Sunday, September 30, 2012

RV'er's, "Karen and Tony" have been following my memoryroads blog for some time.  she's handicapped due to an accident, so they bought a class C and are on the road to live life as fully as they can, document it for the certain benefit of others, while their having fun.  Wonderful blog!!

 I've gotta read more of it when I slow down a bit,  as it sure is filled with wonderful spots to visit.  She concentrates on the need for accessibility and helps others find such places thru their blog.
However, their last post ...about a 'hunter' reminded me of a fried of a friend/a banker/South African shooting gallery/'preserve' kind of  guy.... that is no longer with us.

Incredible, now to think how many animals one person has killed! ............and this activity called 'Big Game Hunting', was more commonly,  not only acceptable, but glorified...............

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Satellite TV Upgrades, Motosat or RF Mogul?


The decision was made (Sept. 2012) to install a new satellite TV dish system atop Memory Roads.  It appears to me that  MotoSAT or Tracstar might be leaders in the higher end market
with Winegard commanding much respect and sales within a slight majority of the market.  Fore sure, they are priced right and the competition is loosing a lot if they are not paying attention here!
 Winegard Trav'ler Satellite TV antenna

 However a new company has emerged from a group of major players 'retired' from MotoSAT.
*** the new player.... RF Mogul might soon be the new 'big kid' on the block.  Seems simpler, owner repairable(no need pull the thing to ship it off for repair!!) Single line in/splitting then to receivers inside the coach. I personally am interested in DirecTV and have had comments suggesting that only 3 LMB's for Direct TV..........why not the 5 available??  Well, I don't know but will ask Monday morning!
(Monday is here and it seems DirecTV is phasing out use of 110 and 119 adapting to acquire  HD signals to the U.S.  Satellites 99-101-103 will be used) Note that it 'is' possible to get and use a 5 LMB feed if you wish, rather than 3 but this appears unnecessary and backstepping on progress made)  Home units of DirecTV can use 110 and 119 for local TV and Dish Network used 110 and 119.  DirecTV already uses the SWM (single wire multiswitching) for residential set ups so rooftop antennas for RV's with a single cable through the roof and repairable components inside the living space)....makes sense to me.
 The RF Mogul  system was built for Recreational Vehicles and the 3 satellites it uses gives you

Following homework and gut reactions as your instinct I say!   It's what you spent your life accumulating, so Use It!
I'm doing research now but should know in a few days which unit and more importantly, which company will ride atop Memory Roads.

*Decision made.  I've ordered an RF Mogul  #4100 system for DirecTV.  Installation was straight forward and not difficult for a handy guy.  Very satisfied with the outcome!
                      ( for a real up close view of this unit, just "Click" on it! )

It seems to me that RF Mogul has had the opportunity to create a fresh design incorporating the latest capabilities and engineering details and have done so.
.... Rather than laggards loosing, they just might be innovators, making inroads!

UPDATE!   3/29/2016  READ!!
I had been traveling in my little 23' class C up in Alaska for the summer of 2015 and upon returning to Florida, where I base my 40' Foretravel...with the RF Mogul System for Satellite TV, I found the system to NOT be working.  I put the problem off as I was very busy rebuilding a home I had bought but once I decided to focus on getting the Satellite system working, I found online news that was disturbing.
RF Mogul had dropped it's connection to it's South Korean supplier of parts and software and had updated it's design and began manufacturing it's new equipment in the US.  OK, good news!? Well, good and bad.
The good? Updated system, quicker lock on's(the old system was great) US manufacture and bugs worked out.
The bad?  $$$$
 Throw out most of your OLD system and bolt on the New parts. The new RF MOGUL EAGLE system, as they are calling it, requires changing out most of the unit on the roof and the control box inside the coach.  Again though, good news!  The cable from roof equipment, down into the coach can be left in place, so the entire removal of old and install of new equipment takes only a couple of hours at best.  It took me 2 hrs.
The new system locks onto the satellites in 2.5- 6 minutes and performs perfectly.
Yes, there was a cost involved but it was still cheaper than buying another brands equipment and going through a total install.
I think RF Mogul got caught in a miserable position with the South Korean manufacturer but did the right thing.  They seriously redesigned the mechanical components, upgraded the software and made the whole system simpler and more reliable than it was..and it was good to start with.

I still recommend the company and the Eagle sits atop my Foretravel, operating as it should. Perfectly.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Mount Rushmore's other side

Explore. Dream. Discover.

"Twenty years from now, you will be more
disappointed by the things you didn't do
than by the ones you did do. So throw off
the bow lines. Sail away from the safe
harbor. Catch the trade winds in your
sails. Explore. Dream. Discover"
Mark Twain

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Heron's and Turtles.

Wood Carving has been an artform chosen by a friend of mine, Charlie Knight, for decades.  He as produced major works often selling for $25,000 or more but most of his work is still extraordinary in quality, while being in my opinion priced too low.
However, he just completed these 5 pieces, 2 herons and 3 turtles in his shop, Palm Tiki, Gulf Breeze, Florida.
----Amazing works of art!
NO!  These are NOT laminations of cheap woods but cut from solid logs he buys!  Cut of cypress or hardwoods, beginning with a chain saw and then on down to tools as small as little electric chisels and dremel tools before ton's of hours hand sanding and 'staining' of all the shades necessary to make these figures life like to the extreme......................and then, many coast of sealers and clear coats.

palm tiki
charles knight
5090 gulf breeze pkwy.
gulf breeze, fl. 32563

Ulu Sail Project

This past winter we were lucky enough to enjoy our 2nd season cruising the San Blas Islands of Panama.  It's home to the Kuna Indians who live mostly on small islands just off the mainland, on the Caribbean side the country.

                                The outer reef north of Chicheme, Kuna Yala (San Blas)

We found them to be lovely people.  Last year, we brought some some gifts of fishing gear, mostly packages of  hooks and mono filament line. Not much, but it will help the the men supply food for their families.
  Kuna settlement Robeson Islands, San Blas archipelago, Panama (9°31’ N, 79°03’ W). January 2012......................this is one of the islands I will be visiting on this trip.  Last time here, I repaired a solar panel's internals for the chiefs son.
(above 2 photos from "" , Yan Arthus-Bertrand)

This year, I'm making some sails for their ulu's(canoes).  It was evident that they had a nearly a non existent supply of decent cloth to make their own.   Hand sewing pieces of old sails donated by other cruisers, or bed sheets, political posters, food sacks etc. was their method of production.

  Sail production was really a hodge-podge of materials that could catch the wind.

 Before leaving the islands in April, I took many photos of ulus sailing by our boat in various anchorages,

I then asked a Kuna friend, Justino of the Robeson island group, to take me around to his islands and help me measure an assortment of the sails they were now using.
Using the photos and measurements and discussions with Justino, we came up with 3 basic sizes used.  The middle size was by far the most common, then a few bigger ones for larger ulus.  The small ones would not be a part of my efforts this year, but wishing to include them if I can get this project beyond 'good thoughts'.

My plan is multifaceted, hoping first to get the Ulu's in the Robeson group of the San Blas Islands, some decent sails.  It's like putting a decent engine in their daily transportation-making their travels better, safer and more reliable.
After that, if I can gather support, possibly the materials- donated sail cloth, thread and hand crank sewing machines(I already bought a great old time Singer in perfect condition and opting for a hand crank after market add on) could be delivered to the Kuna's to develop their own micro business.

For now, it's up to me and a small group of good folks, helping out at various stages.

So far, I have been able to procure 167 yards of 4.18 oz. Challenger sail cloth through the assist of Keith, owner of Advanced Sails, St. Petersburg, Florida.
  Keith has been a great help and supporter of my endeavor.

Besides ordering and taking shipment of the material, (Keith standing)was instrumental in laying out the design from photos and measurements I had taken while in the San Blas and also cutting and stitching the first sail! He worked, I watched.  Needless to say, he gave me many pointers on how to do this for the rest of the sails.  It was soooo easy watching him and so much different doing it!! Thank you Keith!
 One medium size sail cut and ready for stitching!
 One Larger sail cut in Gulf Breeze later on....
Keith's sail (Advanced Sails)'Stitched and ready for shipping!' Yay!!

My old Riccar (Japanese version of a Singer-vintage early 50's-shown above) was tuned up by a local shop for a C note, but now seems too weak for the job so  just drove back to St. Pete from Pensacola, 900 miles round trip) to pick up my Sailrite  LSZ-1 Industrial machine-shown below.

A friend's (Joan) garage in Gulf Breeze, Fl. is our sail loft.

Joan  shown above with Venancio, a master mola maker wth buckets of incredibly well made Molas, had been a guest of ours 2 years ago in the San Blas, so knew first hand of the sailing ulu's.

So here in December just before Christmas and now well into January,  we are producing the first bunch of sails to 'deliver' south.  We're doing fine;  progress has been slower than originally imagined but in a week, we should be done with the physical part of the manufacturing process.  Then comes the shipping/delivery disbursement part.

 Lady, our toy rat terrier is miffed, that she has not received full attention but has instead been put on guard duty.

Much of the work has been on the concrete floor, cutting out patterns to be sewn together later. Dorothy came in to help too.  I never imagined how long this would take, but boy the hours are flying by! :)
Lady, guarding scrap............and 'not' happy..............

So far, we have cut out 23 mid sized "sprit"  main sails plus 7 larger sails and (8) jibs for the larger ulus.

Photo below of Jib pattern.  It's small but what they use.

I'm pushing to meet a self imposed deadline but still have to find a way to get these sails to the San Blas Islands pf Panama and then,,,,, to the people of the Robeson group.  We just might fly down ourselves and find a way out to their islands.  This part might cost as much as the production of the sails but is integral to the project. No sense making them if i can't deliver them!

A friend Dave Barker from old Vietnam days,(who now does so much volunteering locally teaching kids about the outdoors/ often using his Kayaks (see more at  "Navarre Beach Kayaks" )/ also the kind of guy who when going to the beach brings along a big plastic bag to pick up beach plastics/broken glass and other trash), came by several days to help sew up these sails.  Dave was a sewing machine tech for Van Hussen shirt company for years, so is a big help here!! :)  **also gets my 'good guy' rating!
 Dave and I would switch off doing a sail each.  This kept things rolling along at a nice pace.
After the sails were sewn, I am adding webbing material to serve as tie points for the 4 corners instead of grommets, as it's stronger, and easy to repair later if necessary without special tools, just needle and thread.

The loop for the tapered end of the Sprit Pole was made larger, and the attachments on the luff, made short.

A few people already have offered to to help, or sponsor a sail or two, so their names will be written along the top of 'their' sail/sails.  To produce a sail and get it into the hands of a Kuna in Panama ends up costing about $50-55. delivered
 ( Not bad, considering retail prices for sprit sails like this in the U.S. is between $175.-215. )
Obviously the only way to accomplish this is to remove all labor costs and profits!  

     If anyone wants to 'sponsor a sail' or two.  [ Just a thought ;) ]

All sails are now packed up in suit cases, ready to be delivered to Panama.

Any constructive comments, ideas, suggestions or sponsors are welcome to speak up!

A major contribution of webbing, quality threads, material and used sails was just made from the businesses below.  To them, "Thank You!"  It will be used in the next batch.

Supporters are always welcome!  ;)

Any constructive comments, ideas, suggestions or sponsors are welcome to speak up!   
Comment below

Truth on Many Levels :( ;)

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Foretravel Headlight Modification......Before and After.

Xtreme Paint and Graphics finished the work today.  Good shop, good crew!



Tuesday, September 11, 2012

You've Got Mail!

            (Photo taken of a door front in the old main square of of Nacogdoches, Texas.)

remember the days well,   "Builds strong bodies 12 ways" was the commercial!