Friday, February 24, 2017

RV Super Show...


Billed as: The Good Sam RV Super Show.  There were RVs.  Good Sam had a presence there.  But, "Super"??

A couple years ago, the Good Sam Rally was held at PIR (Phoenix International Raceway); same place as this event today.  Previously, it was a national rally, with RV manufacturers, all kinds of RVs on display, and several huge tents of vendors.

This was not that.  This was an RV show - mostly local RV dealers, including the two Phoenix area Camping World outlets, looking to sell RVs (Camping World is part of the Good Sam conglomeration).  Because, as everyone knows: it is much less expensive to move all the RVs off your sales lot, put them in an expensive rented place, pay a bunch of people to get them moved... and then offer "RV Show Special Prices."  ;-)

Fortunately, we got free tickets when we checked in at our RV park.  As lifetime Good Sam members, we would have only had to pay $5 to get it ($10 to the general public).  I say "fortunately," because there are "RV Shows" all over the Phoenix area that are free... and, the same: move RVs to another place to try to sell 'em.

There were WAY fewer people, vendors, and display RVs compared to a real Good Sam national rally.  But, as Joan said, "We have the RV we like - I'm just going to see all the vendors!"

So, off to the Super Show...



For a diversion, there was also a display of pontoon boats...



Joan was wearing a Roche Harbor sweatshirt; the people selling the pontoons were formerly from Washington... one of them said, "I am surprised to see anyone in the desert who knows about the San Juan Islands!"  They visited for a bit.  I walked around on pontoons - all bigger than our petite pontoon.  I miss my pontoon.  And the dolphins.  But, I digress.

Into the vendor tent...




Not a lot of vendors, but not much duplication of wares.  We had a couple specific items we were interested in seeing.  Not wanting to cart stuff all around the show, we saw what we wanted and planned to come back on our way out.

Checking out some RVs...


NuWa owners have been a tad bit appalled at another manufacturer calling one of their models "Champagne" (NuWa's top  of the line 5th wheel - but, they are now out of the 5th wheel manufacturing business)...


Peeking around this one... yeah, "Champagne" is stretching things a bit.  This model had some great stairs - very solid, and they fold up into the doorway for travel.  I liked 'em!




Typically, you could not cover all of a big rally in one day - we were done with this in less than 2 hours.  Although we only went in a few of the RVs that had some interesting features I've read about.

Back to the vendor booths, we picked up an adjustable entry step, an awning sunscreen, and some windshield wiper covers.  The awning sunscreen was our main interest.  Here's how it looks attached to our awning...


Look really close, and you might see that entry step platform.  The vendor who was selling that had displayed them at Quartszite a couple weeks ago... "This one has been stepped on, but it's brand new; how does half price sound?"

Sold.  Turns out, he also had the awning sunscreen we were interested in.  And the wiper covers.  Heck, we could have gone to one place to get what we wanted.  ;-)

We got our exercise and were done before lunch.  Didn't have to pay "Raceway prices" for a hotdog; we had a nice sit-down meal instead.

Izzy isn't sure about the awning sunscreen - "That is different!"  She went out into the sun...


That contrasty light makes her look tough; the dogs being walked by our site seem to think so, too.

;-)


Thursday, February 23, 2017

Really tired...


Nothing to do with tires.  We volunteered in Steph's class again today, working with their kids on their Gravity Cruisers.  The GM engineer guy wasn't there today, so I got to be the "physics guy"... Joan worked with specific groups, I kinda floated around, offering encouragement and free advice.

The kids have made progress on their gravity-propelled vehicles - they need to: next week will be the competition to see who gets to compete with other classes.

I felt like the kids were doing great today.  The bell rang, we gave our encouragement, and they filed out.  Then, in came the next class... you mean we aren't done??  More of the same.  I'm only kinda joking - it is fun working with the kids.

I have a great deal of respect for Steph and Dan, doing this day in, day out.  All day.  I would not have the stamina for that.  We aren't supposed to tell them what to do, but to help lead them to the discovery of how to improve their designs.  Not as easy as it sounds.  Because... they are kids.

;-)


Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Tired...


No, not sleepy nor worn out.  Today, the scooters go in for new rear tires.

We made the arrangements last week; the service writer told us he'd order the tires, give us a call when they come, then get us in right away.  AND (big deal for us), not have to leave the bikes - we could wait.  Josh called yesterday and scheduled us for 11:00 today.

The dealer is about 40 minutes away from us, so we headed out an hour early...


We hit every light on the way there; 55 minutes later, we pulled the scoots in...


Josh, our service writer told us it would be 45 minutes to an hour.  He was putting two guys on it, so both scoots would get worked on at the same time.  Joan settled at their customer lounge...


I walked around, looking at bikes...

 
A multi-brand dealer, they have plenty to check out...


The bikes above and below are models of Victory (made by Polaris)...


Polaris bought the Indian Motorcycles name and decided to drop their Victory line to concentrate on Indian.  Too bad, because I think Victory has built up a following over time.


It took longer than the service writer figured (more stuff to take apart on a scooter to get to the rear tire), but the price was still the same.  The cost for both scoots was less than what I figured it would be for one.  I have no complaints.

Since we were in the area, to one of our favorites for lunch...


With bellies full of BBQ, we took the scenic route home.  May be the old guy in me, but I enjoy the roads that run through the Sun City developments here...


I did have an ulterior motive for taking this route back: it takes us past a Cycle Gear shop... I've been wanting to check out a modular helmet (full face, but the chin bar part raises).  They had a good sale; I brought a new one home...


My other helmet is a 3/4.  This new one is going to take some getting used to - a bit less peripheral visibility, and the buttons to operate the raising chin bar and the integral sun-shield are a bit different from what I'm used to.  It seems pretty comfortable, though.

It was supposed to be a warm one today, but Mother Nature gave us some overcast, which kept the temps in the 70s so we could both wear our armored jackets.

With new bike tires, you have to go easy for 30+ miles - the tires have a coating on them that can be slippery if pushed too hard.  The service writer said, "You probably shouldn't go 'dragging a knee' until you get a few miles on 'em."


Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Lion...


No, we didn't trade Izzy in for a bigger model... although, she has the heart and attitude of a lion.

This is about the movie.  Lion.  The premise: a young Indian boy gets separated from his brother and lost.  I won't reveal any more about the plot line, but it is a great movie.  I didn't know anything about it, this was Joan's choice... it drew us both in.  Two thumbs up.

We share a Premier Pass with Steph and Dan - with that, you get reward points, discounts on the over-priced snacks, but the best part: you can pick your seat and book the tickets ahead of time at some theaters.  We have our favorites here - the AMC theaters that have the over-stuffed seats that recline and have electric footrests (think: Lazy-Boy theater type recliners).  When we booked the seats last night, we had our pick of any seat in the theater.  Joan said, "I wouldn't be surprised if we're the only ones in the theater."

By the time the previews started, there were about 12 people in the theater, most of them seated right around us.  I guess we picked good seats.  Yeah, that means we can't neck during the movie.  ;-)

It wasn't "date night"... more like date morning/afternoon: the movie started at 11:00 am.  Yes, everyone in the theater was around our age.  We know how to party.

When we got back home (well, motor home), little Izzy wanted to go out for a walk.  Then, a sit...


Some swirly clouds, looking to the southwest...



Another pretty day in the desert.

Monday, February 20, 2017

I heard that today is...


National Love Your Pet Day.

Or, as we call it: that's everyday.

There's a lot of love at Steph and Dan's house.  Three cats worth.  Two big, one little.  Pretty much, love everywhere you look.  And, cats.

Tasha, at Steph's house...


Izzy, at our cruising condo...


Maybe it is National Cats Nappy Day?  Also known as: everyday.

-------------

Not to be confused with National Love Your Guitar Day...


Yeah, also known as: everyday.

;-)


Sunday, February 19, 2017

Who done it??


The ladies booked us for a "Murder Mystery Dinner" tonight.  They hooked me by saying, "It's going to be fun!  AND, it's at the Old Spaghetti Factory!  Really, it will be fun!"

Oh, and "We'll dress up like 1920s gangsters..." said very quietly.

Waiting to get seated...


I also didn't know we had the upgraded seating: best seats and photos included...



For anyone looking close, we are all now NBA stars, with Dan topping 7'6".  ;-)


Once seated, they snagged Dan to play one of the suspects...


That is Dixon, the second in command gangster who is also an under-cover FBI agent.

The premise: you ask questions of the suspects, listen for clues, and try to determine who committed the murder.  Each table was a team.  Hoaky?  Sure.  You could roll your eyes and not play along, or just go with it and have some fun.  We had fun.

We did manage to solve the murder, but another table had more details.  So close.  For the record, Dan wasn't the one who committed the murder... we all knew that, because... Dan is so nice.


A review...


On a guitar forum, I was asked for a review of the X20, after having a chance to play it for a while...

---------

24 hours in. I've been playing the X20 for about 18 of those hours.

Yes, I'm kidding. There was a few hours for sleeping. A previously scheduled "date" ... well, not a candle-light dinner - my wife and daughter like to play Bingo once in a while. And, being the man of the house, I put my foot down and said, "Whatever you want, Dear." Because that's the way I roll. On the bright side, I won a $75 jackpot (one of the smaller ones) - first time ever. I give credit for that to the good karma generated by the new X20.

So, time out for a bit of sleep, and a meal or two, and I've still been playing the X20 a bunch. First impressions: "Oh, baby!" (yes, you may quote me on that)

We all bring preferences and biases with us when we evaluate a guitar. I've been playing for going on 53 years; I should be better than this. But, I digress. There are some things about other guitars I own that really shine...
814ce: tone, playability, and looks (tobacco burst)
T-5: plays like a dream, versatile
X7: hands down, the most comfortable guitar I've owned; great tone for its size
RS Shorty: introduced me to the sound and ease of CF
522ce 12-fret: rich mahogany sound, typical Taylor playability
GSmini: introduced me to the pleasure of a small guitar

This X20 seems to take the best of those and kicks it all up a gear... or twelve. Opening the case, I was taken by the striking looks of this guitar - the sensuous curves designed in, the black CF weave on the sides and back, and the show-piece: the louro preto veneer. Gorgeous!

Picking it up, you notice the light weight... and, again, those curves. Even before putting a strap on it, I had to strum... love the rich sound! That off-set sound hole delivers the punch of this guitar up to the player as well as out. Rich, full, and balanced. It has the crystal highs I expect from carbon fiber, but balanced with rich bass. It sounds much bigger than the X7, but is every bit as comfortable. As far as set-up, there is nothing I will change about how this plays, other than the strings I prefer, at some point, probably a couple weeks down the road. Just right, straight out of the box.

The X7 is a delight. The size, sound, and comfort make it an intimate playing experience... then plug it in, and it kicks butt. It is the "pocketknife" I slip into a comfortable pair of jeans. My first exposure to the X20 is the sound that comes out and grabs you by the face. Instead of a "pocketknife," this guitar is a carbon fiber weapon. It is probably possible to play it quietly, but that would be a darn shame.

I don't have an amp or PA with me this trip, so I can't say anything about the LR Baggs Element Active pickup. If it is as good (or better) than the B-Band in my X7, I will be a happy boy. All acoustic at this point, and I am very impressed.

I haven't owned a Hiscox case before. This came with the Hiscox LiteFlite case, and I like it. A lot. Lighter than the wood cases I own, and seems to offer plenty of protection. It made the trip here (Phoenix area) from Ireland, and the guitar seemed plenty happy about it. The optional gig bag is a nice companion for easy, lightweight traveling. I have come to really appreciate a good gig bag.

I will admit that I spent more time playing than looking, after that first "Ohhhhhh!" when I opened the case. Now, looking closely, the workmanship is impecable. While it immediately moved into first place in the Beauty Competition, this guitar isn't just a pretty face. (see the "face" reference early in this thread)

Honeymoon period? The above is all stuff that isn't going to fade away with more use. I've been playing long enough to know what I like in a guitar. This X20 does it all for me, and delights me with the rich sound, the comfort, and the striking looks.

And, as with my X7 purchase, Emerald has made this a first class buying experience. Any downside? That whole week between them handing the guitar over to AN Post and the US Postal Service putting the pink slip in the box... apparently, there was some "waiting angst" that some perceived. Me? Nah, I was cool about the whole thing.

Worth the wait? I have been waiting over 50 years for this... I just didn't know it until I opened the box.