Saturday, August 30, 2008

Greetings from McMinnville Oregon





Hi there Everyone,


Well, we are in McMinnville Oregon for three nights. It took us a couple days to get up here, but the ride was well worthwhile. We drove as far and Yreka on Thursday night, getting in around 11:30 PM. We had a very restfull night in the Walmart parking lot for the night. The next morning we passed through Ashland and had a wonderful Lunch with Karen and Mike. After that brief but enjoyable visit, we pushed through to Cottage Grove Oregon after having ice cream in Myrtle Point, home of the Safeway Ice Cream plant. We stayed once again in a Walmart parking lot, and found that once again very relaxing. Today, we arrived in McMinnville had some Mexican food for lunch and got settled in our camp site for three nights.


Once we got settled in, we went to the Evergreen Air and Space Museum which is only about 100 yards away from the RV park. WOW! That is about the only way to express the experience of this Museum. It is broken up into 3 buildings: The Air Museum, An IMAX theater and the Space Museum. Originally, the Air and space exhibits use to be in one building with the Spruce Goose. However, their number of exhibits far out-grew the single building, so a new space exhibit was opened in June of this year. It is phenominal. Most museums I would say, ".... If you are ever out this way, check it out!". Well in this case, I would say, this place is worth the trip regardless of where you are going. So, regardless of where you are, plan a trip to McMinnville and check this place out. As someone who has been lucky enough to see the Kennedy space center, and would say "I thought nothing inspired pride in Country, Space and Aviation like that place did"; The Evergreen Air and Space museum is in the same class as KSC. Check out some of the pictures attached. They are pictures of the dogs riding in the back of the truck; A Gemini Titan Booster used to loft Gemini Astronaughts into space, Carol Looking at a Luner Lander and Myself posed next to an Apollo Capsule being suspended from a helicopter as if it were being flown back to a carrier after a mission.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Carpetking strikes again

Well, for those of you who know me from my Drum Corps days, you may know that my CB handle is 'Carpetking'. Never did a year go by that I wasn't installing Carpet on some peice of rolling stock so that Keyboard, drums or horns weren't dammaged by the rolling down the road. Well, as we prepared for our two week trip to Portland, Seattle and the Oregon coast, we needed a set up that was a bit more comfortable for our three dogs to ride in.

So, I got out my knife, contact cement and carpet swatches and reprised my role as 'Carpetking'! Check out the video for the final result. I hope you like it!!!

We are leaving this afternoon for our great adventure. The first two nights, we will be boondocking at places still yet unknown to us.

Take care, and continue to check out our blog! Happy camping! - Eric -
video

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Geocaching

Well, Carol and I have been working hard to get ready for our two week vacation starting next Thursday night. We are totally stoked about this upcoming trip. One of our fun things we like to do that doesn't cost a whole lot of money is Geocaching. We found out about this activity from my sister and brother-in-law who introduced us to it a little over a year ago. It involves a website, www.geocaching.com, and a hand held GPS reciever. It is a modern day treasure hunt basically. We have found about 120 'Caches' since we started, but by most standards, we are still rookies. There are people that have litterally thousands of Geocaches that they have found.

We enjoy the acitivity because it takes us to places we normally wouldn't go to. And since we are setting out to Portland and Seattle in less than a week, I have prepared a list of 30 geocaches we can tackle during our trip. We probably won't get to all of them, but one is the very first geocache ever placed, which is in the northern part of Oregon. I really hope we get to hit that one.

Stay tuned on the blog, as I will be updating the blog as we get closer to, and during the trip to see where we have been and what we have been doing.

Take care, Happy camping and Happy Caching! Eric and Carol.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Ah, the joys of being a programmer...

I have worked in the IT Field since 1985, one faithful day early in that year I went from bagging groceries for Safeway Stores to being a computer programmer for them. For the first few years, all I did was software development. Then, completely out of the blue, I thought my world was over, Safeway decided to 'buy' there software from a vendor. What did this mean? Was I out of a really swell job? Well, as luck would have it, software bought from Vendors isn't as cookie cutter as I had feared. There were copious number of interfaces that had to be written between the Vendor written software and the other applications that it would not be replacing.

After 13 years of working for Safeway, I met Carol, my wife, on the Internet and I moved to the Sierra foothills and went to work for Volcano Telephone. Before I started with Volcano, they were also a shop that had written all of their own operational software, but too had bought software from an outside vendor. A couple years after I joined Volcano, the decision was made to swap vendors. Well, now our main Operational software is from a company in Montana. We have been using their software for about 6 years now. All in all, it suits our needs. We went with this new vendor, who is smaller than our previous one, because we thought, since they were smaller, that they might be more responsive to our needs. To some degree, this has proven to be true. None the less, I still keep very busy with additional report development as well as additional programs which don't fit within the scope of what they want to have as their core suite of applications.

Most recently, in order to fit our needs for offering Bundled services to customers (Video, with Telephone, with Internet) we have needed a major enhancement to their software. One our production environment we are using version 5.0 of their software. I have been tasked with implementing version 6.0 of their software. It is my job to coordinate testing with users of all aspects of the new version of the software. This version is pretty much brand new for them. They have done some simple testing, but it is my testing that seems to identify all of the bugs caused by complicated 'Real' data. Sometimes I wonder if they test their programs at all. Oh, I know they do, but yesterday while I was testing, I found that the accounting transactions were out of balance by 1.4 Million dollars. And for a company that does $117,000 in revenue every month, that is a pretty bad out of balance condition. So, I document the problems as best I can and send them off to the vendor in hopes for an overnight fix. Ya, I know better than that, it will probably be a week or so before I have a 'Fixed' version in hand, and I can start my testing all over again. Yippee.

Oh, I wish I could be back writing software again. Maybe someday. Well, I better get off to work and see if I got my 'Overnight' fix.

Have a great day! - Eric -

Monday, August 18, 2008

The RV Entertainment center remodel

Hi there All, Well, I just finished a pretty significant remodel of our fivers entertainment center and I wanted to share it with you all. DW and I have always needed a computer desk. Our entertainment unit had about 16 cubic feet of wasted space so by moving one cabinet down, and replacing the stock stereo with a compact car stereo and moving that around to the side, I was able to replace the 23X23 opening for a small flat panel with a 32" flat panel TV. All of this is right next to a slide out, but with the TV only sticking out 5" after being mounted on a new moveable panel, the slide works great and there is now storage behind the TV for the Computers CPU, with lots of room to spare. Part of the area in the lower part of the cabinet was used for the outdoor shower storage, but I was able to put a false wall in the lower part of the cabinet so that there was room for that plumbing as well. The computer desk area is now big enough for the printer and monitor. The desk is at 26" so it is identical to the tray we have our keyboard at in our stick and brick house. By placing the monitor on top of the VCR, it places the monitor at the same height we have the monitor at on our desk at home. I then drilled some holes in the bottome of a cheapy desk lamp from Wally world and it lights it all up for my Dearest wife! Now, she's very happy. And you know if she is happy, I'm happy.

I also replaced the kitchen sink faucet with a pull out faucet, installed an additional electrical outlet next to the sink (that is on a GFCI circuit), added a switch for the hot water heater as well as put a switch in the circuit for the outside electrical outlet so we can turn the awning lights on and off from the inside. Lastly, I put a cabinet door on the base of a little end table that we have that was used to store our electrical cable before I installed a quick disconnect on the back of the rig. Lots of little additions to make the rig more comfortable an also better use the space. The neat thing is, the Cougar really had great space utilization to start with, this was just a tune up!

The last picture is the way the entertainment center looked before the remodel.

Happy Camping! - Eric -










Friday, August 15, 2008

We're going Camping!

This weekend we are going camping to one of our local state campgrounds! Pipi is just up the highway about 30 miles or so, from our home here in Pine Grove California. This will be the first time in a long time that we have been boon-docking. This isn't our first time out to this campground boon-docking with our current rig, so it should be no-big-deal. Roxy, our 8 year old Australian Shepherd, is suffering from Cancer, so it may be her last trip with us. Her spirit is strong though, so we will take her, gingerly, with us. She doesn't seem to be in any pain, but then again, dogs are pretty stoic. She and our two boxers have really got the camping routine down. Actually, I guess it is called more correctly RV'ing, but regardless, we love to get in the outdoors! 

This will be our first trip since I have completed a series of upgrades to the rig. Some of them we will be able to use, some of them are related to 110 Power, so we won't be able to fully enjoy them because we won't be hooked up to Shore power. Next week, I will post some pictures to our blog of the enhancements I have made.

Have a great weekend! Happy Camping!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The big IT Department move

I've worked for Volcano Telephone as Software Developer, Database administrator and general Jack of all trades now for 9 years. I came here after a 19 year stint with Safeway stores where I was a Cobol and RPG programmer.

In my 9 years with Volcano, our offices/cubicals have moved 6 times. Our boss has this desire every year or so, to move things around. I really, really like the layout we have now, but he feels like it isn't open enough for him, so move things around we shall.

I'm a computer programmer though, I'm not suppose to get my fingers dirty. :-) But I do enjoy doing the handy stuff so I guess I will say 'I'm thankful for a change in pace'. Sorry, but right now I'm trying to get this danged new billing software tested and installed and it is just taking so long to accomplish that I really don't need to be taking 3 days out of my week to do this move. Most of yesterday was focused on Packing. Today, will be the grunt work, and tomorrow will be un-packing.

I guess I better go get my tools and head off to work. Man, I'd rather be RV'ing right now enjoying some lake or stream somewhere. Ahh, thats coming up this weekend! I can't wait.

Happy camping! - Eric-

Welcome to our blog

I've been told for sometime that, for professional reasons I needed to start a blog. Though for the longest time I didn't feel this was necessary, now seemed like a good time to start one. There is a lot going on in our lives and if nothing else, this will give us the ability to look back and see where we have come from.

Our blog will cover lots of areas but the main areas of focus will be RV'ing, Dogs, Information Technology, Medical Transcription, RV'ing, Dogs, Family and our Country. (Yes, Dogs and RV'ing are very important to us!)

Stay tuned for more!! Happy Camping! - Eric -