Shopping, Lunch, Satellite TV, and The Beach

This morning happened early, almost like normal, but a little bit later. I think it was 0700 when the dogs let their presence be known. Until then, they were quiet like little church mice. At least I think they were. I’ve never actually seen a church mouse so cannot accurately report that they are actually quiet. I suppose the fact that I’ve never heard one while in church would serve to convince me that they really are quiet. Either that, or they don’t really exist. That’s hard to believe, however, because mice are pretty much everywhere.

After walking the dogs, we returned to the Winnebago innards and they got their normal ration of pouch food, which pleased them a great deal. It always pleases them a great deal. From their perspective, they just don’t get pleased a great deal often enough. Once a day is the limit.

When we returned, Diane was vertical and moving so I figured it was going to be a pretty good day. We both had out normal yogurt and and fruit, then drank coffee until the pot was empty. It was a bit weak, but it was good. We were all off to a good start, and I didn’t even feel the need to take my normal morning nap.

One of the priorities for today was to get some sort of something I could use to lay on under the RV, to could work on the fuel pump problem, so we went shopping. As luck would have it, Diane drove directly to the Goodwill store at the fairly new shopping center, that also has a Costco, in Warrenton. We mosied around in there and found all kinds of really cute things we didn’t know we needed. I mean, they were REALLY cute things. Probably the cutest things I’ve ever seen. My contribution was a little package that had two hose clamps, which aren’t really cute, and an old, solid wood, not plywood, coffee table. I’m going to take it home and refinish it so it looks like new then I’m going to put it in front of the living room couch where there currently isn’t one. It’s going to look very nice, I bet. Right now we’re using it for our outside table under the awning by the RV since I forgot to get the little brown plastic fold up one from the garage.

We returned to some happy dogs early afternoon and Diane set about making lunch. Today we had griddled steak, microwave mashed potatoes, and over baked corn on the cob. It was all exceptionally good, but the corn actually took first prize simply for the way Diane cooked it. “Oven baked corn on the cob?” you ask. “That’s true,” I respond. All you have to do is preheat your oven to 350 then toss the corn in for 25 minutes. The best part is, you don’t have to peel the corn first! It just goes in there just like you bought it from the store, unless you bought it already husked. Then, when your dinger goes off, or your phone barks at you, like Diane’s timer app, take the corn out of then oven and immediately run cold water on your hands for about 10 minutes, if you failed to use hot pads. Then, get a really sharp knife, and cut the large end off the ears, taking the first row of corn, if possible. Then just squeeze the little end like a tube of toothpaste and the cooked ear of corn will slowly emerge from the husks, minus most of those annoying little strings. It’s amazing! And it was done to perfection. So, good. I didn’t, by the way, take the corn out of the oven so I didn’t burn my hands. Diane did, and she used hot pads.

After lunch, Diane made herself some tea and went to her chair under the awning, in the fresh air. It was raining off and on, but that’s OK. It was nice and fresh. And quiet. While she was relaxing, I went to work trying to line up the satellite antenna. I set it up yesterday and gave it a minor effort, but couldn’t get it to work. This time I got the zip code for the spot we’re in so I could properly aim the antenna, then made the necessary adjustments using a 1/2 inch box end wrench. In case you’re interested, the DirecTV settings for zip code 97121 are: azimuth 132, elevation 34, rotation 111. The hard part is setting the azimuth. In case you’ve had trouble with that in the past, perhaps you will benefit from my experience regarding this adjustment.

Once you set the elevation and rotation, take your best shot at aiming the antenna in the proper direction where you think it should be. Fortunately, for me, there is a compass glued to one leg of the stand Jack gave me, so I knew where 132 was. The trick with using a manual compass is that you first have to make sure the compass is aligned with the colored needle on the N. Then, if you have the right kind of compass, it will have markings all the way around it from 0 to 359 then back to 0.

When you figure out which way you need to point it, stand very still and point your left arm in that direction. It works best if you do this directly over the antenna so you can see how close you are to being correct. Remember, all you are trying to do is get close. It’s very possible that you might get lucky on the first aim and get a great signal.

Regarding the signal … there are satellite signal meters you can purchase that I understand help with the alignment, but I figure that would take the fun out of guessing and, perhaps, getting it right the first time.

Needless to say, I didn’t get it right the first time so had to make numerous trips from the receiver, to check the signal level, then back to the antenna to move it 1 or 2 degrees one way or another, then back to the receiver to check again. I did this about 15 times, I think, before I actually got a signal. Then, with a bit a tweaking, I got a really good signal and was watching Jeff Gianola on Channel 6 News, just like that! Way out here in Fort Stevens. Go figure.

Oh, another really important thing to remember when you’re setting up your antenna is to make sure the vertical part of the pipe, to which the antenna is bolted, is absolutely vertical. You can guess at this, too, if you wish, but most of them have a bubble level in the top of the vertical pipe that simplifies this step. When I was setting it up at home, I didn’t know it was there, so had all kinds of trouble getting it vertical with two little levels. So, that’s the first thing I did this time.

Here’s what it should look like when you’re finished …

All the time I was going back and forth from the antenna to the receiver, Diane sat peacefully in her chair, not questioning me about how it was going. She just read her book and must have figured I was doing something useful.

On my last trip out I told her the news was on if she was interested which excited her no end. She just loves the news and ran right inside to watch it … and fiddle around with the DirecTV remote which she hasn’t used in a while. Since we have a DVR in the RV, she set Diane Sawyer to record, then we took the dogs to the beach down by the shipwrecked Peter Iredale. There are signs in Fort Stevens that actually have “Ship Wreck” on it, with an arrow pointing the way. Everyone in Oregon knows the ship’s name so it’s not needed on the signs an it saves the parks service a ton of money by not having to buy so much sign paint. Here’s what’s left of the wreck …

When we got to the beach, Panzee was ready to run because there were dog tracks all over the place and so many new things to smell. Ozzie just sat on my arm, looking out the window during the trip, trying to look nonchalant, but I knew he was excited. He couldn’t fool me. He was, however, a little hesitant at first because he absolutely abhors leashes. He’s main this pretty plain every time we hook him up, but it’s a rule. He deals with it, in his fashion, like by laying down so Diane has to drag him along behind her which causes people to stare. Then she will pick him up, which is his real desire. He’s pretty little so he’s not very hard to drag. It just looks bad to some folks.

When we got down to the hard sand, we went north on the beach, away from the ship wreck that lures a lot people, where there was virtually no one around. Seeing this, we removed the leashes and just let them run. They had a terrific time, and got a lot of exercise. Ozzie got the most exercise, though, because he ran circles around Diane like he was in orbit, and just couldn’t break free of her gravitational pull. Finally, however, he did. Somewhere in his little body he found a booster rocket and chased after me and Panzee. It as fun to watch because he’s normally such a little recluse.


I need to let you know that I won’t be able to publish this entry from this location. We have no phone signal. Funny, huh? We’re watching satellite TV in HD but can’t call home. When you get this, you’ll wonder why I’m sharing this because, obviously, it got sent if you’re reading it. It’s just something I needed to tell you.

Oh ya! Here’s something I learned today …

Who knew?

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