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Old 09-03-2013, 09:33 AM   #463
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WHOOT WHOOT to Gene and very nice job on the floorBob!
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Old 09-03-2013, 10:06 AM   #464
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Bob, that looks just like the tile in our new house (so, of course, it looks great). I must be your evil twin.

I put another coat of wood preservative on our "old house" rear beck yesterday. Maintaining 2 houses is crazy. Have to do the front steps next and a friend has a pile of firewood for us, so I have to go load the truck up.

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Old 09-13-2013, 05:58 PM   #465
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The front steps aren't getting done because I had a sewer line blockage and called the plumber because I had to drive up to Glenwood Springs for a dental evaluation and couldn't work on it myself. He dragged a machine with rubber wheels up the front steps and the wheels were apparently covered with black grease. The grease went through the wood preservative and got into the wood. Washed, sanded, used alcohol, to get it off, but I need to get a sander from the other house to get it clean. The plumbing company owner will send me a check for half the charge. I told him to go easy on the guy who was here—everyone makes mistakes.

We've been working on the new house—got all the ceiling beadboard panels up with the help of a drywall lift. The lift was poorly maintained by the rental outfit, but we got it to work (they charged us half price too—it pays to complain). Then we put up the fan w/lamp. There are 2 levels of quality of many things—the "contractor" version which means lower quality and is available at big box stores, and the better quality available at other stores. Most of the time the contractor version works well enough, but this fan—Hunter Fan Co.—was bad. The antenna wire for the remote has to show outside of the ceiling mounting plate and it is very, very difficult to get it through small holes in the plate. The screw holes to hold the motor assembly to the mounting plate do not line up well—and that motor is heavy. Working the cheap screws with soft heads into the holes results in the screw heads striping out—I replaced the screws. The lamp is held in place by more screws, but the 3rd hole was so far out of line, I drilled a new hole. This was a really bad experience, thanks to Hunter Fan Co. (I sent them an e-mail about my experience, but they haven't answered). I put up a Hampton Bay "contractor" quality fan a couple of months ago and it was far better quality.

The "mud" mess on the drywall is starting to be solved by washing off the excess with sponges, but some problems with the taping will be hard to make look all that good. Have to get back to it soon. We also will be shopping for tile. We found some really pretty tile, but for this room, we can find some cheaper stuff that will look almost as good. Got to work on the back deck—it is covered in tile, but has low spots in the middle, some tile has hairline cracks for the sag, water is seeping through. I want to put in one or two drains and seal the edges better so water cannot seep under the tile. I have to save this deck so I don't have to pull up the whole thing and put in redwood decking. I prefer redwood for a deck, but lots of work and money.

I also start physical therapy on my back (hardly the first time, but the new x-ray shows no disk anymore between L5/S1) as I continue to aggravate my old injuries. Cutting firewood for a couple of hours didn't help either. And my never ending dental problems are leading me to more implants and they are much too expensive, but the best solution. The dentist I went to see doesn't do that kind of work, but he is an excellent root canal guy and well respected in western Colorado and I respect his opinion.

So all this sounds like a drag and it has been. But there are good things—we close on the adjacent lot next week and we can certainly use the money and won't have to pay taxes anymore on it. And, we had been talking about buying an FJ Cruiser next winter—it is a 4Runner with a different body and lots of off road stuff. Otherwise, pretty basic. We've been checking them out at 3 dealers in the region. We went to one in Delta and the dealer had just gotten in a 2013 "used" one. The guy who bought it didn't like it and brought it back. It had about 800 miles on it. It is the Trail Teams Special Edition, so is loaded with much off road stuff. They were asking about $2,000 less than invoice. How do you pass up a deal like this? We got them to $3,300 less than invoice and then worked the other end and got a decent price for our 4Runner (107,000 miles and in really good condition).

It handles much like a 4Runner—that means pretty comfy ride, corners well (not much body lean). Automatic Tranny is same as 2006 4Runner, but shifts much smoother so that's a big improvement Looks like a tank inside. Vinyl seats feel more comfortable than the 4Runner leather, and we ordered sheepskin covers for them to improve comfort. Some of the complaints about it are exaggerated—poor visibility is not so poor and not much different than the 4Runner. Rear seat doors suck—you have to open the front ones first. Windows are a little low, so when out in the wild, you can't see as much of the scenery, but it is ok. But it feels cool (my 3rd or 4th second childhood) and it was a good deal. Barb likes it too and it will be her primary vehicle. The color is called "cement gray". Can you think of a worse name for a color? It is a fairly light gray and in the sun, looks like blue/gray. Cement? What were they thinking?

The work on the houses has been in a hard place for a while, I'm feeling worn out, but selling the lot is great and a new vehicle is always wonderful (by the time this one is to 100,000 miles, I'll be in my 80's—maybe I'll be ready for a Buick). Do we go off road? We used to do some serious craziness, but since we've had the Airstream, we have become dull. Our new house in sandstone country is 15 miles from the Utah border and there are all sorts of opportunities nearby for 4wheeling.

Balloons only 2 1/2 weeks away—a welcome break.

Gene
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Old 09-28-2013, 04:43 PM   #466
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We closed on the lot last week and have enjoyed the newish FH Cruiser. A quick trip sans trailer to see the in-laws and celebrate another 88th birthday (and mine too since it is coming up) last week.

Packing the trailer and truck and just hitched it up to leave Monday for Alamosa—half way to Albuquerque for balloons. If I weren't so tired I'd be excited about a real trip somewhere, anywhere, even Kansas. No fear Kansans, we're going south, not east.

Today is a crystal clear blue sky, something we haven't seen for a long time—it sure seems like a long time. This year the annual monsoon rains of August have lasted and lasted, later than either of us have ever seen. Everyone knows the results on the Front Range, but the whole state has had a lot of rain, though no floods near us. If this keeps up and it keeps getting colder, we'll start out the snow season with some big totals. The aspen is just starting to change, a bit late because of warm temps and perhaps because of all the moisture. We're always wanting more rain and snow here in desert country, but after 3 or 4 days of clouds we go nuts. All of Colorado must be ready for the funny farm by now.

The week's forecast for here and Alb. is clear and sunny, but that has been the forecast for weeks and then it rains more and the clouds stay for a while. I'm hoping they are right this time.

The real estate market here is still slow. A neighbor has expressed a mild interest in buying the house, but I doubt that will work out, if for no reason his knees are worse than mine. Watching him going down stairs is painful. But he has graded the driveway every time we get another gully washer with his tractor, so that is good enough. We also got a brief visit from Denis4x4 (he spells his real name with 2 'n's) and his wife. He showed me his new travel van and I showed him our trailer. Since we got back from the in-laws, we've had people for dinner every night and tonight a pre-birthday celebration with my ersatz twin—we share a birthdate, but although there's a 14 year difference. I don't know how Barb does all this while I stumble around getting the trailer and truck ready as slowly as can be done. I expect to be young and ready to work on the new house when we return (and put preservative on the front steps, winterize the trailer, do the exercise I have been given by a physical therapist, take the trailer to the new house and park it in a small space and maybe I'll cut some firewood too). Nobody told me retirement would be so hard—I long to get a patronage job and sit around in an office all day dozing off.

And now a message to the NSA. I know you are reading this bilge and hope you have that patronage job I long for. I'll bet the pay is really good and I would be a good employee. I've never even been arrested for anything and I'm sure I would pass the test for a security clearance. I don't want to come in before noon and need a comfy cot to take an afternoon nap. I have computer skills which I know are necessary for the job. I could work from home, so no cot or desk would be needed. Just send the paychecks to my bank account in the Cayman Islands (you already have the account number) and I look forward to reading Lady Gaga's e-mails.

In the meantime, I will be at the Balloons. There are always a lot of Homeland Security people there and they'll know where I am to tell me I got the job.

It is time for that nap.

Gene
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Old 09-28-2013, 07:14 PM   #467
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Enjoy the Balloon Fiesta.

You deserve a break today.


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Old 09-29-2013, 12:36 PM   #468
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The nap was great Maggie. Friends came for dinner and we celebrated our birthday even though it isn't 'til next Friday when I'll be at the Balloons. Barb made cherry filled chocolate cake and 3/4 of it disappeared in record time. Now to fill up the fridge in the trailer until the door is ready to burst.

Since I am quick to castigate companies that screw up, I should mention ones that make good on their products' faults. I had a gallon of Armor All Original Protectant. This stuff work very well at preserving vinyl, rubber and other plastics. I had a gallon of the stuff in the basement and a leak developed in the bottom of the container (it didn't protect it's own container!). Made a mess, but I cleaned it up and the company is sending me a check to make it good, more than the gallon costs. Chobani, which makes the best tasting yogurt I've ever had, had problems with the 6 oz. containers developing mold and bulging so you'd want to be very careful before they exploded in the fridge. They sent me countless coupons for free ones, far more than I lost. They were kind of slow at this, but in the end, they came through.

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Old 09-30-2013, 11:23 PM   #469
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An uneventful drive of 211 miles to the Alamosa KOA. The trees are changing, seemingly to me, a little late. Should be at their peak before we return, maybe not. But no leaf peepers out, so traffic was light. This is one of those campgrounds where they like to park everyone close together even though there are about 10 sites occupied out of 51.

Tomorrow, on to Albuquerque. We've ignored Breaking Bad, but now that it is over, learned about Walter White, blue meth and the Albuquerque connection. Somehow we missed all that, but do know about Don Draper.

Good wifi here. I got a chance to download all sorts of updates since we used up our gigabytes from Verizon.

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Old 10-01-2013, 09:18 AM   #470
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we had been talking about buying an FJ Cruiser next winter—it is a 4Runner with a different body and lots of off road stuff. Otherwise, pretty basic. We've been checking them out at 3 dealers in the region. We went to one in Delta and the dealer had just gotten in a 2013 "used" one. The guy who bought it didn't like it and brought it back. It had about 800 miles on it. It is the Trail Teams Special Edition, so is loaded with much off road stuff. They were asking about $2,000 less than invoice. How do you pass up a deal like this? We got them to $3,300 less than invoice and then worked the other end and got a decent price for our 4Runner (107,000 miles and in really good condition).

It handles much like a 4Runner—that means pretty comfy ride, corners well (not much body lean). Automatic Tranny is same as 2006 4Runner, but shifts much smoother so that's a big improvement Looks like a tank inside. Vinyl seats feel more comfortable than the 4Runner leather, and we ordered sheepskin covers for them to improve comfort. Some of the complaints about it are exaggerated—poor visibility is not so poor and not much different than the 4Runner. Rear seat doors suck—you have to open the front ones first. Windows are a little low, so when out in the wild, you can't see as much of the scenery, but it is ok. But it feels cool (my 3rd or 4th second childhood) and it was a good deal. Barb likes it too and it will be her primary vehicle. The color is called "cement gray". Can you think of a worse name for a color? It is a fairly light gray and in the sun, looks like blue/gray. Cement? What were they thinking?
Gene
Hi Gene...congratulations on the new to you FJ! As a long time Land Cruiser (1991/1994/and 2004) I have studied and followed the FJ since it was introduced in 2006(?). Over the years since it was introduced I have tried to convince my wife that SHE should have the FJ so we could have "big and little" Crusiers. Unfortunately, she does not believe I truly want it in her best "interests" and that I merely want to use one when in the mood Guess she kind of has me there! My Land Cruiser is a 2004 and now 10 years old...but "only" 140K miles on it. I traded my 1994 at 10 years but it had 202K miles at this point. Neither the 2004 or 2008 have had any repairs except for "scheduled" maintenance and repairs.

The FJ is not really a practical replacement for my LC primarily due to both size...both back end space as well as seating for three in back seat...the back door set-up with frequent back seat users...and to some extent the lack of window opening in back end (keep thinking we will get another large dog and would want some air circulating back there).

You seem aware of other "issues" such as lack of rear visibility and a few other "nits"...these did not really bother me. BTW...FJ resale has been really great...after Toyota produced WAY too many during the 2-4 years after introduction resale plummeted, but they reduced import volume and resale is now very good.

As you are a "forum" guy and seem to seek info on your vehicles...you may want to go to Toyota FJ Cruiser Forum if you have not found it already. It is THE forum for FJ owners and enthusiasts. You can find out just about anything you want to know about FJ...and probably more than you want to know. A good source of info for accessories, etc. Also, they have what appears to be a great annual FJ rally in Ouray (sp) each summer and are already planning 2014...allows a 2-3 days of organized trail riding with many trails for "stock" FJs and a few for the heavily modified...always looks like they have a great time and you are probably not too far away. I have wanted to go with the LC but just never made the commitment and also carved out the time for what is a pretty long trip from MN.

Good luck with you FJ and post a few comments as you get more experience. Remember it is a bit more "rough" around the edges than you Four Runner...be patient.

TomR in Minnesota
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Old 10-02-2013, 02:03 PM   #471
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Tom, I have been looking up things on the FJ Forum, though I don't need to join another forum. Some useful info and a lot of silly stuff (just like any forum). Still found out some useful things, like the TRD performance air box is not worth it and I think I may get the improved air filter. Don't know if the TRD filter fits the OEM air box, but a K&N one should. Not sure if K&N filters really make a difference—most likely a slight one—but over 100,000 miles you save money on filters.

Thanks for the info about the annual rally in Ouray—I had heard of it, but forgot. Ouray is close to home (either one) and we often go there anyway for a quick getaway. We bought the FJ for the fun aspect of it (plus a deal that can't be ignored), though I don't know that we'll be trying the Rubicon Trail any time soon—we travel afar with the trailer and the FJ only has a 4,700 lb. limit, so any crazy rock crawling will have to be day trips. Although they didn't badge it as a Land Cruiser, we like to think it is the only genuine Land Cruiser at a bargain price.

Have you gotten any closer to buying an Airstream? Seems like you've been looking for a very long time.

We are at Enchanted Trails in Albuquerque being lazy. Wifi crapped out last night and I had to set up the Verizon data box even though we were already over our Gb limit—this will cost another $10 as Verizon squeezes us dry.

Gotta go find Trader Joe's (just found out it is owned by a German company; I wonder what happened to "Joe"), a western wear store for jeans (I forgot to bring another pair and need a smaller size as I keep losing weight, intentionally), Discount Tires to see why the new tires on the truck are giving us a less than smooth ride—strange for Michelins—and go to Camping World for a new CO detector. Since we came earlier than usual, I was hoping to get a tour of the Petroglyphs NM from the superintendent (he is related to my wife by marriage), but I don't know if he has a bolt cutter.

I wonder what kind of presence the feds are going to have at the Balloons? Last year we saw the radiation plane flying over before dawn looking for nuclear devices—has their fuel credit card been stopped? There are lots and lots of Homeland Security people at the Fiesta trying to blend in and I think they will still be there. I feel for all the federal employees who aren't getting their salaries and still have to meet their mortgage payments, buy food for their families and pay the same bills everyone has to pay. And the recipients of food programs and other benefits who are being cut off without anyway to make up the slack. If the feds default in 2 weeks, I fear our investments are going to crash and interest rates will skyrocket making it impossible to sell our house. Feels like we're living in a 3rd world country.

Gene
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Old 10-02-2013, 10:01 PM   #472
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Got all the shopping done today. The bridge over I-40 was closed this afternoon because of an accident and we were routed north about 10 miles and then 10 miles back, but we found a Discount Tire on Coors Blvd. They checked all the tires and found the Pueblo store hadn't balanced any of the tires correctly and fixed it. A smooth ride again. Bought new jeans and found I am 2" smaller for a total of 6" lost in 2 years—back to my old size, even after eating all that early birthday cake in the past week.

Waiting for the Fiesta. Looks like it'll be kind of cold the first morning—35˚.

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Old 10-02-2013, 10:24 PM   #473
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Hi, I'm not a fan of K&N air filters; Experience at the Ford dealer has shown that K&N's air flow also allows for dirt to pass through it and proof has been seen in the throttle bodies. Hold one of those filters up to the light and it is like looking through a screen door. Also a touch too much oil will kill your "MAF" Mass Air Flow sensor if your vehicle has one. Ford engineers also stated that on the Ford Diesels, the dirt has dinged up the turbo charger's turbines. Paper air filters cost a lot less than a new engine or even a new MAF.

Have fun at the Balloon Fiesta; We want to do it again some time.
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Old 10-02-2013, 10:39 PM   #474
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Hi, I'm not a fan of K&N air filters; Experience at the Ford dealer has shown that K&N's air flow also allows for dirt to pass through it and proof has been seen in the throttle bodies. Hold one of those filters up to the light and it is like looking through a screen door. Also a touch too much oil will kill your "MAF" Mass Air Flow sensor if your vehicle has one. Ford engineers also stated that on the Ford Diesels, the dirt has dinged up the turbo charger's turbines. Paper air filters cost a lot less than a new engine or even a new MAF.

Have fun at the Balloon Fiesta; We want to do it again some time.
Thanks Robert.

New solutions have new problems.

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Old 10-03-2013, 08:51 AM   #475
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Tom, I have been looking up things on the FJ Forum, though I don't need to join another forum. Some useful info and a lot of silly stuff (just like any forum). Still found out some useful things, like the TRD performance air box is not worth it and I think I may get the improved air filter. Don't know if the TRD filter fits the OEM air box, but a K&N one should. Not sure if K&N filters really make a difference—most likely a slight one—but over 100,000 miles you save money on filters.

Thanks for the info about the annual rally in Ouray—I had heard of it, but forgot. Ouray is close to home (either one) and we often go there anyway for a quick getaway. We bought the FJ for the fun aspect of it (plus a deal that can't be ignored), though I don't know that we'll be trying the Rubicon Trail any time soon—we travel afar with the trailer and the FJ only has a 4,700 lb. limit, so any crazy rock crawling will have to be day trips. Although they didn't badge it as a Land Cruiser, we like to think it is the only genuine Land Cruiser at a bargain price. The Land Cruisers are still "genuine" and as capable off road as ever...it is just that what they ship to the US market is SO fully loaded that they seem like a typical mall queen SUV. In other markets you can actually buy stripped down, non-optioned LCs. I will likely not buy another for a couple of reasons...1) the nearly $80K price tag and 2) you can no longer remove the rear seats, which greatly lessens the rear seat space and utility. I genuinely use my LC like a "truck" and need the open space in the back end.

Have you gotten any closer to buying an Airstream? Seems like you've been looking for a very long time. Ya, I probably should remove the "currently looking" status...but I guess I am "looking"...just not buying. Our life is complicated by three properties...townhome in Mpls, home in country near Two Harbors and a family log cabin in the Superior National forest 30 miles from our Two Harbors home. Cabin is in 5th generation family ownership and remains just about like it was built in the 1920's...hand pump well and an outhouse. We do have electricity which we did not have when I was growing up...and we DO have a brand new outhouse We need to sell either our Mpls townhome or our Two Harbors house but so far we have been unable to emotionally part with either...our adult kids grew up in Mpls and that is where they and our grandkids live today and yet our Two Harbors house with 80 acres of woods has also been "home" to us for nearly 25 years. Worked out well when we were both self-employed with clients in both locations...but not so well when we a moving toward full retirement...too much $$$$ out each month. I will not spend resources on any type of RV until we sell "something"....but can still look.

We are at Enchanted Trails in Albuquerque being lazy. Wifi crapped out last night and I had to set up the Verizon data box even though we were already over our Gb limit—this will cost another $10 as Verizon squeezes us dry.

Gotta go find Trader Joe's (just found out it is owned by a German company; I wonder what happened to "Joe"), a western wear store for jeans (I forgot to bring another pair and need a smaller size as I keep losing weight, intentionally), Discount Tires to see why the new tires on the truck are giving us a less than smooth ride—strange for Michelins—and go to Camping World for a new CO detector. Since we came earlier than usual, I was hoping to get a tour of the Petroglyphs NM from the superintendent (he is related to my wife by marriage), but I don't know if he has a bolt cutter.

I wonder what kind of presence the feds are going to have at the Balloons? Last year we saw the radiation plane flying over before dawn looking for nuclear devices—has their fuel credit card been stopped? There are lots and lots of Homeland Security people at the Fiesta trying to blend in and I think they will still be there. I feel for all the federal employees who aren't getting their salaries and still have to meet their mortgage payments, buy food for their families and pay the same bills everyone has to pay. And the recipients of food programs and other benefits who are being cut off without anyway to make up the slack. If the feds default in 2 weeks, I fear our investments are going to crash and interest rates will skyrocket making it impossible to sell our house. Feels like we're living in a 3rd world country.

Gene
At this point it is ridiculous that our own congress and President are placing our country at such risk with "partial shutdown" and "debt ceiling" default risk...and all for a 6 week "continuing resolution" and agreeing to pay financial obligations that congress has already authorized. Time to get a longer term budget negotiated and stop the periodic bickering that makes us look like a third world country.

I look forward to occasional FJ updates as you add miles...Tom R in Two Harbors
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Old 10-07-2013, 08:03 PM   #476
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You can have too many balloons. The rally lasts 'til tomorrow, but with the fridge acting difficult on propane and being overballooned, we decided to leave for Santa Fe. We called Trailer Ranch where we have 3 nights booked starting tomorrow, but they had no sites for an extra night, we looked up campgrounds in the area and found Roadrunner in Pojoaque had sites available today—$27 and full hookups—and here we are. Wifi doesn't work, but there is a small cafe next door (same name) and we walked over and had some really good, authentic New Mexico huevos rancheros. Enough to last all day.

I don't know what is wrong with the fridge. I'm guessing the regulator may be not sending enough gas to it and it shuts down. I press buttons—turn it off and then on, and it works for hours until we see another error message. I don't understand absorption refrigerators. It is working fine on 120 v. so the major parts seem to be ok.

It was good to see some people we've met before at the Balloons, and meet some others I only know from the Forum (happycamper and aftermath are two that come to mind). But 200 trailers is too many. Some were there as part of caravans from different WBCCI units and they pretty much stuck together as is normal. But there is not the intimacy of a smaller group where you meet a lot of people and see them frequently.

As always, there were hundreds of balloons and because the winds were quirky, most of them went right overhead and it was easier to see them from the Airstream parking area than hang out on the field. The traditional breakfast burritos from the concessionaires cost more this year and have less filling—this means you get a lot of empty tortilla at each end and it becomes like glue (thus, gluten) in your mouth.

But I got a new jacket cheap. Last year I bought a Fiesta jacket—fleece lined and quite warm and only about $60—but after a few months it was pilling badly. So I contacted the Fiesta and they told me to send it back; instead, I brought it back. After some confusion at the tent where I bought it—they told me I was at the wrong gift shop, they were a different concessionaire and shuffling me from person to person, I was getting hot—if you want to get me angry, keep telling me you can't do anything—they gave me the phone number of a Fiesta honcho, Gary Dewey. We went to the right gift shop in the Fiesta headquarters and Gary picked out a much better jacket—leather among other things—and he put a Balloon Fiesta patch on it and said he just want $7 for the patch. So I got a lot better jacket for $70.

All has worked out. This campground is just a sandy field off of US 285, but not too many people are here and it is great not to be in a sea of Airstreams. Nothing wrong with Airstreams, but we were beginning to feel crowded and the open space is just what we needed. Now it is time for a welcome shower.

Gene
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