In Covid-19 Hibernation

Tough Times

We are all living in tough times in 2020 due to the Covid-19 virus pandemic.

As staying in has been the instruction from our governments, it has been necessary to adopt a new outlook on live and living.

No more enjoying any travel in retirement

No more dining out at restaurants

No more gathering and meeting with friends

All finances shot to ruins (well, nearly)

 

Lifestyle Change

So yes, we are all forced to change our lifestyle to some extent.  How long this is for, no one really knows yet.

This has led to much more internet usage.  Now we watch a lot more on Netflix, Stan, CuriosityStream and YouTube.

I have also been doing some online training courses via Udemy.

Also I have been exploring more options in the way I have developed some WordPress based web sites.  I even managed to set a site up on a small cheap VPS (Virtual Private Server). That took up most of a day with me making several errors in the setup of the Ubuntu operating system, the control panel (Webmin) and then the manual install of WordPress.  The site uses a throw away domain name and does not much at all, but does work. I will use it for further training and experimenting.

 

Here is a screenshot proving it worked.

Not much to see really.

 

John Deere 1927

Just Like Our Old 1927 Model D

When growing up, our family had a small hobby farm north of Perth, Western Australia.
We also had some good friends who lived in the WA  wheatbelt area, near Mukinbudin.

My Father talked about getting some sort of tractor for our farm, and our friendly farmer "TW" from Mukinbudin mentioned he had an old one parked out on his property, and that we could have it free if we paid the transport.

So, one long weekend we headed to "Muka" to see if the old tractor would work. It had been sitting out in the weather for decades, covered by some sheets of corrugated iron and old wheat bags.

Once uncovered, it looked pretty far gone. We checked the oil, added some fuel, cleaned the two sparkplugs, and "TW" cranked engine over a few times to see that it was getting some lube into the pistons.

Now for the real test, we primed it with a little petrol, and "TW" swung on the huge flywheel a few times, and it actually started up and ran. It belched a lot of smoke initially, but settled down after a few minutes.

Dad had the tractor trucked to our small farm and we built a shed for it.

It used power kerosene as its main fuel, but we would start it on petrol, and once warmed up, we would switch it over to use the kero.  On a cold winters morning it would blow some great smoke rings from the exhaust.

My Brother (Colin) and I spent many hours driving it, pulling out tree stumps, and dragging a plough. Ah, the memories

Below is a YouTube video of a restored tractor the same as ours. Ours was way more rusted, and had no mudguards over the rear wheels.

R.I.P.

We used the tractor for many years but it ended up superceded by a nice diesel David Brown. The DB had rubber tyres ( Yeah! ) and had more gears and went faster. Also, it had electric start.

The old John Deere was eventually retired and I last saw it in a kindergarten in a Perth suburb. All the dangerous bits had been removed, and it had been cleaned up and painted.  The kids loved climbing all over it, and spinning the steering wheel.

 

 

Need A Grill Mesh?

I saw this a few weeks ago and thought it amusing.

aldibbq

I hate that the writer added the apostrophe to Aldi’s name in the caption.

At my local store I think they are $2 each 🙁

 

I doubt that Aldi grocery stores find it amusing.

Byron Bay, New South Wales

Last weekend we took a trip down to  Byron Bay  , New South Wales, Australia.

We had heard much about its delightful beaches and its popularity as a holiday destination. The only disappointment we had was the weather, it was very windy with occassional rain showers. The weather only killed our swimming plans.
We ate out for all meals, and were very happy with the quality and variety of food available.

To keep ourselves busy as an alternative to swimming, we drove up to the nearby town of Bangalow. There we wandered up and down the main street before heading to the Bangalow Hotel for a fabulous lunch. We will be back there for some more at next opportunity.

Back in Byron Bay:- My Son and I had heard there was a local brewery in Byron bay – “The Byron Bay Brewery “. We managed to find it too! It is a little difficult to find but if you look out for signs near the Police Station round-a-bout, then head off toward “Skinners Shoot“. Around a few corners and you cannot miss the brewery. It is housed in an old piggery building.

Well, we tasted several of their beers and were very impressed with the quality of their product. Some beers dark, some hoppy, some very smooth. They also meals which some people were enjoying. It was another place at Byron that we will return to. Well worth the visit.

Accommodation:
Most of it is very over-priced, so be prepared. Where we stayed was a few decades old and in need of a general upgrade (cigarette burns on the carpets, bathrooms very tired). One thing we all agreed on was that the bedding was of good quality. Even so, we would probably stay elsewhere next time.

John

Albuquerque Hot Air Balloon Fiesta

We have always hear that the Albuquerque Hot Air Balloon Fiesta was amazing due to the large number of balloons participating. Their own site quotes numbers of between 500 and 700 balloons.

Here is some info taken direct from their 2013 FAQ web page    –

Our signature event remains Balloon Fiesta—which, with over 600 balloons, is the largest ballooning event on earth, the most photographed event on earth, and the largest annual international event held in the United States.

and this in another FAQ on their same page…

How long does it take for the balloons to launch?
All 500+ balloons should be launched in less than two hours.

 

So we organized a family group this year to attend the Fiesta in the hope of seeing the promised Hundreds of balloons.

Oh boy, we were very disappointed at the number of balloons in the “Mass Ascension” on the morning we attended. The most balloons I could see either in the air, or on the ground being readied for launch was just around 60.

What we saw was OK and very colorful. But we did not see the stated “Hundreds”.

In fact, a few years ago we attended the Hot Air Balloon parade in Longview, Texas. At that event there were close to 60 balloons.

We feel let down by Albuquerque and for sure will never go back for the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta. On a score of 1 to 10, I give it a 1.

False and misleading advertising comes to mind. I wonder if there is a Better Business Bureau in Albuquerque ?

An Old Rolls Royce

Upon leaving the restaurant at a Texas golf club last week, we were surprised to see that one of the patrons had parked his old Rolls at the front door.

A lovely looking vehicle and restored/maintained in an “As-New” condition.

Yellow Rolls Royce

Yellow Rolls Royce

 

 

Yellow Rolls Royce

Yellow Rolls Royce 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here it is from another angle.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I want one.

A Few Days at DisneyWorld

In late December 2012 we had a few days at DisneyWorld, Orlando, Florida. Apart from the unusually cool weather, we had lots of fun.

Ella managed to hit the jackpot tossing some balls at buckets and got to select a prize from the TOP SHELF. Needless to say, it was a slight problem getting it home to Texas on the flight home. But there was no way she was going to leave it in Florida.

LookWhatIwon2

Well done Ella.

 

 

At Texas Formula 1

We drove down to Austin Texas whilst we were temporarily in Fort Worth Texas and went to the Formula 1 Grand Prix.

As an Aussie, I was rooting for Mark Webber and managed to capture a shot of him before his retirement from the race. Not an easy task to get a good photo as he was going past at about 180MPH through the esses…

USA GP 2012

Mark Webber Austin Texas 2012

 

The new track was very good for drivers, but crowd facilities were a little lacking and under-designed for the crowd of 120,000 on race day.

To cross the track via the overhead walkways was a nightmare on both practice days and race day. Bridges were about 16ft wide and expected to cope with 100,000 people.

The shuttle bus system was well planned and executed apart from the 1+ mile hike through the woods to get from their drop-off point to the track main entrance. Lucky it was not raining.

Overall, a great weekend in Austin.

 

Missouri Mile Markers

I recently drove up Interstate 44 on my way from Texas to Illinois and was intrigued by the fact that along I44 in Mo the mile markers were placed every two tenths of a mile. Seems crazy. Who need that level of accuracy when driving at 70 Mph. The signs flip by every couple of seconds. Well, that is how it seemed.

My guess is that they have a lot of sign writer inmates in their prisons and to keep them busy, they place the signs in such close proximity.

Hey, Mo. Politicians, you could sure save your taxpayers some money by ceasing this ridiculous practice. Oh, but I forgot, it is not your money you are spending. I wonder why the signs are not every one/tenth mile?

Oh, and if you ever get convinced that you should visit Branson, Mo, because friends told you about it, DON’T! They are not really friends if they recommend Branson. It’s a terrible tourist trap with second rate entertainers, second rate restaurants, second rate service and second rate accommodation.

JohnG