Wednesday, August 25, 2010


We are still in the parking lot of the Fort Walton Beach Elks Lodge. Sunday afternoon marked four full weeks here, and today makes it a calendar month. We are beginning to feel a bit like squatters, and we are trying to keep a low profile. Of course, at $10 a night, the lodge is making a fair profit from us, and no one else is using the spaces. We've also been in for dinner once, breakfast twice, and cocktails maybe a half dozen times.

As long-time readers know, I make an effort to post a blog entry from each location at which we stop, even if just for a night while passing through. Once we get settled in someplace, though, I tend to post only when something noteworthy happens, or if I have a lot of time on my hands. So I must apologize to our loyal readers for getting so far behind; I confess that I have had my nose down in my work, described below, and the time is flying by. As such, this post will also be a tad long, to catch up.

When last I posted here, some 17 days ago, we were just about to head over to the dump station, and we will again be heading out this afternoon for the same reason. We usually say we have a two-week tank capacity, but with some careful management we can get a few more days, and today is really the limit. Back then we decided that Henderson Beach State Park, ten miles east of here in Destin, with its $30 per night campground, was the most convenient public dump station. So we secured the bus, put some cones in our space, also delineated by our scooters, and rolled the ten miles to the park. We paid the day use fee of $6 at the gate to get in.

Once we were inside the gates, and after dumping our tanks, we decided we might as well take advantage of the park's day use area, which has convenient RV parking as well. As we walked over to the beach, we noticed a section of the parking lot cordoned off, and the Jacksonville Fire Department's large mobile incident command truck was positioned and deployed there. Apparently, this is the local command post for the oil remediation efforts, which were more or less at a nadir when we arrived. Lots of bored looking firefighters and other relief workers hanging around, and we though seriously about flashing our Red Cross ID's, explaining we were with the Technology department, and asking for a tour of the truck -- their tech guys would just love to show it off, I'm sure. Ultimately, though, we decided there would be nothing there we haven't already seen before.

We spent an hour or so in the water, lazing around on our pool noodles and people-watching. Henderson beach seems pretty popular on weekends, although I would say it was a mere fraction of "normal" occupancy for this time of year. It's a very nice park, and we'd consider staying there if the camping area was closer to the beach. As it is, it's much closer to highway 98, although a fence makes it impossible to just walk across the road for dinner -- you need to go half a mile west back to the park entrance first.

Back then I also reported that Louise got a virus on her computer, and after having spent the better part of two days eradicating it, I decided a software audit and refresh was in order. Between that and the file cleanup and reorganization that I had also started around then, I have literally spent the entire last two weeks buried in my computer and the file server taking care of things. It's still really too hot to go out during the day, although we've been swimming a few times and actually did some riding around on the two "reasonable" days we've had since arriving.

Even though I've had my nose pressed to a computer screen, I still have not managed to do any work on the web site or photo hosting, and the deadline for that project is rapidly approaching, just five days away. But our security suites are updated and the file server is back under control. I also upgraded my Blackberry, a project too frustrating to recount here, and dug the two Gateway laptops out of the closet where they have been languishing nearly a year, since I "upgraded" to this Acer netbook.

One of those Gateways was a hangar queen that I had hopes of repairing with a $4 power jack, then flipping on eBay for a tidy profit. After spending a day replacing the power inlet (soldered to the motherboard) I discovered that whatever is keeping it from charging was deeper than that. Or perhaps my solder job damaged the filter circuit; either way, that machine could only run from a battery, which had to be charged in a different computer, and I ended up stripping it down completely. I am in the middle of listing all the piece parts on eBay now, hoping to recoup some of what I spent on the thing. I bought it to repair the broken case on the other Gateway, which I was using at the time.

In any case, I have one fully working computer out of the two, which I will also be selling shortly. I have no CD drive on my current machine, and one of the projects languishing on the back burner for "some day" has been to make server copies of all the software CDs before I got rid of the machine with the reader in it. And way back when we first bought these multimedia laptops, I had the notion I would rip all our audio CDs, and I even bought am 8gB mp3 player just for the purpose -- two years ago. Hauling out the old machine and getting it running has prompted me to finally finish that project, and the very last audio CD in our collection is ripping even as I type.

In a few minutes we will again roll out to the dump station. Somewhere in the last two weeks we learned there is a commercial RV park just five miles from here with a $10 dump, and that works out to less money than the extra ten miles back and forth to Henderson Beach, so that's where we will head. We should be right back here tonight. We are, of course, keeping a close eye on Hurricane Danielle, Tropical Depression Seven, and yet another region of tropical disturbance already in the Gulf of Mexico, but at this writing nothing is threatening. We did briefly have our status raised to "Alert" for Tropical Depression Five a week ago, but it fizzled before anything came of it.


  1. Sean, glad you posted again, was starting to wonder what was going on. Captured by the Elks or something. Steve & Carol

  2. Yes really! a month... better move out and get a condo!... (bad joke... I know!).
    Germany for 2 week, will catch up with you again soon.
    Be well... always.


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