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ependydad...Doug last won the day on October 15 2017

ependydad...Doug had the most liked content!

About ependydad...Doug

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    Thanks for this reminder. I really want to locate my wife.
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    Fulltime RVing

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  1. Let's talk about tours

    The Behind the Seeds tour kept my 4-ish and 12-ish year old edutained. My son literally had a question at every opportunity and the cast member (and other guests) were patient and kind about it. Pictures here: https://flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/sets/72157680100351626
  2. Let's talk about tours

    We did the Keys to the Kingdom Tour and absolutely would do it again. Loved it. I did a write-up for Kelly’s blog: https://letsplanwdw.com/2016/08/19/keys-to-the-kingdom-tour-review/ Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  3. Fort Fiends App

    Sounds like a while:
  4. Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta

    Here’s an article on the Balloon Baby: http://www.kob.com/albuquerque-news/balloon-baby-mother-gives-birth-at-balloon-fiesta-rv-park/4635478/?cat=500 I’m “sad” to say, they went with a non-balloon name with Cecelia. Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  5. Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta

    The baby is still unnamed, but our group has taken to calling her Balluna (get it? Balloon-a). We'll see what they pick- the next before she was born, they were at the book store flipping through baby name books. Someone asked me later in the night if I really did spill my bladder or if I was just making it up. Clearly they weren't close enough to the truck when they asked. I'm sad to say- it's true. It's ALL true. It's always something. :)
  6. Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta

    LOL. Oh, it went downward... just not into the drain! I’m wondering. They’ve been doing the Fiesta for 45 years or something. I don’t know how long they have been allowing camping in that- so maybe it happened before... doubtful, though! YES! They had midwives with them- so it wasn’t just Dad there to catch the baby. And it was thought out with a plan for how to supply hot water and the whole 9 yards. But they took it back to the pioneering roots!
  7. Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta

    You’re right, Carol! Ewwwwwwww! Ok, so the pregnant woman story. She is part of our group of families and arrived at the Balloon Festival the same day we did or maybe Wednesday. At this point, the rumblings in the group are “she can have the baby at any day now”. Last night, her husband refilled their fresh water tank and emptied their gray. This afternoon/early evening, I noticed him collecting hoses. I joked that “you just filled last night” and he responded, “it’s really happening! I’m filling the tub now”. Turns out the plan was for them to run a hose to a friend’s camper who has an Instant Hot/unlimited hot water supply. To supply the friend’s camper with water, we stretched a set of hoses across the road to the expensive sites who have water and plugged into their 4-way manifold splitter. The emptying of tanks came also from the friend- we dumped them out so his wife could do all of the dishes of the pregnant family. Two of us did that- first another buddy used his in-bed 55g drum and then I finished things off in my sewer bladder. In both cases, we use a macerator pump to send the waste water up to the vessel in the truck bed. Once it was all hooked up and out, I figured I might as well empty. Since I was talking about my black being full- I figured I’d dump that and then dump gray. This being the bladder’s second ever “on the road”/outside of a campground trip and my first ever with it (a buddy did it a couple of days ago). I’ve had issues with a twist on gate valve (Valterra End of Line Valve)... it twists off easily. Being concerned about that, I replaced it with a regular cap. Which meant, I needed to replace it back in order to dump at the dump station. I grabbed the wife and son for us to head to dinner (Freddy’s Burgers and Fries!). Heading out, I checked my glove stash- none to be found; the kids have learned they make cool water balloons. Before dinner, we would dump this out. I had my wife poised to twist on the end of line valve as quick as she could after I took off the cap. In my tired haze of working too many hours, I now realize that I didn’t lift that end of the sewer bladder high enough: it wasn’t above water level. Opening the cap turned the sewer bladder (containing a good 70-80gallons of gray + s%#^t water) in a veritable crap fountain. It splashed me, my wife, soaked my truck tailgate, soaked my phone (which was propped on the truck bed as a flashlight), and our shoes. She yelped, I smashed the cap back on and had to reassess next steps. Which was me moving the phone out of harm’s way to the truck bed rail. I climbed up, wrestled that now wet + slipper bag of poop and got the cap high enough to cleanly make the switch. Sometime in the process, I knocked/jiggled/somethinged my phone to fall from the bed rail and float in standing poo-water on the ground. My poor wife had to pick it up. The end of it was uneventful. We baby wiped as best as we could. And then it was time for dinner. Finger foods. Burger and fries. We washed up in the restaurant’s bathroom up to our elbows. Who knows- maybe tomorrow I’ll have a terrible disease. OR, maybe I won’t and I just think I do. BUT! We got back just in time for the pregnant family’s dad to emerge from their house (camper) and triumphantly announce the birth of his daughter! The 20-30 of us cheered! He could barely contain his excitement and was beaming from ear to ear. The babies big siblings were fetched from a friend’s camper to go meet their new little sister!
  8. Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta

    So I’m so sad to say, emptying the bladder at the gas station turned into a literal crap-storm! Might have had a spill... might have splashed my wife and I... might have covered my feet... might have them dropped my phone into standing crap water.
  9. Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta

    Welp! Decision is made ... sewer bladder is full in the back of the truck! How it came to be is an amazingly complex story that involves a pregnant woman and a planned home birth...
  10. Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta

    Oh what the phooey- it'll be a triple day update. But only because yesterday (Wednesday) has 3 pictures. First, Mom and Paige went over to the fiesta field to get Paige out crewing. Another chilly morning, but we didn't run out of propane, so I call it a win! Second, we had to say goodbye to Grandma. After almost 3 weeks together, it was time for her to go home. I'm really happy that we got to spend her birthday with her and she got to see the Balloon Fiesta. In about 3 weeks, we'll fly back to PA from Texas in order to celebrate my sister's wedding. We'll be there for 3 weeks; so it wasn't a super hard goodbye. There was another visit quickly on the horizon. Third, as I took stuff out to the truck (laundry! and grandma's bags), I noticed a prankster had left his mark: I chuckled and wondered "adult or kid?"; whereas my wife chuckled and instantly named the adult. By the inquiries later that evening- our culprit gave himself up! (Wife was right... of course!) As I usually do in the morning, I checked on my battery monitor app on my phone. I'll circle back to this and talk about boondocking now that we have a first full week under our belts. (Longest story shortest, we're electric/battery hogs!) And really- it was a quiet day. I worked (shocker!) A friend emptied our gray tank for us as a thank you for letting him borrow my sewer bladder. He was the guinea pig who took it out on the road for the first time and I'm pleased to say it passed with flying colors! And that evening, I filled our water with 120' of hoses strung together to an empty site's water spigot. Funny enough, once the hoses were out- my neighbor friend wanted in on it. The reason for getting water makes me chuckle: since Paige had her crewing clothes on while Mandie was gone, she couldn't get them washed at the laundromat. Mandie had me run the generator so she could run a load of clothes through the washer/dryer in the rig. Who does laundry while boondocking?! But the day must have worn the kids out. Here's how the boy slept for quite a while until I moved him: --- Now, circling back to boondocking! Water: I honestly have no idea where we are on water usage. We have partially filled a couple of times from hoses like I described and I've partially filled from the freshwater bladder twice. I double-checked the specs on the FW bladder and sure enough, it's 60 gallons and I'm just sissying out on when I call it full. I bet I'm getting a lot LESS water than I thought. I need to add shut off valves to make disconnecting + connecting my hoses to be not messy when it's more full. Waste Water: Same. We had 2 of the gray tanks (shower + sink) + 1 black tank (front bathroom) emptied that we paid for ($25). I described equalizing the grays before which meant both were fairly full. The black wasn't full, but we figured we'd empty it anyway. Since then, I had a partial tank emptied with the gray tank bladder (as described above). I'm guessing we are going to need to empty the black tank again soon- we usually get 6-7 days on the front bathroom and we had a guest for a large portion of that. The rear bathroom usually goes 12-13 days. Now the question is- do I take the time and risk the bladder with black water? Or do I just pay $25 and we all get long showers and have them dump 4 tanks at once? Electric Usage: No lie, I'm a little appalled at how much we use. Each night seems to bring it's own "excessive use" surprise- be it 4 fans running to help cool us down or the furnace running. We are consistently using 200-250 amp hours of battery (which we have somewhere between 320-400 amp hours of battery capacity). On top of that, we are running a dorm fridge 24/7. And then- the things that have surprised me: we are able to run our toaster and the wife has ran a curling iron on the 1000W inverter. This doesn't help our morning usage, I'm sure! With making dinners, I really dislike that we can't run the microwave for a couple of minutes off of the inverter. It won't even try and throws the inverter into overload. It's really annoying to have to go switch to generator power (pull start them and switch plugs for the camper's power). Speaking of- I'm getting more and more annoyed at having to switch what is plugged into the camper. I use my 50amp connection at the camper and either have it running to a 50 to 30amp adapter for the generators. OR I use my 50 to 15amp adapter for an extension cord for the inverter. I really want to wire up proper automatic transfer switches; Xantrex has ones specifically for it's 1000W inverters where you pick a single breaker in your electrical panel and run it through this automatic transfer switch. If I had 2 of them tied to the inverter's output, I could power almost all of the outlets in the house without having to run an extension cord. I'd lose my computer's plug in (it's currently slaved off of the washer/dryer), but I'd just switch that one time when we setup for boondocking. Currently, recharging the batteries from 250 amp hours takes about 5-6 hours of generator runtime. I've typically only been getting myself back about 200 in 4-5 hours. So we start at about 90%. I'm definitely going to start looking into a better solution for recharging faster. The converter/charger is only pushing between 40-50 amps per hour back into the batteries (thus the 4-6 hour recharge time). I don't know what's out there for lithium batteries, but I'd love to see something that cuts that in half. Maybe it's unrealistic. I know the batteries can handle it; I just don't know if there's a charger that'll do it or if the generator(s) can support it. --- WHEW! So this morning we went out and watched the special shapes launch. It wasn't a whole lot different than a normal day, but towards the end of the launchings- there were definitely more special shapes going up. But I'm out of time and fingers- until next time!
  11. Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta

    Tuesday morning came cold and early. My wife was taking Paige over to the fiesta field to crew. Overnight there was a freeze watch and we used the furnace for the first time. Given the forecast, we got to the deepest darkest part of under our bed and got our thermals + my wife's winter coat out. It's black like my soul down there. I despise cold. Unfortunately, sometime between my wife leaving at 5am and me getting up at 7:30am we ran out of propane in the one tank. I only leave 1 tank open because I don't check propane often enough to trust that I'll notice when it automatically switches over. But inevitably, we notice it on a cold morning! My FACE was cold! Logan slept in Grandma's bed the night before. When I woke up, I could hear the "whooooosh" sound of the burners (exactly like ThemeParkCommando described it). Then I heard giggles out of Grandma and Logan. They were looking at the balloons out of the window. With each "whooooosh", you could hear Grandma wanting to go outside more and more but Logan was loving his comfy warm bed with her. After 10 minutes or so, she couldn't take it any more. I heard her declare that she was going outside and he was welcome to join her. He debated it for a few minutes and ultimately decided to get dressed with her! Between their excitement and literally hearing pilots shouting to folks on roof tops, it got me moving and I finally got out of bed. I pulled on clothes and dealt with the propane situation. Stepping out on the patio, though - what a SIGHT! Compared to the morning before, there were so. many. balloons! Here's Grandma and Logan watching, photoing, videoing, and just taking it all in: More morning goodness: This balloon landed in one of the roadways in the RV lot. Unfortunately, as far as I can piece together the story- the pilot was coming in for a landing and shouted for someone to help catch. Apparently a lady tried to help and got clobbered- knocked to the ground but was able to get up and mostly unhurt. Unfortunately, it sounds like her camera's lens got broken in the process. More: I like this one, but you have to click and then zoom in. You can see the balloons, the moon, and an airplane's trails in the picture: That was it for the morning. I ultimately had to pull myself away and head back in to work for the day. It's tough being inside and working when you can hear the laughter and fun outside! That evening was the official end to the "Fulltime Families Hangout"- really many of us stayed but it was the end of the pre-planned agenda. We had our "send off" cake that evening and celebrated a few birthdays with it. My mother-in-law got called up first and was a wee bit embarrassed until she was joined by other birthdays this week and month. That closes out Tuesday (2 days ago).
  12. Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta

    On Monday, October 9.... Looks like I was wrong about Paige crewing. Oh well- you can't trust these trip reports... thank gosh I have pictures to jog my memory! I'm clearly getting days mixed up because I can't figure out where my wife or mother-in-law were that morning. Either way, I can definitely say that I got a late start but ultimately drug myself outside. There weren't a tremendous number of hot air balloons coming over the RV park, but we still decided to climb up on the camper to take a look at what was going on. (You want to talk about nervous- he's only ever climbed the ladder back there once when he was really little AND he's never been on the roof before!) This one landed and then took off again. A lot of times, they'll do this to let someone out and/or switch passengers. This one just landed and ultimately deflated: Here's a picture of my Sabre + a balloon: Other than that, we had a fairly quiet day. I worked most of the day. That evening, we went out to dinner to celebrate my mother-in-law's birthday to the Cheesecake Factory. It just so happened that there was a Pandora Store at the mall and my wife liked the looks of a hot air balloon dangle charm. And that was it for Monday. Pretty low key. Tuesday, for real- Paige went back and crewed. :) I'll get to that next.
  13. Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta

    Thanks! I'm glad other people enjoy my humor- because I'm laughing while writing it! :) I haven't been up yet, but I might get a chance on Saturday. We'll see (but also not why I'm volunteering). The cool part about volunteering to crew is that the pilots have been taking 1 or 2 people each day up. Paige got an incredible ride yesterday from what I hear. Otherwise, the cost to go up in one is pretty high. Definitely add it. It'd be a great start to wintering in the Southwest. :) I'm glad we came and definitely can see us coming back! My wife and mother-in-law talk about chasing family in a balloon. They definitely chuckle when they tell the stories of getting to deadends. I'm sure the same is for you- no phone, no GPS, just eyes on the balloon! Nowadays, they're running GPS (using an app called Glympse) in the balloon and chase vehicle. Has to be a lot easier. Are you back in Maryland for fun? Everything OK? That's really funny that he told you to grab help! But yeah- landing these things isn't simple. I actually spent a couple of hours this morning "catching" balloons. Today was special shapes day- I helped catch Smokey the Bear, a big bee, and an owl. Yes! Our bus luck at Disney held true here- watching ours pull away just as we get there and there NOT being one waiting immediately to pick us up. :D Pretty awesome that you guys fell into the balloon festival. Now just imagine- people plan a year in advance to come! As of now, we're planning on coming back in 2019. I think we might splurge and spend the weekend up on the hill @ the President's Compound overlooking the field. But, we'll definitely see- $200/night is a hard pill to swallow! I've yet to try anything with chile on it. I'm a sissy when it comes to spicy and I'm afraid what some folks call mild will make my tongue melt.
  14. Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta

    Saturday "night" (aka Sunday morning) I worked and went to bed about 5:30am. So I missed the excitement of hot air balloons landing all over the RV park. My family was out there. But I lay asnooze in bed. About 4 campsites up, there are 3 spots empty and a hot air balloon landed right there. My wife, mother-in-law, and the kids had a front-row view. Pretty neat- wish work hadn't gotten in the way! I mentioned before, but we had run out of water on Saturday night. Apparently flushing with water bottles got old because my wife woke me up about noon and told me to deal with water! In preparation for boondocking, I had bought a 60 gallon Aquatank2 bladder. It works well filling from a spigot + hose but emptying it is a slow chore using my camper's built-in pump and outdoor shower jerry rig that I have going on. I hear Harbor Freight has a 12v transfer pump for $40 that I might try and pick up. Anyway, filling it is nice- it forces me to go be social as I'm filling from a friend's campsite. Back at camp with water- things were good. I actually hung out outside a while and visited with friends. No pictures, but imagine a small circle of chairs under the awning and 6-8 people talking. Boom, mental picture. (Now, picture me in a speedo seductively picking up sea shells. Boom, new mental picture. I'm sorry.) I grabbed a shower (had to deal with the sand from your mental pictures) and then we headed over to the fiesta field. The shuttle service is really nice- we picked it up at the end of our row and it takes you over to one end of the vendor's row. On the way, you pass a set of rides. Things like those bungee/trampoline jumpers, and a few other things. I haven't looked as I'm usually trying to shield my kids eyes from them. Ignorance is bliss, ya know? One side of the field is all vendors- pretty much as far as the eye can see. You have a huge variety of food vendors from exotic funnel cakes to fries with curds to all sorts of ethnic foods to everything covered in green chilli (apparently that's the state motto -- what's a motto? I don't know? What's a motto with you?!). Plus merchandise, trinkets, junk, and all sorts of stuff. After grabbing something to eat (burgers for the kids, tamales for me) and a couple of trinkets, we headed off to stake out a spot for the evening glow and then subsequent fireworks. A pro tip that our pilot gave us and we saw for ourselves: if you remember back to the map of the field, he said that most people are lazy. The field rows closest to the vendor tents are crazy busy. The next one out is slightly less busy. But by the time you get 1 1/2 rows away from the vendor tents, the crowds are vastly less. So we followed that plan and headed out just beyond 1/2 way across the field, between rows P and Q. We were right at the road's edge and got talking to some of the Zebras about where the best place to see the evening glow and watch fireworks were. They said we had picked an excellent spot. The kids got comfy: We put a post out on Facebook to our event group of our coordinates and welcomed people to join us. Sounds like many picked a spot on the hill and only 1 family joined us- a mother and her son. The son was just a little younger than mine, so they had a real good time running around and playing. Another tip about the Balloon Fiesta- don't put a ton of trust in the schedule. They're weather dependent often and you have to wait for a change in the breeze. What was to start at 6:15 or something ended up not starting until after 7. We heard the announcement that the "green flag" was going up. And very quickly, balloons started cold and then hot inflating: Silhouettes in the sunset: The pictures feel very repetitive but it's hard not to take a bunch. I actually went live on Facebook (on our family page) and shared as I walked around. Unfortunately many parts of the video are dark (because it WAS dark!). Hopefully it's not terrible or vomit-inducing from movement. Pictures after I was on FB live: Part of the Evening Glow was a "twinkling" where they quickly lit their burners on and off. My son and I walked to the bathrooms (straight out the road between P&Q). On our way back, the fireworks had started. The fireworks are set off from 2 areas which made them a little difficult to watch from where we were. They were launched from the "top" of the map above and from the far right. But they were neat none the less. Again, I tried going on Facebook Live and realized that it wasn't great lighting to record them and really- I just wanted to sit back and watch the fireworks. Here's my exactly 1 picture from them: Afterwards, we waited out for the crowds to disperse a little. Standing in a long, long, long line for the RV shuttle didn't sound like fun. So we hung out at our spot for a while and then made our way to the vendors tents. We grabbed a couple of footlong corndogs (Disneyland's are better!), a hot dog, and some snacks. Many of the trinket vendors had closed up by the time we walked through. But we walked and talked with the Mom and son- it was nice getting to know them a bit. That's what this "Hangout" (aka mini-rally) is all about. I got home and, no surprise, worked some more that evening. Monday (Columbus Day) morning brought with it- Paige crewed again, Mandie took her, and we saw balloons in the RV park. I actually went out for them and will share a few pictures. Until next time!
  15. Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta

    It's been good. I hope y'all steer me back if I go overboard with it. The battery stuff goes from simple to complicated in an instant! Funny thing about the Smokey Bear one - there was a hispanic family who the wife/mother was taking the picture. I offered and as I lined up the picture, the dad said "Make sure you get Smokey the Bear!" It was seriously a highlight for him/them! Thanks TCD! I try to look for the humorous side of things. I also try to balance it for not falling off the "ohhhh he shouldn't have said that" edge. I fail often, but I'm usually giggling as I fall. Thanks for the kind words. It's coming at a great point in her life that hard work is being recognized by someone other than Mom and Dad. Yeah, it's cozy! Sadly, still not as bad as San Francisco was! We had a coveted spot with some grass. Otherwise, the front was pert near as tight as the back. We are. She's at such a tough age where she sees how we get after her more than we praise her. But I truly know how wonderful she is. It's not awful, but higher than I want. I really hate paying it as I have a fancy sewer bladder that is designed for exactly this situation. Unfortunately, I've been so crazy with work (60-70 hour work weeks and 3 or 4 overnight working sessions with 5am bedtimes) - I just haven't had time to pump and drive to a dump (closest is 6 miles away). The showers really surprised me. We have never gotten more than 4 showers even with so called "navy showering". I think we just never took it quite so seriously. I also had more luck with equalizing the tanks than I have before. Thanks! I hope y'all enjoy it. It's truly mindblowing to walk out and see them all. I debated going outside this morning and finally drug myself out of bed after a 3am sleep-time. It was soooo worth it!