Hello from Prescott, IA

Hello from Prescott, IA

Drafted Thursday evening  – May 16 2019   (First post of this travelogue)

Published Saturday evening – May 18, 2019

This has been a bit of a strange trip.  On Tuesday (5/17/19) I drove Pat and her sister Judy to the airport so they could meet up with cousin Linda and they then flew to Kansas City.  There they met cousin Jeanne and drove to St Charles, MO for a genealogy convention.  The convention was from Wednesday through Saturday afternoon.  On Sunday the four ladies drove back to Kansas City.  Judy and Linda flew back to Denver while Jeanne and  Pat drove back to Prescott where Jeanne and Bill live. 

My original plans were to leave Evergreen around 5/1 and drive the bus to a car show in Dewey. OK.  However, I ran out of time to get the bus ready for that leg of the trip.  Plan B was to drive the bus to Prescott but I still did not have time to get it ready.  So, we went with plan C which was to drive the Camry. 

I left Evergreen Friday 5/10.  In the old days I might had driven straight through to Prescott (650 miles and over 9 hours).  However, I have a ton of Holiday Inn points, so I stopped in Kearney, NE for the night.  That made the drive fun and much easier on this tired old body.

Sadly we have not been back here for over two years.  We have really missed all of the great folks and have been doing our best to visit with as many relatives as possible. 

The weather started out cold and damp, but it got up to 90* on Thursday. 

We left Prescott Friday morning around 7:30.  We hit some rain early in the day, but that cleared up fairly quickly.  Our trip home was fairly uneventful till we hit Fort Morgan.  As we passed the water treatment plant a huge ground fog crossed the highway.  As soon as we entered the fog, it turned pitch black and we could not see even a few feet in front to the car.  Fortunately the cars in front of us kept going and the car behind us slowed down with us. 

When we got home, we saw that there were several tornados in the area but the Fort Morgan event was not reported as a tornado.  We did not see any signs of the really bad weather thank goodness.

That is all for this trip.

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Hello from Dillon, CO

Hello from Dillon, CO

Sunday afternoon – March 17, 2019   (First post of this travelogue)

Pat and I are in Dillon with the Bergman family.  Today we are watching granddaughter Madison ski race at Vail. 

Race

Last night we stayed at the Dillon Inn (Google map link)

Madison and Damon came up early Saturday so that Madison could do her training.  Kelly and Molly picked us up around 2:00 PM and brought us here.  The drive was not all that bad since it was fairly late in the day.  Going home will most likely be a different story.

The snow is pretty deep wherever you look.  Yesterday Damon pointed out a huge avalanche on the side of the mountain between Frisco and Breckenridge.  This whole area had had a huge amount of snow this year and this has resulted in a record number of avalanches.  There have been several closures of I 70 this year.

Today we left the motel around 6:30 and drove to Vail for the race.  On the drive we saw a large number of avalanche slides including a couple that covered I 70 within the past few weeks.  In the summer you don’t notice the slide “damage” but it is sure evident in the winter.

Madison is number 202 and all of the racers are girls.  That give you an indication of how popular ski racing is.  In her first race she placed second in her class and eleventh overall.  I will be sending this before her second race, but we are hoping she does as well – hopefully better.

 

Madison (Medium)

All of us (Medium)

That is all for this trip.

 

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Hello from Everett, WA

Hello from Everett, WA

Friday morning – March 8, 2019   (First post of this travelogue)

Well, I am once again back in Everett, teaching at Boeing.  This week I taught two classes:  Bearings (a Boeing one day class) and Mechanical Drives (3 days).  I like teaching at the Everett facility, as it seems to be more laid back than the Auburn plant.  The only issue is that the classes start at 6:00 AM.

Both classes went well.  This group seemed to be more involved than some of the other groups.  They also set a fun level of “give and take” on lots of fun discussions.

I almost was not able to teach this class.  Saturday I went to the hospital emergency room to address a pretty significant relapse of the vertigo I have been dealing with for 5 months.  All of the tests (including an MRI) eliminated any “terrible” cause.  It apparently is an inner-ear issue.  Then Saturday night I became very sick to my stomach several times.  However, Sunday morning I felt good enough to try to travel.  That turned out to be an OK decision.  Both my stomach problem and my vertigo became minimal issues.

As is always the case when I have a choice, I am staying at a Holiday Inn Express facility.  I have stayed at this one several times and they always give me a good upgrade.

I have been renting my cars from National for the past year or two, if I am renting at the airport.  I am a member of their Emerald club (sounds impressive but it is the first level).  In Seattle, and many locations, you simply go to the rental area and select any car from the Emerald island.  They always have a good variety.  This time I chose a Nissan Frontier truck.  It is a great little truck with lots of power.  I did some checking and it is not highly rated in its class, but I think it is a great vehicle and fun to drive.

The weather here this time of year can be less than perfect.  This time it is not only cold and wet, but they had some significant snow.  The snow melted rather quickly, but the folks here are not used to snow and tend to panic rather easily.

As I did last time, I scheduled my flight home the day after the class.  Everett is only 40 miles from the airport, but the traffic can be horrific.  The route is right through downtown Seattle where terrible traffic jams are the norm.  Besides that, I get to relax in my room and enjoy a somewhat leisure morning – as opposed to the 4:00 AM wake-up alarm for the days I am teaching.

That is all for this trip.

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Hello from Kearney, NE

Hello from Kearney, NE

Thursday evening – February 14, 2019   (First post of this travelogue)

I am in Kearney teaching a four day class that includes bearings, lubrication, and shaft alignment.  The class is being held at the Ockinga Conference Center on the campus of the University of Nebraska, Kearney (Google map link). 

The customer is the 309 Task Force (same as the Lincoln assignment about a month ago. 

The following is an excerpt from my travelogue for the Lincoln trip:

The 309 Task Force is a very interesting organization (link).  It was created via state legislation over 30 years ago.  Here is a description of the results of that legislation:

”The Mission of the 309 Task Force is to address the state’s sizable need for deferred building repairs and improvements to the extent possible with available funding, utilizing those funds wisely and efficiently.  The Task Force was created to be an independent entity to prioritize on a statewide level, and then fund the highest priority building renewal projects.  The four types of projects allowed are deferred building repair, fire/life safety, energy conservation, and ADA projects.  The Task Force works with state agencies on over 3,000 existing state buildings.

A significant part of their funding comes from cigarette tax.  One of the major functions of the task force is to fund training for the state employees who are charged with maintaining/updating the building.

This class had 5 students.  That is a mixed blessing.  Less cats to herd, but less experience shared among the students.  As was the case with the Lincoln class, these folks have a pretty significant variation in their background.  The class went well and we even had enough time to evaluate a different dial indicator alignment process.  The process seemed to work at the Lincoln session but we had some issues with this evaluation.  I will have to contact the company that wrote the software and see if we can figure out what is going on.

I am staying at the Holiday Inn Express hotel which is a mile or two from the college (Google map link).

 

Rather than fly, I chose to rent a car and drive here.  I requested an AWD or four wheel drive and they rented me a 2018 Ford F150 truck.  It is a fun vehicle to drive.  The drive out here on Sunday was uneventful.  It is around 380 miles from our house and a bit over 5 ½ hours driving time. The weather was good and the radio has a USB port, so I could listen to my music.

Monday the weather was terrible – black ice everywhere.  The sidewalks were covered as well as the side streets.  The main streets were not too bad.  However, walking anywhere resulted in sheer panic.  The truck was covered by a sheet of ice that was almost ¼ inch thick (and no scraper in the truck).  The past days have been cold, but no black ice.  It is scheduled to snow tomorrow which is the day I drive home.  Hopefully it will not be too bad.

That is all for this trip.

 

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Hello from Kremmling, CO

Hello from Kremmling, CO Hotel Eastin

Friday Evening – February 1, 2019   (First post of this travelogue)

Pat and I are making a quick trip to Kremmling to attend a funeral of a very neat lady that was in Pat’s downline.  We are staying at a very unique hotel – Hotel Eastin (Google map link).  More about the hotel later.

We chose to take the I 70 route to Silverthorn and then up CO 9 to Kremmiling.  The weather was nice and the road conditions were great.  We will probably be going back US 40 tomorrow.

The funeral was for Erle Lynne Jones.  It was held in the high school.  Well over 100 folks were in attendance.  Erle Lynne was the kind of woman that you just naturally loved.  She has been in Pat’s downline for 13 years.  She has been fighting cancer for around 25 years.  She passed away a few days ago at the age of 70.  The service was beautiful.

The Hotel Eastin is a neat historic building.  It was built in 1906 as a sarsaparilla factory.  The first floor was the factory and the second story was a rooming house.  Over the years it housed a barber shop, drug store and dress shop.  The current owners bought the building 13 years ago and began restoring each room.  Some of the rooms are “boarding” rooms with a common bath “down the hall”.  Other rooms are “theme” rooms with a bath.  Our room is called the Zane Grey room.  It is said that he stayed here and got the inspiration for his book:  The Mysterious Rider.  As you will see from the photos the room is very small, but well decorated.

 

Hotel Eastin

Hotel Eastin

 

 

Room at Hotel Eastin

Room at Hotel Eastin

 

Room at Hotel Eastin

Room at Hotel Eastin

 

That is all for this trip.

 

 

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Hello from Lincoln, NE

Hello from Lincoln, NE

Friday morning – January 18, 2019   (First post of this travelogue)

I am in Lincoln teaching a four day class that includes bearings, lubrication, and shaft alignment.  The class is being held at Southeast Community College (Google map link)

The actual customer is the 309 Task Force.  309 Task Force is a very interesting organization (link).  It was created via state legislation over 30 years ago.  Here is a description of the results of that legislation:

The Mission of the 309 Task Force is to address the state’s sizable need for deferred building repairs and improvements to the extent possible with available funding, utilizing those funds wisely and efficiently.  The Task Force was created to be an independent entity to prioritize on a statewide level, and then fund the highest priority building renewal projects.  The four types of projects allowed are deferred building repair, fire/life safety, energy conservation, and ADA projects.  The Task Force works with state agencies on over 3,000 existing state buildings. 

A significant part of their funding comes from cigarette tax.  One of the major functions of the task force is to fund training for the state employees who are charged with maintaining/updating the building.

There were 12 students in the class and that is about the max that I would want for this class.  These folks have a pretty significant variation in their background which really helps make the class interesting.  The class went well and we even had enough time to evaluate a different dial indicator alignment process that turned out to be a great process.  I will use it in another class or two and then we will probably add it to the lab book

I am staying at the Staybridge hotel which is a mile or two from the college (Google map link).

The weather here is pretty close to unbearable.  It is overcast, very humid, and cold.  They had a big snow the day before I got here and there is still a lot on the ground.  They predict a big snow later today, so I hope that I get out before it dumps.

Lincoln does not have much of a commercial airport.  Only a few airlines and many are actually commuter airlines.  I flew in on a United commuter jet that had only three seats in each row (one on one side and two on the other.  I rather enjoy the smaller planes.  No huge crowd at the gate.  However, the overheads are very limited and it is always best to “gate check” your briefcase.

As I did last week, I chose to fly out the day after the class.  That avoids any rushing and I hate rushing. 

That is all for this trip.

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Hello from Everett, WA

Hello from Everett, WA

Friday morning – January 11, 2019   (First post of this travelogue)

Well, I am once again back in Everett, teaching at Boeing.  This week I taught two classes:  Bearings (a Boeing one day class) and mechanical drives (3 days).  I like teaching at the Everett facility, as it seems to be more laid back than the Auburn plant.  The only issue is that the classes start at 6:00 AM.

Both classes went well.  They were smaller than past classes but sometimes that is better.  We taught in a different room that was not really set up to be a class room, but we made it work just fine and the room was large enough to be able to set up all the trainers.

The weather here is pretty cool (40s and 50s) and very damp.  The rain not continuous, but there were periods of significant showers.

I  could probably have schedule myself out of Seattle yesterday evening, but the commute from Everett to the airport can be a real challenge.  On the mapping programs it is a bit less than an hour, but the traffic often doubles that.   The route is right though the middle of Seattle on I 5 and that can be a parking lot at times.  Besides, after four days of 4:00 AM alarms, I am pretty tired and that does not mix well with the terrible drivers out here.  So, I schedule myself out the next day and allow plenty of time for a comfortable drive.

That is all for this trip.

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Hello from Orlando, FL

Hello from Orlando, FL

Saturday evening – November 10, 2018   (First post of this travelogue)

We are in Orlando for a Stampin’ Up! convention (the thirtieth!).  The convention is in the Orange County Convention center and we are staying at the Holiday Inn Express about three miles away (Google Map Link)

We flew in this past Tuesday.  When we chose our flights, we decided to try to save some cost by taking an early flight.  We later had some second thoughts {grin} – our flight left at 5:45 AM and we had to get up at 1:30 to get to the airport in time!  Other than that the flight went well.  We got to the hotel a bit after noon and we both took naps (can you imagine that?).

Wednesday was Pat’s registration.  Stampin’ Up! had arranged for an afternoon/evening at Epcot for the higher level demonstrators.  They provided several buses to transport us from the Convention Center to Epcot.  We had a great time.  Of course, we had to head to the German area of the World Show Place for lunch.   They have good German entertainment and a great German buffet.  From there we wandered around.  We had decided not to try any rides, since I am still having vertigo symptoms.  However, we thought it was OK to ride the “Space Ship Earth” in the large dome.  We knew it was a “mild” ride.  We did not think about the fact that you really need to move your head around to see all the great displays on the tour.  When we got the end of the ride and had to step onto the rotating platform, I must have looked like I was drunk.   However, the symptoms got better fairly quickly.

Orange County Convention Center  (from tripadvisorcom)

Orange County Convention Center (from tripadvisorcom)

 

At 8:00PM, Stampin’ Up! hosted a huge dessert party at a private function in the World Show Place Pavilion.  They then provided buses back to the convention center.  We could have stayed for the fireworks, but we were tired and went back just as they started the program.

Epcot on a beautiful day

Epcot on a beautiful day

The convention (OnStage Live) is three days not including the Epcot event.  Reportedly there are 7,000 demonstrators here from several countries.  After the Thursday session we had dinner with 8 of her downline.  It was great fun.

Pat and Elizabeth at OnStage  (no fun there!!)

Pat and Elizabeth at OnStage (no fun there!!)

While Pat is in the sessions, I have been working on some projects on the computer and taking short walks.   It has been relaxing.

The weather down here has been great.  The temperatures in the daytime are in the high 80’s and the 60’s in the evening.  Unfortunately, we are headed back to cold and snow.

If you follow our blog, you will recall that last week I was in Everett, WA and this week in Orlando – almost at the extreme ends of the country. 

As we have said many times, we prefer Holiday Inn properties.  I use them whenever possible for my NTT travel and we select them for our personal travel.  I just looked at my account and after this stay, I will have stayed over 60 nights in Holiday Inn properties this year.  Fortunately, Pat has been able to share many of those nights with me.

I mentioned my vertigo in the last two blogs.  It has been a challenge, but I think the symptoms are getting better.  I have learned that when I am laying in bed and quickly turn my head to the right, the room starts spinning.  At first it was terrible.   Then I figured out that it was kind of fun and would do it on purpose {strange grin}.

That is all for this trip.

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Hello from Everett, WA

Hello from Everett, WA

Wednesday evening – October 31, 2018   (First post of this travelogue)

Well, I am once again back in Everett, teaching at Boeing.  This week I teach two classes:  shaft alignment (2 days) and mechanical drives (3 days).  I like teaching at the Everett facility, as it seems to be more laid back than the Auburn plant.  The only issue is that the classes start at 6:00 AM.

I am done with the shaft alignment class and that went well.  I think the mechanical drive class will go well also, since it has the same students.

The frustrating situation this week is that I am dealing with a fairly significant case of vertigo.  A bit over a week ago, I was just barely able to function, but the symptoms have gotten better – except in the classroom.  I really did not appreciate how much I turn my head from the screen to the students and that often sets off a reaction.  There are times that I feel (and probably look) like I am knee walking drunk.  Today I changed my approach on where I stand, minimized moving around the room and changed how I address both the screen and the students and that helped a bit.

I flew in on Sunday and will fly home on Saturday.  I could probably have planned a Friday return, but the traffic from Everett to the airport is horrendous at times and I just did not to fight the rather aggressive drivers and traffic jams after teaching all day.

The weather here is pretty cool (50s) and very damp.  The rain not continuous, but there are periods of significant showers.

That is all for this trip.

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Hello from Price, UT

Hello from Price, UT

Sunday evening – October 7, 2018   (Sixth post of this travelogue)

Well, the trip is winding down.   We are in Price, UT staying at the Ramada Inn (Google Map link).

As you recall, our goal is to stay at Holiday Inn (IHG) properties whenever possible.  Unfortunately the Holiday Inn in Price is booked full and the Holiday Inn in Green River is no longer a part of the IHG group.  So we settled for the Ramada.  Strangely, we have stayed here a couple of times in years past – but it was a Holiday Inn at the time. I really don’t like Ramada Inns as a rule, but this one is fine and it looks like they may have a good breakfast.

Reno-Sparks is a bit over 1,000 miles from our house.  We decided to break the trip home into three legs.  Last night we stayed at a HI in Elko, NV.  It was a very nice property and we received a nice upgrade. 

Tomorrow we will travel home (about 400 miles).  That is a bit longer than we like to travel in a day.  When we were young we could drive straight through to Pat’s home town in Iowa (about 600 miles) but our tired old bodies no longer like to be submitted to that kind of “punishment”.  Besides that, my sciatica issues impact how long I can travel at a time.

The class in Reno got off to a bit of a rocky start.  There were 7 students – all employees of Barrick Gold Corporation  (a huge mining organization with many mines in the Americas including two huge mines in the Elko area).  The students had a lot of experience and seemed to have a bit of an “attitude”.  On the second day things smoothed out a bit when they figured out that I was not going to read out of a textbook.  I try to make the sometimes “boring” subjects interesting and they seemed to warm up to that approach.  By the fourth day we were having a ton of fun – well, as much as you can have in a somewhat structured class.  The last two days of class are shaft alignment labs with our training equipment.  Without question, they were very skilled and were much quicker to get the exercises done than most classes and they did a great job.  Most of the exercises involve the use of two different dial indicator processes and that can be a real challenge to most students.  Once they get the alignment completed with the dial indicators, we put our laser kit on so that they can get experience with laser alignment equipment, and also, to check the results of their dial indicator alignment.  In almost every case, the laser will show the students that they need to work on getting the dial indicator process perfected.  These folks almost always hit very close to the target.  The class turned out to be a good experience.

When we left Denver, there had been something like 8-10 straight days of 90 degree weather.  For most of this trip the weather has been anywhere from good to fantastic (a few rain showers mixed in).   The last couple of days have been quite chilly with a bit of rain, but still decent weather.  Now it looks like we will get home in a snowstorm.  I am going to continue to wear my shorts, but that may be a stretch when we get home {grin}.

That is all for this trip.

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