleaning to speak of in at least 5 years (he and his wife have both been sick.)

    In that condition, it would have been mid 100s just a couple of years ago.

    n

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  20. Totally random topic…

    The wife is out for the evening, and I was curious: how much power does our house use, just idling. So I turned off the PCs, made sure all appliances were done or not running, etc.. This just leaves the appliances, heating, etc. in standby. Our NAS and microserver are running, along with router, switch, WLAN and other technical stuff. Uncountable wall warts. Etc.

    225 watts. Here, that’s roughly 20 bucks/francs per month.

    Is that a lot? A little? What’s normal? Has anyone else done such a measurement?

  21. Placed my instacart order for HEB groceries. They have changed the way the meat is listed, so they only show the total for the package, or a price PER OUNCE. I’ve been doing math for the last half hour and I don’t like it. I’m convinced they did it to hide price increases.

    Prime ribeye steaks are $32/# and choice are $24. Freaking crazy high.
    n


  22. Cost is $3,500 and includes all filing fees. Credit Card only.

     

    That’s a lot more than my mom’s estate paid to attorneys.

  23. Still working on getting out of the old place. My six new rabbit cages (assembly required) arrived on Memorial Day. I’m glad to have them but what a shame to be working on this important day.

    I worked on income taxes, due here in Texas on June 15, while binging season two of Stargate SG1 with my brother-in-law. You had the more fun job.

  24. “The Global Race Towards Full Vaccination”
    https://www.zerohedge.com/covid-19/global-race-towards-full-vaccination

    “Scientists initially estimated that 60 to 70 percent of a population would have to acquire resistance to Covid-19 in order for herd immunity to take effect, a threshold that has been revised upwards since the start of the year with 80 to 85 percent quoted in some cases.”

    “As Statista’s Niall McCarthy notes, the race towards full vaccination is well underway and Israel has the highest share of its population fully jabbed, according to Our World in Data.”

    Hey mon, we be jabbin’.

  25. Thinking long and hard over the holiday. Now my wife has passed I have no real obligations. I have a decent income from Social Security and my business and investments and no debts. My business requires a few hours a week and my son has agreed to do that for pay. So I have lots of free time and plenty of disposable income. At 69 I’m not planning on a long future to worry about. While I still have my health I am going travel. This summer I’m going on a road trip from Oklahoma through Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and Nevada stopping at any and all sights of interest from the petrified forrest to the meteor crater. In California I’ll stay at my brother’s for a couple of weeks exploring my old haunts in San Francisco and the wine country. After that I’ll return via Yellowstone and the northern route. In the fall, I’ll visit another brother At his apartment in Puebla Mexico and see the sights there for a while. In the spring I’m going to get an Air B&B in Venice Italy for a couple of months, less expensive than one in San Francisco. I dearly love Venice. After that, who knows. I have some life left and I want to use it while I can.

    Do you have an RV ? If not, buy one of those RVs based on a Sprinter so you don’t have to get a hotel room each night. And you can stop wherever and whenever you want. And the Sprinter based RV’s can be more easily parked just about anywhere, including a Walmart parking lot.

  26. “You had the more fun job.”

    –CLEANING the rabbit cages would be more fun than income taxes.
    n

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  27. instacart just updated.

    all four of my soda choices are out of stock. Three showed as IN stock on the site.

    n

  28. I like @Lynn’s ID of an RV. I’d get a used Class C (truck-based full size, not ‘bus-sized’) with low-ish miles. I’ve seen them for $20-25K.

    Or, if you want to wander around an area without something as big as the Class C, maybe a F-150 with a 25-foot trailer. Used ones that aren’t too old are about $12-19K. Advantage of the trailer is that you can un-hook and use the vehicle for exploring an area.  Bigger Class C’s can tow a ‘toad’ (small car).

    For any used RV/trailer purchase, get a moisture meter to check for water leakage/damage. I got one of these : https://amzn.to/34DJ4qM – nice, compact unit, with pin-type and non-pin sensors.  There are tons of articles on how to check out RVs.  For Class C’s, I’d look for mileage under 5K/year, which indicates a 2-3 time/year usage, not full-time.

    For a towing trailer, you could get a newer Nissan Frontier DV for around $22-25K. It can tow 6K pounds, so you’d look for a trailer with a weight of about 4K pounds. That would allow for stuff you bring with you, keeping the total weight under 5K pounds. A Ford F-150 can tow about 11K, which is a good-sized trailer.

    As for RV parks – many have full power/water/sewer hookups, and costs are $30-80/night in most areas (higher next to popular destination). Most RVs come with an on-board generator, you can ‘boondock’ (non-RV parks, national park campgrounds, rest areas, even the local WalMart), and use free ‘dumps’ for getting rid of waste.  There are many RV apps to help with trip planning, etc.

    I’ve been looking into all of the above. Since there are just the two of us, I’ve been thinking of a used Nissan Frontier with a 24-25′ trailer.   I’ve poked around Facebook Marketplace, and RVTrader.com . Proper research is good ahead of time so you know what to look for.

    For one that you are thinking of purchasing, a thorough look through will take at least an hour, and should include the above moisture meter to find any water/roof leaks (if you find any, walk away). Lots of googles/bings/ducks on what to look for in your inspection.

    So, maybe an RV is a good thing for all of that travel. Be aware that RV prices have gone up lately since the ‘cooties’. People have been buying RV’s instead of flying/hotels. You might find some smaller/older ones available from people that are trading up.

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  29. Brad, I used to walk by our smart electric meter a lot. I would stop most times and wait for its display to read watts. The lowest I have seen is 110 watts. About 75 of that is our two DVRs that are always ON.


  30. That’s a lot more than my mom’s estate paid to attorneys.

    Tried a couple of other attorneys. Guess what? They are the same cost. Price fixing at the legal level. Scum bags. Might have been someone cheaper but Rubinowitz, Rubinowitz, and Bubba just did not seem like a good option.

    Most RVs come with an on-board generator

    Uh, nope. An expensive option to add. My trailer has a solar panel hookup to charge the battery. I can add a second battery for more power. But no A/C, microwave, or TV.

    F-150 with a 25-foot trailer

    Gas mileage is about 10 MPG regardless of what towing vehicle is acquired. By the time the extra fuel is considered, cost of an RV park, the cost of a good hotel breaks about even unless one stays in one place for a long time. The only advantage to an RV is that you can carry more of your “stuff” and it is a familiar environment in which to sleep. Also RV parks, unlike hotels, are very strict on noise between the hours of 10:00 PM and 6:00 PM.

    Ford F-150 can tow about 11K, which is a good-sized trailer

    If I had to do it all over I would skip the F-150 and go with the F-250 with a trailer towing package. Nissan and Toyota don’t even qualify for anything over 18 feet. Ford F-250, Chevy C2500, or Dodge 2500 class truck will prove much more capable, stable, and easier towing. Trailer brake controller mandatory.

    If considering a trailer I would skip the receiver hitch towing arrangement and go with a 5th wheel trailer. More storage, more height, easier towing. Get electronic leveling system, one button to level the trailer. Anything beyond about 24 feet and the electrical service goes from 30 ampere to 50 ampere (which is really just two separate 25 ampere connections).

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  31. @ray, for one person, I think the sprinter conversions would be fine. You can still park in a normal space and drive around town. They are very popular with the ‘van life’ crowd on youtube.

    I got the HD towing package on the Expedition, in hopes of adding a trailer at some point. Also because without it, two adults and a couple of suitcases and you are over the max weight capacity!

    n

  32. @brad, I haven’t done the ‘base load’ but checking my energy monitor, it says in the last 21 hours we’ve used 106KwH of power. Depending on our actual rate, that’s about $21 / day.

    I don’t even see the power bill, so IDK if that’s right or not. I’ll ask my wife.
    n


  33. I think the sprinter conversions would be fine

    For one person, maybe OK for a few days. That tiny SSS bathroom (Shirt(-r), shower, shave) bathroom gets old really fast. I speak from spending time in my RV, a 24 foot trailer. Wife and I would never be able to stay in that thing for a month at a time. We stay in state parks with water and electrical hookups, but the tanks must be dumped every four days. For commercial places with sewer it is easier, but the the dump valves must be opened every three days. The valves cannot just be left open as the system needs water flow to properly discharge all the waste.

    One of the nicer RV parks we stayed at had the usual water, sewer and electrical. But they also added TV, WiFi, or a wired ethernet connection to which a person could attach their own wireless router. But the place was $70.00 a night. Which was more than the cost of a decent hotel in the same area.

    I got the HD towing package on the Expedition, in hopes of adding a trailer at some point

    In my case it did not increase the payload of the vehicle that much. What it did provide was additional cooling, transmission cooling and oil cooling. Also integrated trailer controller. Most all come with a five or seven pin electrical connection.

    The integrated trailer controller will display a warning if the trailer sway gets excessive, much beyond a certain level and the truck will start applying the trailer brakes along with the vehicle brakes. Big warning on the dash display.

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  34. Depending on our actual rate, that’s about $21 / day.

    That is in excess of $600.00 per month. Seems high to me. My electrical, averaged for the year, is $180.00 a month. For three months in the summer I will exceed $250.00 by a small margin. During the winter months I am under $90.00 a month.

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  35. Regarding parasitic loads, a Kill A Watt meter is handy to check power. I wonder if there is a Euro version. These little gizmos now cost under $20US. They are pretty accurate, and have a pretty good crest factor figure of merit. They read true RMS power, and  can read kWh for variable loads such as a refrigerator. There are much better lab grade instruments at higher cost, but they are a waste if the goal is to just save money.

    I have used my Kill A Watt and other instruments over the years to reveal lots of interesting stuff. Those plugpacks (wall warts) you mention are getting very good, especially when unloaded. They have energy cert codes, but I have never bothered to decipher them.

    My Canadian garage door openers draw 6 watts when idle, which I consider totally unaceptable. I plan to look into them, and maybe replace the two transformer power supplies with one switching PS. They are commercial units, and exempt from our Energy Star rule. For now, I shut off the one I seldom use.

    Reminds, EU regs are much stricter than US, so you should be better. Remember, however, some of these regs apply mainly when the device is OFF, not when running.

    Sometimes a hard switch is necessary. My wife has a very nice Kloss CD player-radio that draws several watts when OFF. She doesn’t care about its clock, so just uses a power strip to remove power when not using it.

    Hope some of these suggestions help.

  36. The RV or tow vehicle with a trailer are nice.  Then you have storage, license plates, tires, and dealing with stuff that breaks.

    We have a motor home.  It has a Ford engine and something is goofy with the timing.  It’s not worn out by mileage.  So it sits under some trees… “guest house”.

    Had a goose neck trailer.  I liked it.  To add the hitch to the current truck, yeah, $1500 or so seemed a bit much.  Motel 6 was like $50/night or so the last time I went anywhere.  It’s been a while.

    Sold the trailer for $2000 and dropped the cash into my change jar.

    Plans are to take the stupid van, and the title, and just go.  Stay at the little Mom & Pop motels.  Just ask to see the room first because I stayed at one in New Mexico that looked nice, smelled clean, and when I took my shoes off, the carpet pulled the socks off of my feet.

     

  37. @Jim

    I visited Vittorio in 1968 when I was 16 and bought some amazing glassware for my grandmother.  I also watched a strongman put on an impromptu  demonstration in a tiny Palazzo one evening with my girlfriend.  You don’t see stuff like that anymore.  Took my wife to Venice in 2000 when I was there presenting at a conference.  Full week all expenses paid. She loved it so much she wrote a romance novel about it  (Venice by Jo Calhoun on Amazon)

    @Lynn

    Maybe do the RV thing when I get a little older. Right now I want to see places like Budapest and Morocco, live in Paris again and St. Petersburg.  Apartments and Air B&B make staying a month or two affordable.  I’ve lived in five countries from the UK to China and love the challenge of living in different cultures.  Starting to learn Italian in preparation for next years journey.

     

    Thanks everyone for advice on this summers journey.  Hope to leave about the 10th and we’ll see when I get back.


  38. I’m thinking craft and handiwork mainly, but also stuff like flying the drones and launching the model rockets, or just flying the kites.

    Back when I was a teenager my mother, brother and I used to spend the summers at an RV park in Connecticut. Dad would drive up for the weekends. Probably two-thirds of the people were full-timers and left their trailers there year-round. Model rockets (Estes) were popular, with a well-stocked hobby shop within a 30 minute drive. There was a big open field used for launches and when not too windy not too many lost rockets. I wonder how popular this is today and if firing projectiles up in the air will draw the wrong type of attention.

  39. @Ray

    Most RVs come with an on-board generator

    Uh, nope. An expensive option to add.

    All of the used RVs (and most of the new ones) I have seen advertised online (from private and dealers) have included generators. Usually the ‘Onan’ brand.

    Might be a ‘wash’ on RV vs hotel costs when fuel included. I’ve looked at a could of RV trip-planner type sites, and daily costs were $30-80 (I was checking in SW US: UT/AZ/NM/TX). Hotels in same area were 2x-3x that for a decent hotel. Advantage might be that you don’t have to schlep stuff to/from a hotel room for one night. And the daily cost can be reduced if you ‘boon-dock’ some of those nights.

    One free RV trip planner that shows RV parks/costs with filters for various amenities is RVParky https://www.rvparky.com/ . Maps, pix, and reviews there.

    There are other RV trip planner sites if you know where you want to go, but there is a signup cost for those.

    I’d vote for a used, low-mileage Class C, which are usually based on F-350/F-450 chassis (most popular). Or an F-150 with a smaller trailer (tow under 7K GWVR,  or smaller 5th wheel), and an F-250 with larger trailers (tow or 5th wheel).

    Don’t think it’s necessary to buy new – there are some good quality/lower-mileage used ones out there, especially on the third-party sites like FB MarketPlace. Class-C’s under $35K, trailers under $20K. Even used trucks via Enterprise Car Sales or CarMax (have seen many lower-mileage F-150’s for under $30K).

    Due diligence on any of those purchases, of course. There are lots of sites with how-to’s on pre-sales inspection, including complete checklists. A strong FLASHLIGHT and the above-mentioned moisture detector are essential tools on any purchase – new or used.

    (I’ve been poking around those sites for about a year. Biggest problem is convincing SHMBO.)

     

  40. Hotels! We travel very little, and the overhead of any RV would be unacceptable to both of us. Haven’t stayed in a hotel since 2013. Once went with friends in their motorhome for an overnight outing. Instead of the variety of a nice restaurant, my wife helped with meal prep, including dishes. Not her idea of a vacation. That was 40+ years ago, and I still hear about it… and agree.


  41. Nothing has changed, if the monetary price is zero, the product is you.

    Last time I said that to somebody I was accused of being cynical. I suppose, to the masses viewing the world through rose colored glasses that when you’re THAT optimistic, idealistic, and naïve that anything realist seems pessimistic and cynical to you. The further away from the middle you are the more extreme the middle seems.


  42. Do you have an RV ? If not, buy one of those RVs based on a Sprinter so you don’t have to get a hotel room each night.

    Those Sprinters cost a shirt(-r)load! I’d rather stay at a nice hotel for that money. I’d get tired of RV live quick. When the shirt(-r) hits the fan, I’ll live in my Subie with the wiener dog. I’ll drive out to the middle of fcuking nowhere and live off pine trees. Many parts are edible, you know.

  43. Jeez, my neighbor across the street, who is moving to a rehab facility closer to his son, sold his house for $250k before it even hit the market. It’s a full remodel, with every surface needing updating, two baths and a kitchen to redo, and CATS, lots of cats, with lots of cat urine. Landscape and drainage need to be addressed, and I’m sure all the mechanicals need to be replaced too. NO maintenance or cleaning to speak of in at least 5 years (he and his wife have both been sick.)

    In that condition, it would have been mid 100s just a couple of years ago.

    The expectation is that another “first time home buyer” tax credit/loan is coming. This time, however, the number will be ~ $20k rather than $8k. With 3% down mortgages and tight real estate markets, that will put a stratospheric floor under home values just about everywhere.

  44. WTH, plugs:

    BIDEN: “…young black entrepreneurs are just as capable of succeeding given the chance as white entrepreneurs are, but they don’t have lawyers, they don’t have accountants…”

    Blacks be two dum to hire shysters ‘n such.


  45. Do you have an RV ? If not, buy one of those RVs based on a Sprinter so you don’t have to get a hotel room each night.

    Those Sprinters cost a shirt(-r)load! I’d rather stay at a nice hotel for that money. I’d get tired of RV live quick. When the shirt(-r) hits the fan, I’ll live in my Subie with the wiener dog. I’ll drive out to the middle of fcuking nowhere and live off pine trees. Many parts are edible, you know.

    One of my neighbors uses his Sprinter based RV (diesel) as a daily driver. It took me a while to get used to it, now I expect it out driving around. BTW, I think that the Sprinter model is really a Dodge.
    https://www.thormotorcoach.com/motorhomes/mercedes-rv/


  46. @harold, after my dad passed, my mom was weird for a while, as her whole possible future changed. She said that finally she could sit and read ever book she wanted to. One year later and she decided she wants to live as long as possible and started going to the Dr and getting small things taken care of. She started losing weight.

    I understand. Suddenly I have the time and desire to address a number of physical and medical issues I couldn’t before. I have a dentist appointment to fix my terrible teeth, I am loosing weight if only because I now control my own eating habits and menu. I feel great, actually much better than I did two years ago. Mentally I’m still fighting the issue of feeling guilty every time I feel happy. My wife made me promise to go to Venice after she passed and looking at the apartment costs, I can stay 4 weeks for what a 3 star hotel would charge for 2 weeks. So I plan to stay at least a month. Rewatched “Bread and Tulips” the other evening to get inspiration. Just bought Rosetta Stone Italian for my laptop.


  47. This just leaves the appliances, heating, etc. in standby. Our NAS and microserver are running, along with router, switch, WLAN and other technical stuff. Uncountable wall warts. Etc.

    225 watts. Here, that’s roughly 20 bucks/francs per month.

    Is that a lot? A little? What’s normal? Has anyone else done such a measurement?

    We recently had a month when no one was home, so nothing running other than the refrigerator and a few lights. TVs and router were plugged in, but not used. The meter read 33kWH for the month. I don’t know how to convert that to watts.

    When we are home and making use of things as normal, our usage is below 600 kWH per month. In winter, we use wood heat, but the electric space heaters in the bedrooms raised our use to 800 kWH for February in 2020. Last summer with window unit air conditioning, our use climbed to 1000 kWH for a couple of months.

  48. “Barrayar (3) (Vorkosigan Saga)” by Lois McMaster Bujold
    https://www.amazon.com/Barrayar-Vorkosigan-Saga-McMaster-Bujold/dp/1476781117/?tag=ttgnet-20

    Book number three of a sixteen book space opera series. However, some people call this a military science fiction series. There are several other books and short stories in the Vorkosigan Universe. This series won the Hugo and Nebula awards for best series in 2017. Also, several of the individual books in the series have either won awards or been nominated for awards, this book won the Hugo for best novel in 1992. I have read this book several times as it is one of my favorite books. I reread the well printed and well bound trade paperback published by Baen in 2016 that I just rebought on Amazon. The original MMPB was published by Baen in 1991. I have rebought the next book in the series and may buy them all again.

    Aral Vorkosigan, husband of Cordelia Naismith, has been appointed regent to four year old prince, Gregor Vorballa, by the current emperor Ezar Vorballa just before he dies. The resulting regency does not make many people happy and in fact the freshly married and pregnant couple are attacked by discontents several times.

    There is an amazing sub-story in this book. Vordarin, the pretender to the throne, has started a civil war and taken the capital city of Barrayar. Cordelia is anxiously awaiting the civil war to be resolved by her husband, gets tired of waiting, and goes into the capital to resolve the civil war herself. This is commonly referred to “Cordelia’s Shopping Trip” and is a legend in the SF community.

    My rating: 6 out of 5 stars
    Amazon rating: 4.6 out of 5 stars (420 reviews)

  49. @lynn

     

    Agreed, this is an amazing series. I think of this as social fiction in a science-fiction setting, rather than military sci-fi. Ms. McMaster-Bujold is among my five favorite authors, and this series has been the source of many of my favorite quotes. I’ve also enjoyed thoroughly her Penric series, which has a protagonist that reminds me constantly of Miles VorKosigan. I think my favorite aspect is amazing range of characters.

  50. @MrAtoz

    “I’ll drive out to the middle of fcuking nowhere and live off pine trees. Many parts are edible, you know. ”

    On a clear moonlit night you can look for the ghost of Euell Gibbons. Skip the GrapeNuts if you value your teeth.

  51. Not Yule? or Ule? It’s funny how much useless carp I have in my head. As soon as I sounded that out, I knew who it was.

    No way a foreign raised spy could ever have the depth of knowledge to pass more than a very superficial look.

    “Old Style’s better than Bud.”

    “Brewed by Artesians”

    “Loooovvve, American style”

    “Hi Bob!”

    n


  52. All of the used RVs (and most of the new ones) I have seen advertised online (from private and dealers) have included generators

    Interesting. When I was shopping (for new), I found very few with generators included. And those that did had a substantial price increase. People here that are “off grid” generally use a portable generator to match the RV requirements, 30 or 50 ampere.

    I’ll drive out to the middle of fcuking nowhere and live off pine trees

    That didn’t work that well for Euell Gibbons. Hope you have better luck.

  53. I was thrilled to begin reading the Vorkosigan saga and enjoyed the hell out of the first few.

    Then Miles came around and I found him so insufferable that I walled the book and never went back.

    YMMV

    1
    1

  54. Microchip shortages impacting auto industry lead to shortages in ambulance production, supply chain disruptions

    Possible opportunity for anyone with a car lease ending soon. You may find, due to the chip-related shortage of cars, that the car’s residual value as stated in your lease (calculated at lease inception) may be a good deal lower than the car’s current resale value (you can get a good idea from Carvana). If so, and you are planning to return the vehicle, you can instead buy the car for the residual value and then immediately sell it for its current (higher) value and pocket the difference. Dealer won’t be happy with you since he, in effect, lost the opportunity to do the same thing.

  55. Damn lawyers. The contract with the probate lawyer is entirely in his favor. Basically states he will try but the outcome can not be certain. Not his problem if he is unsuccessful or the outcome is not correct. No money back if he borks the process.

    Little wonder lawyers are despised.

  56. Bujold really stepped in it with “Gentleman Jole And The Red Queen”.

    Book after book in the series had consistent 70-80% 5-star ratings from the faithful, then the stinkerooo got 49%.

    It’s the last book in the series. Literally no place to go except fill in between previous books.

  57. I was thrilled to begin reading the Vorkosigan saga and enjoyed the hell out of the first few.

    Then Miles came around and I found him so insufferable that I walled the book and never went back.

    YMMV

    The Warrior’s Apprentice, The Vor Game, Memory, Brothers In Arms, etc were very good books. But Komarr and A Civil Campaign raised the bar again.

  58. @Harold

    Heh, glad to know I’m not Vittorio’s only fan. Ever been to Istanbul? That’s another city I love, although damned expensive. Still, I can see going back for a few weeks and can’t say the same about Paris, for example.

  59. plugs be on a roll:

    NOW – Biden: “Terrorism from white supremacy is the most lethal threat to the homeland today.”

    OK, WHITEY!, report to nearest disintegration booth. Robots report to the nearest suicide booth. But only WHITEY! robots. Robot Santa excluded.

    2
    1
  60. This quote caught my eye over the weekend:

    “But freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it on to our children in the bloodstream. The only way they can inherit the freedom we have known is if we fight for it, protect it, defend it and then hand it to them with the well-thought lessons of how they in their lifetime must do the same. And if you and I don’t do this, then you and I may well spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it once was like in America when men were free.”

    Ronald Reagan

    If we manage to save the Republic, progressives must be forever removed from education.
    ADDED: Good place to start would be to do an analysis of doctoral dissertations in education for the last 50 years and revoke the degree for every one that’s a bunch of crap. Then do away with pay increments based on the creeping graduate degree.

    1
  61. It’s getting weirder out there. Someone is definitely crossing the streams.

    This is from my favorite specialty bookstore, Mysterious Galaxy, in San Diego.

    “After over a year of being closed for public browsing, Mysterious Galaxy is now open! We are SO excited to have you all come inside and shop books! We’ve missed you!!!

    Remember:

    Properly worn face masks will be required at all times. For the sake of our younger, immunocompromised and vaccine-hesitant community, please extend this small kindness to everyone.”

    They are as rainbow, intersectional, odd welcoming, as it gets, in other words, the very same people who have typically been pushing the vax, and then suddenly there is a “vaccine hesitant COMMUNITY” and they are all gentle and coddling….

    I thought it was just the Trump loving, God fearing, white redneck racist china flu deniers that didn’t want the jab???????????? When the hell did it become a ‘community’ to be embraced by the prog-left?

    My head hurts.

    n

    1

  62. @Harold

    Heh, glad to know I’m not Vittorio’s only fan. Ever been to Istanbul? That’s another city I love, although damned expensive. Still, I can see going back for a few weeks and can’t say the same about Paris, for example.

    I have been to Venice, Paris, and Istanbul and loved all three. Just spending a few hours, or days, visiting the grand bazaar in Istanbul is worth the trip. Warning: Whatever you do, never make eye-contact with a carpet merchant. They are cleverly and unfailingly polite: you won’t be able to get away for hours.

    I also loved Cape Town and a visit to South Africa is worth the time. I did a 25 day trip (only 3 days in Cape Town). Lots of interesting things to see throughout the country, and of course there are the animals in the game parks. Time your trip for the end of dry season so if you go out towards Kreuger or other game parks you can see into the bush. Dry season concentrates the animals near water sources as well. Once it rains, there is nothing but a wall of green at the side of every road in the bush.

    @Harold – It is good to hear that you are making plans and moving forward. The guilt you feel is something I still experience and I think every surviving spouse experiences. It is normal, for what passes for normal when grieving. I can’t say it will go away, but it will change in time to a lesser frequency and to more of a thought of “she would have loved/hated” whatever you are doing rather than a feeling of guilt for doing whatever without her. Enjoy your travels, the itinerary sounds ambitious and wonderful.

    1

  63. plugs be on a roll:

    NOW – Biden: “Terrorism from white supremacy is the most lethal threat to the homeland today.”

    OK, WHITEY!, report to nearest disintegration booth. Robots report to the nearest suicide booth. But only WHITEY! robots. Robot Santa excluded.

    No exclusion though for that damned Energizer Bunny!


  64. They are as rainbow, intersectional, odd welcoming, as it gets, in other words, the very same people who have typically been pushing the vax, and then suddenly there is a “vaccine hesitant COMMUNITY” and they are all gentle and coddling….

    I thought it was just the Trump loving, God fearing, white redneck racist china flu deniers that didn’t want the jab???????????? When the hell did it become a ‘community’ to be embraced by the prog-left?

    My head hurts.

    Nick, I have to deal with several friends/acquaintances that clearly lean left politically that are adamant they don’t want the jab – “vaccine hesitant” is the gentle, politically correct term for such people. One of these is someone I would describe as a libertarian-socialist: suspicious and believing of any information confirming a conspiracy to take away his freedoms while looking to government to solve his problems. He is convinced COVID is mostly harmless, an excuse to take away his freedoms permanently (he misses his drum circles), and a plot by the drug companies, Bill Gates, and who knows who else to foist experimental drugs on him while making a mint. Still, he can’t wait for the government to provide a guaranteed annual income as that will solve society’s woes.

    Yeah I know… It’s weird out there.

    1
  65. I’m a bit stunned how quickly it went for ‘those ignorant trumpkin deniers want to kill us all with covid’ to having a PC term and an intersectional community …

    n

  66. At least one of you has a Ford 3.5l Ecoboost engine. This guy tears down failed engines for parts, and just did one. It is a good look inside:

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=UN3cjU3o0G4

    He does good (but long) videos. Worth a look.

    My conclusion is that engines are ever changing. Note all the castings where stampings were once used. The complexity and high parts count. How much would it cost to replace the water pump? Fix a leak on a fuel rail buried under the intake manifold? Replace one of those tiny turbos for a bad shaft seal or failed bearing?

    I am NOT picking on this particular engine. I would say it has way less than 100k mkles, but he says it is unknown. It appears to have failed due to neglect and very short trips. Possibly failing injectors caused the stuck scraper rings on those two pistons. Overheating is possible, but inconsistent. Well maintained fuel injected engines do not fail this way.

    Near the end he shows and describes several other engines that look more complex, and seem to have serious design flaws.

    I like teardowns. I am saving an engine for one or my own, and for parts. I ran it hard for quite a few years.


  67. https://www.neowin.net/news/elon-musk-confirms-first-spacex-ocean-spaceport-is-under-construction/

    This is the first step for independence. No more issues having to deal with Governors and their antics. No more state taxes. Less hassles with environmentalists.

    Until the someone’s navy blows your spaceport out of the water….

    But not the .gov that actually wants or needs them…
    https://arstechnica.com/science/2021/06/the-us-military-is-starting-to-get-really-interested-in-starship/

  68. @pecancorner

    Sorry to be so slow:

    33kWH=3300 WH

    divide by 720 hrs in 30 days

    45.8 Watts average each hour.

  69. “But not the .gov that actually wants or needs them…
    https://arstechnica.com/science/2021/06/the-us-military-is-starting-to-get-really-interested-in-starship/

    –the .mil and .gov want to have someone else build out a COTS space based comms infrastructure for them. They even have some acronym soup to describe it, and programs with buckets of funding sloshing around. Network anywhere? something like that. In any case, they want 5G for warfighters and they want to rent it.

    I can’t see that working out well, when china is building routers and switches. SOMEONE, somewhere will use one to save a buck, and then the network is compromised. They seem to be looking for the comms version of cloud computing, without acknowledging that ‘cloud’ just means ‘someone else’s machine’.

    n

    2
  70. It’s getting weirder out there. Someone is definitely crossing the streams.

    This is from my favorite specialty bookstore, Mysterious Galaxy, in San Diego.

    “After over a year of being closed for public browsing, Mysterious Galaxy is now open! We are SO excited to have you all come inside and shop books! We’ve missed you!!!

    Remember:

    Properly worn face masks will be required at all times. For the sake of our younger, immunocompromised and vaccine-hesitant community, please extend this small kindness to everyone.”

    They are as rainbow, intersectional, odd welcoming, as it gets, in other words, the very same people who have typically been pushing the vax, and then suddenly there is a “vaccine hesitant COMMUNITY” and they are all gentle and coddling….

    I thought it was just the Trump loving, God fearing, white redneck racist china flu deniers that didn’t want the jab???????????? When the hell did it become a ‘community’ to be embraced by the prog-left?

    My head hurts.

    n

    Very few of the Millenials that I know are going to take the vax. They are very worried about the long term effects of the vax.

    I decided that I was not worried since I already have a couple of commodities and am on an extended life span already. The first heart attack really messed me up.

  71. “The first heart attack really messed me up. ”

    —not as much as the last one will……

    n

    1
    1
  72. At least one of you has a Ford 3.5l Ecoboost engine. This guy tears down failed engines for parts, and just did one. It is a good look inside:

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=UN3cjU3o0G4

    He does good (but long) videos. Worth a look.

    My conclusion is that engines are ever changing. Note all the castings where stampings were once used. The complexity and high parts count. How much would it cost to replace the water pump? Fix a leak on a fuel rail buried under the intake manifold? Replace one of those tiny turbos for a bad shaft seal or failed bearing?

    I am NOT picking on this particular engine. I would say it has way less than 100k mkles, but he says it is unknown. It appears to have failed due to neglect and very short trips. Possibly failing injectors caused the stuck scraper rings on those two pistons. Overheating is possible, but inconsistent. Well maintained fuel injected engines do not fail this way.

    Near the end he shows and describes several other engines that look more complex, and seem to have serious design flaws.

    I like teardowns. I am saving an engine for one or my own, and for parts. I ran it hard for quite a few years.

    THAT WAS FREAKING COOL !

    Nick, Ray, and I at a minimum have the 3.5L Ecoboost V6 motors in our Fords. 2017, 2014, and 2019 if I remember correctly. Ray just hit 100K miles on his F-150 ???

    The Ecoboost 3.5L V6 is in its 3rd generation. The first generation had a problem with water condensing in the intercooler in humid areas. The second generation has a reputation for toughness as it uses the same block for the common (14 lbs boost) and Raptor (18 lbs boost). The third generation uses the latest manufacturing techniques of the cracked rod caps and other stuff. BTW, my buddy chipped his 2019 Raptor engine in his F-150 Limited and is running 25 lbs boost. He just hit 70K miles on it.

    Ford sells almost two million of these engines a year. Very important to them, mine is the 14 lbs boost with 375 hp. That is around two hp per cubic inch. Amazing.

    I watched a video of a Ford engineer at the Houston Auto Show several years ago stripping a Raptor engine with 150K miles on it. They drove the engine 24×7 to get those 150K miles. It was running fine when they pulled it with many excursions to over 120 mph. The bearing and rods looked awesome in it, brand new.

    There are two ??? other varieties of the ecoboost, a 2.7L V6 and a four cylinder single turbo.

  73. “The first heart attack really messed me up. ”

    —not as much as the last one will……

    n

    The second heart attack was interesting, my blood oxygen was below 80% for almost 24 hours. Not good. It started about 1am and I got my wife to take me to the ER about 8am. That was not a good move in retrospect. Of course, the first heart attack showed symptoms on a Monday and I went to the ER on Thursday. It was caused by high blood pressure. Maybe next time I will go within an hour or so.

    My mother-in-law had her first heart attack at age 36 or so. She had square heart valves that continuously leaked according to her last heart doc. Her last heart attack (number 7 or 8) at age 58 got her brain but her body lived for another two weeks.

  74. “got her brain but her body lived for another two weeks.”

    –yeah, that’s kinda my nightmare.
    n

  75. My expy has the 6cyl ecoboost. I’m rarely above 2000 rpm, sometimes 3000 if I’m merging. BIG truck. Not so easy to stop as to go.

    n

  76. Sidewalk is a stupid idea, for so many reasons. First, using people’s bandwidth, largely without their permission. Second, liability questions for illegal content. Third, the spectrum is already crowded enough, without adding a zillion more – entirely random – hotspots. Fourth, what data will Amazon be collecting from this, and why should they have it? Fifth, sixth, seventh – there are lots more reasons this is dumb.

    All that said, from what I’ve read, you can always turn it off through a settings menu somewhere. I don’t have the details, and can’t look, because I don’t have any Amazon devices beyond a Kindle. The looming deadline is only for the initial activation.

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