Monday, April 14, 2014

Hello from the Seattle Airport

Hello from the Seattle Airport

Drafted:  Friday Afternoon,  April 11, 2014   (first post of this trip – and only one {grin})
Posted:  Monday  April 14, 2014 from home.

I often mention that this blog is really a travelogue.  I only post when there is travel related stuff to talk about.  The readers that we have certainly do not want to read about a lot of minutia taking place in our lives {big grin}.

I have been in the Seattle area since last Sunday.  I taught Shaft Alignment and Mechanical Drives courses this week on the early shift (6:00 AM – 2:30) at Boeing.  Normally these are my fun classes to teach, but I had 3 out of 5 of the students who kicked back, put their feet on the table and went to sleep!  No attempt to hide the fact that they were sleeping.  I finally got a Boeing person to read the riot act to them.  Since they are technically our customer, I did not feel like I should really come down on them, but I gave them plenty of comments to let them know I was not a happy camper.  In all my years of teaching and presenting seminars (over 45 years) I have never had that many really rude students.  The two that did not sleep apologized to me about the terrible behavior of the other students.  I know that it really affected my attitude.  I tried my best to give them a good session, but I could tell that I was not at my peak.

If you follow my blog, you will recall that the last few months of 2013, I was in the Seattle area a large percentage of the time.  Then the spigot turned off.  Boeing made some demands of NTT for course revision and that resulted in no classes being presented for the first three months.  In addition the other instructor, who was also an interim manager of the group, returned to an instructor only position and has priority over the schedule.  Where that leaves me is anybody's guess. 

I really got tired of all the travel last year, but I would like to do a class a month or so.  Like so many things, it seems to be feast or famine.

As usual, I stayed at the Holiday Inn in Kent.  Unfortunately they are converting to a Ramada property next week.  I detest Ramada Inns!.  The location of the hotel is ideal for our classes, but I will find another Holiday Inn that will work.

During the hiatus,   I started a major shop project – the rebuild of my '59 BC-150 International truck.  I am having a ball working in the shop!!! I have been averaging maybe 25-30 hours a week – not bad for an old fart {grin}.  I have been trying to document the project at:  I am having some problems with the website.  It works but some of the thumbnail pictures do not display.  The thumbnails that don’t display will produce the larger version.  The software I am using (MS Frontpage) is no longer supported by GoDaddy and that causes all kinds of problems.  I will begin converting to WordPress format in the near future,  In the meantime, you can get a feeling of the size of the project.

While our blog has been rather sparse the past few months, our travel plans suggest that we will be on the road a bit more over the next few months.  Stay tuned.

Per my usual track record, I did not finish this post in the airport – thus the delay in posting.

That is all for this trip.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Hello from Evergreen – Catching Up

Hello from Evergreen – Catching Up

Sunday Evening ,  February 2, 2014   

Wow, I can’t believe that my last post was November 19, 2013.  Several of our friends have called to ask if we are OK.  Part of the problem is that we still have not sent out our Christmas Letter!

I started a blog on December 13, but never completed or posted it.  Here is what I had written:

Yes, I am back in Kent.  Indeed, I was also here last week as well.  Last week, I taught for three days and flew home Wednesday night.  Actually, I got to the house at 1:15 AM Thursday and the temperature was – 21 degrees!!!

Sunday I flew back out and have been teaching a 5 day class.  The class is on the second shift and I think I like that better than the first shift where I have to get up at 4:00 AM

The weather here continues to be cold (some frost in the morning) and we have had some heavy rain a few days.  As I have noted before, the air is very moist and with a bit of wind, the cold seems much worse than the thermometer would suggest.

I really don’t know where to start catching up.  Both Pat and I were pretty darn sick for all of December and a couple of weeks before and after.  Mine started out as Whooping Cough and went into pneumonia and Pat’s started out as a sinus infection and then pneumonia.  Neither of us remember being that sick for that long.  When I was teaching the two classes in December, I kept getting sicker and by the time I got home I was down and out.  We could barely make it from the bedroom to the living room.  Fortunately we are both doing much better now.

We have had some fun animal photo opportunities the past few months:

Elk in the back yard Nov. 24 2013

Fox on the back deck Dec. 24 2013

Elk in the front yard Jan. 13 2014

My teaching schedule has changed significantly.  I was scheduled to do two classes in both Jan. and Feb., but Boeing has halted all training until NTT revises some of the classes.  I am tentatively scheduled for a class in April.  March schedule is unknown.  All thing considered, the change in schedule has not been all bad.  The 2013 schedule was way too hectic.  While the money is good, the travel is a pain in the tail.

During this hiatus, I have started rebuilding my ’59 IHC truck.  I have really enjoyed getting back in the shop doing somewhat creative fabrication.  I also enjoy doing all the “parts research”.  I updated the project page (click here) .  The rebuild will be extensive.  The engine will be updated to a large V8 IH engine, a 5 speed truck transmission, a Brownie 4 speed auxiliary gear box, a 36 inch frame stretch and a period-correct sleeper.  This is a typical Shepherd project {grin}.

Probably lots more that I could add to this blog, but at least you all know that we are alive and doing pretty well.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Hello from Gunnison, CO

Hello from Gunnison, CO

Tuesday morning ,  November 19, 2013   (ninth travelogue of this trip).

Sunday we drove about 400 miles to Green River, UT and stayed at the Holiday Inn Express (on points {grin}).  Monday we drove to Gunnison (a bit over 200 miles) and got here about noon.  We are staying at the Roadway Inn (map). 

Last night we went to dinner with Thomas (grandson) and his girlfriend Klara.  We also did a bit of catching up in the rather tiny motel room.  It is great to hear about their lives and frustrating to hear about the challenges of being a college student on a tight budget.

We planned this trip for several reasons.

First, we wanted to just plain get away.  I was tired of flying to Seattle so often and fighting the airport logistics.  That also meant a lot of time away from Pat.

 Second, we wanted to take a tourist-type trip through the north west part of the US.  We have seen some magnificent country, visited some great friends and drove a lot of miles (close to 4000!).  I think we did pretty good on that goal.

Lastly, I wanted to pick up a sleeper I bought for my ’59 IHC BC-150 truck (link to background).  If you visit the linked site, you will find out that this truck is very special to me.  I have been collecting parts for a complete rebuild for several years.  One of my crazy goals was to extend the frame and put a sleeper on the truck.  It was never built that way from the factory, but I think it will look neat and give me some storage room.  I had looked all over the US for a period-correct sleeper and finally found one that was about 5 miles from the hotel in Kent, WA.  I went to see it a couple of months ago and bought it.  Then I had to figure out how to get it home.  The photo below shows my methodology {grin}.

That is all for now.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Hello from Twin Falls, ID

Hello from Twin Falls, ID

Saturday evening ,  November 16, 2013   (Eight travelogue of this trip).

Today we traveled about 350 miles.  We are at the Holiday Inn Express (map).

I was looking at my Holiday Inn Rewards page and noted that for 2013 I have spent 70 nights in their hotels.  That does not include the past couple of weeks.  I have attained the Platinum level which tends to get you some perks.  Tonight they upgraded us to a really nice suite.  With a little luck, we will be able to use our points for 7 nights on this trip.

We went over some reasonable high passes (for this part of the country). What is often referred to  as Cabbage Patch hill (just east of Pendleton and rated among the worst by some truckers) goes on for what seems like forever.  We hit some pretty good snow – both falling and on the sides of the road.  We saw an SUV that hit the huge rock face on our side of the road and a jack-knifed semi that hit an embankment on the other side.  There were periods of sun, but not much.  The temperature never got over 50 and with high winds and humidity it felt really cold.

Tomorrow, our goal is Green River, UT

That is all for now.