Tuesday, October 17, 2017

DING! DING! DING! We Have a Winner!!

After much Strum und Drang, we decided on the "All Electric" house that the sellers dropped the price on rather than doing the roof themselves.

Which *I* think is a Good Thing, because I know we'll get a better job doing it through our 'family connections' than hiring Joe Schmo Roofing Company.

The listing agent sent us a quote for the job and it was $5700. I showed it to our in-law, and had to help him off the ground after his laughter subsided.

A more realistic quote using "30 Year High Impact" shingles, along with the proper weather proofing, underlayment, new flashing, "other" repair, etc is closer to $9200.

You gets what you pays for!

And the fence quote came in lower than expected. The "Fence Guy", who it turns out is a Master Carpenter and Finish Guy, came by yesterday afternoon and explained things to my wife. Afterwards, he, I and our in-law sat around doing the "Three Guys After Work BS Thing" talking about construction, motorcycles, family, and all manner of other Guy Stuff that the wimmens don't get, but allow the guys to do as it keeps us happy, healthy, and sane.

Turns out when the fence was put in back in 1970 something, they didn't set the posts in the concrete properly, the water puddled at the base of the post, and over half the posts have rotted out at the ground level. The individual fence panels are still about 80% "good", and will only need some new slats in spots.

So, we'll get ALL new, properly set posts, panels repairs "As Required", and a new, double-wide gate and posts, hinges and hardware for about $1200, a bunch less than all new everything.

The double wide gate is a nod to the future, as it will let the "Tree Guy" get his bucket truck back there the next time we need a couple of the big trees trimmed. It costs significantly less to get a big tree trimmed if he can get his truck to it, rather than having to climb. He said what he can do in one day with his truck, would take several days if he has to climb.

Escrow should close November 6th, as planned, and the fence and tree guys will be there the next day to knock out their work, weather permitting.

The roof will be the next major project, but we don't know the weather that far out. They won't do it in the rain or snow, or below a certain temperature . As the materials get a bit weird if you install them when it's below a certain temperature, and possibly will never seal correctly, they just won't do it below "X degrees".

And then there's the washer and dryer, a snow blower ( I am NOT shoveling snow!), window coverings, and a bunch of misc work to things like ALL the sink drains in the house, some Formica (remember that stuff?) damage on the kitchen cabinets, a completely missing lower hinge assembly on the kitchen cab under the sink, and I'm sure more little things than I know about now.

The tower and antenna can wait until spring. I can always operate with my Elecraft K2 and either my BuddiPole/BuddiStick, or my "big" vertical/SGC-230 combination and one of my other rigs.

Satellite operations from DN70kn are also a definite possibility in the next couple of months. And I could also do DN70jp here in Bellvue if I got motivated enough.

So, the last i's have been crossed and t's dotted in the offer/acceptance chain.

Next stop......close of escrow!

Monday, October 16, 2017

Seller Drops Price Another $10k

Been busy here the last couple of days helping around the little place we're staying at, and waiting to hear from the seller of the house we have the offer on.

They had until midnight Tuesday to respond, but our agent called us to inform us of their response on Saturday afternoon ( ! ).

They responded by dropping the agreed upon price from $385k to $375k and selling the house "AS-IS".

The $10k price cut will pay for a first-class roofing job with all the little upgrades our in-law recommends, with a little left over, but leaves the tree removal ($2500~$3k) and fence repair ($1500~$2k) up to us.

Oh, and add another $2k for washer and clothes dryer. I'll be buying rebuilt/reconditioned Speed Queen units from a place in Fort Collins that specializes in them. They look new when they're rebuilt, and have some crazy 10-year, anything goes warranty on them. I forget which reader suggested that route, but thank you very much! The little electronics place I worked at in high school built many little boxes and modules for Speed Queen, and just hearing the name brought back many memories.

And we'll need more furnishings, window coverings, and other "woman/wife/girly" stuff to finish it out.

The bad thing about this is that we can't start any of the work until escrow closes and the property is in our name. Both agents and our contractor in-law advised against it, even if we received the current owner's written permission.

And we still haven't decided yet to accept their offer or walk, and start negotiating on the other house we really like.

Both places look like you could squeeze another garage on the property and still meet all the codes, setbacks, and easements, but it would be a "1.5 car" sized garage, and I'm not sure if it's worth it. Both houses have fully-finished, INSULATED garages, but no heater in them. One house can take a 40' tower, and the other a "50 foot" tower with careful placement.

So I doubt if I'll ever get my own garage/shop, one of my reasons for moving here, but I will be able to get a tower and decent antenna, along with a new radio......or two.

SSSSSHHH!! She doesn't know the "or two" part!

I'm still undecided on which house. This has been the first time I've ever put this much thought into buying a house. My first wife and I had two criteria: 1)Where is it?, and 2) How much is it? We wound up with a nice sized house and lot in an "OK" part of town for a great price, but getting that place in order took all the "Sweat Equity" out of me.

I do very high quality work, but I'm SLOOOOOW at doing it. That house took me about two years to get finished, with my first wife constantly on my case about it.

NEVER again......!

So we have "House 1", which I posted some pix of, and "House 2", which I haven't. They're both very nice places, #1 being on the West Central side of town, and the other being out further East, on the 'far side' of I-25.

#1 has 5 bedrooms, 3 full baths, and half-bath just off the laundry room. It's a split-level, built in 1977, and packs 3386sqft of house on a 10,500sqft lot. And it has a beautiful sunroom on the NW side of the house. It's "NW" instead of West because of the way the house sits on the lot. It has a fully-finished basement with a LOT of storage space hidden behind doors. It's "ALL Electric", and will cost us about $100/month more to heat and cool it than #2. It has NO A/C installed, but our in-law tells us it's pretty easy to install "mini-splits" which are basically multiple, small heating/cooling units run from a central compressor/condenser unit.

#2 has 4 bedrooms, 1 full bath, one 3/4 bath, and one 1/2 bath. It's also a split-level, built in 1976, and has 2645sqft on a 14,170 sqft lot. No sunroom, but a refinished deck, a sandbox area for the kids, healthy trees, and a tree swing. It needs basically NOTHING done to it, and the couple that bought it put $35k into carpet, paint, new kitchen skylight, NEW ROOF, and a bunch of other things when they bought it three years ago. We could probably get that house for $385k, as the sellers are anxious to sell it. It also has forced-air gas heating, and central A/C.

I really like both houses. I suspect we'll go with the "#1 House" due to the finished basement, and it being much more "In Town" than the other one.

Friday, October 13, 2017

It 'Aint Dead Yet.....

Now that the wife's core has cooled from her melt-down over the Home Inspection report, we're proceeding.

Our contractor in-law told her 99% of the same thing that I told her over the results of the inspection report, and she calmed down.

Our realtor has three quotes for a complete re-roof (~$9k to $10k), and she should get the estimate on the tree removal today.

We have until 2359 today to proceed or walk away, and we'll have all the estimates from both our realtors contractors, and our in-laws subcontractors in a couple of hours from now, 1145.

Th sellers have until 2359 on Tuesday to respond with a "yea" or "nay" to our demands, or offer some form of compromise, usually a price reduction.

So the ball is still in play, and this is probably the last "time-out" of the process.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Scratch One House Offer......

Inspection report came in, and other than the roof and tree, it has a bunch of little piddly shit that's freaking my wife out.

Things like typical "Home Owner Grade" repairs to the plumbing (flex-type drain hoses in the bathroom sinks, etc), and other "advisories" in the report that are intended to cajole the new owner to bring the property up to the 2017 building code when it was built to code in 1977.

I told her to call the realtor in the morning and kill the deal.

I'm absolutely NOT going to put up with her bitching, moaning, fretting and whining about $2k worth of minor repairs.

Aint worth it AT ALL.

Good night, all....gotta take the dog for her 2230 walk.

Home Inspection

We don't have the final report yet, but as expected, the roof has hail damage, and evidence of poor repairs.

I thought that so many items checked as "Do Not Know" on the seller's disclosure looked pretty shady, but let it slide until the home inspection happened.

The seller claiming they didn't know the age of the roof was especially galling, as it would have been on the disclosure statement THEY received. And seeing as we were told they are realtors, they really should have known better. One of the insurance agents we talked to about homeowner's insurance pulled the permit history of the house, and told us it was last (legally) re-roofed in 2001. For the seller to say they "didn't know" is 100% pure BS.

So, at this point, we need one run of fence replaced (we knew that already), and the cottonwood tree cut waaaay back (we also knew that), and now we have confirmation that the roof needs replacing.

Since there was a major hailstorm here in September, and there are a dozen or more houses in the neighborhood getting new roofs, it's pretty obvious that a damage claim could be filed by the current owners to cover at least some of the cost.

Anywhoo.....our contractor in-law just called his roofing guy, tree guy, and fence guy, and they'll go look at the house either this afternoon or tomorrow, and get back to us with estimates. And he said he'd be pretty surprised if the two agents let this deal fall apart over these items.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Dotted a Few More i's Today.....

Delivered some required loan docs today, and drove by "our" house this morning. We also drove around the neighborhood for a while today.

There seems to be a significant number of houses in a 1/2 mile radius (several blocks every direction) either undergoing serious renovation, or for sale.

At least one or two every other block we drove by had a low-key for sale sign on the yard, or had a roofing crew doing a complete re-roof, or a dumpster out front and a company truck from either a kitchen/bathroom remodel place, or a general contractor parked at the curb.

Now this might be typical for Fort Collins, but I didn't see this much activity in any of the neighborhoods where the 20 or so other houses we looked at or drove by were located. It's fairly specific to this particular area.

My contractor in-law tells me that for the last year or so, certain areas are getting quietly bought up by "Big Money Real Estate Companies", but he didn't go much further than that, only indicate that the area was "ANYTHING North of Prospect Rd", which is the next major street to the North of us.

Maybe it's spilled South a little, or maybe the not-so-big real estate companies are coming down our way.

Geez.....I can't believe how fast I've assimilated into this area! I mean, I feel "At Home" here, something I never really felt when I merely "lived" in SoCal. It's almost like I was on a long-term Field Service assignment for a large part of my life "back there", and now that job is finished, and it really was time to move on.

I think it's fitting that I consider my "last job" in SoCal to be on the Iowa, as it was really the only place other than on the Sea Launch Commander where I ever really felt "At Home". Kinda like I was going back to the "Home Office" to clean up a bunch of loose ends, train up a few good guys, and square things away before going on to a new "assignment". It's just something about having a deck under your feet; you're "Home".

This place reminds of "home" back in Illinois, but with mountains!

Anyway......the Official Home Inspection is Wednesday, and we'll most likely find out that it needs a new roof. When we were shopping companies for homeowner's insurance, one of the agents took the address, crossed it to the city building site, and pulled a permit history for the house in about 45 seconds! Turns out the house was last roofed in 2001, and as a result of that hailstorm a while back that trashed the kid's place, along with how many others in 16 years, the roof is most likely "End-Of-Life".

Which means we'll most likely have a new roof this winter. Either the current owners can submit a claim for hail damage based on the inspection reports, or they can buy us a new roof, or make a cost reduction. The outcome has direct impact on our homeowner's insurance in that if we have a new roof, out cost is about half what it would be if we went with a repair or used the roof "AS-IS".

Wednesday should be pretty "interesting"!

Monday, October 9, 2017

"Survived" First Storm!

Mostly because it wasn't much of a storm.

We got roughly 3"~4" here in Bellvue, and it's melting. The dog absolutely LOVED it, running around and trying to catch the snowflakes.

Can't find my camera, or I would have taken some pix. And my cellphone will not cooperate with this laptop, so I can't get the pix off of it and on to here.

Big sheets of snow are sliding off the roof of the shop/apartment, and going "PLOP!" on the ground, causing the dog to run to the side door/window and look at them.

Tuesday we sign the final loan documents, and Wednesday is the official home inspection, which I'm going to tag along on....

Sunday, October 8, 2017

First Winter Storm Coming....

I'll take some pix here today, and then some tomorrow for the "before and after".

NWS says anywhere from 4" to 10" depending on what the storm track winds up being.

In the mean time, I'm helping our extended family members get the garage/shop area cleaned out so they can store a couple of boats in it, and also clearing room for the Supra whenever that gets here......

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Counteroffer Accepted, And The Clock Is Running!

Now we're sceduling the appraisal and inspection, and looking into high-speed Internet providers.

Should be in the house the 1st or 2nd week of November.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Holy Smokes.......I Think We Just Bought A House!

WoW........The realtor just called, and the sellers countered with $385k!

I had expected them to come back at $395k, but I guess they really do want to get rid of this property and avoid the financial drain of holding on to it until spring.

Now my wife is (finally) beginning to fret over the electric baseboard heat, where she's going to put the furniture (can't block or cover the baseboard units), where the big TV and entertainment center is going to be ("we simply can't put the couch there!"), blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.....

I mentioned these things the second or third time we looked at the house, and I might as well have been talking to a tree......blank stares from her. Nothing registered......

I suggested tonight that we go look at the house again so she could get all these "woman" things out of the way and she was "Oh, NO!!! That will look so dorky to ask to see the house again before we accept their counter offer!!!!".


We have until 1700 on Thursday the 5th to accept or walk away.

I talked to the in-laws "Tree Guy" today and he told me that depending on if he could get his bucket lift to the tree, or if it would be a "climbing job", the cost to get rid of all the dead limbs could be anywhere from $1k to $2.5k, including clean up. He said you can burn Laceleaf Cotton wood in your fireplace once it's dried, but that it has "an odor", and is better suited to burning in a heater or stove in your shop or garage. Most people burn pine here because it's cheap, and when I asked him about pine's reputation for clogging up your fireplace flue, he said you "just burn a hot fire", and it isn't much of a problem.

A cord of hardwood goes for about $350 here, so I'm thinking the fireplace will not be used as a source of heat.

Written Offer Submitted

Just finished going over the official offer to buy, making sure the i's were crossed, and the t's were dotted.

The sellers have until 1700 tomorrow (Thursday) to accept, reject, or counter.

I'm expecting they'll counter, as we offered about $20k less than the listing price.

The interesting thing is that the owners are real estate agents and lived here in Fort Collins for many years. They should have (and probably did) know that the city would never allow them to turn a house in a residentially-zoned, "single family house" area into a mini-apartment building.

The price we offered is what they paid for the house when they bought it back in March, which is why they'll probably counter-offer.

As our DIL's Dad says, "Don't pay for THEIR mistake." He thinks we made them a very fair offer, and he knows the market here very well.

But, it's been on the market for over 60 days, and we're they only offer they've had. I really doubt they'll want to sit on it until Spring because they'll have the mortgage, utilities, taxes, and other things to keep paying for.

Just have to wait and see what their response is......

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Made An Offer On A House.....

The owners are absentee landlords (East SF Bay area) who bought the house this March for $380k, repainted it inside and out, installed new carpet and appliances, fixed a bunch of things, and advertised it as a rental unit for CSU students.

Until the city stepped in and told them that use was forbidden in a residential area.

Frustrated in their attempt to be landlords, they put the property on the market at $420k and waited.

They dropped the price to $419,900 to get it under $420k so it would show up in more searches on real estate websites, and waited.

After a while, they dropped the price to $399,900 and waited.

They had two open houses, lots of lookie-loos, and no offers.

The only thing that bothered me about the house is that it's "All Electric", with electric heat, electric stove, and most likely an electric water heater.

I'm not even sure if it has a gas line running in to it, but I'll look for a meter next time I go by.

Anyway....it's been on the market for 61 days, and NO offers, but a fair amount of interest.

So, after getting all the billing info on gas and electric usage, and talking to both the City of Fort Collins and the Larimer County building and zoning people confirming that YES, I can put up the 40' tower and antenna, we decided to go with the "All Electric" house. It will cost several hundred dollars per year more to heat it than the other house we were looking at, but this one is closer to town, has a bigger garage with an extended back wall to fit a work bench, and is a bigger house with a really cool layout.

Front of house:

Back of house:

And one of the downstairs rooms (it has a fully finished basement with another full bath!) that will most like become my "Colorado Radio Ranch" room:

The house has five bedrooms, 3 full baths and a half-bath, is 3389sqft, and is on a 10,477sqft lot in a very nice section of Fort Collins.

My wife flipped out when she saw the front door was painted red, one of her favorite things, and I like the neighborhood because it has street names like "Constitution Ave", "Valley Forge Dr", "Yorktown Ave", "Essex Dr", and "Independence Rd".

Good omens for both of us.

I would expect them to counter our offer, but our agent, their agent, and our contractor in-law have all said that if we aren't the ones to buy it, it will probably sit until Spring, as the real estate market is winding down for the season here.

There was snow here yesterday above 7,000', and frost everywhere this morning.

Winter is coming!

Better Fuel Economy at 5300' elevation??

Just a side note to all that's going on here.

My fuel economy has improved by approximately 1.8MPG.

The only thing I can think of is the quality and type of gasoline going into the tank.

Most of the pumps here, and all of the pumps we refueled at during the trip, have the disclaimer "May Contain Up To 10% Ethanol" on them, so it's not like I'm getting 100% gasoline all of a sudden.

I've read in reputable publications for 20 years or more that gasoline in Kalifornia is very strictly regulated, and blended quite differently than that sold in other states.

Either Kalifornia uses some zombie-blend that kills fuel economy, or the 1100 mile trip pulling a dual-axle trailer really loosened up my engine!

Monday, October 2, 2017

And Then There Were Two......

In addition to the 12 houses we've already looked at, we've looked at another four in the past few days.

Some were quite nice, but in areas that I doubt would allow a 40' tower with a "proper" Yagi antenna on it, and others "needed some work", to be charitable.

If I were 20 or 30 years younger, they'd be good buys, but as somebody here commented (WSF, I think), I don't need a place where sweat equity is involved.

Sunday afternoon we, The Kids, and our realtor went and looked at the three contenders on the list.

One of them we scratched because the layout was a bit "obtuse", which left us with two.

This morning we did some "Drive By Viewings" of another four, and scratched those.

Back to the two prime contenders.

We sat down and scratched our heads for a couple of hours, writing down all the pros and cons of the two finalists.

We called the realtor to tell her we were going to make an offer on one of them, and then I mentioned to my wife that that particular house had 100% electric "baseboard heat", and there wasn't any ductwork that I could see in the house, making central air conditioning a very expensive retrofit.

I'm also not sure that we really need central A/C, as even the kids say it's not too bad on hot days....kind of a "dry heat" thing, which I'm not sure if I believe. Still, it would definitely be nice to have it rather than relying on portable or window units.

The heating system works very well (it was the only house besides the "#2 house" that even had the heat turned on), and since EVERY room had it's own thermostat, you essentially had "zoned heating", where you could shut the heat down almost completely in any unused room or space.

Since it's located *in* the city, and I've been told the electric company gets the power restored ASAP if it goes down, we probably wouldn't have to worry about freezing to death during an extended power outage. It also has a fireplace, so I suppose we could all huddle around the hearth and roast weenies if it came to that.

Friday, September 29, 2017

House Hunting in the Fort Collins Area.....UPDATED

Well, as of today we've looked at 12 houses, and are down to TWO definite candidates.

There's an open house on Saturday for one that just popped up last night, and we'll be driving over to see that one as well as one that went on the market this morning.

The one I was hoping for, and the one our contractor in-law looked over for us the other evening, has officially been "scratched" by the wife. She just flat out will NOT buy a property that needs major work.


It wouldn't bother me too much, but while she doesn't want a 100% turn-key ready place, so wants one that's, oh....maybe 95% turn-key ready.

And another one we both loved, and the wife wanted to make an offer on, got scratched after we realized:

1) We don't need a THIRTY-SIX HUNDRED square foot house for the two of us


2) It has an HOA that specifically states NO "Communications Antennas" unless they can't be seen, and are approved by "The Committee".

So we're down to to two. One is out off CO-14, Mulberry Street, just past I-25, and is drop-dead beautiful, and the asking price is $420k. Since this is rapidly turning into the "off season" for real estate, sellers are anxious, and buyers are few and far between. Our agent is pretty confident we could get that particular house for well under $400k.

The other one we looked at today is also quite nice, in a quiet, well-established neighborhood, but has a few glitches.

#1, it has three layers of shingles on it, and some are starting to "lift". This means a complete tear-off and re-roof in the Spring.

#2, some of the rework wasn't done to a very high standard, and while it's just some goofs in the drywall, they kind of jump out at me.

#3, the owner won't close before 27 November due to capital gains issues, so we won't be into it before Christmas.

We're going to look at another house in about an hour that also looks promising. This one is a 4br, 4ba,  2540sqft house on a 12,200 sqft lot.

I'd really like the "#1 house" to be our home, but the "#2 house" has a bigger lot (15,500 sqft), and is further West.

None of these have HOA's, and as far as we can tell, the also don't have any restrictive "CC&R's" that would prohibit a tower.

Hey, if I can't have my separate garage, than I'm damn sure going to get a 40~50' tower with a KT34M2 on it, and a new radio!


We just got back from looking at two more. The first one looked real good "on paper", BUT.....it's going to need ALL new siding in a year or two ($$$!!!), and had a couple of other issues, so we scratched it.

The second one we looked at just became the wife's new "#1 house", and it's a stunner.

3390 sqft, 5br, 3 full baths and a "half bath", fireplace, fully finished basement, on an 11,000 sqft lot. Quiet neighborhood, located on a cul-de-sac, mature trees, fresh paint inside and out, new carpet, etc, etc, etc. The HUGE insulated (but not heated) two car garage with separate, NEW insulated doors and a large work area are a big plus, and there's enough room with good access to build another "car-and-a-half" garage if I decide I need it.

No apparent HOA's or CC&R's, and I saw some TV antennas on homes in the neighborhood.

I posted a question on the NCARC email reflector asking local Hams about it, and I'm stating to get some replies.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Busy Two Days.....!!

Been looking at houses, and have it down to four contenders from the 12 or so we've looked at.

We have one more to look at tomorrow, and we're going back at 1700 to the last one we looked at today. Our contractor in-law is coming with us, and he'll give us a "GO-NOGO" decision on it. It needs a bunch of repairs caused by overly deferred maintenance, and we want to change a few things on it. If he tells us there are no major issues, AND we can get it for the right price, it just might be "The One".

The other three houses are knock-outs, and turn-key ready to move in to, and the one we're looking at on Thursday looks pretty good from the listing pictures.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Getting Settled In.....

The trip here was remarkably UNeventful, except for the YUUUUGE traffic delay in East Vail along the I-70.

The night before, while we were in Grand Junction, a semi that was Westbound on I-70 "lost control", crossed the median and both lanes of the oncoming Eastbound traffic, hit the ditch, flipped over, broke up and came apart, and caught fire.

The trailer was upside down and in big and small pieces, and the tractor was nowhere to be seen.

We just heard tonight that it was further down in the ditch, and not visible from the highway.

Normally, going through East Vail is one of those "don't blink or you'll miss it" drives, but this trip it took us a little over an hour to get through there. And I was low on fuel......

I should have stopped in Vail proper but didn't. We coasted into Copper Mountain with 2 or 3 gallons in the tank.

The other "low fuel" incident occurred when we got off I-15 and on to I-70. There were dozens of gas stations in the 5 miles leading up to the junction around Sulphurdale, but we had about 3/4 of a tank, so I kept going. A few miles East on I-70 I saw the "No Services Next 103 Miles" sign, and knew I should have fueled up.

Oh, well....Press On Regardless!

The country we drove through was absolutely stunning, and my son was just blown away by it.

But man, if you look up the word "desolate", you'll see pix of these areas as an example!

We rolled into Green River with about 1/8 tank. After that, the drive into Grand Junction was quite nice.

ANYWAY....the DIL's brother came by yesterday to move his boat out of the garage here, and then my son, my step-son, and the DIL's brother all pitched in to unload the 6'x12' U-Haul I towed here. We had it emptied out, and things neatly arranged in about 30 minutes, as the trailer was only a bit over 1/2 full.

We finished up just as the rain started to fall, and fall it did.

I had to take my son and wife's BFF to the Denver airport, and with the rain, the road construction, and the Saturday night traffic, it took almost two hours to get there from here.

Coming back, I missed the turn for I-25, and was almost in Boulder before I knew I'd really screwed up. Got turned around, but it took almost 3 hours to get back here.

Took the U-Haul back today, rummaged around in the garage for a while sorting things out, digging out a set of boots that were better than these things I've been wearing since "ever", got out a jacket, a liner, and some long pants, as tee-shirts and shorts with leaky shoes just don't cut it when it's 42* and raining!

Then we had dinner with The Kids, played with baby Noah for a while, and then back here.

If I can figure out how to transfer the pix off my phone to this laptop, I'll post the few I took.

And the dog is settling in, finally. She's back to eating, and seems to have found a preferred spot to do her business when shew wants to go out. BUT....just like back in Long Beach, if it's raining she'll stick her nose out, see it's raining, and then retreat back in.

Wonder what she'll do when it snows?

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Got Internet Now, and a Trailer to Unload

Spent about 20 minutes on the phone getting my Boost Mobile 4G/LTE WiFi Hotspot reactivated.

It's a far cry from the 150 MB FiOS we had in Long Beach, but at least I have some connectivity.

We have to completely unload the trailer to get the ammo cans out, as I can't store ammo at the storage place.

Then I'll take the big trailer back to U-Haul, which is located on the South side of Fort Collins. Monday I'll go back there and rent a small open trailer, load up the items that I'm allowed to store, and drag them over to the storage place.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Final Leg of Journey Today

Looks like I-70 Eastbound is open again. Woke up early (for me) when the dog started making a ruckus to go potty, which she FINALLY did today.

This trip has been hard on her, as she's never been in the car for more than 20~30 minutes before.

Time to take a shower, get packed up here, fuel the Jeep, grab a BIG travel coffee, and head out towards Fort Collins.

The Kids don't really have any Internet service at their place in Bellvue, so I'll be using one of my wireless 4G hotspots, *IF* I can get a connection.

If I can't get a connection, posting might be pretty spotty for the next month until we get settled in whatever house we buy.

Talk at y'all later today.......

Thursday, September 21, 2017

In Grand Junction for the Night. Next Stop....Fort Collins

Long day driving. Not so much in hours, but in "mental calculation load" terms.

We filled up in St. George before we left, and then twice more. The Jeep was guzzling fuel like crazy towing the loaded trailer through the mountains. Tomorrow we cross the Rockies, IF we can get through the Vail Pass. A semi truck heading West went out of control, crossed all the Eastbound lanes, and then crashed into the side of the mountain and burst into flames. CoDOT is working to clear the mess, but as of  1811, the pass was still closed.

The CoDOT website gives a detour route, and hopefully if Vail Pass is still closed tomorrow they'll have the detour signs in place.

I'll check again Friday morning after we have breakfast.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Made it to St. George

Had very little traffic leaving L.A., so I guess leaving at 1000 on a Wednesday is a good idea.

Went through Vegas around 1600~1630 and hit quite bit until we got out of the city.

Then smooth sailing to our arrival in St. George.

The trailer tows fine, but I think they should have spread the weight of the heavy items a bit more evenly, rather than concentrating almost all of it in the very front of the trailer.

I think it's a bit "nose heavy", but these guys have been packing stuff for 14 years, so I'll cut them some slack.

Tomorrow will be a drive from the SW corner of Utah up to where the I-15 and the I-70 split. My wife took the 15 into Salt Lake City, and will catch I-,80 go through Southern Wyoming, and then catch I-25 South, and come into Fort Collins from the North.

I typically take I70 East, go through the Rockies, and catch I-25 in Denver. Since my son has never seen the Rockies, I think we'll take that route.

Next Stop, UTAH!

Just finished loading "The 1%" remaining in the Jeep and trailer. As soon as the dog finishes up her business in the back yard, we're outta here.

See you tonight, God willin' and the circk don't rise.....

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

I'm Too Tired To Think Straight.....

12 hour marathon.

House and garage are packed into the 6 U-Boxes (God are those things flimsy JUNK!) and the overflow filled about 2/3 of the 6'x12' trailer.

The house in 99% empty, and the remaining things will go with me, my son, and the dog when we depart Long Beach Wednesday morning.

I was wondering why me feet were hurting so much, and then I inspected the Denali boots I was wearing all day.

They're worn out and shot, and I've only been wearing them for six months!

I not only hurt in places I forgot I had, but hurt in places I didn't know I had.

Next post will most likely be from St. George, UT, our first night's stop. I'm pretty sure we'll need to get gas in Baker, CA, and one place I want to stop is "Arne's Royal Hawaiian Hotel", and abandoned hotel where the two guys on RoadKill made a stop.

I'm hitting the showers, then the sack.

G'night, all.........

T Minus ONE and Counting.....

Good Lord....this is the most monumental PITA I've ever been through.

The packing/loading guys are here filling up the six "U-Boxes" that U-Haul dropped off and positioned yesterday, and "1-800-GOT-JUNK" is coming by for another load.

This is stuff I really wanted to keep, and have definite future uses for, but I'm dumping it to keep peace, or at least try to.

If the marriage survise this, it should be damn near bullet-proof in the future.

My son is coming over tonight after he gets off work, and he and I and the dog will take off tomorrow after U-Haul picks up the U-Boxes.

Per our real estate agent, I'll lock up everything except the front door, leave my keys on the counter by the stove, and set the snap locks, and close the front door behind me.

I'll post from the road, and probably one more from here tomorrow before we leave......

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Things Ending and Things Beginning.....

Dragged out my big Toshiba laptop to get ready for the trip. Spent about 45 minutes last night updating Windows and all the other "security" utilities I run on it.

The former Radio Room is now empty. All the equipment is packed away, the desks are dismantled and in the front yard, and "1-800 GOT-JUNK" is coming this afternoon to haul away many things of my past.

I made up a network diagram of our home network for the new owners. There's a "Coaxial Segment" and an "Ethernet Segment", but I'm pretty sure my nice, neat drawing might as well be done in Martian for the new owner, as he's not a "Tech Guy" at all. Perhaps it will help whoever they call if there's a problem. They only active component is the network switch; the coax splitters should last 100 years unless the house takes a lightning hit.

Oh, well....time to get my hand cart and start moving large boxes of stuff out to the front yard for the junkman......

Friday, September 15, 2017

Network Going DOWN....

Seeing as I have to empty this room TODAY, I'll be powering down this PC, tearing the desk apart and dragging it out for the junkman, and falling back on my laptop.

Posting from this point on will be very sporadic.

See you all on the flip side.......

Leaving Kalifornia.....

Last post here for a while. I may or may not post from the road...we'll have to see about that.

And the place we'll be staying at has basically NO Internet, so I'll be using one of my portable 4G WiFi Hot Spots.

Things are going South in a hurry here. My wife she was going to arrange the junkman pick-up, but since *I* didn't get this room cleaned out yesterday because I was outside making big piles of stuff into smaller pile of throw-away and very small piles of keep, she says I broke my promise to have the room cleaned, and now it's my task to make arrangements to having the stuff hauled away.

And I'll have to park the Supra on the street starting Sunday night, as she's demanding I have the entire driveway empty so U-Haul can fill it with pods. I took the tap measure outside and measured out the area they said they'd need, pointing out that two of the six pods could be placed alongside the house, by OH NO!!!!!! The whole damn driveway MUST be empty accord to She Who Must BE Obeyed.

And other misc BS, dagger stares, etc, etc, etc.

Makes me wonder why I bothered to get married again. I can give myself this kind of abuse, and then it's over. She's running at flank speed all over me, and shows no signs of letting up.

Oh, well......

So here's something I ginned up a while back. I was planning on making it pretty and polished, but that wouldn't really fit with this blog very well, so here it is:

Leaving Kalifornia…..Or Should That Be “Kommiefornia”?

As our time in The People’s Demokratik Republik of Kaliforniastan draws to a close, I thought it interesting to go through my time here and reflect on some things. There’s times I wonder if I made the right decision when I moved here, and ponder what Might Have Been if I’d stayed in Illinois. I can pretty much say that I never would have had the interesting career I’ve had, and I know I wouldn’t have been able to do a lot of the things I got to do while living here.

Things I’ll miss:

My family and friends

The Battleship Iowa

The weather. My wife has never lived anywhere with REAL weather. The first major thunderstorm will have her under the bed clutching the dog

The ocean. Now I’ll have the mountains, though, so I’ll call that a wash

In-N-Out Burger. The closest one is in Utah

Really good “Chinese” food. The only place I’ve that I like is the HuHot, a pretty good “Mongolian BBQ”, but the add-your-own sauces are pretty bland, at least compared to The Golden Camel in Torrance

REALLY good Mexican food, although The Kids tell us Fort Collins has some great Mexican restaurants

KLOS, KCBS (“Jack FM”), KROQ, KSWR, KYSD, and a couple of other FM radio stations

150MB high-speed Internet for a reasonable price

Things I absolutely, positively, will NOT miss:

The congestion that comes with “postage stamp” sized lots. Our lot is 5400 sqft, with maybe 15’ between the houses, and is in a neighborhood consisting of a couple of hundred other houses. I don’t want to know when my neighbor flushes their toilet, or what they’re cooking for dinner

The traffic. Used to take me 20~22 minutes to get to the Iowa in 2008. Now it takes 45 or more

The graffiti that gets painted over only to reappear a day later, larger and more colorful

The trash alongside the roads and in the parking lots. It’s everywhere. It really boils my blood to see somebody open their car door, dump a bag of McDonald’s on the ground, and then walk to a store that has a big trash bin right by the entrance...

The crime. This part of Long Beach is pretty safe, but go a mile or two North or West, and the whole scene changes….

The STOOPID gun laws

The even STOOPIDER (is that possible?) politicians. How Nazi Pelosi and Dianne Frankenstein manage to keep getting elected is astounding

The taxes. You name it, and it’s most likely taxed here. And at an exorbitant rate…..which is increasing. Our betters in Sacramento just added $1/month to everybody’s water bill, domestic and commercial, to pay for “Safe, clean water for our rural brothers and sisters”, or some equally inane reason. They’ll probably want another tax to repair Oroville Dam…..

The ever increasing numbers of The Entitled and their attitude. And their driving is getting worse. Cutting across multiple lanes without a turn signal, stopping in the street to talk to somebody, blatantly blabbing away or texting while they’re driving, etc, etc, etc

The FOURTEEN Mexican and SEVEN rap crap radio stations on the FM dial

I’m tempted to say “The DMV”, but that’s highly dependent on which office you go to

So bye-bye Kalifornia. You used to be The Golden State, but that was a long time ago, in a USA far, far away

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Light Posting Ahead.....

Getting down to the wire, and the stress level here is past eleven....

I'm going through the remaining piles in the backyard, and told the wife to call the junk man.

This is as hard for me to do as it was for me to stop on the aft brow of the Iowa yesterday, and salute our flag before I walked off the ship for the last time.

I know, it's just "stuff", and it's bad to be too materialistic, but this "stuff" is a collection of things I managed to acquire after I got sober in 1995. I put my life back together and got my own apartment after living in a men's sober living house for a year, and slowly started rebuilding my life.

Amateur Radio played a big part of that, and for years I scratch-built equipment because the job I had managed to hold on to before I had my "Moment Of Clarity" didn't pay all that well, so I had to build stuff if I wanted to get on the air.

So I guess this "Pile Of Junk" as my wife refers to it represents a whole lot more to me than just parts for future projects, and parts from past projects; it represents a time of my life where I not only found sobriety, but had to "reinvent myself" as a means of keeping busy. "Idle Hands" and all that....

I'm happy that my son kept all the little things we built together during that time, as I was completely out of his life for a couple of years after my first wife tossed me out. I didn't really come back into his life until my best buddy from college dragged me out of the cheap motel I was slowly dying in, and helped me clean up. It took me another couple of years before I finally manged to get sober, and stay that way.

Maybe it's finally time to put that all behind me, and open a new chapter in life.

I still hate tossing out good parts and equipment, but the clock is ticking, and if I don't get it done in the next 48 hours, it'll cause a real mess with things....

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

T Minus Sven Days and Counting.....

Next Wednesday we bid goodbye to Kailfornia.

It will be bittersweet.....

The movers are scheduled, my 6'x12' trailer is scheduled, and I dragged a bunch more stuff to eWaste today.

I was "saved" from the agony of dumping perfectly good stuff because of the gentleman who bought a receiver I sold on eBay. He lives in Costa Mesa, and came up here to pick it up so he could save the shipping cost. We got talking, as Hams do, and he followed me back here from our meeting point. Together we went through all the stuff I've collected over the years.

He's a "hard core" Ham, and scratch builds things and restores equipment, so he lit up when he looked at the stuff I had.

He took three radios in various states of restoration, all the parts for them we could find, four pieces of old (but working!) HP test equipment, and TWELVE boxes of miscellaneous parts, cables, variable capacitors, transformers, chokes, knobs, tubes, and other stuff.

We had his Subaru Forester loaded to the gills when he left with a big smile on his face.

My wife couldn't believe somebody was so happy to drag a car full of "junk" home, and the huge piles of "stuff" in the backyard are now manageable.

I spent some time after he left consolidating several boxes of stuff into single, larger boxes, and if I keep doing that over the next few days, I should make the piles of "stuff" get down to "Wife Approved" size.

I loaded up the Jeep to the max with stuff I'm taking down to the Iowa, and that cleared off the back porch, and made several of the smaller piles disappear.

Wednesday will be my last day on the Iowa for the foreseeable future, and walking down the brow to the pier for the last time will be hard.

As one of my blogging friends has told me "Colorado is beautiful, but they don't have battleships".........

Monday, September 11, 2017

Jeep Maintenance, Part II

Just finished the front brakes, and inspection.

Took about three hours, and all of the rubber boots on the CV joints, steering rack, and other suspension bits are in good shape. NO tears, rips, or leaks, and not even any seepage indicating a pending leak.

Taking a break after I washed up, and then I'm off to get the oil and filter changed. I generally do that, too, but I don't have any 5W-20 oil, or a filter.

I'll take the Supra for a drive on Thursday and then change the oil in that.

The hardest part about doing the front brakes was jacking up the car, and dealing with the BIG rims and tires...


Read the others who have posted.

They've done a better job than I could ever hope to.....

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Jeep Maintenance....

Started off this morning by replacing the two gas struts that hold open the rear hatch, and the one for the hood. Then I changed the "cabin" air filter for the passenger compartment and the wiper blades.

Then out came the power tools, floor jack and jack stands, and I commenced to replace the rear rotors and pads.

Making sure the parking brake was OFF and the front wheels were  chocked securely, I jacked the car up and pulled the drivers rear wheel off. The caliper came off easily, but the rotor....SHEESH!

Took me about 20 minutes to find some videos on YouTube showing how to do it. It's really quite simple....you just wail away on it with a BFH until it comes loose!

I found by using a big pry bar between the rotor and caliper mount I didn't have to bash on it as much as the people in the videos were bashing on it.

Took longer than I thought, and it was nice to have my son over to help with the big, heavy rims and tires, and flying the floor jack.

Got the rear finished, but it wasn't all that many years ago that I would have continued and done the fronts, too.

Those will have to wait until tomorrow. I'm trashed and filthy and need a shower and a good night's sleep to do this again.

T Minus 10 Days And Counting.....

I scheduled this to post today, but somehow it got inserted out of order.  Guess I wasn't watching what I used for the post date!

Boy.....I'll be leaving Kommiefornia in ten days. Things are getting really REAL here!

Monday morning I'm picking up the little 4'x6' trailer again, and taking another full load to the eWaste / electronic recycling place. It pains me to dump perfectly good, usable, serviceable stuff, but I just can't take it all with me.

A couple of my friends came over to look through it, but they're not satellite or microwave guys, and one of them expected everything to be pristine, 100% functional, include the manuals and original shipping boxes, and be free-for-the-hauling.

Well....the equipment I have like that is NOT going to be given away! It's already packed up and waiting to be loaded on the trailer.

"In The Good Old Days", Hams were happy to take stuff that needed a bit of work and some cleaning, but was otherwise useable, and especially if it was FREE!

These days? Most of then have devolved into "appliance operators", very few people build anything more complex than station accessories, and unless the gear you have to offer is clean and fully functional, nobody wants it.

And as soon as the coffee kicks in this morning, I'm going to tear into the Jeep and do the brakes on all four corners.

I figured since I was putting new rotors and pads on the rear, I might as well do the front, so I picked up two new front rotors while I was at O'Reilly's. I decided to go with ceramic pads on the rear, along with matching pads for the front. These will hopefully last a good long time. I should probably replace the rear shocks, as they're just starting to get a bit "bouncy", but that can wait. I'll do the front and rear shocks once we're in Colorado...

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Junk/Spam Comments On Old Posts

Am I the only one this happens to?

I keep getting obviously junk comments on posts that are several years old.

Blogger usually catches it, as it goes to the email I used when I first started the blog.

Others are equally obviously spam, as there's always a punch line at the end, but the ones that say things like "WOW! Great Blog!" or something similar that look to be machine generated are anooying, but look harmless.

Oh, well...they go in the spam bucket, which gets checked and empty every so often.

Down to less than two weeks now. Hope the crazy little Fat Bastard with the bad haircut doesn't start anything until we're out of here!

And yes, I keep a complete HF radio and power supply in a sealed up steel box, "Just In Case"......

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Idiot Kalifornia Drivers

I went to U-Haul today and rented a 4'x6' open trailer, and towed it home.

I filled it with electronic stuff that had value, but nobody wanted, and my wife was yapping at me to get rid of.

As I was towing it to the eWaste recycling place, some MORON in a brand-new Buick "mini SUV" shot out of a side street about 25' in front of me, not even bothering to heed the stop sign, and proceeded to cross all THREE lanes of the street, and get into the left-turn lane. I laid on the horn and got on the brakes so hard the ABS kicked in, and missed her by about six inches. She had a "deer in the headlights" look to her once she heard the horn on the Jeep, and heard the tires screaming for mercy.

I damn near had to stop and change my shorts.....

I haven't seen anybody do anything that freaking STUPID since about 1980 when some young bimbo ran a stop sign about 50' in front of me, and I plowed into her after trying to take evasive maneuvers and realizing I could 1) go through the guard rail and into a 100' deep gravel pit on my left, or 2) brake as hard as I could, slow down as much as I could, and hit her.

She was driving a battle-cruiser class 1976 Chevrolet Caprice, and I was driving my 1975 VW Scirocco. I couldn't get around her to the right, because right after she ran the stop sign and entered the intersection, she looked to her left, saw me coming, and slowed down to a complete stop with her mouth gaping open.

There were half a dozen witnesses who commended me on driving skill, and told the Illinois State Trooper who responded it was "100% her fault".

This happened on the Friday afternoon of a Memorial Day weekend, she stunk of beer, and said she'd been in a hurry to get to her friend's party "before the band got there".

The cop cuffed her, threw her into the back seat, and took her away. He was NOT happy that my girlfriend's little boy, who we'd just picked up from pre-school, had split his head open and was bleeding all over the place.

So anyway.....I dropped off all the stuff after filling out some paperwork because I dropped off a couple of old CRT monitors and some other electronics items the State of Kommiefornia has deemed "especially hazardous", and took the trailer back to U-Haul.

I went back home, picked up the 10 items that sold on eBay, and took them to my shipping place.

Sure enough, on the way back home I met another freaking idiot who can't drive. This one came blasting out of a strip mall on the left side of the road, went across all three lanes of oncoming traffic, and then shot across all three lanes in my direction of travel, missing me by a foot or two, and all the way over into the right turn lane. I was on the brakes (and horn) hard again, and their passenger threw her hands up over her face when she noticed me bearing down on them.

Cripes.....TWICE in one day! WTF is wrong with people?

And I still haven't repaired the brakes on the Jeep, but I'm damn sure getting the parts and doing it tomorrow!

I won't comment on the ethnicity of either driver........

Sunday, September 3, 2017

T Minus Seventeen Days and Counting....

Wow...."The Day" is rapidly approaching.

My son came over last night, and it looks like he'll be going with me and the dog on our move from here to Fort Collins. He's never been in that part of the country, and he really wants to see it. He got to be pretty good friends with my wife's sone and our daughter-in-law while they still lived here. He's withing a couple of years of them in age, so they all hit it off quite well.

And he REALLY wants to see his little nephew Noah.

I'm not afraid doing the drive by myself, but having him along puts my wife at ease. AND I'll be parking the Supra at his and my ex's house while we're gone. I'll get to FTC, have a couple of days to unload the trailer into a storage facility and return it to U-Haul, and rest for a day or two. The I'll fly back into Long Beach, Uber over to their place, and head back with the Supra.

SO...instead of loading up the Supra to the gills with car parts and calling a transport company, I'll *carefully* select some tools and spares I might need, and leave a few boxes of car parts for the trailer I'll be pulling with the Jeep.

The YUGE pile of "stuff" in the back yard has shrunk somewhat, but I still have a lot of stuff that I'll be either taking to eWaste, dragging down to the Iowa, giving away, or loading on to the Junk-To-Go truck we'll be calling in a few days.

This is finally starting to get "real", and my wife is stressed out to about "eleven"......

T MInus 10 Days And Counting.....

Boy.....I'll be leaving Kommiefornia in ten days. Things are getting really REAL here!

Monday morning I'm picking up the little 4'x6' trailer again, and taking another full load to the eWaste / electronic recycling place. It pains me to dump perfectly good, usable, serviceable stuff, but I just can't take it all with me.

A couple of my friends came over to look through it, but they're not satellite or microwave guys, and one of them expected everything to be pristine, 100% functional, include the manuals and original shipping boxes, and be free-for-the-hauling.

Well....the equipment I have like that is NOT going to be given away! It's already packed up and waiting to be loaded on the trailer.

"In The Good Old Days", Hams were happy to take stuff that needed a bit of work and some cleaning, but was otherwise useable, and especially if it was FREE!

These days? Most of then have devolved into "appliance operators", very few people build anything more complex than station accessories, and unless the gear you have to offer is clean and fully functional, nobody wants it.

And as soon as the coffee kicks in this morning, I'm going to tear into the Jeep and do the brakes on all four corners.

I figured since I was putting new rotors and pads on the rear, I might as well do the front, so I picked up two new front rotors while I was at O'Reilly's. I decided to go with ceramic pads on the rear, along with matching pads for the front. These will hopefully last a good long time. I should probably replace the rear shocks, as they're just starting to get a bit "bouncy", but that can wait. I'll do the front and rear shocks once we're in Colorado...

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Fleet Week 2017 Los Angeles

Figured I should post something a bit more serious after the previous post....

Fleet Week 2017 in Los Angeles kicks off tomorrow, and if you can stand the crowds, and you're in the area, I highly recommend you swing on by.

This year we have the following ships docked next to the Iowa:

USS Dewey (DDG-105) – is one of the Flight IIA ARLEIGH BURKE Class of Aegis guided missile destroyers and the third ship in the Navy named after Admiral George Dewey.  Besides the 62 vessels of this class (comprising 21 of Flight I, 7 of Flight II and 34 of Flight IIA) in service as of 2017, an additional thirteen ships are under contract - including the most recent contract award on June 3, 2013 for nine ships as part of the FY13-17 multi-year procurement contracts with Huntington Ingalls Industries and Bath Iron Works.
Keel laid: October 4, 2006
Launched: January 18, 2008

Commissioned: March 6, 2010 – Seal Beach CA Naval Weapons Station
Builder: Northrop Grumman Ship Systems' Ingalls Operations, Pascagoula, MS
Cost: approx., 1.843 billion dollars.
Propulsion system: 4 General Electric LM 2500 gas turbine engines
Propellers: 2 five-bladed reversible controllable pitch propellers
Power: 3 Allison AG9140 Generators (2,500 kW each, 440 V)
Length: 508,5 feet (155 meters)
Beam: 67 feet (20.4 meters)
Draft: 30,5 feet (9.3 meters)
Displacement: approx. 9,100 tons full load (long tons)
Speed: 32 knots
Weapons: 1 × 5-inch (127 mm) / 62 Mk-45 mod 4 lightweight gun; two Mk-41 Vertical Launch System (VLS) (96 cells - 32 forward and 64 aft) for Standard missiles, ASROC missiles, and Tomahawk ASM/LAM missiles; one 20mm Phalanx CIWS; two Mk-32 triple torpedo tubes for Mk-50 and Mk-46 torpedoes; two Mk-38 Mod 2 25mm M242 Bushmaster machine gun systems
Aircraft: 2 SH-60 (LAMPS 3) helicopters
Electronics: AEGIS Weapons System (AWS) including SPY-1 3D Radar, multiple sensors and processing systems, electronic warfare and decoy systems
Homeport: San Diego, CA
Crew: approx. 320 (20 officers and 300 enlisted)

USS Anchorage (LPD-23) – Landing Platform/Docks (LPD) are used to transport and land Marines, (with their equipment and supplies), by embarked landing craft / augmented by helicopters or vertical take-off and landing aircraft (MV 22 Osprey). These ships support amphibious assaults, special operations or expeditionary warfare missions and can serve as secondary aviation platforms for amphibious ready groups.  There are 10 San Antonio Class warships in service, with an additional 2 ships under construction; LPD 27 and LPD 28.
Keel laid: September 24, 2007
Launched: February 12, 2011
Commissioned: May 4, 2013 at Anchorage, AK
Builder: Northrop Grumman Ship Systems, Avondale, New Orleans, LA
Cost: Their average cost is $1.6 billion
Propulsion system: 4 sequentially turbocharged Marine Colt-Pielstick Diesels - 40,000 hp (30 MW)
Propellers: 2 fixed pitch
Length: 684 feet (208.5 meters)
Beam: 105 feet (31.9 meters)
Draft: 23 feet (7 meters)
Displacement: approx. 24,900 long tons
Speed: 22 knots
Armament: 2 Bushmaster II 30 mm close-in chain guns; 2 RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM) (anti-missile missile) launchers; and ten .50 caliber machine guns
Well deck capacity: 2 Landing Craft Air Cushion hovercraft (LCAC) or 1 conventional Landing Craft Utility (LCU) and 14 Amphibious Assault Vehicles (AAV).
Aircraft: landing platform for all helicopters and the MV-22 Osprey; maintenance facilities for 1 CH-53E or 2 CH-46s or 1 MV-22 or 3 UH/AH-1s.
Crew: Ship: 28 officers, 332 enlisted
Marine Detachment: 66 officers, 633 enlisted (can be expanded to 800)
Homeport: San Diego, CA

 USS Scout (MCM-8) – is the eighth, (out of 14), AVENGER Class mine countermeasures ships, designed to clear mines from vital waterways.  The Avengers have wooden hulls with an external coating of fiberglass. They are equipped with sophisticated mine hunting and classification sonar systems, as well as remotely operated mine neutralization and disposal systems.

Launched: May 20, 1989
Commissioned: December 15, 1990
Builder: Peterson Shipbuilders, Sturgeon Bay, WI
Cost: 61 million
Propulsion System: 4 Isotta-Fraschini Diesel engines (600 hp (450 kW) ea.) Propellers: 2 with controllable pitch
Length: 224 feet (68.28 meters)
Beam: 39 feet (11.89 meters)
Draft: 15 feet (4.6 meters)
Displacement: 1,312 tons
Speed: 14 knots
Armament: Mine neutralization system, 2 .50 caliber machine guns
Homeport: San Diego, CA
Crew: 8 Officers, 76 Enlisted

USCGC Active (WMEC-618) - is one of 14 active United States Coast Guard medium endurance Reliance Class Cutters.  Active is assigned primarily to law enforcement and search and rescue duties. The law enforcement duties involve counter-narcotic operations, fisheries, and environmental protection.

Launched: July 31, 1965
Commissioned: September 1, 1966
Builder: Christy Corporation (now Bay Shipbuilding Company) Sturgeon Bay, WI
Cost: 3.5 million – mid-life 20 million dollar upgrades to class (1990s)
Propulsion System: 2 V16 2,550 horsepower ALCO diesel engines
Propellers: 2 (assumed)
Length: 210 feet (64.2 meters)
Beam: 34 feet (10 meters)
Draft: 10 feet (3.28 meters)
Displacement: 1,127 long tons
Speed: 18 knots
Armament: 1 Mk 38 25 mm machine gun, 2 M2HB .50 caliber machine guns
Aircraft carried: 1 HH-65 Dolphin helicopter
Homeport: Port Angeles, WA
Crew: 12 officers, 63 enlisted

HMCS Ottawa (FFH-341) - is the twelfth and final ship of the Halifax Class that was built as part of Canada’s Patrol Frigate Project.  The Halifax Class frigates were designed as a general purpose warship with particular focus on anti-submarine capabilities.  Ottawa serves on Maritime Forces Pacific Formation (MARPAC) missions protecting Canada's sovereignty in the Pacific Ocean and enforcing Canadian laws in its territorial sea and Exclusive Economic Zone. Ottawa has also been deployed on missions throughout the Pacific and to the Indian Ocean; specifically the Persian Gulf and Arabian Sea on anti-terrorism operations.

Launched: May 31, 1996
Commissioned: September 28, 1996
Builder: Saint John Shipbuilding Ltd., Saint John, New Brunswick - Canada
Cost: approx., 795 million
Propulsion System: Combined diesel or gas (CODOG) - 2 General Electric LM2500 gas turbines, generating 47,500 shaft horsepower (35,400 kW) and one SEMT Pielstick 20 PA6 V 280 diesel engine, generating 8,800 shaft horsepower (6,600 kW)
Propellers: 2 Escher Wyss controllable pitch propellers
Length: 440 feet (134.2 meters)
Beam: 54 feet (16.5 meters)
Draft: 23 feet (7.1 meters)
Displacement: 4,750 long tons
Speed: 30 knots
Armament: 8 RGM-84 Harpoon surface to surface missiles in two quadruple launch tubes; 24 Honeywell Mk 46 close-in anti-submarine torpedoes launched from twin Mark 32 Mod 9 torpedo tubes; 16 vertically launched Evolved Sea Sparrow anti-air Surface to Air Missiles carried in two Mk 48 Mod 0 eight cell launchers; and 1 20 mm Phalanx CIWS for missile defense
Countermeasures and sensors: 1 AN/SLQ-25A Nixie towed acoustic torpedo decoy; 2 BAE Systems Shield Mark 2 decoy chaff launchers; SLQ-501 Electronic Warfare System; and the SLQ-505 radar jammer - AN/SPS-49(V)5 long-range active air search radar
Aircraft carried: 1 CH-124 Sea King helicopter
Homeport: Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt at the southern tip of Vancouver Island, on the Strait of Juan de Fuca
Crew: 17officers, 198 enlisted / aircrew; 8 officers, 17 enlisted

And there will be live bands most every day and night playing on the mainstage setup on the Iowa's fantail.

The USS Pasadena  SSN-752 will be in the outer harbor, but sorry, no tours!

C'mon down if you can. It's quite the experience!

Wednesday, August 30, 2017


More like the HUMORmanity, but that's not a word....

Found over at Western Rifle Shooters, courtesy of Matt Bracken.....

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

For Brig.....

This song pretty much describes living in Southern Kalifornia....

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Friday, August 25, 2017

Plane, Profile, and Track Are One!

Well, things are going along here pretty well.

Almost all of the radio gear here in my little Comm Center has been safely packed up, and all the books are packed. GAWD....I hate moving boxes of books! They're like moving solid blocks of wood the same size, or maybe even heavier.

We're going to have six "pods" dropped off in a few weeks, and the "Pod People" will pack them, ship them, and store them for us until we buy a house. Then they'll deliver them, unpack them, and set up the furniture and other things for us.

The biggest trailer I can rent from my local-down-the-street U-Haul is a 6'x12'x5.5' dual-axle rig rated for 2,500 lbs of cargo. I'll probably let the "Pod People" take my two rolling toolboxes, and stuff the rest of the garage stuff in the trailer and Jeep.

I'm planning on overnighting in St. George, UT, and Grand Junction, CO, as St. George is about 8 hours from here, Grand Junction is about 8 hours further down the road, and Fort Collins about 8 hours from there. I really don't want to push it too hard dragging a trailer behind the Jeep, and I think an 8 hour stint behind the wheel will be tiring enough.

Oh, and the back brakes on the Jeep wore through the pads yesterday, so that's something else I have to fix.

I've never owned a vehicle where the rear brake pads wore out before the fronts. I checked the front pads a couple of weeks ago, and they still have about half the lining on them, so geez....the rears should be just dandy, shouldn't they?

Nope....and since there aren't any "wear indicators" on the OEM pads to squeal and squeek before the lining evaporates, they wore out and started munching on the rotors.

Oh, well......I'll get two new rotors for the rear, along with a set of rear pads, and FRONT pads, too. Might as well make sure all four wheels have new pads before I start towing a trailer through the mountains.

The wife's stress level has decreased somewhat, at least until the next "crisis", and then she'll ramp it up again.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Might Be Staying In Kommiefornia A Bit Longer..... ***UPDATED***

WELL...the saga continues.

The alleged buyers, through their realtor, gave our realtor a verbal OK to our response of "NO!" to their request for a $5,000 price reduction, but have not yet responded with a signed, written agreement.

Unless they submit a signed, written agreement accepting the listed "contingencies", our realtor tells us they could decide to drop out of escrow at any point, up to the last day.

Since this is not acceptable to us, he sent them another written document stating they have 48 hours to respond, in writing, or the sellers (us) will consider the entire contract null and void.

The extra 48 hours we gave them is up today at the close of business, and they still haven't responded.

He talked with their agent a couple of times, and she replied that the buyers will not sign anything electronically, and that she has to meet them each time, explain things to them, wait for their decision, get them to sign the documents, and then submit them.

It's almost 1500 here, which means they have two hours to get the signed documents back to our agent, or the deal is dead.


Well, my wife just called our realtor, and he was like...uh..."OOPS! They sent the docs by courier this morning and I should have immediately notified you, but I didn't..."

So they accepted our NO reply to their cheap shot at trying to get $5k off the already agreed upon price and conditions, and things are rolling along.

He told her it will probably fund (means we have the money in our bank) several days before the official close of escrow on September 20th.

What really flipped me out was I heard her bawling away in the living room, wonder what the ^^&&%% happened, and almost twisted an ankle getting out there on a dead run.

She tells me was just relieving all the built up stress over "having to go through all this again in the spring".....

I'll never understand women....

Monday, August 21, 2017

2017 Eclipse in SoCal....

Everybody else is posting about it, so......no, I wouldn't jump off a building if Johhny did it!

Got noticeably dark here this morning, more than I expected.

Made a "pin hole" camera with a piece of cardboard and some aluminum foil, and used it to observe a small bite taken out of the Sun.

I've seen greater totality before, so this was pretty ho-hum for me.

Back to your regularly scheduled whatever.......

Meanwhile, in Cheyenne, WY where out daughter-in-laws younger sister lives, she got this picture:

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Last Minute Buyer Shenannigans....

Our realtor called us this afternoon, day 14 of the 15 day escrow "perform or die" time limitation.

The buyers wanted a $5,000 price reduction due to asbestos in the 1942-era "popcorn" ceiling, and the "possibility of lead-based paint, both requiring remediation".

These items were fully covered in the home inspection report, and the disclosure, which they've had for quite some time now.

We damn near told them to take a hike, as we have no problem sitting here until spring. And if we do stay until spring, we'll probably get the ceilings scraped and refinished, and the house will go back on the market and sell for $550k, as long as the market doesn't tank.

Our realtor agreed it was definitely a cheap stunt to pull, especially considering they KNOW we aren't in any pressing need to move.

After he and my wife calmed me down a bit, we all agreed the best thing was to "Just Say NO!" to them, and if they pull out, no skin off our nose.

He called back a few minutes ago saying they accepted the "NO!", and things are still on.

Geez......some people's kids!

Friday, August 18, 2017

Termite "Inspection" Team Here This Morning

And it sounds more like they're the "Termite DEMOLITION Team".

Granted, I've never watched this being done, so I'm probably gonna get get called "STOOPID" by somebody, but these guys are checking for termite infestation by using a "probe" on a painter's pole, and banginging it against all the exposed wood they can see and reach.,

thump, thump, thump, thump,thump,thump for the last 35 minutes.

And once in a while you hear thump,thump,thump,thump, CRUNCH, thump, thump, thump.....

The "crunch" is not good because it means their "probe" just busted through what was left of a piece of wood that the termites have been feasting on.

So far they've found a couple of spots they're calling "dry rot", a couple of boards on the fascia for the garage, and the 4x4 holding the window A/C unit up.

Orkin was here two years ago and gave the place a clean bill of health, but then they didn't run around banging on stuff, either.

Hopefully this stuff won't be too expensive to repair.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Escrow Closes September 20th.....

Our realtor just called, and the official closing for the house is 20 September 2017.

This totally screws me for going to Supras In Vegas this year, as the event is the 21st, 22nd, and 23rd of September. I'd planned on leaving on the 20th, but now I have the wife, her car, and the dog to worry about getting moved. Her BFF was going to split the driving of her car with her, and I was going to head to Fort Collins right after the event, drop the Supra off, fly home, rest for a day, and then head back to Fort Collins in the Jeep with the dog.

Turns out I'd counted the days wrong, and thought it closed a week later, which would have made Supras In Vegas a bit difficult, but "doable".

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Home Inspection Details and Repairs

The "minor leak" under the bathtub drain turned out to be a bit  more than the inspector found. Our plumber friend from across the street went under the house today, and found that the drain wasn't just leaking from the threaded connections, but had a hole corroded through it! He'd brought all the bits and pieces to replace the entire assembly, so it wasn't any big deal, but he said if the inspector had noticed the dirt in the crawlspace was wet, or even damp, they would have called for a "professional" cleanup crew to remove the dirt, and "sanitize" the area in addition to the repair of the corroded away parts.

And in Kommiefornia, "Remediation" means HAZMAT teams coming in, and a HUGE bill when they're done. They've shut down entire freeways for hours to clean up a couple of gallons of spilled fuel after an accident.

That's insane! It's drain water from a bathtub, for cryin' out loud, and unless we were washing off radiation contamination, or giving baths to Ebola victims, it's just used, soapy water from taking a bath or shower.

He also replaced the entire vent assembly for the water heater, using double walled tubing made for the task, and added a discharge line to the safety blow-off valve at the top of the water heater, so now the water heater issues are not only repaired, but fully "up to code".

I replaced the outlet in the bathroom with a GFCI unit, and also the one near the kitchen sink. The one near the kitchen sink was just a regular duplex outlet and two switches, one for the disposal and one for some recessed lighting, BUT, in order to make it look nice, I not only had to replace the outlet, but also the switches, as NOBODY makes a wall plate that has the rectangular cutout for a GFCI and the two oval cutouts for the switches. So add the cost of a new switch ($20) and new wall plate ($8 for a new wood one) to the $18 for the GFCI outlet.

And I still have to recaulk the tub to the tile on the wall. I dug out all the old caulk last year and laid in some good stuff, but ran out before I had a really nice "above grade" bead. Well, the caulk shrank a bit, and left a couple of gaps that the inspector squawked about because water could get back there and "Promote MOLD and BACTERIAL CONTAMINATION!!!"


Geez, after reading Old_NFO's post this morning, I really do wonder how so many of us managed to survive those unenlightened and barbaric days of old, before the nanny state insisted on so many "safety" regulations.....

As far as upgrading all the power to the garage, all I can say is "'Aint Gonna Happen"!

The inspector noted that none of the outlets were grounded, and well, DUH! There's only a hot and neutral running to the garage, so what do you expect? And considering when the house and garage were built, it wasn't required, and we're grandfathered in from requiring it to be brought up to code.

Again, I really have to wonder how many people were injured from two-wire, non-grounded (three pin) outlets over the years....

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Weather In Fort Collins

As I've told my wife numerous times, she's going to get a whole different perspective on what REAL weather is once we're in Colorado.

This past Thursday, a violent but brief hailstorm pounded parts of the city. Out where the kids live, North West of the city, there was 2" hail, driven by high winds, causing quite a bit of damage.

The house the kids live in got clobbered. Three sides of the house look like this:

And the roof took a beating, too. I'm surprised they didn't have some broken windows.

The nice 1/8 acre garden they had looks like the not-so-jolly Green Giant came in and stomped on it.

AFAIK, my wife has never been through a real Midwestern-style thunderstorm, with high winds, driving rain, and large hail. Fort Collins is a bit protected, being in the Cache La Poudre valley, but it's still in open enough country to get really clobbered. The last time we were there in the summer, I notice really big anvil-heads to the East, and mentioned to my wife that somebody was really going to catch it. Sure enough, as we got in the car the EAS warnings came on the radio about severe storms in Weld County, with tornado warnings. Seeing the anvil-heads reminded me of growing up in Illinois, where we had weather like that several times per summer.

It's one thing to see the damage a storm like this can do, and another thing to be right in the middle of one, and not really being able to do much about it.

I hope whatever we buy has a basement!

Friday, August 11, 2017

House Inspection Complete

One minor issue. The bathtub drain has a slight leak, easily fixed, but not by me. I'm just too old anymore to crawl that far under the house and do anything other than string some cables!

We haven't received our copy of the report, which I had expected sometime today. The new "owners" came by with the inspector, and brought their realtor with them. They were all pumped up up getting their first house, and the guy's wife complimented us on how nice the house looked, and how happy they were that we accepted their offer. They'd been out bid three times on other houses they'd wanted to buy, so they appear to be completely serious about wanting to get this one.

After the report comes in, I'm sure they'll go back to our agent looking for some "compensation" for any issues that were found. Our agent has told us that he'll stand pretty firm on what's already been negotiated. They want the house ASAP, and we have no problem sitting here until spring, so it should be interesting to watch the rest of these proceedings finish....

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Miscellaneous Moving Mumblings....

Been "working" in the garage to attempt to get things ready to go. It always seems that whatever I'm doing, the wife thinks I should be doing something else.


And of course, her constant litany of "Throw It Away" drones on and on and on and on....

So, do I "throw away" $2,000 worth of stuff to save $500 on moving it?

And by the time I go to replace the $2k of stuff I dumped to shut her up, the cost will have risen to $3k.


And in the process of "decluttering" the house, she just dumped shit everywhere in the garage, with no rhyme or reason as to why things got stacked where they did.

Which means that to even get at my stuff, I've got to tear the whole freaking garage apart........AGAIN.

And she wonders why I have such a hard time getting started on these things......

Monday, August 7, 2017

New "Owners" Coming By Tonight

Technically, their BANK is the new owner, but we'll be nice and play along with them.

Our agent called and said they'd asked if they could come by to show their kids "Our New House", so he checked with us, and we don't have any objections.

The guy wanted to see the garage, which is packed floor-to-ceiling with boxes, and I think the gal wanted to have a closer look at the kitchen and the bedrooms.

We're investigating movers right now, and I can see the fights between the wife and myself brewing  in the distance.

She's going to scream bloody murder about all the "junk" I have in the garage, and how she's not going to pay to move it, and I'm going to insist it goes.

I've already dumped several thousand dollars worth of perfectly usable stuff, and I'm down to "If I dump it I'll have to replace it" items like antennas, antenna rotators, sections of heavy gauge mast, and a bunch of other stuff that simply isn't available any longer.

Since escrow won't be closing until the end of September, I've made the decision to leave from Las Vegas after the "Supras in Vegas" event and head for Colorado. It'll be a long drive, but I can always overnight somewhere if I have to.

Hey, I did L.A. to Fort Collins in one shot carrying two wimmens and all their stuff, so "just me" in the Supra from Vegas to FTC should be a piece of cake!

But I'm not looking forward to the Great Garage Pack And Move, at all....

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Documents Signed, Should Be "In Escrow" Early This Week

And now the waiting begins.....

And the packing.

I'll start going through the garage this week to see what I'm going to keep, what I'm going to sell, and what my wife will insist I throw away.

The big thing to sort will be all the car parts I have for the Supra. I have gaskets, hoses, belts, water pumps, tune-up parts, brake and clutch master cylinders, clutch slave cylinders, and a ton of other stuff. That stuff can get packed away for shipment, except for the belts and hoses. If I drive the car I'll take those with me. If I ship the car I'll stow them inside.

Radio gear, both in the house and the garage, will get packed for shipment, except for my little Elecraft K2, power supply, SignaLink, and portable antenna. I'll want to take those with me so I can get on-the-air at our temporary dwelling. And I'll take a VHF/UHF handie-talkie or two. The Jeep has a Kenwood TM-D710 in it, and that should be fine for checking into local nets and making some new Ham Radio friends. The radio also has a GPS receiver connected to it, so I'll be "trackable" using any of the APRS applications out there.

And I'll take my camera, a couple of laptops, and a suitcase full of clothes, including my N3B parka!

With the 45 day escrow ( ! ) the buyers insisted on, it looks like we'll be here through September. Our realtor told us the buyers should have all their funding in place after 21 days, so we might be able to push them a bit faster than 45 days, but that remains to be seen.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Counteroffer Accepted. Papers Get Signed Tomorrow, Sunday

At this point I think I can say the house is "sold".

Still have the inspections to do, which should happen in the next 10 days or so. I don't expect the inspections to find anything, except for the termite inspection. They ALWAYS find some termite "damage" that has to be repaired.

They wanted, and got, a 45 day escrow. Not sure why they couldn't do it any faster, but I'll talk to our agent when he comes by Sunday.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Negotiations In Progress! **Updated**


I just  found out from my wife that we did get an offer from the nice young couple that came by Tuesday at 1800 to look at the house.

They've offered us the asking price, but our agent told them we have multiple offers (true, but one "offer" was a joke), and their agent told ours that they'd be willing to go "into the $520k range", which means that they just hit our target price.

My wife was visiting one of her friends the last few days, and our agent sent her some paper work which she electronically signed, and returned to him, and now he and the other agent are going to hammer out a few fine points to get to the final price and what contingencies are and aren't covered.

These buyers seemed to be extremely serious, they have $50k cash for a down payment, both grew up in this area, and have been out bid on the last three houses they made offers on.

I don't know what they're going to come back with as a counter to our counter (see your 20 and raise you 50), but if it's at or above $515k, we'll accept it, and then the clock starts running out for us to get moved.

They were asking for a 45 day escrow, and our agent said he'd try and get them to agree to a 30 day escrow, but that was about the only thing he didn't like about their initial offer.

So, (fingers, toes, arms and legs crossed) the house might very well be "under contract" next week.


 We just heard from our realtor that the other realtor is going over our counter offer, and we should know something Saturday.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Solid Offer Received On The House......

They've offered what it's listed at, have a credit score well north of 700, have 20% down, and our agent says they're seriously looking to buy, and have been "priced out" (I think he meant "out bid") of the last three houses they've made offers on.

He says they really like the house, and really want to buy it.

He told us he knows they can go higher, so we're in the negotiating stages right now.

We should know tonight if they'll come up enough to satisfy my wife.

The fat lady just might be warming up in the wings.......

Friday, July 28, 2017

Saturday Already?

Gee...time sure flies when you don't know what you're doing....or something like that.

Still Friday, but I'm posting this at 2200, so it probably won't get read by many until Saturday.

Had a busy week. We had five more couples and their realtors come by to check out the house during the week, and we're having another open house Saturday and Sunday.

No offers other than the one couple that backed out.

 I'm starting to think the listing price is too low, and people are saying "What's wrong with the house?" to themselves. One down the street and around the corner finally sold after 60-some days on the market. It was overpriced at $600k, and finally sold for $550k. It was a bit smaller than our house, but had more "modern" upgrades, like the infamous "Granite Countertops!!!", and some other things. We'll just have to see what happens, but at this point, after going through all the hype the first three realtors we interviewed told us, I wouldn't be completely shocked if we didn't get out of here until next Spring. It usually starts snowing in late September in the Fort Collins area, and my wife really, really, really wants to get moved before the snow flies. Once we're settled in to the place we'll be staying at, we can wait it out until Spring to buy, unless a Really Good Deal comes up. Moving is a big enough PITA, let alone doing it during snow season.

Spent three full days on the Iowa this week, which I'm sure is what made the week seem so short. I went down Tuesday for the Great Ethernet Cable Pulling Project, but I was the only one in the work party that showed up! Turns out we'll be going with WiFi instead of being hard-wired in. I haven't heard what type of WiFi router we're going to be using. Hopefully it will be one with some Ethernet ports on it so the two big PC's we have won't need another card installed in them. The laptops we're using for running the logging programs all have built-in WiFi, so no issues there.

Thursday we had a special event to commemorate the signing of the Korean cease-fire, but band conditions were absolutely horrible. The Solar Flux Index was 68 (that's baaaad!), and the bands were noisy. We made a total of 35 contacts on the three stations we had on-the-air from 0900 to 1600 PDST. We can generally get that many per hour, per station, when the band conditions are "good".

And today I was down there to give a personal tour to my late brother-in-law's youngest son, and his two boys, ages 8 and 10. None of them really understood what they were seeing, in terms of history, but they enjoyed it nonetheless.