Why the title?

"Pioneers take the arrows"

Oh, wait. I should be upbeat and taking arrows doesn't sound like an upbeat thing to say.

So, let me amend that statement.

It was courage and vision that led the pioneers to leave behind a comfortable, settled life and trek West to begin a new life in a new place. Many of those from the East that went West found a strength within themselves that they didn't see while they were in their old life. Instead of being one of those that just kind of went along with the others in the old life, they became leaders and visionaries in their new lives.

The sentiments of that last paragraph come from a favorite author, Louis L'Amour, in many of his books. So, I can't really say that it is an original thought from me. However, what he said is truthful.

Welcome to being a pioneer. Look ahead and ignore the "barking dogs" that give you negative opinions and comments. Louis L'Amour also spoke of the barking dogs.

In some of his stories, it was usually a father or older man telling a young boy how it was that when the Westward bound Conestoga wagons rolled through towns, the dogs came out to bark at them. His character then told the young listener that the barking didn't stop the wagons from going on to their destinations.

Following the advice of the Louis L'Amour characters, may we all forge ahead with our plans, after carefully considering all consequences and leave the "barkers" behind.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

A Mystery in the RV World

Alas, I had such hopes that my blog was somewhat interesting. I’ve had someone named I.M. Vayne commenting on some of my posts. While his writing was different, I wrote it off as someone who was really disguising his intelligence.

Then today, someone posted a thread on RV Dreams about this website that was funny and that we readers of Howard and Linda’s forums should be checking out this “parody” of the RV Dreams website. So, I go to check it out and who do I find….I.M. Vayne writing his blog just about the way he comments on my blog.

Once I got home this evening, I sat down to read through his blog to see if I could discover anything from it. What I have found is a mystery as to who I.M. Vayne really is, with one person even commenting on I.M.’s blog that Linda and Howard should fess up. I’m not so sure that it is Howard and Linda.

Could it be the person who first brought it to the attention of the RV Dreams community? Evidently, I.M. has been posting on RV Dreams participant’s blogs, thus leading them to investigate as to what I.M. is going to write next.

As for me, it has now become a challenge to see if I can decipher enough from I.M.’s writings to put some kind of image in my mind as to who he is. While there are ways to follow to one’s IP addresses, I don’t want to follow that path. I’d rather see if something that he writes will trip up his identity. Or, is it a her???

For those interested, here is the link to his website:

http://www.rv-dreamers.blogspot.com/

Now, don’t get me wrong. I really do appreciate I.M. commenting on my blog. Only now I will have to look at each comment differently and try to decide whether his/her comment is genuine, or whether he/she is leading me down the primrose path.

By the way, the RV Dreamers site is funny, even if it could be considered just a wee bit risqué in places. So, I.M., allow me to offer you my sincere thanks for your comments to my blog and for the giggles I got on your website. It never hurts to have some of the more serious forum participants to be tweaked just a bit, even if it is I.

I’m not sure, but I think this is a picture of I.M.’s RV engine.

There I Fixed It_15

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Really Strange Stories of Young and Old

Now, in no way am I going to say that either of these stories is funny-ha-ha, but they are funny-ironic. While we normally get to read stories about young men behaving badly with handguns, these take us out of the realm of the young men.

First, for the young woman (instead of a young man).

Honors Student Allegedly Pistol-whips Mom to Get Sports Car

Mother tells deputies her daughter was accepted to several Ivy League colleges

WBBH-TV

3/28/2011

Fort Myers, FL

clip_image002

FORT MYERS, Fla. — An honors student is accused of using a stolen gun to pistol-whip, then threaten her mother in order to get a sports car, according to Lee County Sheriff's Office reports.

On Thursday, March 24, 17-year-old Rachel Hachero called her mother from a car dealership and asked her to co-sign a loan for a vehicle. When Rachel's mother Linda Hachero refused, Rachel threatened to kill her, reports said.

Around 7 p.m. Rachel arrived to their Mossy Glen Drive home and confronted her mother with a 9 mm. She struck her mom in the head with the gun, reports said.

Then, Rachel pointed the gun at Linda's head and told her they were going to the car dealership and demanded her mother co-sign for the car, reports said.

Rachel and her mother went to Sutherlin Nissan, where her mother signed for the car. Rachel left in the 2004 black Nissan 350Z, reports said.

After contacting deputies and reporting the incident the following day, Linda told deputies she didn't want to prosecute her daughter because she is an honors student who has been accepted to several Ivy League colleges on scholarships, reports said.

Despite signing a waiver of prosecution, the deputy said there was probable cause to arrest Rachel for aggravated assault with intent to commit a felony, one count of battery touch or strike and possession of a firearm by a person under the age of 18.

A check of the gun's serial number revealed it was stolen from a Lee County Port Authority Law Enforcement officer in early July 2010.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/42311615/ns/local_news-fort_myers_fl/?GT1=43001

 

As for that story, I have to come up with three questions: 1-What kind of honor is there in taking a stolen gun, hitting your mother, and forcing her to co-sign a loan? 2 – What happen to Mom’s paddle?  3 – Why a USED car?

 

OK, now for the story for the older generation:

Cops say Wife Got in Parting Shot Before Killing

By O’Ryan Johnson

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

http://www.bostonherald.com

clip_image004

Photo by Nancy Lane

With her final words before she was fatally shot, Elaine McCall needled her husband for missing with his first shot yesterday morning inside their Wakefield home, police said.

“ ‘You can’t even shoot,’ ” she said, according to her husband David McCall’s reported statements to police.

The 72-year-old husband was charged with murder after hitting his wife with the second shot from the top of the stairs, police said. His 69-year-old wife’s body crumpled to the floor near the front door, shot in the chest, police said. David McCall walked to the kitchen, called 911, and then tried to shoot himself, according to police, but he missed again, grazing his chest through his sweatshirt.

“The Glock is on the floor,” he told cops when they arrived, according to the report. “I shot my wife,” he told police.

Middlesex District Attorney Gerard Leone told reporters that when McCall dialed 911 he told a dispatcher there had been a “murder-suicide.”

“Apparently, he didn’t make good on the suicide,” Leone said.

McCall was held without bail and sent to Bridgewater State Hospital for a competency evaluation after he was arraigned on first-degree murder and discharge of a firearm within 500 feet of a dwelling, according to court documents.

It took Middlesex County Sheriff’s deputies several minutes to walk the frail McCall from the courthouse door and seat him in a prisoner van that would take him to jail. During the walk, reporters asked McCall if he had anything to say.

“No comment,” he shouted hoarsely. His lawyer could not be reached for comment.

Leone said there was no history of police calls to the home, though police said McCall told them he and his wife had fought for years. He told police that yesterday morning’s fatal dispute started when she told him she would not “cook or take care of him anymore.”

When police found McCall he was sitting at the kitchen table of their yellow, two-story Lowell Street home, police said. The walker he used to get around was in front of him. The alleged murder weapon was on the floor beside him, with a loaded clip beside it and a spent shell nearby.

Elaine McCall still had a pulse and was taken to Melrose Wakefield Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

Neighbors said the couple had lived there for decades, described them as “quiet,” and said they “kept to themselves.” County records indicate the McCalls had a reverse mortgage on their home, valued at $532,000 in 2008, the same year a lien was placed on it for an $800 unpaid water bill.

http://www.bostonherald.com/news/regional/view.bg?articleid=1326748

 

This guy missed his wife on the first try and then missed himself on the suicide attempt. Around our house, this wouldn’t happen. Whether it was Jo or me doing the shooting, our aim is too good.

Should anyone have misgivings about individuals owning weapons, keep these two things in mind.

1. Outlaws will have guns, even if they are outlawed. I imagine that about every criminal that is carrying a gun is carrying it illegally.

2. The news media SELDOM EVER reports the stories where a law-abiding individual with a concealed carry permit uses their weapons to prevent or stop crimes.

Just as a third point, yep, Jo and I both own weapons and know how and when to use them.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Using A Transmission with Tow/Haul

The following has been copied from a forum, where the discussion kind of ran the gauntlet of topics about towing. It is a good explanation of the way that the Tow/Haul feature of a transmission works. In his case, Rodeworthy specified that his description applied to the Duramax engine and the Allison transmission.

I present this here for the enlightenment for those who may not understand Tow/Haul and its benefits. With some drivers, they still will pull a lot without using the Tow/Haul feature, but they usually monitor the transmission temperature. I would guess that as that temperature goes up, they will engage their Tow/Haul mode.

All within quotation marks are the comments of those other than me.

“In the days when I dealt with such things torque converter lockup meant a sliding splined gear slipped over the torque converter output shaft to physically "lock" the output shaft to the input shaft thus removing any possibility of torque converter slippage affecting the load -- it, (the torque converter) is effectively by-passed or "locked out".

Tow-Haul mode with a Duramax/Allison does not lock up the torque converter as described above but the torque converter clutch (TCC) provides similar function and behaves differently in the two operating modes -- Normal or Tow-Haul.

In Tow-Haul Mode:

During deceleration, the torque converter clutch (TCC) remains applied at closed throttle to much lower vehicle speeds to significantly improve the effect of engine braking.

During acceleration, the TCC is applied in 2nd range and remains applied in 3rd, 4th and 5th. This improves the drivetrain efficiency and significantly lowers transmission sump temperature when towing heavy loads. In Normal mode, TCC generally applies only in higher ranges and is dependent on throttle position.

Shift Patterns:

Tow-Haul shift mode significantly changes the transmission's shift pattern to reduce shift cycling and to deliver better performance, control, and cooling when towing/hauling heavy loads.

Upshift points are raised at light to mid throttle position to use more of the engine's available power for accelerating. Downshift points are raised to enhance engine braking to help slow the vehicle.

Like others I routinely tow with Tow-Haul mode off. I will deploy it when I want extra control on hills and mountains or in traffic with frequent speed changes. There are times the transmission will not shift into sixth gear in Tow-Haul mode on but it always will in Normal mode. At my cruising speed (59 MPH) in sixth gear my engine is at its peak torque curve at 1600 RPM. I believe that is my optimum fuel efficiency point too.

I also use Tow-Haul mode under the same conditions when I am not towing to achieve the same control level on hills and in traffic.
If the transmission is used to retard speeds on a long grade it is most important to monitor the transmission temperature.

RodeWorthy”

Then, there was some comments from Wingnut60 in response to some comments and some questions I had made, specifically this:

Rodeworthy,
I have to chime in and also thank you for such a good explanation. BUT, I also have a question. Would your explanation also be similar with the Ford transmissions with the Tow/Haul feature?

The reason I ask is because I had the impression that ANYTIME one was towing their RV that they should be in Tow/Haul. But, from your explanation, it sounds that it might even be more economical on fuel if one is NOT using Tow/Haul in flatter country. Could I be assuming right, or am I way off base?

Now, Wingnut60’s comment:

“Terry,
Since I know you have a 450, as I have, I can pass on from experience that you can use T/H or not AT ANY TIME. These trucks/transmissions are very 'smart' and for the most part, will do what needs to be done at the right time.

The 6.4 will tow my 17000+ MS in OD just as well as it will with the T/H engaged, but I don't use it much unless in mountains that require some extra help in braking. Use of the T/H will often delay the final upshift to OD and you will find, as RW and Huck said, running above 2000 rpm at 60 mph (4th/D) when the truck will easily pull in OD to save fuel.

Often, if you are pulling into headwinds, or a grade that hasn't caused the truck to downshift, you will hear the fan clutch kick in to cool the engine that wouldn't have occurred if in T/H--that is one situation that T/H will help over not using it.

Also, be aware that you CAN'T force the TorqueShift into D (4th) with the shift lever--it will always skip 4th and go to 3rd--the only way to access 4th is to let the computer find it for you when needed--so this is another area where T/H may help--it will keep 4th engaged when needed and you can't get to it any other way. This is the only irritating design I have had a problem with in my 450--they should have given us a way to hold 4th manually if needed. As mentioned above, if I encounter a long grade in OD, the truck will gradually lose speed--use of T/H will sense this and downshift; if you try to use the shift lever, it will downshift to 3rd and cause a higher jump in RPMs than necessary.

Another TorqueShift peculiarity--if you put the shift lever in 2 or 3, it will START in 2 or 3 and stay there; there is no way to start in 1 unless you have it in 1--not usually a circumstance that causes a problem, but something to be aware of.

It's a great truck and the TorqueShift works hard and long, just need to be aware how it shifts if you are using the options available.

Joe

By the way, went to AZ in Feb--all the way into 30+ headwinds, got an outstanding 6.0 mpg average for the westward trip. That was painful, and without the extra tank, would have been troublesome looking for fuel.

Wingnut60”

Monday, March 28, 2011

Searching for a Vacation Site

Due to wanting to post other things first, this posting is a couple of days late. We actually did this on Saturday, March 26. Jo is in a situation where she needs to take a few days off. While we both work at the same place, in her division they earn compensatory time for any overtime that they perform. They have six months in which to use their comp time or they lose it. If she doesn’t use it before the end of April, she will start losing. Since she already has enough time to reach her limit of regular vacation days, she doesn’t see any sense losing more.

Since out house hasn’t sold yet, we are in a position where we don’t feel we can afford to take a trip to Colorado, or much of anywhere else, due to the issue of not wanting to break into our cash reserves. So, we decided to see if we couldn’t find a nice place right here in Oklahoma to camp this year.

We had kind of considered the area over around Tahlequah, Oklahoma along the Illinois River. Then there are some beautiful areas down around SE Oklahoma at a place called Beaver’s Bend. However, that area has some dangers involved with it as there are some in that area that grow marijuana or even have Moonshine stills. Yep, that stuff still gets brewed.

I had been considering Lake Thunderbird State Park as I had never been there before. We contacted our youngest son, Eric on Thursday evening and he wasn’t sure whether he could go. He and his friends had been considering golf for Saturday. But, on Friday afternoon he called us back and said that it looked to be too cold for his friends for golf. So, he decided to go with us after all. He likes doing photography, although he doesn’t do as much as I have done.

Saturday came and we met up at the house and took off to Lake Thunderbird. When we finally got over there, we were surprised because we had forgotten the tornado that came through last year. There were a lot of trees broken and twisted and on the ground. That tornado had also torn up a major marina at the lake.

We weren’t too impressed with the lake area campgrounds, and we certainly weren’t impressed with the lake. It was awfully muddy. Eric told us that Thunderbird Lake has the nickname of Dirty Bird Lake. I can see why. So, we left the lake area and drove back into Norman for lunch. Never go across Lindsay Avenue on a Saturday at noon. Lindsay crosses through Oklahoma University’s campus and it was busy with traffic, especially because it is only a two lane street.

While we were eating, we decided to drive over west of Oklahoma City to Red Rock Canyon State Park. It is just on the South side of Hinton, Oklahoma and is basically a gash in the countryside. Eric and I had driven over there on one other occasion to do some photography, but because it hadn’t greened up at the time, we weren’t really impressed with the area. But, we decided to go anyway.

After a stop at a sewing shop in Oklahoma City, we headed west to Hinton. When we got there, we were fortunate that the trees are greening up and it looked a lot more impressive. However, since we were on a scouting trip, we didn’t stop to take any pictures. We were busy with driving up and down the canyon checking out which campsites would be big enough for the Mobile Suites and the F450.

There are roughly 50 to 60 RV sites with almost half of them being big enough for our 38-footer. So, we decided that it was pretty enough for us to use next month. We are both taking off the week of April 18-22. (Those days are the work days.) I called this afternoon and while the sites are first come-first serve, they don’t do reservations. But, the lady didn’t think we would have any problems with the days we are interested in.

Most of the sites have both 30 amp and water, about three sites have 50 amp and water, and about five sites have electric, water and sewer. Since the full service sites aren’t really in a pretty spot, we probably won’t get one of them. There is a dump station in the canyon and there is another up on the flats by the park entrance.

I mention the flats because the road into the canyon is steep and twisty. I can’t even describe what the percentage of grade is, but in about two half loops a driver is dropping down into the canyon. Hmm, I wonder if I will require help getting back out of the canyon. It definitely will need Jo going down first and blocking any traffic coming up when we go into the canyon and the same when we come back out. The road isn’t that wide

We will have the chance to do some hiking and biking. There are 3 or 4 hiking trails in there as well as the rappelling cliffs. So, there should be a good chance for some photography as well. It has been a while since I did any nature photography, so I am anxious to get in a little bit of that.

Since we didn’t get to take any pictures on Saturday, I’ll post a few of the canyon that I took from some websites. Then, after next month’s outing, I’ll post a few of my own if I like them enough. While a number have said all of my photos are good, I tend to be more critical than that. Anyway, here is a small taste of photos of Red Rock Canyon State Park.

Red Rock Canyon2

Red Rock Canyon4

Red Rock Canyon1

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Finally, More About Akiane, Artist and Poet

This follow-up has been deliberately delayed because I had the hope that the news story by Lori Henshey about Akiane Kramarik would be coming soon. After our initial contacts about Akiane’s story I had received a message from Lori in which she stated that she was having difficulty in contacting the Kramarik family to set up an interview. I’ve been hopefully waiting for what hasn’t come. I’m sorry for the delay of any additional information about Akiane.

So, with no actual story form Lori Henshey, I went in search of videos of interviews that she had done. Lori had told me that she wanted her story to be from her own interview of Akiane and her family, not written based on the interviews of others. That is how I knew to look for them.

As a reminder, here is the original post that I did about Akiane after the Colton Burpo stories. Remember, it was Akiane’s painting of “Prince of Peace” that Colton Burpo said was the closest image of Jesus as he remembered Him.

http://ignoringthebarkingdogs.blogspot.com/2011/02/update-on-and-perhaps-then-some.html

Following are three different videos in regards to this amazing young lady. The last one as an interview with Kris Vallatton is the longest, running just over 21 minutes. But, the first two, being parts 1 and 2 have additional videos over to the right of the “current” video. I won’t even begin to link to all of them. If you wish to see more of them, that will be up to you.

Video of Akiane Part 1

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jUnonjq2w6I

Video of Akiane Part 2

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WZw4lgq9oPs&feature=related

This one is the interview of Akiane by Kris Vallatton of GodTube, including her description of her experience. In this one, the interviewer is not all that great, but her answers are still interesting to hear. To some degree, she describes her “heavenly” experience. To some, it may very well be difficult to believe.

I can’t even say for sure what I think about her experience of “being gone and returning to her family extremely quick.” But, who are we to say how God works?

http://www.godtube.com/watch/?v=MBCC1NNU#

From FOX News: (This video has pretty low volume, which is the reason I posted it last. That way, you don’t have to adjust volume back and forth so much.)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xzq4PHJoItU&feature=related

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Who Can One Trust"?

Let’s start with a news story that regards an effort by CAIR-OK that was released in, of all places, Mississippi, even though the story by Yahoo news lists it as Oklahoma City.  The first reported sighting of the story was out of state.  (CAIR is Council on American Islamic Relations.)

CAIR-OK Launches Call-In Campaign on Anti-Sharia Bill

OKLAHOMA CITY,  March 18, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Oklahoma chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-OK) today announced a call-in campaign to state senators urging them to vote against Rep. Sally Kern's House Bill 1552 (HB 1552) that was written in support of the failed and unconstitutional "Save Our State Amendment" (SQ 755), which was blocked last year by a federal judge.

The rest of the story is here:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/usnw/20110318/pl_usnw/DC67732_1

The first paragraph of the news story above, released by PRNewswire, gets an important fact wrong. The bolded part refers to Oklahoma State Question 755 that was passed with an overwhelming majority by the citizens of Oklahoma. Yet PRNewswire chose to say that the question was failed and unconstitutional. However, State Question 755 passed with just over 70% of the people voting for it. Would you call that “failed?” Also, Judge Vicki Miles-LaGrange merely invoked an injunction against the measure; she did NOT rule it unconstitutional.

By the way, HB1552 makes no mention of Sharia Law, which is what CAIR is concerned about.

Now, this is brought to your attention to show that PRNewswire obviously biased their report with the comment of “failed and unconstitutional.” Where this line of reasoning is going is to show the bias of PRNewswire may be elsewhere in their writings.

On an RV forum, the subject was brought up about the new 2011 Dodge 3500 truck and its increased weight capabilities. One of the posters to that thread provided a link to a PRNewswire news story about the new Dodge 3500. Some of the participants on that forum decided that the truck MUST be better based solely on that news report.

Here is the link to that PRNewswire story:

http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/ram-heavy-duty-upgrades-deliver-class-leading-torque-and-towing-115661874.html

So, the question is, “Did the PRNewswire write that story with a bias as well?” I pointed out in the forum that Dodge’s own brochure for the 2011 models made no mention of that increased capacity in the 3500. Now, I recognize that a manufacturer can change their models in mid-year. I just want people to realize that just because a news release “says something” doesn’t necessarily mean that what they “say” is true.

If you are considering a Dodge 3500 for 2011 and beyond, take special precautions to verify that any truck you are considering is capable of what they claim it to be. That news release referred to a “Max Tow” package, which to me indicates something that needs to be added in order to get the increased weight capacity. Thus, those considering the Dodge need to make sure they get one with that package.

The above example from PR Newswire demonstrates that the media cannot be trusted to write a factual story, so get your information from various sources, and make sure your alternative sources don’t get their information from the original news story.

One participant in the RV forum even said that Dodge would gain nothing with a false news release. Well, other than trying to “polish up” their tarnished name and reputation, I would say they would also gain if they could deceive their customers, thus gaining more sales.

In fairness, here is a link to the thread at RV Dreams:

http://www.activeboard.com/forum.spark?aBID=91511&p=3&topicID=41070400

While I have stated numerous times, I hope that Dodge and GM can get their companies in order because we all gain with good competition. I definitely have a preference for Ford, but I also recognize that others have their preferences as well. Let’s just make sure we all make knowledgeable decisions based on factual, not-biased information.

So, don’t let this happen to you……

How Is Your Day Going

Friday, March 25, 2011

Considering Trucks (The Other Warring Subject)

As with most others, I’ve long heard that the two most warring topics have been religion and politics, and that if you didn’t want hard feelings flying around, you avoided those topics. Well, to that short list let’s add one more: truck brands. (In honesty, that could apply to any motor vehicle.)

Why did I choose the Ford F450 as the tow vehicle for our RV? Initially, it was seeing that Howard Payne (of RV Dreams) had chosen that as his tow vehicle. Before that, I doubt if I even considered that a 450/4500 series truck would come in a pickup style. As time went on and I spent more time on RV forums, I came to see that a sizable number of folks had also chosen the F450.

Now, before I go any further, let it be known that I have driven everything from motorcycles to 18-wheelers. I’ve owned or driven most every brand of American brand vehicle and a few foreign ones. Shoot…I’ve even worked as a used car salesman (well, there went my reputation) and have had a chance to drive some “IN” cars. Most of those were overrated from my point of view.

Speaking of my point of view, let’s set some basic parameters. When I grew up in the Oklahoma Panhandle, what many now use as a tow vehicle were called “pickups” and anything bigger was a truck. Now, since I’ve been citified, I find myself occasionally referring to my F450 as a truck. And, I guess that technically it is since it is a 450 series and listed as a Class 4 truck (according to Wikipedia).

Working in agriculture (farming and ranching), I’ve been involved with driving all kinds of trucks and pickups. In the range of pickups, most were half-tons and consisted of Jeep, International, GMC, Ford, and Chevrolet. I’ve personally owned one Chevrolet, one GMC, and one Ford while on the farm. Then after trading off the 2000 Chevy, they have all been Fords.

The GMC was bought used and the transmission NEVER did work right. Less than a month after purchase, it would barely pull itself, let alone a farm trailer of any kind. The dealership had it for a whole month and finally gave up and put in a reconditioned transmission. After picking it up, I drove it back to the farm (50 miles away), pulled up to the house, put it in park and turned off the engine. It then proceeded to roll backwards about 3 feet. I got out and pushed it even further. I never took it back for more work on the transmission. While I had it, I simply used the parking brake since the parking pawl in the transmission failed. (That was when I was wishing I had kept the 1966 Ford that I had bought at a farm auction.

I traded the GMC in 1980 for a brand new Chevrolet 4 speed with 4 wheel drive. It had the 350 engine and everyone and their dog told me that was the “best” engine ever. At 17,000 miles the lobes on the camshaft began to wear down and flatten out. The dealer wouldn’t warranty any part of either parts or labor. So, a practically brand new pickup cost me an additional $1000. I kept that pickup for about 10 years, even after we moved to the city. At about 60,000 miles that 350 then needed an overhaul. I’ve been pretty well insistent on changing oil every 3000 miles. (Even now, with our Mariner saying it can go 7500 miles between oil changes, I can’t go that long. First oil change was after 5000. That’s about all I’ll compromise.)

In the ‘90’s we went a spell of leasing our vehicles here in Oklahoma City. With one of the Red Carpet leases, you had three options at the end of the lease. Trade for another Ford, buy the one you were just leasing, or return it and walk away. With that in mind, we knew that we would probably be limited to Fords. So I sat down and thought about our past vehicles. Of all the ones we had owned, we had fewer problems with the Fords. The Chevrolet, Buick, Oldsmobile, GMC, and Dodge products always gave us more problems.

When we began researching the trucks, the 2008 F450 impressed me with its gross combined vehicular weight at 33,000 lbs. and the rear differential ratio at 4:88. When I drove 18-wheelers, the best pulling truck I drove had a Cummins 335, a two-stick 4X4 transmission and 5:29 ratio rear ends. More than once someone came on the CB and accused me of running empty when I was gaining speed going up hills. From that experience, I knew that the 4:88 ratio Ford rear differentials would be a better puller than the 4:30 rear differential. Since we plan to be in the mountains quite a bit, better pulling power is important to us.

As I wrote elsewhere, we stumbled into the F450 that we have. I had really expected that we would have to buy a brand new one since most F450’s in this area are “ridden hard and put up wet.” Finding a low mileage (46,000 miles) used 2008 for under $35,000 was a very pleasant find. While I’ve driven a lot of diesels on the farm and over the road, this is my first diesel in the form of a pickup. It is a pure joy to drive it when I get the chance, which is about once a week.

The one time that we’ve hauled the Mobile Suites for any distance was to Carthage, Missouri back in October for a mini-rally. I was impressed with the truck’s ability with that heavy of a trailer. While our old F250 towing the 26-foot Rockwood felt like it was always straining to tow it, the F450 seemed to not even know it had a trailer behind it. It was very easy pulling and very stable in handling.

While I still have a lot to learn about the diesel pickup/trucks, the biggest learning curve will be the Tow/Haul capability of the transmission. I need to question some folks about the function of the Tow/Haul. From what I am reading, it appears that I may not need to be in Tow/Haul unless I’m towing in the hills or mountains. That’s another question for the forums.

Now that you know why we chose the Ford F450, I realize that a lot of others would prefer their GM or Dodge products, particularly because of the Cummins engines and Allison transmissions. Hey, that is all good for them. While everyone raves about their drive-train choices, I still remember that everyone back in 2000 always raved about that GM 350 engine as well. Every brand has their problems and I recognize that. We used to say in the used car business that even Rolls Royce had service departments.

Hopefully, with some proper care and regular maintenance, we will all have many years of use from our choices of truck and RV’s.

October 2010 Suites Owner’s International Travel Club mini-rally at Carthage, Missouri with 18 different DRV Suites rigs in attendance.  This is our Mobile Suite.

DSC_7835

Thursday, March 24, 2011

RV Searches and the Gender Wars

Well, not really “wars,” just differences. In our process of choosing an RV, it pretty much came down to Jo looking at mostly “inside” things and me looking at “externals.” Basically, she was looking at the floorplans, living amenities, and the appliance items. Her focus was also on what looked nice and looked very functional. My job was to look at frames, brakes, suspensions, and supplemental systems like inverters, leveling systems, slide mechanisms, and the outside functions like holding tanks, dump systems, and what have you.

We had pretty much decided that we would defer to each other until we found something that was just right for both of us. While one might really like a feature, the other may not like something else. That would a natural process to finding a match. Since we both knew that the foundation of an RV is its frame, suspension and wheels, if those systems were inferior, it didn’t matter what the interior was like. If a company will scrimp on the foundational systems, they will likely also scrimp on the smaller, but still vital features and amenities.

Jo pretty much knew that if I didn’t like something that I examined that I would explain to her my concerns. We seldom had any real differences in opinions of what we were considering. But, while the foundational things were important, if she didn’t like the floor plan; well, it was move on to the next one.

While we could have gone with either of the Phaeton motorhomes, the 42 footer with the tag axle was pretty much agreed upon as the best to handle and with its amenities. While we had looked at other motorhomes, the Phaetons were our first look and they pretty much set a pretty high standard for everything else that followed in the way of motorhomes.

We felt that whatever kind of RV we chose, it would have to be nice as well as sturdy since it was going to be our home for many years to come. So, in looking at everything, looks was almost as important as other amenities and features.

We had looked at a lot of fifth wheels, but again, the DRV Suites brand was our first impressions and the standard by which all would be compared. If there were just a few thousand dollars difference between one brand and the Mobile Suites, then we would pay the difference. While we had also liked the Elite Suite models, we weren’t really pleased with the weight differences, and granite counters weren’t that important to us. So, as for the DRV Suites models, the Mobile Suites were pretty much our choice.

It helped that had we wanted an Elite Suites feature on a Mobile Suites, DRV would have put it into a Mobile Suites. The Elite Suites and Mobile Suites both share the same floorplans. We looked at the differences in the standard features, and the Elite’s “extra” standards weren’t that important to us. Plus, we knew to be considerate of the weight issues so that we didn’t have to buy a bigger truck than we needed. (Yes, I’m a full-fledged member of the weight police. Driving an overweight rig is just asking for trouble, if not to oneself, then possibly to others.)

We considered a lot of the different fifth wheel brands, looking at them both at RV shows and on the dealer’s lots. It was not unusual for us to drive a couple hundred miles or more to look at a particular floorplan because we wanted to make sure that what we saw in pictures was truly the way it looked in person. When we went to look at different RV’s, I usually took along a camera so that if we liked something pretty well, I could take pictures of what we liked and sometimes the things we didn’t like, just in case we wanted to ask to have that feature changed.

While we looked at a lot of brands and models, if they didn’t “strike our fancy,” I didn’t take pictures of them. So, the following list of brands and models is based on what I took pictures of and placed into separate computer file folders. In alphabetical order, the fifth wheels we looked at were these:

Carriage Carri-Lite models 36SBQ, 36MAX1, 36XTRM5, and 37MSTR (The Carriage models didn’t impress us as much as their Carri-Lite models did.)

Cedar Creek models 34RSLA, 34TSA, and 36RD5S

DRV Suites Mobile Suites models 38RLSB3 and 38TKSB3 (The latter our final choice and purchase.)

Grand Junction 35TMS (I was to be turned off of Grand Junction when I asked the salesman and later the area factory representative about Grand Junctions warranty if one was full-timing. Both basically said to just don’t tell them we were full timing. Sorry, I can’t lie about something like that.)

Open Range 398RLS

I didn’t list the model years because as time goes on, the manufacturer may not offer those floorplans. At the very last, we were down to the four above (discounting the Grand Junction) when it came to a choice. In late 2009, there was no way to get a brochure for the 2010 model year DRV models. In e-mail messages with the DRV factory rep out of Texas, I found that a dealer in Granbury had a few that she had just dropped off. I called that dealer and requested that they hold one for us.

Jo and I also wanted to look at a couple of Carri-Lite models, particularly one with a front bathroom, and they had one at a dealer in north Dallas. So we planned a Saturday trip down to see those and then drive over to Granbury to get the brochure. After looking at three different Carri-Lite models we then went to Bennett’s in Granbury. After getting the brochure and visiting with the salesman there, we went out on their lot to look at their current stock of DRV’s.

After we stepped into the DRV’s they had, it was pretty evident to us that the quality of the interior of the DRV models was far superior to the Carri-Lite’s. While we were there the salesman gave us two tickets to the upcoming (February 2010) Fort Worth RV Show. So, we then made another trip to Fort Worth a few weeks later. On that occasion we also got to meet the DRV factory rep in person. We sat in a Mobile Suites with her for about an hour and a half, thoroughly enjoying ourselves and asking more questions. (For some reason, those things just keep coming up….even now on occasion.)

All in all, it has been a somewhat fun, somewhat frustrating process in choosing what we did. But, in the end, I feel it was worth every minute and every mile of looking to be sure that we got something of quality. The only thing so far that has proven to be of lesser quality was the couch and recliners that were standard in the Mobile Suites. Those got sold on Craigslist and we purchased a new La-Z-Boy loveseat recliner and a Lane “euro-chair” that you can see below.

DSC_8065rsz

Monday, March 21, 2011

People and Their Government

If you have followed all of my postings, you know that in my past I was an elected official, serving as a school board member in the small town where I grew up. Because of that small amount of experience and a lot of reading since then, I’ve learned even more.

It is the nature of a legislative body within a representative republic such as America that elected officials don’t always do the right thing. Sometimes their motives are to do things that their constituents would not appreciate. Other times, they have the best of intentions, but do not have the insight and knowledge to write legislation that is logical and effective.

Such is going on in Oklahoma. Elected official, including the Governor, want to consolidate and make government smaller, so they have written legislation to consolidate several agencies into one larger one. They also want to consolidate the Information Technology functions of all the state agencies into one and put those functions under one person.

What they don’t understand is the different relationships that law enforcement agencies have that are different from other state agencies. Agencies such as the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation have computer network systems that must work in conjunction with local police departments, sheriff’s offices, and federal agencies such as the FBI and Homeland Security. They do not realize that their ideas of consolidating services into a limited number or even a single network will be difficult to accomplish and still keep the confidentiality of the information that flows between law enforcement entities.

That is what Jo and I have been writing letters about. While we recognize that some consolidation would be a good thing, each agency’s missions and needs must be recognized and studied to insure that everything works smoothly. We have had an extensive letter writing campaign to legislators and to the Governor. The bill to consolidate has passed the House, so now we are directing our attentions to the Senate and the Governor.

It doesn’t help that there are “outsourcing” companies out there that will make their money by setting up these consolidations and thus have skewed their reports to convince the legislators and other officials that their ideas are sound and logical. This one particular company has written reports for two other states and those states found fault with their findings and are NOT consolidating according to the company’s plan.

While others have approached the elected officials with different strategies, I have undertaken the task of pointing out discrepancies within that company’s report to the legislature. Tonight, I sent a document that was more than two pages long to all 48 of our state Senators and to the Governor. Only time will tell if we are successful.

But, it is a wonderful thing to be able to address one’s governing bodies with their ideas and concerns. That is not necessarily something that is inherently beneficial in any other form of government. Even a democracy can be considered to be governing with tyranny over the minority. So long as one party can get more votes than their rivals, they can write legislation that will do what they want at the expense of the minority.

So, while it is work to write the letters, it is a privilege to be able to participate in ways other than voting alone. Our country is so unique and so special and we should never forget those privileges.

Some time back, I heard a rendition of our national anthem that was absolutely stunning. While we get to hear professional singers totally butcher our anthem, these young ladies did it right. I still get goose bumps when I hear their singing. Since I stumbled upon being able to imbed a video into yesterday’s post, I’m going to attempt it again. I really think it is just another advantage of using LiveWriter.

So, let me introduce the Cactus Cuties from the Cactus Theater in Lubbock, Texas. This was their anthem sang at a basketball game.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Follow Up on Chapter 5

I now have to apologize for forgetting something. I meant to put some internet links in the body of the last posting, the one about Why We Did What We Did Chapter 5.

This first one was meant to go after the picture of the SportsChassis truck, which is the converted Freightliner M2 and takes you to their website:

http://www.sportchassis.com/

The other one I meant to put in was a link to that 150,000 mile test with the Ford F450. It is a YouTube presentation, so I apologize if it has to do its start, pause, start, pause, buffer, start, etc. Also, it is about a nine minute video:

Ford F450 150,000 mile test drive.

OK.  I don’t have ANY IDEA how I managed to get the video imbedded.  I thought I had just attached a link.

Oh, well.  Live and learn.  Now, if I could only remember what I did…..

Why We Did What We Did Chapter 5

This month has been challenging with things going on in the state legislature that we are trying to have some input with, so I haven’t been able to do much writing for the blog. Most of my writing has been letters to legislators and the Governor’s office.

Anyway, in the process of choosing an RV with which to live full time, one consideration that was important to me was the RV’s abilities on mountain passes. (Have I mentioned that I LOVE the mountains?) As such, while it is important to have enough power to climb UP mountain passes, it is even more important to have the ability to safely go DOWN the mountain passes. (I’m just not real big about sudden steep descents with even more sudden stops at the bottom.)

So, I wanted to make sure that what we had would have some form of additional “braking” other than using only the brakes on the wheels. Since I was formerly an 18-wheeler operator, I was familiar with what are referred to as “Jake Brakes”, also known as “engine compression brakes.” Any additional assistance in slowing a heavy vehicle down a pass is very comforting.

The Phaeton motorhomes, as with most motorhomes, were equipped with those types of engine braking. But, I really wasn’t sold on motorhomes yet and continued to look into the options of fifth wheels with different tow vehicles. Knowing the weight of the Mobile Suites (our first choice in a fifth wheel), we wanted to make sure what we bought was big enough to handle a heavy fiver both up and over those mountain passes.

I was impressed with the information about the Ford F450, including a video about a 150,000 mile test of that truck. I felt that for me to feel comfortable, I needed at least the F450 for our tow vehicle. One thing of concern to me was going to be the cost of one. I felt that a used F450 in Oklahoma would be from the “oil patch” and that it would be HEAVILY used, thus not a good choice for our tow vehicle.

In my research, I also discovered that the newer Ford engines weren’t readily capable of installing aftermarket “engine brakes.” Aftermarket primarily being the “exhaust” style engine brakes that use back pressure of the exhaust with a “butterfly” valve to create that for slowing the vehicle. Plus, my research had found that unless I was willing to go up into 550/5500 series trucks, Chevrolet/GMC and Dodge trucks just weren’t rated high enough for a Mobile Suites fifth wheel. My opinion of those bigger series trucks is that they are like lumber wagons unless they are loaded down.

Jo mentioned that she had seen some mini-Freightliners at a dealership for horse trailers in Oklahoma City. This dealership was usually closed when we were out and about on weekends, so it took taking some time on a work day afternoon to drive down by there. What we found were some impressive models called SportChassis that are mini-Freightliners that are converted somewhere in Clinton, Oklahoma. They had some new and used models, but we chose to limit ourselves to the used ones.

As well we should. The used one that we looked at was selling for around $90,000. It might very well be that there are less expensive models built on the same mini-Freightliner frame and cab, but this was what we had available that we could actually test drive and get our lusting little hands upon. You know, something like this one:

2006-freightliner-sport_chassis-truck

While the SportChassis was a VERY nice unit to drive and was well equipped for a full time towing vehicle, the cost was very prohibitive to us even though it was equipped with the engine compression brake that I wanted. So, we continued to look around, with all options still on the table.

We were becoming depressed with what we were finding, and we were down to the point of looking for a fifth wheel that didn’t weigh as much, just so that I could possibly match it to a Ford F350 dually instead of the F450’s and mini-Freightliners. (We had decided that the cost of trading for the Phaeton motorhomes was just way too much to spend, unless we wanted to work until we were in our late 70’s just to pay for them.)

We had looked at a number of fifth wheels such as Cedar Creek, Carriage, and Open Range that would give us the amenities that we wanted. In looking at the idea of a smaller truck and RV, I was voicing my frustration with our salesman at the dealership where we had traded in the past. When I explained about the lack of aftermarket “engine brakes” for the Fords, he asked me about the transmissions. When I expressed an ignorance of what he mentioned he told me that he had a relative with a truck that had a transmission that served as a means of slowing the truck instead of an engine brake.

Well, that sent me back to the Ford brochures. Sure enough, there it was all along. The “Tow/Haul” feature on many transmissions does serve as an additional braking mechanism. So, now I was back looking at the regular dual wheeled pickups instead of the higher MDT’s. But, I was still looking at the F350 because I had always found nice looking F350’s at our vehicle dealership that were reasonably priced USED vehicles. No need to pay “new” price.

But, in searching for a good used F350 on Diffee Ford’s website, there were absolutely NONE. I had NEVER seen that. So, I widened the “search” parameters of their website and up popped a 2008 Ford F450. Whoa!!! That one looked nice, so I looked further. 46,000 miles, KING RANCH all decked out and only $36,000.

Needless to say, I grabbed my phone and called our salesman at Diffee’s. I asked him to verify four things: the price, the mileage, whether it had the Tow/Haul feature in the transmission, and whether it had the 4:88 ratio rear axle. He called me back after about half an hour (just long enough for me to tell Jo about what I had just found), and then told me that the answers, in order, were “Yes”, “Yes”, “Yes”, and “Yes.” So, I told him we would be by that evening after work to look it over.

After work, we stopped at the house and got the F250 we owned (plus the title) and drove over to El Reno. After driving it, we sat down to talking and ended up trading for about $30,000. So, we were back to looking at the Mobile Suites because we had just saved enough on the truck to afford the better fifth wheel.

All I all, we have now gone from this:

DSCN6864

To this:

DSC_8485

And, the truck color pretty much matches the Mobile Suites:

DSC_6461

In Praise of Smugglers (Now Gone Legitimate)

Considering that I am conservative, firmly believe in law and order, and even work for a law enforcement agency, this one story about smugglers is really one to brag about. In the end, you may consider the whole story as ironic, especially considering the countries involved.

Back in 1961 (yet, 50 years ago this year), a church of Christ congregation in Texas undertook a new mission. You see, in August of that year, the East German government began to build the Berlin Wall, as most will know was more to keep East Germans in that keeping West Germans out. Anyway, the Texas church decided to do something about that barrier.

From 1961 to 1989 (nearly 30 years), various people worked at smuggling Bibles into East Germany and Russia. While I don’t know the particulars of how they actually got those early Bibles into the Communist bloc, I would imagine that the participants of those operations weren’t able to sneak in very many at a time.

The Communist bloc merely tolerated the Russian Orthodox religion as the government was atheistic, so the introduction of yet more religion may very well have been met with strong resistance. Yet, those brave souls continued their work of providing the Word to some in the Eastern European area. This was referred to by those associated with it as their “smuggling ministry.”

A few years ago, our church was issued a challenge by a man who has become a very welcome friend in our congregation. He first brought us the story that since 1989, with the fall of the Berlin Wall and more free interchange of people and goods, what is known as the Eastern European Mission was now able to openly ship Bibles into those regions.

At the time that they came to us, Ben Mereness of Amarillo, Texas helped explain that the EEM was conducting a “Million Dollar Sunday” where numerous church congregations could donate towards their mission to print and distribute Bibles to Russia and the Ukraine. I don’t recall exactly, but I think that the year we first participated was their second “Million Dollar Sunday.”

What really inspired us was that the EEM was shipping those Bibles to public schools in those countries. Entire regions, made up of numerous school districts, were clamoring for the Bibles to be used in their education programs. With such demand, EEM was reaching out to additional congregations for help. And HELP they got. That year and again this year, the Million Dollar Sunday netted more than a million; this year over $1.5 Million.

EEM’s efforts continue to pay off. This last year, more school district officials are requesting Bibles and other materials for their educational programs. Plus, there were requests this year from schools in the Crimea, some of those in areas where there is a higher percentage of Muslim presence

Ben was our guest minister today and he brought us some updates, including the reference to the area of the Crimea with the Muslim presence. He told us about a district (or region) that had requested Bibles and other materials but wanted them in a really short period of time, due to the scheduled start of their school year. They were told that the materials were available but transportation needed to be found. The school district (or region) said that they would come get them in their school busses and even provide for the drivers. Ben was able to show us pictures of these busses with boxes of Bibles filling the seats and the center aisles.

416 churches participated this year from 38 states in the U.S. and the Bibles provided will go to areas in the Ukraine, including the Crimea. And more keep being requested, not only by the schools, but also from individuals. See this e-mail message that EEM received and is posted on their website:

“15 Years After – The Lasting Impact of the Children Bible

A couple of months ago, our Dallas office received the following email:

I know English so so!! I have your children Bible, which I get in a hospital 15 years ago in Chernigov (Ukraine), now I am 25 years. This Bible very wonderful for me. Now I serve children in Oster city (Ukraine). I want more children Bibles for serve children. How can I do it? Sorry for my English.

The email was forwarded to our European office to follow up on the request and supply the needed literature.  Messages as this one are a strong source of encouragement to our staff as they help us to see the broad impact of our ministry.
We don’t always know how our materials are used but it is always a blessing to know that they have a lasting impact on people!”

If you should be interested, you can check out EEM’s website at:

http://www.eem.org/

First of all, it is wonderful to see the spreading of God’s word to areas of the world where it was lacking for such a long period of time. And, it is ironic that they are sent from churches in a country where the Bible can’t be taught in public schools to schools in a former Communist bloc to be used for teaching in public schools. I should also mention that Bibles for the adults of those countries are also provided.

The Bibles are provided free of charge to these schools. All the proceeds of Million Dollar Sunday events and other donations are used to print and ship the Bibles. While I am quick to brag on the Eastern European Mission, I’d also like to point out that our congregation of roughly 300 people (men, women and children) have contributed roughly $15,000 in our first “Million Dollar Sunday” event and this year we contributed over $18,000.

Even if all the above weren’t enough, EEM also helps to establish churches in that part of the world.

We are blessed and are proud to help others be blessed.

An image of one of those children’s Bibles:

EEM Childrens Bible

Monday, March 14, 2011

More Variances of Religions

Before I delve too much into this topic, please allow me to go back into my post history and retrieve a posting which, if you read it, will give you an idea of where my beliefs come from and what is the core of my belief. This link will take you to the post entitled, “Religious Beliefs.”

http://ignoringthebarkingdogs.blogspot.com/2011/01/religious-beliefs.html

On the RV Dreams forum, one of the members, a friend of mine with whom I’ve shared Chocolate Chip ice cream, made a comment on his beliefs in Christianity. It should come as no surprise to many that I differ from him and many others. Let me explain.

Over the years, I have taken at least a serious passing interest in the different religions, and thus have given some study and thought to them. Just as there are significant differences between Judaism, Christianity and Islam, there are also significant differences within each religion.

There are numerous “sects,” if you will, within Judaism that I won’t even begin to try to list. Instead, allow me to provide a link to a Wikipedia posting about Judaism:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judaism

Within Islam, there are at least three major sects, being Shia, Sunni, and Sufi. For more on Islamic sects, see this link:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islam

Within both Judaism and Islam, there are differences in beliefs between the various sects of each religion. They tend to differ on interpretations of each of their “holy” books. Those differences can lead to violent confrontations as we have seen within Islam in Iraq.

But, this posting is going to focus only on Christianity. Based on my beliefs and those of the church of Christ, the early 1st century church was the model that we follow, and the tenets of those beliefs are solely within the Bible, but not just certain portions of the Bible. Beyond the 1st century church, there was the development of the Catholic Church and then the reformation movement brought about the Protestant churches. Both the Catholic Church and the Protestant churches have seen their own splits, based on various beliefs.

Therefore, it is not surprising that in the early 1800’s there was what we refer to as the Restoration movement within America and beyond. That movement was to get back to the Biblical idea of the church of the 1st century. Since the churches of Christ consider themselves “restoration” churches, they don’t consider themselves as denominations. That is not to say there aren’t differences within the churches of Christ because there are. Each congregation is autonomous and none have any kind of hierarchy above the local congregation.

Thus, we have some congregations that don’t believe in children’s Bible study classes. I’m sure that there are more, but at the moment, I can’t think of any. But look around at the various churches. There are differences even within the Baptist church that makes each seem to have different beliefs than their counterparts.

Now, knowing of the differences between “sects,” if you will, of the Christian churches, my comment comes from the forum comment by my friend. In that comment, he referred to what the Christians believe, but I have to differ with him. He mentions that the belief is that in the end of times, there will be the “Rapture,” then a 1000 year reign of Christ upon the earth, and then a new Heaven and new Earth.

I contend that there will be neither Rapture nor 1000 year reign on earth. Let me quote 1 Thessalonians 4: 16-17.

16 For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven, with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first;

17 then we that are alive, that are left, shall together with them be caught up in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

Verse 17 is a key to my beliefs as it states we will be “caught up in the clouds” and then “and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” This passage seems to contradict the book of Revelation, at least based on what many read into that book of the Bible. To me, “so shall we ever be with the Lord” says nothing about returning to earth.

Now, for the most controversial part of my statements, one which may either cause discord or a search for discovery. Suppose I were to tell you that the book of Revelation is NOT a book foretelling future events? But that it is a revealing of Jesus Christ?

For many years, because I had never sat in an adult Bible class studying the book of Revelation, I had no desire to read that book because I considered it a book of doom and gloom. Then a few years ago, our Bible study class undertook the book using the Bible and a commentary written by a long time church of Christ preacher. That book is entitled, “As A Lamb Slain” and was written by one Floyd I. Stanley of Rogers, Arkansas.

His father had advised him to NOT publish the book until after he had reached at least the age of 50. That way, he would be forced to obtain more maturity, especially within the study of the Word, and thus have a more valid commentary of Revelation. Mr. Stanley’s daughter told us that her dad was tempted to publish earlier, but adhered to his father’s wishes. As well he did, because his book later did need some minor revisions.

That book is no longer sold in bookstores. However, his family does still occasionally have an additional printing done. Over the last several years, we have bought several copies from them to give to friends and family members, as well as Bible study participants.

The study of Revelation is a difficult one because there is so much of its dialogue that is figurative language, difficult for most people to understand. Let me give an example. Did you know that the beast with 7 heads and 10 horns is the nation of Israel? The 7 heads refers to the 7 Herods of Israel and the 10 horns refer to the 10 kings (Caesars) which were over Israel.

There is far too much for me to relate here as to the study of Revelation, but as I read through “As a Lamb Slain” again, perhaps I can comment more on what it says and perhaps on what it means to Christians. Until the coming of Christ, let us not take offense with each other, but study the Word as best we can so we can obtain more understanding.

Dove and God Bless You

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Kind of a Downer Week

Last Friday, we got an e-mail from the young lady who put a contingency contract on our house.  She told us that she had a “medical emergency” and was scheduled for an appointment with an oncologist on the 9th (yesterday) and that she had another appointment with someone else on the 29th.  Anyway, she wanted to let us know that she may have to put a lot of stuff in her life on hold, including buying our house.

There is earnest money involved with this contingency contract, so that would come to us if she does cancel.  However, if she truly has a serious medical condition like cancer, there isn’t anyway that Jo and I would feel right with keeping that money.  Besides, her health is more important to us than money, or for that matter, getting our house sold.  Those of you that pray, please say a few for her and her daughter.  They have to be miserable.

Life has a way of turning out in ways that one doesn’t expect.  Things are going along pretty well and then you hit a snag.  The first two homes that Jo and I bought brought us a profit when we sold.  This one may end up costing us money.  But, getting out from under the payment would still be a relief for us.  That would help us get debt free and pay off the pickup and Mobile Suites.

In spite of our ages, we are in good health.  One of Jo’s sisters has had bypass surgery and her other sister just had a hip replaced.  Shoot!!!  We want to get on the road and get away from these unhealthy people.  (Seriously, we love them all dearly.)  Her oldest sister (the heart one) and her husband will be down this weekend to visit.  And last weekend, we went to see the “hip” sister.  We were glad for that since she had disassociated herself from us at one time.

Anyway, while some things are down, others are really up.  Trying to find humor (which really isn’t that hard for me), I’ve got another funny to share.  Or, is it?  (Read each line carefully.  Oh, and I had to remove one…..wasn’t’ really appropriate for “mixed company”.  Now, you’ll be wondering.)

Times Are Getting Tough

Times are getting tough. The recession is hitting everybody!!!

I got a pre-declined credit card in the mail.

CEO's are now playing miniature golf.

Exxon-Mobil laid off 25 Congressmen.

A stripper was killed when her audience showered her with rolls of pennies while she danced.

I saw a Mormon polygamist with only one wife.

If the bank returns your check marked "Insufficient Funds," you call them and ask if they meant you or them.

McDonald's is selling the 1/4 ouncer.

Angelina Jolie adopted a child from America.

Parents in Beverly Hills fired their nannies and learned their children's names.

My cousin had an exorcism, but couldn't afford to pay for it, and they re-possessed her!

A picture is now only worth 200 words.

When Bill and Hillary travel together, they now have to share a room.

The Treasure Island casino in Las Vegas is now managed by Somali pirates.

Congress says they are looking into this Bernard Madoff scandal. Oh Great! The guy who made $50 Billion disappear is being investigated by the people who made $1.5 Trillion disappear!

And, finally...

I was so depressed last night thinking about the economy, wars, jobs, my savings, Social Security, retirement funds, etc., I called the Suicide Hotline. I got a call center in Pakistan, and when I told them I was suicidal, they got all excited, and asked if I could drive a truck.

 

(That last one isn’t too funny.  I was stationed in Pakistan back in the ‘60’s.  That place is depressing enough they shouldn’t need any “imported” suicidal folks.  There should be an unending supply of locals for that one.)

file004

Yeah, I know that I’m hopeless.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Awesome: It’s the End of the World

This one is “sort-of” RV related in that the people in the story are using RV’s in their “journey.”  Be sure and read all the way through as I will have some comments at the end.  This is a news story from the UK Daily Mail.

‘Awesome: It’s the End of the World’

Doomsday campers travel the country preaching the Apocalypse...on May 21

By Daily Mail Reporter
8th March 2011

Most people like to push thoughts about the end of the world to the back of their minds, hoping that the apocalypse, if it ever comes, will be a long way off.

But for one group of not-so happy campers, doomsday is a lot sooner...May 21 to be precise.

According to the predictions of the Family Radio ministry, on that date a massive earthquake will shake the world apart, littering the ground with 'many dead bodies'.

clip_image002The end: members of the Family radio group are sure the end of the world is coming on May 21. They point to complex numerical codes to demonstrate the accuracy of their predictions

clip_image004Message: Ambassador Sheila Jonas (right) stands in front of her caravan emblazoned with the end of the world message

Those who believe in Jesus will be carried into heaven, while the rest of humanity will endure 153 days of 'death and horror' before the world ends on October 21.

The group of 10 Christians from Oakland have set out across the country in a convoy of caravans to bring the 'awesome' message of impending doom to as many people as possible.

'Project Caravan', as it has become known, is made up of members of the Family Radio network all of who have given up jobs, families and all their possessions to join this final mission.

Calling themselves 'ambassadors', the church members point to baffling biblical codes to demonstrate their reasoning.

Speaking to CNN the group's leader, 89-year-old Harold Camping, is adamant that the date is accurate.

He said: 'I know it's absolutely true, because the Bible is always absolutely true.

'If I were not faithful that would mean that I'm a hypocrite.'

Despite his conviction, Camping has predicted the world would end before - on September 4 1994.

That, he says, was a mistake, a misreading of the biblical codes used to decipher the exact date of the 'rapture'.

In order to get the warning out in time he fudged his calculations, a mistake he maintains he did not make this time.

clip_image006Visits: A look at where the dooms day caravan tour has been so far. The group now have three separate caravans of around 15 vehicles touring the country

According to the Church's website, there are two 'proofs' that May 21 2011 is the judgement day.

According to them, Noah's great flood occurred in the year 4990 B.C., 'exactly' 7000 years ago.

At the time, God said to Noah he had seven days before the flood would begin.

Taking a passage from 2 Peter 3:8, in which it is said a day for God is like a thousand human years, the church reasoned that seven 'days' equals 7000 human years from the time of the flood, making 2011 the year of the apocalypse.

In its second 'proof' the exact date is revealed by working forward from the exact date of the crucifixion - April 1, 33 AD.

According to their reasoning, there are exactly 722,500 days from April 1, 33 A.D. until May 21, 2011 - the alleged day of judgement.

This number can be represented as follows: 5 x 10 x 17 x 5 x 10 x 17 = 722,500.

The church then argues that numbers in the bible have special meanings, with the number 5 signifying atonement or redemption, the number 10 signifying 'completeness' and the number 17 equalling heaven.

'Ambassador' Sheila Jonas, another of the Family Radio faithful, spoke of her joy at joining the not-so merry band of travellers.

She said: 'I'm in it until the end. This is so serious, I can't believe I'm here.

She will not however talk about her past because: 'There is no other story. ... we are to warn the people. Nothing else matters.'

clip_image008Collection: The family radio faithful pose in front of their convoy of caravans.

Travelling in a convoy of five caravans, the doom-mongers are adamant that Jesus is coming in three months.

And for anyone harbouring doubts over the accuracy of the prediction, the group has a cast iron answer - 'the Bible guarantees it'.

With T-shirts and banners declaring the 'Awesome News' that Judgement Day is coming, the first convoy of five caravans set off in October last year.

They have now been joined by two other convoys, all travelling to different parts of the country spreading their message.

The oldest believer on the convoy, 75-year-old Gallegos from Utah, is similar to the rest of the church members.

In order to join the trip he had to leave behind a wife of 53 years and be away from his10 children and their families.

Others have left empty houses, sold antiques, disposed of art collections or given up cars and other expensive items to join the road trip of doom.

And as if the end of the world is not bad enough, there is one final bitter pill as we approach the apocalypse.

Apparently no one from Family Radio is sure what to do to guarantee a place in heaven.

God, they say, has already predetermined the roughly two to three percent of those who will be saved come May 21.

Sadly for the rest of us all we can do is wait until the end comes. Again.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1363837/Doomsday-campers-Project-Caravan-say-world-end-May-21.html

OK, so Mr. Camping says his first calculations in 1994 were calculated wrong and that this time he “guarantees” it as being correct.  We can now prepare ourselves for the end.

But, we’ve got a few months to go….

….perhaps we ought to go borrow some money and use that to do some more traveling before the end.  I mean, after all, after May 21 or so, we won’t have to repay the loans.

Oh….wait…..

…..in his calculations this time he said that the number “10” was the biblical number “signifying completeness.”

OH, NO!!!!  He is going to be wrong again…..

…..you see, everyone that I know that is anything of a biblical scholar or serious student knows that the biblical number signifying completeness is the number “7.”

Man, I was really worried there.  May 21 is two days before my 65th birthday and I would have missed Medicare.

On another note, I think we have found a “long-lost relative” of Charlie Sheen.

Well.  Forget about borrowing the money to do more traveling.  And, I guess I’ll just have to keep working for now.

Man….what a bummer.

Face Palm Pic Chimp

Monday, March 7, 2011

Why We Did What We Did Chapter 4

Getting back to the subject of what we did in choosing an RV, my last posting on that subject was the test drive of the Tiffin Phaeton model 40 QTH. During that period of time of mid to later 2008, we had looked at that model and the Phaeton 42-foot model 42 QRH. On our first test drive, we discovered that Jo would be comfortable with driving the motorhome.

Time went on and we then went on vacation to Colorado with our Ford F250 and Rockwood fifth wheel. Right at the moment, I think it was in 2009 when we went to the Pagosa Springs area for two weeks. Normally, on that long of a trip (over 700 miles one way), I would plan to stop for the night about midway home. As we were about Dalhart, Texas, I decided that I wasn’t suffering from any fatigue, so I asked Jo if she wanted to go on in that evening and perhaps test drive the 42-foot Phaeton on the next day. She felt she was up to it.

When we got into range of a cell phone tower, we made two calls. One to our salesman at McClain’s in Oklahoma City to arrange the test drive and the second to our youngest son in Oklahoma City. He had wanted to be with us on our first test drive, but timing wasn’t right for that one. He was eager to join us on Saturday. So, we drove on into home that evening and got home about 2:00 am.

Our first test drive with the 40-foot Phaeton was roughly 70 miles round trip. We had discussed it with the salesman when we called for the appointment that we wanted to drive to the Arbuckle Mountains in Oklahoma to get a good feel of a longer grade that was fairly steep. They had originally recommended we do that some time, so we chose to do so with the 42 QRH. That test drive ended up being just less than 200 miles round trip.

Our salesman first drove the 42-foot Phaeton through most of the heavier traffic before turning it over to Jo to drive for the first part. She drove it a number of miles south until we came to a roadside rest area. There we stopped to change drivers. I asked the salesman to show us how the Phaeton worked at leveling itself. The parking lot was sloping, so the front and right side of the motorhome was lower than the rear. After saying that he didn’t know how well it would level with that much of a slope, he pushed the button that automatically leveled the Phaeton.

To my great surprise (and I think to the salesman as well), it leveled just fine, although the front passenger side tire was off the ground in getting level. After a pit stop into the restrooms, I took over driving on down to the Arbuckle’s. We went up over the summit with ease and down the other side. At the next interchange, we turned around and headed back north to Oklahoma City.

I was impressed with both the handling of the motorhome and the feeling of stability. Jo had even mentioned that she thought the 42-footer with a tag axle felt more stable than the 40-footer with just the single rear axle. In driving the diesel pushers, I was both pleased with the quietness in the coach and displeased that I couldn’t actually hear the engine. As an old 18-wheeler operator, I really liked to be able to hear any oddities in the sounds of the engines, which can be an early warning of an impending problem with the engine. I think I even asked whether there was a way to put a microphone in the engine compartment at the rear and be able to hear the engine through speakers in the front.

We returned to the same point south of Oklahoma where we had first started testing ourselves and turned it back over to the salesman. Neither Jo nor I felt comfortable enough to drive it through the city traffic, even on the interstates. The salesman then drove back to the RV dealership and put that 42-foot beast through that gate again. (See the pictures below for a perspective of that parking lot and gate. These photos show an RV right inside the “yard” right at the entrance through that gate which prevented the salesman from having a little extra space for maneuvering.

McClains Parking Lot

Now, a little closer.

McClains Parking Lot3

Overall, Jo and I were very impressed with the motorhomes, especially the 42-footer. If we had elected to go with a motorhome instead of a fifth wheel, the 42 QRH would have been our first choice. We were pleased with the amenities, the ease of driving, the storage inside the coach as well as in the basement, and with many other things like side cameras and the diesel generator.

While I was concerned with not being able to hear the engine, I was pleased with the engine braking system. I knew that with a unit as big as this on a mountain pass, I wanted every option of slowing down as I could get. That aspect of driving an RV was to prove to be somewhat frustrating as our researching of RV’s continued.