Highlands RV Park
It is a long day to drive from Fernley to Pahrump. Last May I stopped in Hawthorne, NV and blacktop boondocked. I knew it was going to be too hot to do that today so elected to go through, and stay in, Bishop, CA.
I only did 209 miles, about half way, on Alt US50, Alt US95, NV208, NV338/CA182 & US395.
When I got to Bishop since I had not selected a RV Park I drove through town. There was one on the north side near an Indian Casino/Gas Station, where I'll fuel up tomorrow, and one on the south side near nothing.
I turned around and went back to Highlands which is full hookup, the pads are extremely narrow with maybe 10' between them. I don't think two rigs with slide-outs could park side by side.
There are large, mature trees between each site but that is all the landscaping. Although it is right on US395 it is very quiet with no highway noise. The showers had the hottest water of recent memory and last but not least – it is VERY expensive.
Another good reason for selecting this Park was I saw a Mexican restaurant sign almost across the street. I got a huge meal for a reasonable price which surprised me considering that I'm in California.
It was also Mex-Mexican food rather than the fo-fo Cal-Mexican stuff that you usually get in this state.
It warmed up to the mid-90s here in Bishop. Tomorrow and through the Labor Day Weekend it will be 100+ degrees in Pahrump then cooling back to the mid-90s. I can only hope for it to continue to cool during September.
Saddle West RV Park
I drove 223 miles today on US395, CA136/CA190, CA127, State Line Rd/Ash Meadows Rd/Bell Vista Rd & NV160.
The first part on US395 is at the base of the eastern face of the Sierras and is very beautiful in the early light. I have been on this part of US395 for 3 or 4 times now and just love it.
The turn off onto CA136/CA190 took me through Panamint and Death Valleys which have a stark beauty of their own. They also have some very steep accents/descents that tested Desperado and myself.
Happily, we were both up to the challenge. No problems with overheating on the climbs and no braking problems on the descents. Then it was through Furnace Creek to CA127 which I have driven twice now and is another favorite for scenic beauty.
I got to my UPS Store a little after noon but it was almost an hour later before I had everything sorted out. The majority of my mail was 'junk' but I needed to find my re-newed Credit Card.
I found it, finally, amongst the clutter but when I tried to activate it on-line I failed. So, stopped at the bank branch and telephoned an human to get it activated. The activation took no time at all, getting a human to talk to took a long time.
I was now ready to check into Saddle West RV Park where I used my activated card to pay for the month of September. The monthly rate has gone up 18% since I was here in May (the host said it was because of electric cost).
Is there anyone, other than the politicians and bureaucrats in Washington, that thinks there is NO inflation. No increase in Social Security Cost of Living because there is no inflation yet everything I buy costs more.
I had Desperado's AC on from the time I turned off of US395, except when climbing. Then as soon as I got hooked up I got the coach A/C running. It will probably reach 100 today and then a few degrees over that through Monday. Promises of cooler days to come.
Saddle West RV Park
There was a lot today that reminded me off what my days were like before retirement. A lot of driving around, a lot of waiting around and then spending a lot of money.
First on the to do list was go back to the UPS Store and send mail; this was a no wait and low dollar trip.
Second was to stop at Big O Tire and order 4 KYB RV shocks for Desperado to be installed next Wednesday. This was also a no wait but a VERY high cost stop.
The third stop was at Tropical RV to get an estimate on fixing my roof and installing Mr Heater. Once again there was no wait but the estimated cost was high dollar.
Fourth on my list was to stop at a gun shop to sell some cowboy action shooting ammo. This is the 'stuff' that I was trying to sell in Fernley and the in Pahrump or Las Vegas. I had almost an hour wait for the shop too open but put it to good use by exercising Desperado's generator; had not run it since May and this is not good. The stop had a wait but I actually received some money rather than spending but small potatoes compared to what I was spending.
Then it was back to Tropical RV for the long wait while the roof was fixed. I don't know when nor how I tore a couple of gashes in the edge of my roof plus breaking the refrigerator vent cap. It was a costly error that I could see only a fraction of from the ground.
Then when it came time to install Mr Heater the 'tech' had the good sense to recognize a problem with doing so. The RV propane system is regulated to lower the pressure but so is the heater. Therefore the pressure would be dropped too much and Mr Heater would not work.
I did an Internet search and this is exactly what would have happened. I dodged some expense there but I'll pay for it in return shipping and waiting for a refund.
This called for me to make another trip to the UPS Store to mail back the hose to Amazon. The Mr Heater and a filter were also bought through Amazon but partnering companies were the providers and I need to make separate returns to them.
I tried to call Amazon's Customer service to get this straightened out but could not understand the Indian's English over the line noise from Bombay. The whole refund process is going to be a long wait and expensive.
While I was at UPS I found a letter from VA that canceled my Sept 10th appointment. This was a good thing because I did not know that I had one on the 10th, my other letter from the VA said it was the 7th.
I drove to the VA to make sure that we both knew when my appointment was – it is on the 7th. This didn't cost me anything except for the wait but when dealing with the VA a wait is part of just interacting with them. Soon everyone in the US will be able to get this level of medical care!
I did this all while the temperature was climbing rather rapidly to 104. The next few days will also be near that temperature before cooling down to below 100. I'm going to do my best to stay inside under the A/C.
Saddle West RV Park
I have devoted a lot of time, with much more required, the past couple of days to recreating my trip map. This map was in the upper right column of my web home page and had been hosted by Zee Maps.
When I was updating this map with my Bishop information the map had an error which I wanted to correct. The error was one that has happened before; for some reason the stop sequencing was wrong.
In the past to correct this problem I would delete the last two entries and then re-input them. When I tried to do so this time I received a message that said I needed to sign up for Zee Map service at a price of $6.95/month.
The Zee Maps have been totally free until now and they were more user friendly than Google My Maps which they are based on. However, they were no longer user friendly to me at a cost of $6.95/month. I deleted everything and removed the embedded coding from my web site.
I am now learning how to create Google My Maps which are free but have a steep learning curve. I have struggled through putting 3 camps on my 2009/2010 map and only have some 36 more to do.
This has kept me inside almost all day where the A/C has been working overtime to keep me cool. I did walk to Smith's to pick up some water and juice early this morning when it was already 80.
The high was 1 or 2 degrees over the forecast of 104 with a drop of 10 degrees to come on Tuesday – I hope!
Saddle West RV Park
I added a lot of 'way-points' to My Map on Google today. Have not finished but I am making progress, maybe half way.
I have also almost caught up to current with the 3 blogs that I started at their beginning. It seems like I have been working on them for months now but I am current with two of them and into August 2010 for the third.
The two that I am now current on will not be daily reads, but I will still read them. The third one will become a replacement for one of my existing daily reads. I can not have too many that I try to follow on a daily basis it is just too much.
It is about 5 degrees cooler today but that still leaves it at over 100 degrees. The forecast continues to be below 100 on Tuesday – I'm looking forward to it.
There was some more Health Insurance Reform news released a couple of days ago. Where are these cost savings that President Obama promised?
Workers bear larger share of health premium costs
By AP Business Writer Tom Murphy
INDIANAPOLIS – Workers are paying a larger portion of their health insurance costs as businesses shift more of the burden to their employees to help ride out the economic downturn, an annual study shows.
The average employee contribution toward premiums for family coverage climbed 14 percent this year to nearly $4,000, according to a report by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Health Research and Educational Trust released Thursday. Contributions for single coverage grew 15 percent. But total premiums — the amount split by the employer and employee — rose a modest 3 percent for family coverage and 5 percent for single employees this year.
Companies that offer benefits still pay at least 70 percent of the total premium, on average, for their workers. But this year, companies passed most of the premium increases on to employees instead of absorbing them as they usually do, something researchers had not seen before, Kaiser CEO Drew Altman said....
Saddle West RV Park
I have been drinking a lot of water during these hot days. This made a early morning walk to the convenience store a necessity and allowed me to pick up a cup of 'heavy duty' coffee.
Then after I got back and had my breakfast I got laundry done before it warmed up. That was the easy part. Most of my exercise today was obtained during the process of making my bed with clean sheets.
I am sleeping on the queen sized mattress over the cab and it is a 'project' to get fitted sheets in place up there. To then add the top sheet and a quilt is no easy task either.
More work was done on My Maps. I also finished the third blog and have made it a daily read starting tomorrow. I then started reading two more solo RV bloggers. One of them has archives back to 2001, with some yearly gaps. The other one started in 2006; so once again I have some catching up to do.
It has cooled off sooner than was predicted which is just fine with me. The high today was mid-90s with the high for Thursday forecast to be 83. That is just a teaser, all the days for a week after then are to be back in the mid-90s.
I saw President Obama's announcement that he wants an additional 50 Billion, on top of the 800 Billion Stimulus, to 'invest' in infrastructure and create jobs. This reminded me of what James Howard Kunstler has written in the past.
By James Howard Kunstler - December 1, 2008Mr Kunstler was a strong supporter of Senator Obama versus Senator McCain. But, I'm sure he would have voted for any Democrat; although not in favor of Hillery he would have voted for her. He does have some buyers remorse however as expressed in his blog posting of today.
Does Mr. O know that we are not going to run the US automobile and truck fleet on any combination of alt.fuels? Continuing it by other means is a fantasy that will only disappoint us. The motoring era is coming to an end. Heroic investments in highway infrastructure to create jobs will be a tragic waste of our dwindling capital. The pressure for Mr. O to make these misinvestments will be enormous, perhaps insurmountable. There are probably not a thousand people in the US who agree with what I am saying -- meaning the consensus to keep the cars running at all costs overwhelms reality at the moment. Does Mr. O's concept of "change" include the possibility that we may have to live very differently in this society?
By James Howard Kunstler - September 6, 2010
I voted for Barack Obama. I don't know about you, but I'm a tad disappointed in how things turned out with him. These days he makes Millard Fillmore look like Frederick the Great. His speech last week on Iraq and, incidentally, economic matters, was such a puffery of hollow platitudes that I was a little surprised he didn't go up in a vapor at the end of it like a genie and retreat inside his desk lamp in a little trail of steam. Nobody can figure out why he keeps the same krewe of viziers at his elbow after all these months of failure to engage with reality. The voters were expecting a champion and got a Labradoodle instead.
Saddle West RV Park
I went to my VA appointment this morning at the Pahrump Clinic. They seem to be more rushed or hectic at the reception area than in Reno. The nurse that did the preliminary weighing, height, blood pressure, temperature and multiple questions was also a bit frantic.
Then my doctor came in, another woman doctor, and everything mellowed out. She is new to VA, but is not a resident, so she was having some problems with the VA computer system. Other than that issue, she was very thorough and spent a lot of time with me – less rushed in and out than in Reno.
She was also very understanding of my situation as a full timer and had no problem giving we prescription refills for a year. She also did not have a problem with my not coming back to see her again for a year. However, I will probably come back in April 2011 and then go for one year before the next appointment.
Here, they do not do the lab work on the same day as your appointment. I'm scheduled for blood work and EKG on the 17th with a follow-up appointment only if something is found to be wrong.
I did have a chest x-ray at the Pahrump hospital today. I had not had one on many years and my doctor wanted a 'base' picture because I was an ex-smoker.
After the medical stuff was out of the way I had breakfast, stopped at the UPS Store and sent back Mr Heater and grocery shopped at Smith's.
Just as I was leaving the VA there was a light shower of rain. The storm quickly blew over and barely wet the streets. It did hold the temperature down to 84 degrees but raised the humidity to 37% (this is high for here and I could feel it).
I believe that the following from an interview with Harry Dent's Outlook on Demographics, Debt, and Deflation explains what is going on with our economy as well as anything I have read.
For the first time in American history, government stimulus is falling flat on its face. It’s starting to become apparent that the record stimulus being thrown at our economy isn't going to pull us out of this recession/depression. Why?I also believe that the more government intervention there is the less progress will be made in achieving the 'growth' that everyone is looking for. The country and times have changed; not the change that President Obama and his supporters were looking for but there has been change.
Because according to Dent’s research, for the first time ever, we don’t have favorable demographic winds at our back. During previous recessions, the government could float easy money out into the economy, and eager consumers would grab it and spend it -- because they were in the upswings in their spending patterns. But this time, Bernanke & Co are merely pushing on a proverbial string. The Fed can extend credit, but they can’t force the consumer to take it!
They can’t get the baby boomers to take on more debt because of where they are in the spending cycle. It’s a time to save, not spend, in their lives. Want a mortgage at record low rates? No thanks -- we’re already choking on debt! And we hope to retire someday. Hence, the Keynesian solution that “worked” (quotes for you Austrian econ fans) so well during the 20th century is shooting blanks here in our 2008-2010 and counting depression. Hmm, this is starting to sound like another advanced economy that’s been stuck in the mud for a couple of decades now…
Saddle West RV Park
It was not as cool today as yesterday but it stayed comfortable until the late afternoon. The rain storm of yesterday has held temperatures down but they will be back up into the 90s beginning this Saturday.
The small amount of measurable rain that fell, and that Las Vegas received, was the first to be recorded in 137 days. That is now the 6th longest dry spell recorded with the record remaining at 150 days.
A large part of my day was spent waiting for Desperado to receive her 4 new shocks and oil change. At 7:00 I was told it would probably take until 8:30 or 9:00. When I got back from breakfast at 8:00 the guess was 9:30 – they finish at 10:30.
I drove only a few miles to get back 'home' and hook-up again but the new shocks felt better. They should feel better considering what I paid for them.
They were more than I expected, the oil change was needed but not budgeted, the same was true of the roof repairs and the heater will probably end up costing me two times what I budgeted. It has NOT been a good start financially to the month of September.
I am then going to get estimates for my dinette remodel and solar system in October. I know I can not do either of them now, that it why I say estimates, but maybe I can do at least one of them in the Spring.
Saddle West RV Park
The only admonishment that my VA doctor gave me on Tuesday was “I want you to walk more”. I know she is right, I know that I have lapsed from my good habit to bad. Therefor, I am on my new path of righteousness – I walked this morning before breakfast.
I didn't try to immediately do my one time standard of 5 miles but did a little over 3 miles. The plan is to do 3 miles each day for a week, then 3 ½ etc. until I am back to my daily 5 miles.
It was cool enough this morning with a light wind that I wore my windbreaker and was glad to keep it on. The temperature at noon was near 70 with a very gentle breeze. Just about as good as it ever gets but I know that I must enjoy it NOW.
The high for the day was just over 80 but will being going higher tomorrow and for the next week.
I have finished MY Map using Google Maps and it is in place in the upper right column once again. When 2011 begins I will Archive the 2009/2010 map and start a new one.
Saddle West RV Park
The only thing constructive that I did today was my early morning walk. Two consecutive days does not make a habit but they are necessary. I have read or heard that it takes 21 consecutive days to establish a habit – good or bad.
The remainder of the day was spent on the computer or on the couch. Reading blogs or my current paper book.
I interrupted those two activities to make a vegetable soup in my Thermal Cooker. Started with 32 oz of chicken broth, then lots of yellow squash, some mushrooms, broccoli, corn and diced tomatoes.
When I served it, I did so in a bowl that had a couple of tablespoons of cooked brown rice in it. I have plenty for the next three days of more.
Saddle West RV Park
My routine remains unchanged. The good thing about that is walking the first thing in the morning is becoming a part of that routine.
I did a lot of web browsing today looking at lighting fixtures to use as part of my dinette remodel. I want something unique to my RV 'home', not something that you see in every RV that has been sold for the past 20 years.
I think I have found something but I need to ponder on it for a while. I am also reasonable sure that I want the new fixtures as well as those that I do not change to all have LED bulbs when I add a solar system.
Here is the latest news about the lack of cost savings that the Health Insurance Reform Bill is bringing. I am posting the article in its entirety.
Health Insurers Plan Hikes by Janet Adamy Wall Street Journal September 9, 2010
Health insurers say they plan to raise premiums for some Americans as a direct result of the health overhaul in coming weeks, complicating Democrats' efforts to trumpet their signature achievement before the midterm elections.
Aetna Inc., some BlueCross BlueShield plans and other smaller carriers have asked for premium increases of between 1% and 9% to pay for extra benefits required under the law, according to filings with state regulators.
These and other insurers say Congress's landmark refashioning of U.S. health coverage, which passed in March after a brutal fight, is causing them to pass on more costs to consumers than Democrats predicted.
The rate increases largely apply to policies for individuals and small businesses and don't include people covered by a big employer or Medicare. About 9% of Americans buy coverage through the individual market, according to the Census Bureau, and roughly one-fifth of people who get coverage through their employer work at companies with 50 or fewer employees, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. People in both groups are likely to feel the effects of the proposed increases, even as they see new benefits under the law, such as the elimination of lifetime and certain annual coverage caps. Many carriers also are seeking additional rate increases that they say they need to cover rising medical costs. As a result, some consumers could face total premium increases of more than 20%.
While the increases apply mostly to the new policies insurers write after Oct. 1, consumers could be subject to the higher rates if they modify their existing plans and cause them to lose grandfathered status.
The rate increases are a dose of troubling news for Democrats just weeks before an election in which they are at risk of losing their majority in the House and possibly the Senate.
In addition to pledging that the law would restrain increases in Americans' insurance premiums, Democrats front-loaded the legislation with early provisions they hoped would boost public support. Those include letting children stay on their parents' insurance policies until age 26, eliminating co-payments for preventive care and barring insurers from denying policies to children with pre-existing conditions, plus the elimination of the coverage caps.
Weeks before the election, insurance companies began telling state regulators it is those very provisions that are forcing them to increase their rates.
Aetna, one of the nation's largest health insurers, said the extra benefits forced it to seek rate increases for new individual plans of 5.4% to 7.4% in California and 5.5% to 6.8% in Nevada after Sept. 23. Similar steps are planned across the country, according to Aetna.
Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon said the cost of providing additional benefits under the health law will account on average for 3.4 percentage points of a 17.1% premium rise for a small-employer health plan. It asked regulators last month to approve the increase.
In Wisconsin and North Carolina, Celtic Insurance Co. says half of the 18% increase it is seeking comes from complying with health-law mandates.
The White House says insurers are using the law as an excuse to raise rates and predicts that state regulators will block some of the large increases.
"I would have real deep concerns that the kinds of rate increases that you're quoting… are justified," said Nancy-Ann DeParle, the White House's top health official. She said that for insurers, raising rates was "already their modus operandi before the bill" passed. "We believe consumers will see through this," she said.
Previously the administration had calculated that the batch of changes taking effect this fall would raise premiums no more than 1% to 2%, on average.
After Regence mailed a letter notifying plan administrators of its intention to raise group insurance rates in Washington state, the White House contacted company officials and accused them of inaccurately justifying the increase. Kerry Barnett, executive vice president for Regence BlueShield, said the insurer is changing the letter to more precisely explain the causes of the increase.
The industry contends its increases are justified. "Anytime you add a benefit, there are increased costs," said Karen Ignagni, president of America's Health Insurance Plans, the industry's lobbying group.
Massachusetts, which enacted universal insurance coverage several years ago, also has seen steadily rising insurance premiums since then. Proponents of that plan attribute the hikes there to an overall increase in medical costs, while insurers cite it as a cautionary example of what can happen when new mandates to improve benefits aren't coupled with a strong enough provision to force healthy people to buy coverage.
Republicans, who have sought voter support by opposing the health law, say premium increases could help in November's congressional races. "People are finding out what's in [the law], they don't like it, and I think it's going to play a big factor in this election," said Iowa Sen. Charles Grassley, the top Republican on the Senate Finance Committee. About half of all states have the power to deny rate increases. Ms. DeParle pointed out that the law awards states $250 million to bolster their scrutiny of insurance-rate proposals, saying that will eventually curb premiums for people.
"In Kansas, I don't have a lot of authority to deny a rate increase, if it is justified," said Kansas Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger. She recently approved a 4% increase by Mennonite Mutual Aid Association to pay for the new provisions in the health law. The process of reviewing rate increases varies by state. For instance, Ms. Praeger said she can deny only rate increases that are unreasonable or discriminatory.
Some regulators say not all insurers have adequately justified their increases. "A lot of it is guesswork for companies," said Tom Abel, supervisor at the Colorado Division of Insurance. "I was anticipating the carriers to be more uniform."
Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon, which estimates its increase covers 57,000 members, said its goal is to "anticipate the financial needs of our members as accurately as possible and to collect just enough premiums to cover costs," said a spokeswoman. Other insurers offered similar explanations or declined to discuss their increases.
A small number of insurers have submitted plans to lower rates and cite the new mandates in the legislation as the reason. HMO Colorado, a Blue Cross Blue Shield plan owned by WellPoint Inc. submitted a letter to state regulators saying small group rates would fall 1.8% starting Oct. 1 because of changes from the law.
Democrats had hoped to sell the bill in the fall elections. But in recent weeks, some Democrats who voted for the bill have shied away from advertising that fact, while the handful of House Democrats who cast "no" votes see it as a potential boost to their re-election bids.
"I think it's a question of short term versus long term," said North Carolina Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin, a Democrat up for re-election in 2012. "Thankfully we're seeing people get more coverage and protections than they've ever had before. But until we see the medical-cost inflation affected, you're likely to see rate increases as long as they are not excessive and in violation of the law."
A difference of opinion is what makes horse racing and missionaries. - Will Rogers
Saddle West RV Park
The only thing that I can think of that I did today that is remotely interesting – changed my computer homepage.
I have had Yahoo as a homepage since my home computer days began. Yesterday, I came across iGoogle in one of the blogs that I was reading.
I played around with it some yesterday and then some more today. Decided that I liked it and iGoogle is now my homepage.
I found this Wall Street Journal Opinion article about the Small Business Jobs Act interesting. President Obama is pushing it hard and I'm sure that he truly believes he can sell this as a 'jobs' bill, blame the Republicans for blocking it and the 'public' will buy it. After all, he got elected on just this kind of rhetoric why would he not believe it will work again.
President Obama continued his Economic Contradiction Tour yesterday at a White House press conference, urging businesses to invest and lend more while attacking them for greed and sending jobs overseas. We'll see in November if voters buy the cognitive dissonance, not least on his professed concern for small business.Here are some of the previous Obama Administration Small Business policies.
Mr. Obama hit Republicans hard for not passing his $42 billion Small Business Jobs Act, but Americans should realize that there's less here than meets the sound-bite. The bill contains $12 billion in targeted tax cuts, such as a 100% exclusion of capital gains income for certain small start-ups, expensing for certain capital purchases, and new deductions for start-up expenses.
These sound great, except only a fraction of businesses will be eligible and the write-offs last for only one or two years. One of the larger capital gains tax exclusions, for example, will apply to stock purchased between 2009 and January 1, 2011, which is only months away. In terms of the overall economy, these are very small beer.
The White House is right that a capital gains tax cut will help small businesses raise capital. So why raise that tax rate to 20% from 15% on January 1 for everyone else? This bill isn't even a net business tax cut, because the temporary small business cuts are offset by permanent corporate tax increases. Mr. Obama is promising $12 billion of tax cuts with his left hand while proposing to collect about $300 billion in tax increases from this bill and others with his right.
More troubling is the bill's $30 billion Small Business Lending Fund. We've called this Son of TARP because it authorizes Treasury to purchase preferred stock in banks with less than $10 billion in assets if they agree to increase their lending to small businesses. This empowers Uncle Sam to take equity stakes in community banks and savings and loans so long as they lend as Congress sees fit.
The bill encourages risky loans by applying a sliding-scale interest rate on Uncle Sam's preferred stock. Banks that issue fewer new loans will pay as much as 5% interest, while aggressive lenders will pay as little as 1%. This sounds like a recipe for lower credit standards. The Small Business Administration, which receives an increase in its lending limit in this bill, has already had a default rate between 7% and 12% during this recession and recovery.
The lending fund also directs banks to submit a lending "plan to provide linguistically and culturally appropriate outreach" for the loans. Tre asury is supposed to give special consideration to banks that are "minority-, veteran-, and women-owned and that also serve low- and moderate-income, minority, and other under-served or rural communities." In other words, Congress wants more politically directed credit of the kind encouraged by the Community Reinvestment Act and Fannie Mae that did so much to create the sub-prime lending debacle....
Their new burdens on small business include a looming increase in capital gains and personal income tax rates, roughly half of which will come from non-corporatee business profits; a minimum wage increase to $7.25 an hour from $6.55 in July 2009 when the jobless rate was 9%; the oil drilling moratorium, which has hit hundreds of small energy companies; the new health insurance mandate on employers with more than 50 employees; the new ObamaCare 1099 tax filing requirements; an increase in the death tax rate to 55% next year from zero today; a Medicare payroll tax increase to 3.8% from 2.9% starting in 2013; and compulsory unionism for government contractors and federal construction projects (Executive Orders 13496 and 13502.)
A fool and his money are soon elected. - Will Rogers
Saddle West RV Park
I did some more editing of my iGoogle homepage today. You can add 'Gadgets' that will let you access hundreds of things on the web.
Currently I have Gadgets that give me Date & Time, Weather, FoxNews.com, Yahoo Mail, The Wall Street Journal and Bookmarks (this is where I keep sites that I visit weekly/monthly). I still have my Browser Bookmarks for those that I visit daily.
iGoogle also lets me Google Search and there is a Google News that I can click on (with news preference settings). Within The Wall Street Journal I also have a Portfolio Watch capability plus much more Business News than I had with Yahoo.
All in all I am liking iGoogle so far.
I had planned on having my catalytic heater installed on the 17th but received notice that it would be delivered on that day rather than today. Reset my appointment with Tropical RV for the 20th.
On the 7th when I re-hooked after my VA appointment I filled my fresh water tank then connected Desperado to city water. The following day and for three more days I could see a slight leak under the center of the coach. Then for the past three days I have not seen any leak.
My previous guess was that I had a crack in my fresh water tank. I am now discounting that because the leaking was so slight and I have used no water from the tank. Now I am guessing that it has to do with the fresh water overflow.
When I move again I will see if it leaks again and that will give me additional evidence that I am right. I WILL solve this mystery!
A holding company is a thing where you hand an accomplice the goods while the policeman searches you. - Will Rogers
Saddle West RV Park
The highlight of today was another social moment. I have said before that I'm a semi-hermit but do interact on occasion. Today was another one of those occasions.
A blogger that I started reading some time ago moved to, and bought a house, in Pahrump. His blog is one that I read from the start, became current and now catch up on weekly or bi-weekly.
I made a few comments on his blog and we have traded some emails and decided to meet face-to-face while I was here in Pahrump. So, today Don and I sat and talked for about 1 ½ hours. He also drove me over to check out the Escapees (SHP) RV Park here in Pahrump and I showed him Desperado.
When he and his wife moved here they lived in the Park for three months before that got their house. They are now sometime Rvers, using their trailer last year to visit friends and relatives in the Pacific North West.
It was a very good visit and I'm glad I got to meet Don as well as see the SKP Park. There is a good chance that I'll stay for some time a similar SKP Park in Deming, NM sometime this winter.
The remainder of the day was spent in my usual way. I am now including a morning stop at Smith's on most of my walks. I pick up a few things each day and may not have to do my weekly grocery trip. It also adds motivation to the early morning walk.
Some more Health Insurance Reform Bill consequences that the Health Insurance industry did not expect when they made their 'deal with the devil'.
“As a consequence of us getting 30 million additional people health care, at the margins that's going to increase our costs—we knew that," President Obama said at his press conference Friday in response to a question about rising health spending.
That wasn't how he sold the plan, but, anyway, that's a truism. Here's another: The White House was always going to blame insurance companies for any cost increases, even when its own policies cause them.
Witness Kathleen Sebelius's Thursday letter to America's Health Insurance Plans, the industry trade group—a thuggish message even by her standards. The Health and Human Services secretary wrote that some insurers have been attributing part of their 2011 premium increases to ObamaCare and warned that "there will be zero tolerance for this type of misinformation and unjustified rate increases." ...
ObamaCare gives Ms. Sebelius's regulators the power to define "unreasonable" premium hikes, which will mean whatever they decide it will mean later this fall. She promised to keep a list of insurers "with a record of unjustified rate increases" and then to bar them from ObamaCare's subsidized "exchanges" when they come on line in 2014. In other words, insurers must accept price controls now or face the retribution of a de facto ban on selling their products to consumers four years from now.
This is nasty stuff and an obvious attempt to shift political blame for rising insurance costs before the election. It's also an early sign of life under ObamaCare, when all health-care decisions are political and the bureaucrats decide who can charge how much for a service or product.
A man only learns in two ways, one by reading, and the other by association with smarter people. - Will Rogers
Saddle West RV Park
I have done very little nor have I wanted to do much today. All of my normal routine but with more printed page reading than usual.
The only News item to provoke a rant from me is Senator Reid's underhanded attempt to pass a partial Illegal Immigrant Amnesty Law.
He was no friend of the military in Iraq under the command of President Bush. He is also displaying that he is no friend of the military under President Obama with this amendment to the war funding appropriation.
The fact that President Obama has not spoken out against this is rather clear evidence of where he stands also. If President Obama had any supporters in the military before this he will surely loose some of them because of Senator Reid's actions.
It is this kind of contempt for the military that encourages military coups. I am not suggesting it is going to happen here in the U.S. But conditions could change quickly and we could be ripe for such actions. Remember General McCrystal? There are others that have the same thoughts but continue to keep them to themselves.
A remark generally hurts in proportion to its truth. - Will Rogers
Saddle West RV Park
The notable thing about today was my increased walking distance this morning. I completed my first week of doing daily 3 mile walks yesterday. This morning I increased that to 3 ½ miles.
The second notable thing was that I had to dump my waste tanks. I was going to do it tomorrow morning when I moved Desperado. But, I was forced to do it today when the gray water tank became full, full.
The indicator light has registered full for a few days so it was not a surprise. I keep an eye on the shower drain to tell me if I have gone past full – it backs up into the shower.
A couple of News items caught my eye today. This first one I sent to Senator Reid.
Among states, Nevada posted the highest foreclosure rate last month, with one in every 84 households receiving a foreclosure notice. That's 4.5 times the national average.Then there was this one concerning poverty (which I saw a few days ago and thought: 'we have lost the War on Poverty, we must surrender') but the reporter had added the data regarding health insurance. It is my prediction that if the Health Insurance Reform Bill remains unchanged there will be twice as many people without health insurance at the end of 2014 as there were before the bill was passed.
The number of people living in poverty has climbed to 14.3% of Americans, with the ranks of working-age poor reaching the highest level since at least 1965. The Census Bureau on Thursday said about 43.6 million people, or one in seven, were in poverty last year, up from 39.8 million, or 13.2%, in 2008.
The number of people lacking health insurance rose to 50.7 million from 46.3 million, mostly because of the loss of employer-provided insurance during the recession.
About all I can say for the United States Senate is that it opens with a prayer and closes with an investigation. - Will Rogers
Saddle West RV Park
Today was one of those days. It started off rather normal with my morning walk and stop at Smith's. It was when I tried to go to my VA Lab appointment that things went sour.
The battery on Desperado was dead or the starter was bad – she would not start and just went click, click, click. I quickly changed into my hiking boots once again and walked a quick mile to the VA.
I still arrived a few minutes early and they took me early for both my blood draw and the EKG. The time at the VA plus the round-trip walk was less than an hour. OK, that didn't go so bad.
I then stopped at NAPA Auto Parts and asked about the old battery that is in Desperado; the counter clerk thought, as did I, that it was probably the factory battery (10 years old and subject to instant death).
From there I walked on to breakfast at my nearby Mexican restaurant to gain strength for the battery removal. The removal went easily enough. But then there was the carrying it for about a block to NAPA which was not much fun.
The old battery tested as being shot and was quickly replaced. I also had the good luck that a Samaritan saw me struggle in with the old battery and offered to drive me back. The bad battery, rather than the starter, was the good news; the bad news was the additional un-budgeted expense (this month has been a bad one).
The re-install of the new battery was a little more frustrating that the removal but not too bad – no blood letting or serious swear words.
Success! Desperado started and took me to the UPS Store where I picked up my heater. It was then back 'home' to plug into electric and get the A/C going. All of this happened before noon and it was getting hot.
It seems that I napped a little after the A/C cooled it down some. Maybe it wasn't one of those days after all, just had its moments.
Advertising is the art of convincing people to spend money they don't have for something they don't need. - Will Rogers
Saddle West RV Park
The easy, relaxed afternoon of yesterday (after the busy morning) continued throughout today.
The major accomplishment was completing a Solo RVer's blog that I will now follow weekly or monthly. To replace that one I started on another (mostly) Full Time couple's blog that begins in 2005.
When I got Desperado's oil changed on 9/8 I had them collect an oil sample that I mailed in for analysis. I wanted to find out if I had any problems going on with the engine. Here is what I got back, plus a lot of comparative numeric information:
COMMENTS from BLACKSTONE LABORATORIES:
Looks like you've got a really nice E450 on your hands. Wear in this sample looks great compared to averages. Universal averages show typical wear from Ford's 6.8L V10 engine after about 4,500 miles. You weren't sure how long this oil was run, but we'd guess it was about that long, since wear looks a lot like averages. The metals are properly balanced and we see nothing that looks like a problem. No antifreeze or moisture found. Insolubles, which are oxidized solids, read low at 0.3%, showing good oil filtration. Nice engine! It should serve you well.
Alexander Hamilton started the U.S. Treasury with nothing, and that was the closest our country has ever been to being even. - Will Rogers
Saddle West RV Park
I have even less to say about today than usual. The high point of my day was when I met a couple while on my morning walk.
We were all going south on NV160 but on opposite sides of the road. They were also moving at much brisker pace than myself.
At my turn around point they had already crossed the road to my side and I said 'good morning' as we met. The man gave an acknowledgement but I heard nothing from the woman. She was very intent on keeping up her fast pace.
We were then all returning toward the north, on opposite roadsides again, and with their faster pace moving farther apart. By the time I reached Smith's they had crossed back over to my side of the road again and the woman was still very intent on her pace. The man was lagging a bit and she was encouraging, or berating, him to hurry and catch up.
Just seeing them out for their morning walk made me give thanks that I was not a part of her walking group. HA HA
That was about it for the day. I did more web surfing today than normal; looking at and reading about a 'toad' (a vehicle towed behind a RV). My original consideration was to get a scooter but weather, distance and traffic can make them less desirable than a 'toad'. In either case I will not be getting anything for probably a year but that does not keep me from dreaming.
All I know is just what I read in the papers, and that's an alibi for my ignorance. - Will Rogers
Saddle West RV Park
The big accomplishment for the day way was to get my catalytic heater installed.
All it took on my part was time and money. The money part hurt the most, it cost about 25% more than I was planning on spending. The time was not so important, I have a lot of time to sit and watch other people work.
I think everything is now fixed or modified. Of course that statement is not true, but I can hope that it holds true for the next 3-4 months. My budget can not withstand another month like this one.
It was 'linner' time when I finally got 'home' and re-hooked. Got the A/C running and went to work in the kitchen fixing something to eat. Then with the clean up and posting of this blog entry it seems like I have had a full day.
It is time to relax!
America is a nation that conceives many odd inventions for getting somewhere but it can think of nothing to do once it gets there. - Will Rogers
Saddle West RV Park
Just another day of what has become my normal routine.
The only thing to disrupt it was an email from Amazon that said the legs for my catalytic heater will arrive in October. That is a bummer! I will have to pay shipping from Pahrump to somewhere (?) to get them.
Although not quite routine, I did send the following to President Obama today. He does not pay any attention to what I have to say but I am a periodic contributor to “Contact the White House” at whitehouse.gov.
The most recent poll from Quinnipiac University found that a whopping 60 percent disapprove of the way you are handling illegal immigration. And 50 percent of Democrats and 87 percent of Republicans now agree that immigration reform should “move in the direction of…stricter enforcement of laws against illegal immigration.”
And "61% of voters believe the federal government should cut off funds to cities that welcome illegal immigrants and offer them various forms of sanctuary.” But your administration has said they will not take action against sanctuary cities, despite the fact that sanctuary policies violate federal law and the will of the people.
You are a Constitutional scholar and have taken the Presidential Oath to protect and defend it. How are you protecting and defending Article 2 Section 3 when you deliberately avoid enforcing Immigration Law? Article 2 of the Constitution deals with the duties of Executive Branch; Section 3 says in part “he (the President) shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed”.
America is becoming so educated that ignorance will be a novelty. I will belong to the select few. - Will Rogers
Saddle West RV Park
Not a lot going on today. The temperature has dropped by almost 10 degrees with the high today near 85. It is going to move back up again over the next two days but it is a taste of some wonderful days to come.
My walk this morning included a brisk wind so I was wearing my windbreaker for the first time. The early morning temperature was in the upper 50s and felt like the lower 50s.
I have started to put together the route for my trip to Douglas. The day that I leave here I'll stop in Las Vegas to get an estimate for my dinette remodel. If time permits I'll continue on to the Kingman, AZ area to overnight.
From there it will be to Congress, AZ at the SKP Park for 3 days. Then a short drive into Mesa, AZ for a second dinette estimate and overnight stay.
Finally, the last 4 days will be stops near Tucson and Double Adobe to visit with cousins. I will also be unloading the two boxes of quilts that I have squeezed into the dinette seats.
I then have a week reservation in Douglas for the reunion which will be only for 3 days. While I am in the area I'm going to try to see things and places that I haven't seen for many years. Plans from there are sketchy now but will probably 'winter over' in New Mexico.
An economist's guess is liable to be as good as anybody else's. - Will Rogers
Saddle West RV Park
I have almost nothing to say today. There was no big News item that caught my attention and put me in Rant Mode. I didn't send President Obama or Senator Reid any Comments. It was a dull day.
For just this kind of occasion I have saved up the following News item dealing with some of the Democrat buyers remorse with President Obama.
Comparisons between the two men (Obama and Carter) were made frequently during the 2008 campaign, but in a favorable way. Princeton University historian Sean Wilentz, for instance, told Fox News in August 2008 that Mr. Obama's "rhetoric is more like Jimmy Carter's than any other Democratic president in recent memory." Syndicated columnist Jonah Goldberg noted more recently that Mr. Obama, like Mr. Carter in his 1976 campaign, "promised a transformational presidency, a new accommodation with religion, a new centralism, a changed tone."I did begin week three of my commitment to walking more. That means that I am to do 4 miles per day this week. If the theory is correct, it also means that by the end of 6 more days I will have the walking habit established.
But within a few months, liberals were already finding fault with his rhetoric. "He's the great earnest bore at the dinner party," wrote Michael Wolff, a contributor to Vanity Fair. "He's cold; he's prickly; he's uncomfortable; he's not funny; and he's getting awfully tedious. He thinks it's all about him." That sounds like a critique of Mr. Carter...
Foreign policy experts are also picking up on similarities. Walter Russell Mead, then a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, told the Economist magazine earlier this year that Mr. Obama is "avoiding the worst mistakes that plagued Carter."..
Mr. Mead warned that Mr. Obama's foreign policy "to some degree makes him dependent on people who wish neither him nor America well. This doesn't have to end badly and I hope that it doesn't—but it's not an ideal position after one's first year in power."
We will see what the reality is at the end of those 6 days.
An ignorant person is one who doesn't know what you have just found out. - Will Rogers
Saddle West RV Park
I made it through another 4 miles this morning but I can not say that everyday is getting easier. No stop at Smith's this morning but I did stop at Wal*Mart.
I needed to pick up a 'minutes card' for my TracFone. I also got a sewer hose 'donut'. This is a rubber collar that fits down into the opening of many dump sites that are now requiring it (by law). There is at least one of my scheduled stops going south that require it and the state of New Mexico does.
I spent time on-line getting directions for my route south. I am still a Luddite with regard to GPS auto-navigation. I continue to use paper maps and/or Google Maps to prepare 3x5 cards with written notes to guide me on my way.
I indicate right or left turns and the highway number or street name and sometimes the distance between turns. The only thing that would be better, for me, would be a navigator in the passenger seat to read the cards and help watch for the turns.
But, even alone I do not seem to get lost anymore often than others do with their GPS units and sometimes a navigator. This is based on what I read in their blogs where many of them complain of getting lost with their GPS.
The following is an excerpt from a column by Peggy Noonan who has written many favorable comments about President Obama over the past two years. However, she too is starting to express buyer remorse and becoming more critical.
It is Monday, Sept. 20, the middle of the day, in Washington. CNBC is holding a town hall for the president. A woman stands—handsome, dignified, black, a person with presence. She looks as if she may be what she turns out to be, an Obama supporter who in 2008 put up street signs, passed out literature and tried to win over co-workers. As she later told the Washington Post, "I was thinking that the people who were against him and didn't believe in his agenda were completely insane."Then there is this Opinion piece, in part, on the same CNBC town hall.
The president looked relieved when she stood. Perhaps he thought she might lob a sympathetic question that would allow him to hit a reply out of the park. Instead, and in the nicest possible way, Velma Hart lobbed a hand grenade.
"I'm a mother. I'm a wife. I'm an American veteran, and I'm one of your middle-class Americans. And quite frankly I'm exhausted. I'm exhausted of defending you, defending your administration, defending the mantle of change that I voted for, and deeply disappointed with where we are." She said, "The financial recession has taken an enormous toll on my family." She said, "My husband and I have joked for years that we thought we were well beyond the hot-dogs-and-beans era of our lives. But, quite frankly, it is starting to knock on our door and ring true that that might be where we are headed."
What a testimony. And this is the president's base. He got that look public figures adopt when they know they just took one right in the chops on national TV and cannot show their dismay. He could have responded with an engagement and conviction equal to the moment. But this was our president—calm, detached, even-keeled to the point of insensate. He offered a recital of his administration's achievements: tuition assistance, health care. It seemed so off point. Like his first two years.
Margaret Carlson, a fixture at Time magazine before jumping to the Bloomberg news service, personifies liberal Beltway conventionality, and she appears to have turned decisively against President Obama.
To be precise, she now thinks he's kind of a jerk--that's our paraphrase; as you'll see, she puts it considerably more gently--which means that her view of Obama has caught up to where conservatives were two years ago and Middle American moderate independents this time in 2009.
Carlson comments on Obama's famous face-off, at a CNBC "town hall" the other day, with Velma Hart, an Obama supporter who, employing an O'Donnellesque unidiomatic preposition, told the president she was "exhausted of defending you." Carlson chides the president for his condescending response:
- "Now, as I said before, times are tough for everybody right now, so I understand your frustration," he told Hart, after rather clumsily praising her as part of "the bedrock of America" and before citing new credit-card rules and student-loan procedures as evidence of progress.
- "As I said" always carries with it the implied question, Weren't you paying attention? "For everybody" telegraphs you're one out of millions, nothing special.
- And "everybody" isn't suffering, which is the truth that gets to the heart of Obama's problem and makes his brushing off Hart as much substance as theater.
An onion can make people cry but there's never been a vegetable that can make people laugh. - Will Rogers
Saddle West RV Park
I have very little to say. The most exciting thing that I did all day was my laundry.
Pahrump had a big Fall Festival Parade today but it was over by the time my wash was done. This weekend is also the Nye County Fair. I walk past the fairgrounds every three days and saw the carnival set up on Thursday.
Don't have the money nor the inclination to walk up there again today or tomorrow to see the Fair.
Ancient Rome declined because it had a Senate, now what's going to happen to us with both a House and a Senate? - Will Rogers
Saddle West RV Park
The excitement for today was a water leak.
When I got up at 5:30, and went outside, I could see a dark area under the rear portion of Desperado. It was too dark to tell where any water was coming from but I shut off the city water.
When I returned from my walk I could see that there was water dripping from the 'pan' that encloses all my piping. I tightened the hose connection and turned on the water. After leaving it on for about ½ hour I checked again and the 'pan' drip was much faster.
I shut the water off once more and after a few hours the pavement was dry and the drip had stopped. Something has happened along the city water intake line; don't know what, all the piping is sealed off and can not be seen. It does not leak when the city water is turned off and I use the fresh water tank and the pump.
I can not worry about it now – not enough money and not enough time. I'll live with filling the fresh water tank and using it and the pump for a while.
The other excitement is the weather. Temperatures are back to 100 degrees and the forecasters are promising the same through next Saturday. Then I am gone.
Anything important is never left to the vote of the people. We only get to vote on some man; we never get to vote on what he is to do.- Will Rogers
Saddle West RV Park
Hot, Hot, Hot
That is all I can say about what was going on today. No break in the continuing heat while I am here. It is about 10 degrees over the average September temperature and probably 15 degrees over normal for this late in the month.
Fortunately, I get my walk finished early in the morning and then camp under the A/C the remainder of the day. I have two more days of 4 miles each then I will do two days of 4 ½ each.
The 2nd of October will be my first travel day and I plan a rest day. Do I need to tell you that I'm looking forward to getting out of the heat and having a rest day?
Be thankful we're not getting all the government we're paying for. - Will Rogers
Saddle West RV Park
Just another hot day where staying inside and trying to keep cool is the object.
I did finish the book that I have been reading. It took me forever to finish it. It was a 'fantasy novel', I think, something that I will not knowingly select again.
It was worth a trade here in the Park's laundry/library, I don't think anyone knows what I traded. HA HA I started another pick that I got in Ely; a good down to earth mystery/crime novel.
I have also started another project that I'll present in this blog sometime later in the year, probably December.
Being a hero is about the shortest-lived profession on earth. - Will Rogers
Saddle West RV Park
Today marked my 21st day of re-establishing my walking program. I was very faithful to it at one time but 'fell off the wagon' when I traveled.
I looked up '21 days to establish a habit' and it is touted by many but is mostly a myth. There has been only one scientific study done on habit formulation and it did NOT find that it took 21 days.
That study found that it took an average of 66 days to form a habit. That was the average, some habits were formed in as few as 18 days but others took almost 9 months. The number of days is determined by the person involved and what habit is being formed.
I don't think my walking program has reached the number of days required.
My other achievement was dumping tanks again. The 'idiot' light for the black tank said that it was ¾ full, I knew this was a lie. But the gray tank light said it was full, this was probably close to true.
Anyway, today was as good as any to dump, fill the fresh tank and disconnect from city water. Friday I will un-hook from electric to go fill up with gas, grocery shop and do a last stop at the UPS Store for mail.
I will then only have to un-hook the electric early on Saturday and drive to Las Vegas for my appointment at Dr. RV.
Buy land. They ain't making any more of the stuff. - Will Rogers
Saddle West RV Park
It was a better day. I'm talking about the weather. There was a high layer of clouds almost all day and the high temperature was reduced by almost 10 degrees.
The long range forecast now is for highs to slowly decrease into the 80s over the next 10 days – after I leave.
I did my first morning walk of 4 ½ miles. Tomorrow will be my second one and then I will take a day off. The 21 days to a habit myth had a proviso that required that the days be consecutive; miss a day and the count started over.
The scientific study found that skipping a day did not make a difference; it just added another day to the total required before the habit was established.
There was more Health Insurance Reform Law in the News. Pollster.com reports health-care reform is less popular today than it was when it was passed in March. And it wasn't particularly popular back then.
Americans stubbornly resist this landmark legislation in part because virtually every major claim about its benefits is turning out to be false—and people recoil when misled. Here is part of an article in the Wall street Journal by Janet Adamy that gives a good reason for people to resist.
McDonald's Corp. has warned federal regulators that it could drop its health insurance plan for nearly 30,000 hourly restaurant workers unless regulators waive a new requirement of the U.S. health overhaul.President Obama said repeatedly that if you like your current coverage, you can keep it. It looks like 1.4 million might not be able to keep theirs. According to an analysis by John Goodman of the National Center for Policy Analysis, it won't be true for between 87 million and 117 million Americans.
The move is one of the clearest indications that new rules may disrupt workers' health plans as the law ripples through the real world.
Trade groups representing restaurants and retailers say low-wage employers might halt their coverage if the government doesn't loosen a requirement for "mini-med" plans, which offer limited benefits to some 1.4 million Americans. ...
Last week, a senior McDonald's official informed the Department of Health and Human Services that the restaurant chain's insurer won't meet a 2011 requirement to spend at least 80% to 85% of its premium revenue on medical care.
McDonald's and trade groups say the percentage, called a medical loss ratio, is unrealistic for mini-med plans because of high administrative costs owing to frequent worker turnover, combined with relatively low spending on claims.....
McDonald's move is the latest indication of possible unintended consequences from the health overhaul. Dozens of companies have taken charges against earnings—totaling more than $1 billion—over a tax change in prescription-drug benefits for retirees.
More recently, insurers have proposed a round of double-digit premium increases and said new coverage mandates in the law are partly to blame. HHS has criticized the proposed increases as unwarranted....
"There is not any issuer of limited benefit coverage that could meet the enhanced MLR standards," said Neil Trautwein, a vice president at the National Retail Federation, using the abbreviation for medical loss ratio....
Benefit consultants anticipate that, by 2014, most employers will stop offering mini-med plans. Such plans likely wouldn't meet the definition of adequate coverage for full-time workers. Under the law, mid-size and large employers that fail to offer such coverage will have to pay a fine.
Either their employer will stop providing insurance, or they'll see benefits go down and co-pays rise as insurers and employers wrestle with the law's mandates. Medicare Advantage Plans are already being discontinued by some insurance companies.