Tom Flanders Stuff

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Tom Week – Irving Sad

Irving's replacement

7/1/20 – Irving is Gone

So I don’t need to buy the parts to fix my bike, because the bike got stolen last night. It wasn’t locked up, so it’s my own fault. Funny, they didn’t steal my folding bike, probably because it has a flat.

So, today I went to several stores looking for a new bike. There are no new bikes. At least none that I can afford. Not that I don’t have that much money, but the RV life is tough on bikes so I need a cheap rugged bike. With the pandemic, the parts supply chain is broken, thus the lack of bikes.

Supposedly some WalMarts still have bikes. Either that, or I’ll start looking at thrift stores.

7/2/20 – Long Live Mr. Ed

I changed the front tube on Mr. Ed, the folding bike. Went for a test ride and everything went fine. No big hills in Moss Landing.

Got dinner from Phil’s Fish Market. Way too much food, but yummy.

7/3/20 – Some Days Go Well

I got new sneakers today at the Converse Outlet Store. One pair of solid black hightops and one pair with Gortex outers from the clearance bin. Joy.

Oh yeah, I also bought a new bike. The perfect bike. I am going to write up the whole story soon. Joy again.

We also stopped at one of the best fruit stands in Northern California. We have much yummy fruit. Joy times three.

7/4/20 – The New Bike

I spent an hour or so going over the bike. I found some loose spokes, adjusted the handlebars, but nearly everything else was perfect. Nearly.

I am unable to get the disc brakes right. The problem is that the wheels are not perfectly centered. With old-style bike brakes that would be an easy work-around, but the disc brakes require millimeter accuracy rather than centimeter accuracy. That wouldn’t be a problem if I had a 17mm wrench. I have a 16 and two 18s, but no 17. Harbor Freight run tomorrow!

Event though the brakes were dragging a bit I went for a short ride. The best thing is that it is way more comfortable. The fat tires absorb the bumps and feel much steadier on loose dirt. The gearing is good. The only thing lacking are the Grannie gears for steep climbs. Ah well, I guess that’s what muscles are for.

7/5/20 – The Wrong Road

I decided to take the scenic route to the new campground. MISTAKE! I’m used to twisty roads but this was ridiculous. We got constantly hit by branches. The awning took a hit and now the supports are bent back. I can fix it.

We are now on the north coast of California. Cool breeze off the not too distant ocean. Quiet. Nearest highway is 40 miles away kind of quiet. No TV kind of quiet.

There’s currently no fog. Should be a good star show tonight.

7/6/20 – The Nazz

The new bike will from now on be referred to as The Nazz. Mostly because that is the model name of the bike. The manufacturer’s website doesn’t explain why it is called Nazz. I’m pretending that it’s a reference to Shel Silverstein’s poem, THE NAZ. (Short for, The Nazaren, AKA Jesus)

I managed to adjust The Nazz’s brakes. The front took about 30 minutes. The back took about 5. I’m learning. Tiny adjustments.

Then I went for a ride, but only managed four miles. I wound up on a very steep dirt road. I don’t have a water bottle holder on the bike yet, so I turned around as soon as I started feeling dehydrated. Walmart run tomorrow.

7/7/20 – Open Bin

As we pulled up to a construction zone, the flagman started pointed at us. Turns out one of our bins had come open. No idea how long it was open, but we only lost one thing, a cheap portable jump-starter. Not to bad. Got to be more careful.

Driving on 101 in Norther California is weird. Just 100 miles back it is a 12 lane monster of a highway. Up here it is 1 lane in each direction. Weird.


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Tags: ,, | Comments (0) | Author: Tom | Published: July 8, 2020

Tom Week – Medical Tourism

medical tourism - hospital sign

6/25/20 – Medical Tourism

Medical tourism is when you go somewhere for purely for medical reasons. You probably figured that out for yourself. Despite living here for so long, there isn’t much reason to come to San Francisco during a pandemic. All the comedy shows are online anyway. So we sit here by the gray ocean, watching the pelicans fly back and forth. Getting lots of work done.

6/27/20 – Rental Car No Return

I had to return the rental car today. It wasn’t easy. First, I failed to notice the reduced hours for Saturdays. Fortunately, the website explained the after-hours return process, leaving the keys in a night-drop box. So I got there and the night-drop box is taped shut with a sign saying they no longer offer late drop-off.

I tried calling but kept getting lost in voice mail hell or winding up on hold for long periods of time. We managed to find that the airport location was open so I drove over there. I followed the signs and found the Enterprise return, not even sure they would except it.

I pulled forward and left the keys in the car as the signs indicated. There was nobody there. There were a couple dozen vehicles in the return area, but nobody in the booth. So I got on my bike and headed back to the campground.

Only problem was my bike picked that moment to have it’s rear shift lever break. The lowest gear I could get was fifth. Not much of a problem on the flat, but I had a hill to climb. A climb of nearly 900 feet spread over just three miles. I had to walk the bike up the steepest last mile.

The good part was then a 900 foot descent over four miles. I averaged 32 MPH for that part of the ride. Much fun.

6/28/20 – Out Of The Fog

We are in Prunedale. It’s overcast, but not foggy, and much warmer. The last time we were here a praying mantis payed us a visit.

6/29/20 – Fixing Things

The wind was finally calm enough to climb on the roof and install the new capacitors in the air conditioner. Simple job. It seems to be working.

Then I got to work on my bike. I found that the shift lever has skipped several teeth on the indexer. I looked up how to fix that but everyone agrees that it’s a better idea to just replace it. Only costs $15, and the current one has over 4,000 miles on it.

I’m still taking on-line courses in Blender, the 3D animation software. The more I learn, the less I know. This is going to be a long road. I love it.

6/30/20 – Bike Ride

Took Mr. Ed for a ride today. He’s my folding bike. I usually only ride him when I pick up or drop off rental cars. He’s great for short trips in the city, and fits in the trunk of any car. He is however, not good at the hilly country roads of the California coast. Only did 6.3 miles and my legs are aching. Picking up parts for my road bike tomorrow.


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Tags: | Comments (0) | Author: Tom | Published: July 1, 2020

Tom Week – Fog

lawyers in the fog

6/19/20 – In The Fog Again

We are parked on the far edge of the country. It’s foggy, overcast and wind chilly. Pacifica, the town’s name leaves nothing to the imagination.

We are here twice at once. There is another yellow Winnebago Brave here. This is the first time this has happened. We haven’t met the others yet, but I’m sure they’re not normal. Masks ahoy.

6/20/20 – Busy Indoor Day

As my little animations become not so little I started having problems keeping track of where all the files were living. Today, I sat down and created a workflow for managing the files with automated framework creation and source control. Yes, that is how much of a geek I am.

Later, I finished an animation that I don’t think people will find funny, but it makes me laugh so I’m going to publish it anyway.

6/21/20 – Chester and Rachel

Our sort of adopted son Chester and his fiancee Rachel came to visit us today. It was weird sitting around chatting with family while we were all wearing masks. I guess that’s the new normal for a while. Tonya was very confused at first but was on the verge of tears when they left.

6/22/20 – Shopping In The Past

Today I went to the big Safeway in Daly City. That’s where we shopped when we lived here. Nothing inside the store has changed except for the COVID-19 stuff. I had to stand in a socially-distanced line just to get into the store. They used to require that you brought your own bags. Now they forbid it.

6/23/20 – Sunshine and Fog

The sky couldn’t make up its mind today. Not a productive day. I had forgotten about days like this.

6/24/20 – Doctor Stuff

Had to get up at 7AM this morning. Yuk. Good news so far. One more actual visit tomorrow and a virtual visit on the 30th.


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Tags: ,, | Comments (0) | Author: Tom | Published: June 24, 2020

Tom Week – Movable Home

home on wheels

6/11/20 – Oddly At Home

We lived so long in California that it still seems oddly like home. We are in a campground with peacocks roaming freely. Everyone, except the weird lady in the retro trailer, has at least one dog. There are recycling bins! I can’t tell you how hard it is putting bottles and cans in a trash bin. We are back in tree-hugger land.

6/12/20 – The Warren Report

We are staying two days at the Earl Warren Showgrounds, the home of the Santa Barbara County Fair. Yes, that Earl Warren. It’s just a parking lot but there are some funky people here.

Being in Santa Barbara we had to eat at a Habit Burger. The chain started here. It only took three tries to find one that had a parking lot big enough for us.

6/13/20 – Santa Barbara Unmasked

Had a bike ride today. Mostly very nice. A wonderful bike route along the ocean. Then I turned through downtown. At first I was happy because the main street was closed to cars. Then I saw all the people. None of them were wearing masks, not even the workers at the outdoor cafes.

Saw later on the news that today was the first day the street’s restaurants were reopened. Judging from other states I expect that they’ll have a big spike in COVID cases in two to three weeks. My favorite idiot on the news was saying there was no reason to wear a mask because it was such a nice day.

Oh yeah; today I got to shop at the WalMart in Oxnard, and nobody can ever take that away from me.

6/14/20 – Pismo Beach!

Pismo Beach is one of our favorite vacation spots, and we’re in our favorite park, right next to downtown. We must shop for T-shirts. We don’t need T-shirts. We all already have Pismo Beach T-shirts. Still, we must shop for T-shirts.

6/15/20 – Bad Fire Up The Road

Shell Beach, which is at the north end of Pismo Bay, caught fire today. Lots of smoke. It’s mostly under control now, but there are hot spots and high winds. People here at the campground are showing solidarity by STARTING FIRES! Idiots.

6/16/20 – Leaky Hoses

Today I discovered that our sewer hose was leaking. It oddly sprouted a leak on top. I have no idea how that can happen. Usually it gets torn on the bottom from getting dragged on the gravel. Fortunately, it was only the gray water and not the black water that was leaking. Anyway, I went to WalMart and bought a new one. The adventures of travel.

6/17/20 – SLO

We had to drive to SLO, AKA San Luis Obispo, to go shopping. Pismo Beach is too hip to have regular stores. I did not buy gingerale. Pat got to go into Sprouts, her favorite store. Such thing become important when you travel around and your favorite stores are not always available.


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Tags: ,,, | Comments (0) | Author: Tom | Published: June 17, 2020

Tom Week – Las Vegas?

las vegas new mexico

6/4/20 – Viva Las Vegas New Mexico

Las Vegas is over a mile high and very sleepy about it. Back in the valley it’s 106 today. Here it was 90, but only 15% humidity and there’s a breeze. In the 50’s tonight. Hopefully finally able to sleepy.

Patrick Swayze used to live near here. Nearly all the Tom Mix movies were filmed near here. Are you impressed? Deal with it.

6/5/20 – Oh Yeah, Altitude

I went for a bike ride today. It was hotter than I hoped, but I had plenty of Gatorade. It was hillier than I hoped, but I took my time and my legs are strong. What I forgot was that we are at 6,500 feet and the air gets a bit thin up here. By the time I got back to the campground my lungs were burning and I was well worn out.

6/6/20 – Downhill

The thin air was getting to all of us so we came down to Albuquerque, which sits at a mere 5,000 feet. We’re in a funky little RV park in a corner spot that’s a pull-in, rather than a back-in or a pull through. Perhaps back-out would be a better name.

The mountains are behind us and a drainage ditch in front. We do have a small lawn of plastic grass. It sparks memories of Gardner’s Uptown Lunch and Variety, overlooking the astroturf.

6/7/20 – Loose Wires and Hornet Nests

Had to climb on the roof today to fix the air conditioner. Fortunately there was an obvious loose wire, so the troubleshooting was minimal. Also fortunately, the hornet nest was long vacant.

Oh yes, there’s a rooster next door. A real rooster. A scream at the sunrise kind of rooster.

6/8/20 – The Wind

The wind was bad today, but until I saw the evening news I didn’t realize how bad. Here in Gallup there was a gust measured at 75mph. That’s borderline hurricane speed. Fun.

6/9/20 – Less Wind

The journey continues. We are in Williams, the gateway to the Grand Canyon. A funky little town that’s currently all locked down.

6/10/20 – More Heat

We’re in Barstow where it’s cooler than Needles by a whole 2 degrees. 98 in the shade. Air conditioner not working. I thought I fixed it the other day but it seems that was just a symptom, not the root cause. Did I learn nothing from Rocky Horror?


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Tags: , | Comments (0) | Author: Tom | Published: June 10, 2020


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