It’s called Hermine

Wednesday August 31st 2016

I spent most of the day watching the weather forecast and getting ready for whatever it brings. Early this afternoon the darn storm got a name, Hermine. What kind of name is that?

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Storm front moving in. After 45 minutes of downpour the sun returned.

It still seems like the media and the local government are preparing for something that the residents of the area aren’t terribly worried about. I talked with a couple of local people today that seemed to boil it down to just another storm. As of 5PM the storm track has moved to the west. This is a good thing according to one TV forecaster and a not so good a thing according to another. I guess only time will tell and even that is changing. The peak of the storm is now Friday morning, about 12 hours later than yesterday’s forecast. I think what I’m not hearing is speculation from the TV forecasters. They just spin the facts hard or soft. It would be nice to know what they suspect will really happen.

I completed a few domestic chores and a couple of prep tasks for the storm. The black and gray tanks got dumped and as a precaution, I filled the water tank with fresh water. Another tank that got filled was the gas tank of my SUV. The motor home gas tank is already filled so the generator has plenty of fuel.

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RV park laundry facility.

The major PITA task was doing the laundry. I had enough for three washing machines and two dryer loads. The problems started with the need to buy a money card at the office to operate the machines. The card cost $4 and I loaded $12 onto it. I used all of the stored money, so it cost $16 to complete the laundry. Each load only cost $2, but I screwed up a couple of times. I needed to wash one load twice since I forgot to put the soap in before the door locked. Then one of the dryer loads cost twice what it should have when I didn’t select the type of cycle before the money I had loaded timed out. Overall it took more than two hours to complete. I stayed at the laundry building the whole time as a couple of cloud bursts kept me undercover.

Tropical Storm Watch

Tuesday August 30th 2016

I’m still in Jacksonville watching the weather. I still don’t believe I’m in any serious risk by staying here. I’m on high ground, the winds aren’t forecast to be to extreme and there aren’t many tall objects to come crashing down. The only real danger is from a random tornado spawned by the tropical storm.

I’m going to use part of this blog entry to attempt to help me and my readers understand my thought process. There are a couple of reasons I haven’t moved. I don’t know which way to run and the TV forecasters are not giving me a consistent understanding of what’s going on.

If I had moved yesterday, I’d have gone north and west. It would have been further from the path of the storm, further from the coast and on the weaker side of the tropical system. I also got the impression that it was less likely the storm would change path in that direction. Good thing I didn’t move. The update this evening says that the storm path has moved that way. If I’d moved south in Florida, I’d be safer now, but yesterday the local forecasters were saying if the path changed it would be toward the south. It is also counter intuitive to move toward a dead end as far as escapes go.

That is symptomatic of my problem with the local TV stations. Even though Jacksonville has a full complement of network and non-network TV stations, several of them are owned by the same company. The CBS and Fox channels share a common news organization as do the ABC and NBC channels. So rather than having four opinions on the coming weather, I only have two from these stations. One is very conservative and fear oriented in its approach and the other seems a little less severe. Which one is more accurate? The whole broadcast approach seems to be “if we scare everybody sufficiently nobody can blame us for not getting the word out. Better err to the bad than fail.” This is the same approach I have observed in New England when it comes to snow storms.

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View from the front of the campground. My RV is in the center of the picture at the far end of the short term area. They empty sites in the foreground were filled by 6pm this evening.

There are 150 long term residents at this park. Most of them are easily movable. I have only seen two actually leave the park and I don’t know if the storm was the motivation for the departure. Also of significance to me is that very few of the residents have put stuff away or tied things down. That is consistent with the forecast wind speeds which aren’t much more than those found in many thunderstorms.

I know if this were a hurricane, I’d have moved. As it is the storm isn’t even a tropical storm yet. It will be soon, but it is unlikely to ever become a hurricane. If I’d been here for all the hype and build up last week, maybe I’d have moved. While I knew about the storm last week, it wasn’t until Sunday night that I understood that Jacksonville was in the center of the cross hairs.

The forecasters, that I don’t know how to trust, say the effects of the storm will start to be felt tomorrow.  The main storm will not be here until Thursday.   The current weather pattern has periodic storms coming in off the ocean with gusty winds. It is raining one minute and sunny the next. Basically, that means it is just as risky to move as to stay put.

So, those are my thoughts and observations. I still believe that I’ve made a reasonable decision. If I’m wrong, I’ll leave the RV and head for a shelter. I will have my weather radio set in alert mode from tonight on. I’m not particularly worried, just being cautious. The adventure continues.

The big event for the day was a trip to the post office. Thanks to Google maps, I found a nearby post office about 3 exits south on Interstate 95. The big surprise was the Anheuser-Busch brewery across the street from the post office. I’ll have to go back and take the tour while I’m here.

The Adventure Continues

Monday August 29th 2016

And now we return to regular blogging.

I got back to Jacksonville FL last night. It was a long day of travel. Most of my time was spent waiting for a plane not actually flying. It’s my own fault. I booked a flight with a long layover in Baltimore, then I got to the airport in Boston two hours early. The flights were on time and were in the air about two and half hours total with an hour or so at the gates and on the taxiways. I spent 5 hours in the airports. I got back to my RV home at about 10:15PM after leaving my NH house around 11:30am.

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Site the Pecan Park RV Resort.

I returned to cooler weather than I left last week. The temperature peaked this afternoon in the mid 80s with less humidity and more wind. A line of thunderstorms came in off the Atlantic Ocean to cool it down more. The big concern is what the impact to this area will be from Tropical Depression No. 9 that just entered the Gulf of Mexico west of Key West. Jacksonville is currently in the middle of the projected path for Thursday of this week. It is not currently projected to become a hurricane.

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The empty sites at the campground

Things have changed a little at the campground. A number of the RVs that were here when I arrived two weeks ago have departed. Since I booked for a month, my site is at the edge of the short term area. Looking across the short term area there was only one unit left this morning. A few more arrived this afternoon. I don’t think the departures are weather related. None of the long term, yet mobile, RVs in the park are leaving. but I am watching the forecast closely. I might pull up stakes and move tomorrow, if the forecast warrants. In what direction and how far remains is unknown for now.

The activity for the day was primarily recovering from travel and restocking the refrigerator. Other than a run to the Walmart Supercenter for a big load of groceries, I spent the day at home.

Blog Vacation

Sunday August 21st 2016

I got up this morning at 4:30am. The goal was to get to the airport for a 7:05am flight to Boston. I’m spending a week on house issues. I need to get everything finished up by the middle of September to support the closing on the sale.

I got to the airport with plenty of time to spare. The security line kept moving so I was sitting at the gate by 5:30. They didn’t start loading for another hour, around 6:30. The flight was just about full and I had a fidgety neighbor in the middle seat so I couldn’t get any real sleep on the first leg of the flight to Baltimore. On the second leg into Boston I got a little sleep, but this time my neighbor thought my ribs were an arm rest for his elbow. Sometime you just can’t win.

I arrived back in New Hampshire about 1PM. So it begins… I won’t be writing a daily blog until next week. So check back next week.

Flea Market

Saturday August 20th 2016

It was a hot day today. After a cloudy start, it turned into a full sunshine from the mid day on. The temperature topped out at about 98 degrees, but not to humid.

My great adventure for the day was to tour Jacksonville’s largest Flea and Farmers Market. It is located next door to the campground. It is held in barn like buildings that seem better suited to horses than people or fleas. There were three long barns of vendors. They had a few fans blowing to try and keep it comfortable, but they failed. It was hot in the buildings.

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Pecan Park Flea and Farmers Market. Visible in the picture is about one third of three barns of stuff.

There were merchants selling a little bit of everything. There were several booths selling Chinese tools, a couple of vendors selling cell phone accessories and lots of leather goods. There were a few vendors of crafts and artsy style merchandise as well as a large vendor selling used books.

Perhaps the most unusual vendors were the groomers for people and pets. By that I mean, a barbershop, a hairdresser and a pet groomer all in separate booths. There were a couple of people waiting to get their hair cut and a dog was in the middle of a bath when I went past the booth. It would appear people plan to do things at the flea market.

Outside the barns are attractions for the non-shoppers. A course for All Terain Vehicles (ATVs) was out back that seem to be run similar to a go-cart track. Up front was an Alligator Zoo and a pub in a tent. Other food choices were scattered around the grounds and barns.

I was disappointed that the Farmers part of the market was lacking. First the fruit and produce was at the very back of the furthest barn from the entrance. There were only 3 or 4 vendors selling fruit and produce. One only sold peaches, but the price was high unless you wanted to by a bushel box. Four peaches were $3.50, 2 baskets or 8 peaches were $5.00, but the bushel box was $24.00. I don’t know how many peaches were in the box.

The biggest produce vendor had everything sized in plastic bowls. I just didn’t understand how they decided on the portions. One unit of yellow squash had three or four little squash. It was enough to serve three or four people. On the other hand a single unit of snap peas was only a handful. I guess there was enough for one person.

The flea market is held every Saturday and Sunday. Most if not all of the vendors are long term participants. I’m sure that I’ll be back to really shop instead of just wandering through like I did today. A shopping trip would be much quicker than the hour and a half I spent walking through the place today.

A Stay at Home Day

Friday August 19th 2016

Today was a lot like yesterday. It was hot and I didn’t have a great deal of motivation to leave the RV. I worked in and around my RV home today.

One of the things I’ve been doing is assembling a list of warranty repairs for my RV that need to be completed. After the sale of my house closes, I need to make a run to Red Bay, Alabama to get the repairs completed at the factory. The one year warranty runs out at the beginning of October. The advantage associated with a trip to the factory instead of having any authorized dealer complete the tasks are two fold. The biggest advantage is that the factory service center is first come first served. You don’t need to make an appointment for some day weeks or even months in the future and being the factory, they usually fix it right the first time.

My understanding of the way it works at the factory service center comes from the internet. Hopefully that is close to accurate. They have a large campground with hookups at the service center. Once you check in, a customer service tech visits you at your site to go over the list of things you need completed. Your scheduled for a service bay based on complexity of task. It usually takes a couple of days to a week to get in depending on how busy they are. Now until the middle of October is supposed to be a slow time.

I haven’t had any debilitating problems with the RV. They are mostly things with easy work arounds or annoyances. The two biggest items are the power window in the drivers door doesn’t work reliably and the black tank flush doesn’t seem to work. I re-tried each of these issues today to make sure they were not just operator error. They are real issues so they are on the list. The other items are adjustments and replacing a window shade that doesn’t work.

There may be one other problem to fix. Over the winter I had a water leak in the hot water line to the shower. Unfortunately, the evidence of this leak has gone away. I find it hard to believe it’s fixed without intervention. There is something wrong with trying to re-create a leak, but that is exactly what I’ve been doing. If I can’t get it to happen again, I’ll report it and have them log it as a problem identified during the warranty period. They are reported to be good about fixing things like reported during the warranty period at later time.

In addition to the repair list, I got a few other things accomplished around the RV. Outside, I put the sun shades on the tires that face the sun to prevent UV exposure and I dumped the holding tanks. Inside I did more internet research and made a few calls to setup appointments regarding the sale of the house in New Hampshire.

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Interesting cloud pattern as the storm front moves into the area.

Late in the day the weather deteriorated. A brief line of storms went through about 3PM and a heavier storm hit around 8PM. It seems to have cooled things off a little. My roof AC units are cycling off for much longer periods of time.

Full Moon

Thursday August 18th 2016

It was another hot and humid day. I didn’t do much outside today. I spent most of the day inside not doing much at all.

I stretched my breakfast coffee into a 2 hour affair by reading blog pages on the Internet, searching for information and watching TV. I drank the whole pot of coffee this morning. Usually, I only finish about two thirds of the pot.

My afternoon was spent watching TV and napping. Even though I got a good nights sleep, some how I lost an hour during the afternoon to sleep. With any luck, I will still be able to sleep tonight.

Late in the afternoon, I went out to dinner at the Cracker Barrel at the Airport exit off of I-95. Thursday is their special is turkey with dressing. It’s pretty good and Cracker Barrel in the late afternoon or early evening is not a bad place for a single to eat. After my meal I checked out the Economy parking lot at the Airport for my flight on Sunday. Believe it or not, the fee is only $5 a day.

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The best picture I could get with my limited photography equipment and skill of tonight’s Full moon.

This evening I have been trying to get a picture of the full moon with one of my point and shoot cameras. It is a lost cause. Neither of my little Canon cameras have enough zoom or low light capabilities to pick up any of the definition visible with the naked eye. The good thing about my Canon Power Shot cameras is they are always available on my belt and produce a little better picture than my cell phone. I know I am going to have to buy a Digital SLR camera or something with interchangeable lenses before I get out west or into heavy wildlife areas.