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Blog Archive 2013 Apr

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Mon 4/1 = The morning Buffalo Ridge Park
fourth RC micro helicopter: Blade Nano CPx that has a tail rotor, no flybar and true collective positive and negative pitch
session went OK until the main rotor seemed to be binding. Later, I went to Fitness One and the heli would barely fly and then for a short time until the battery was down. The main rotor was taking entirely too much current. Some of the hot glue from a broken landing strut meshed with the main rotor gears. I didn't find out that was the problem until Tuesday when I took the heli to the shop (my lab) for repair. It was tedious cleaning up the micro gears and I had to remove and reinstall the rotor motor in the process.
- Finally! I finished buffing the van. It surely looks nice!
- In the afternoon I went to the LAF gym for a heavy torso workout, jacuzzi session and a shower.
- After supper I drove over to Mildred's to give her another computer lesson: this time explaining the tabs on the Firefox browser. Harvey, her son in MI phoned and I got to visit with him for a few minutes. Mildred gave me a kiss and a hug Bye because this our last get-together until I return from kiteboarding trip.
- This evening I modified my van's new front sunshield with slots for the GPS & rear view mirror, soaked my right foot which got a sticker a couple of days ago for 43 minutes while catching up on this blog and then went to bed with a Sleep Number of 25.

Tue 4/2 = Finished windshield and front side window sun shields. This afternoon I flew my
fourth RC micro helicopter: Blade Nano CPx that has a tail rotor, no flybar and true collective positive and negative pitch
at Fitness 1 instead of Buffalo Ridge Park, due to 16 mph winds.
- Alright, so I lost control of myself. After supper I was still thinking of food, opened the freezer and the big, round, thick, Skinny Cow Cookies 'n Cream ice cream sandwiches were staring me in the face. Actually, they're not very tasty and don't have many calories. I ended up finishing off the three left in the box. Total calories were still less than some of the similar-looking fat ice cream sandwiches. I may have just taken care of being .6 lb under my goal weight this morning.
- To bed in my van for a van test and for a comparison to the Sleep Number bed.

Wed 4/3 = Besides two sessions flying my
fourth RC micro helicopter: Blade Nano CPx that has a tail rotor, no flybar and true collective positive and negative pitch
this morning, I finished ALL my van's sunshields (whew!), trimmed the Natal Plum shrubs out front, swept and mopped all the tile floors here at home, planned my rout and over-night stop on the way to Corpus Christi, TX, folded & stowed the freeze-protection covers that were draped around my garage, went to LA Fitness for a heavy legs workout and went to bed, settling on a sleep number of 60 after looking at all my test data, although the sleep number doesn't seem to make that much difference in how my back feels in the morning (It felt OK so I'll using 60 in the future and not mention it any more).

Thu 4/4 = Everything went like clockwork this morning until, at Buffalo Ridge Park, I my
fourth RC micro helicopter: Blade Nano CPx that has a tail rotor, no flybar and true collective positive and negative pitch
embedded itself about 16 feet up in the chain link baseball back up and I had just enough time to make it to my dermatologist appointment. I was forced to climb the backstop with my bare hands to loosen the heli. My fingers were hurting on the way back down so I let myself drop - a little too far, so I landed on my right hand and by butt. Butt is OK and my shorts got dusty but my right hand got bruised. After a quick stop by home for a bag of ice, I chilled my numb fingers and bruised thumb-palm on the way to the doctors' office, which I made just in time.
- Dr. Debbie Layton froze the small pre-cancerous growth on the top of my right wrist. Back at the Buffalo Ridge Park, I flew the last (4th) battery out and the tail boom split which caused the tail rotor to aim up at about a 60° angle - not good. I attempted to super glue it back together. The glue job was successful but the result too large to fit into the heli body tail-boom socket.
- This afternoon I got everything accomplished for today's Vacation Countdown: reorganized my tech drawer, got my right seat box ready to go and treated my wetsuits with special UV protectorate.

Fri 4/5 = By the time
Stanley, my older brother who is a machinist for Eaton Corporation in Hutchinson, KS
left me an urgent voice mail saying I should see a doctor about the numbness in some of my fingers, I had already done it. Dr Luis Irizarri check my hands out and said the temporary numbness was nothing to worry about and to go ahead with my trip. Good news.
fourth RC micro helicopter: Blade Nano CPx that has a tail rotor, no flybar and true collective positive and negative pitch
problems: I tried my old retired battery D and the helicopter started its intermittent binding cutting out. I don't know if the battery caused the problem, but it is now also occurring with my other, newer, batteries.
- Sleeping in the center of my Sleep Number Bed now, still set at 60. All my previous test were done sleeping on the left side (laying on the bed looking at the ceiling). By the way, Premier research found that folks who sleep on the left side of the bed are happier in general than people who sleep on the right side. In the morning my back felt, not great, but as good as in any of my previous mattress tests. The center of the single-chamber Sleep Number mattress has a different firmness profile than either side, as it seems to crown in the middle.

Sat 4/6 = Up early this morning to take my van to Ken's Transmission for their tranny service special. On the way home I stopped by a couple of neighborhood garage sales, including Mike's who sold his house and is moving. He shook my hand!
- I spent most of the rest of the day finalizing the circuitry, soldering and hooking up a voltmeter and ammeter so I can take both readings at once while the
fourth RC micro helicopter: Blade Nano CPx that has a tail rotor, no flybar and true collective positive and negative pitch
is operating. The project included a trip to Radio Shack and and
my X-brother-in-law
for some probe connectors. I got Phoenix RC simulator working smoothly on the little EeePC that I take with me on my trips, using its 9" screen instead of an external monitor.
- Hamfeast for supper.

Sun 4/7 = Sat 4/13 = This week I mostly got ready to leave on my big spring/summer kiteboarding trip, working in several areas - some not really necessary but gave me a good feeling when I accomplished them. The more significant activities were:
- Website: To the bottom of my Travel Tips web page I added, Etiquette for tipping, gestures, dining and do's & don'ts in 29 of the world's 193 countries, because a friendly gesture in one country can be obscene in another and what may be perfectly normal in one country can sometimes be a grave insult in another. I also renewed my domain name and hosting for the next three years
- Losses: Researched two great world citizens we lost: Margaret Thatcher and Jonathan Winters.
fourth RC micro helicopter: Blade Nano CPx that has a tail rotor, no flybar and true collective positive and negative pitch
: Fixed a 2-D-cell light bulb to drain the flight batteries for storage when the heli is unflyable and replaced the main circuit board (courtesy of Mike and Horizon Hobby's warranty department). This seems to have fixed the intermittent unbinding and falling out of the sky problem. I flew the heli almost every day with some crashing, bending, breaking, buying and fixing. I am going to try to be more careful, because this is getting both expensive and time consuming.
- HobbyKing mess: I ordered seven Lipo heli flight batteries the middle of February. HobbyKing charged my credit card immediately but back ordered the batteries. After emails, questions and live chats they tell me that it may be as late as the middle of May before the batteries arrive. Of course I will not be here then and that is beyond the Master Card's 60-day dispute window.
- Gym: Final workouts at Fitness 1 and LA Fitness (froze my membership there).
- Van: Got it vacuumed, washed, windows washed inside out - sure looks nice now and shows no fault codes according to my fault-code reader. An all-day project was designing and adding a custom-designed tempered aluminum wet wetsuit hanger in the foyer. Also I did a new oil change schedule chart up to 303,000 miles.
- Weather: Started following the wind forecasts in Corpus Christi, TX. There was no rush to get off due to mediocre wind conditions; got my Oregon Scientific weather station up and running again; attempted to subscribe to iKitesurf, but was unable due to bugs they still haven't fixed on their website.
- Finance: Paid off, as always, the credit card I use and the one I have my Internet charged to each month.
- Planned my driving route to include stopping by
George & Cindy
younger brother and his wife who live in Mesa, AZ
- House & yard: Fed & watered my 6 myoporum, which seem to be doing well; trimmed my Natal Plum shrubs; vacuumed; programmed the DVD/VCR to send Jay Leno's monologues to the 6-hour VCR & Jimmy Fallon's monologues to the 10-hour DVD.
- Bed: Still experimenting but found that sleeping on the somewhat crowned center of the mattress is firmer and more comfortable than sleeping at either side.
- Personal: Mailed out a hand-written Thank You note to Horizon Hobby, cut my hairs and did lots of packing and organizing for the trip.
- Computer: Did a final double backup - one here at home & one to take on the road.

Sun 4/14 = Got everything packed in the van, did some desk cleaning, swept the kitchen floor, vacuumed and cleaned off the kitchen island, all cuz I want to come back to a clean house after my trip. A half mile from home at Albertsons, I realized that I had missed putting in two bananas which were still on my kitchen counter. I didn't want thousands of gnats to have a big Banana Party in my house while I was gone, so went back home to put the bananas in my van's Pantry drawer. Because I didn't pull the van into the garage, I noticed some bright red transmission fluid in my catch pan. After consulting with Ken, my neighbor who knows a lot more about cars than I do, I decided to go ahead and leave on the trip and monitor the tranny fluid rather than delaying my trip another day and have Ken's Transmission correct the problem tomorrow. I finally got on the road at three this afternoon after a short stop to eat a bite and visit with
George & Cindy
younger brother and his wife who live in Mesa, AZ
. Drove to El Paso, TX for the night.

Mon 4/15 = Drove to south San Antonio today. Added the first quart of oil to my 17-year-old van... ever.

Tue 4/16 = Drove down to north Corpus Christi for a lunch and visit with my cousin, Frank Petefish. We had a good visit, but received a sad call from Marry Ruth, his sister, that Herb, her husband, had died Saturday. Drive to Corpus Christi, TX from home in Phoenix:
2013 Overall Avg
Moving Avg
Low Temp
Su Apr 14 47.7 61.6 8:35 409.7 409.7 64° F El Paso, TX
Mo Apr 15 54.8 67.6 9:32 521.5 931.2 64° F South San Antonio, TX
Tu Apr 16 ?? 61.0 4:17 147.5 1078.7 73 deg. Wildcat Park, destination
- I got to Wildcat Park in Portland, TX in time to have my first kite session in about eight months - blew most jibes, but also made some - sort of. I used my 12m Epic Screamer and my surf board with foot straps and booties. Everyone here has stories of their encounters with oysters and why they wear booties here.
- This evening I joined the Portland, TX Community Center Silver Sneakers Program and took advantage of their open Wi-Fi and space to fly my little helicopter - but only had time for two batteries until they closed up. I found a lighted baseball field at the Gregory-Portland High School where I met young Ryan who helps maintain the field and flies larger RC helicopters and flew my last two batteries (C & D) three minutes each in the windiest (gusting 10-20 mph) conditions yet. During the six minutes I went from lasting only a few seconds to flying a full two minutes in the gustiness. I got to bed late in the parking lot of a Walmart 8.4 miles from J P Luby Beach over in Corpus Christi.

Wed 4/17 = So much for my sparkling clean van. Spending the day at J P Luby Beach on the gulf took care of that with copious amounts of salt everywhere on the outside. I enjoyed riding with others at J P Luby beach and managed to stay upwind pretty well in spite of the on-shore wind. I was the first kiteboarder out (and, for about 30 minutes, the only one out) on the water with my 12m Epic Screamer and 130 cm Lite Wave Stealth twin-tip board. I had so much confidence I went out with the same kite and my Naish Custom Fish 52 x 17.5 surfboard with footstraps. You know I'm not good in the surf and demonstrated it after a couple runs, pretty much staying up wind. For the first time I used the single-front-line-flag safety system I engineered to keep a kite from being damaged by pounding surf... and swam .2 miles in the process and then walked .4 miles up the beach back to my van. Good cardio!
- I was going to go out again after I got my lines straightened out with the help of Jupiter, but the 12m was a little big for the wind conditions and I didn't want to pump up my 8m, as it was getting a little late.
- I spent the night at the Flour Bluff Walmart in anticipation of riding at Oleander Point tomorrow.

Thu 4/18 = I spent this no-wind morning exploring all the spots at the Corpus Christi Beach (North Beach). It has a nice long, wide beach for rigging and launching and would have been some good riding had there been a south wind.
- Around noon I checked out Oleander point in the south part of Cole Park for the expected north wind that never came, so I worked on an addition to my home page while I charged my four
fourth RC micro helicopter: Blade Nano CPx that has a tail rotor, no flybar and true collective positive and negative pitch
batteries. There at Oleander Park near the skate board area I found good parking, a large grassy area where I flew the Nano and, even open WiFi, courtesy of Corpus Christi. How thoughtful!
- Within minutes we had classic frontal passage with a shift to a north wind, drop in temperature and a little rain. Trying to locate the
Naval Air Station
launch site (supposedly opposite Texas A&M) was futile and the traffic there was horrible with the NAS getting-off traffic.
- I drove back to the Oelander Point and got acquainted with Chip. The wind was pretty stiff from the north and we agreed that if one would go out the other would also. You rig on the grass and then walk down the cliff on a path and launch from a pebble beach - barefoot is OK. It was pretty gnarly with my 8m Best Nemesis kite and 130 cm Lite Wave Stealth twin-tip board. Things went pretty well... until I got jerked off my board and then downwind by over-controlling my kite with a kite loop straight downwind. You'd think I'd know better! If I had just let go of the bar the kite would have depowered (gotten wet) and not drug me .2 miles downwind from my board, up there somewhere. I never thought it would be so tiring dragging back up wind, but the waves made it more challenging. Chip, being a windsurfer, helped me by finding my board and helping get it to me.
- I spent the night, again at the Flour Bluff Walmart because it is not far from Packery Channel Park. I was barely warm enough during the night under the comforter I brought, with a low of 56 degrees under my van and 58 degrees inside the van.

Fri 4/19 = This morning I used my JetBoil to heat some water to warm up my vegetables and have something hot to drink. Packery Channel wind direction was good, from the north, but a little high for my 15m Epic Renegade Infinity. I needed to make a fancy tethered self-launch line anyway. By the time I fixed and ate lunch, went to an Ace Hardware for a stainless steel carabiner and got the line completed, including braided sewed loops in each end, there was too little wind to ride! So...
- I went to join the Platypus Fitness Center's Silver Sneakers Program, but they said Silver Sneakers required a Doctor's OK. I don't know where they got that information because I have joined the Silver Sneakers Program at five gym or gym chains and NO one has required that!
- Then to Cole Park to work on my website, dispute the Hobby King purchase I made the middle of February but still haven't received, fly my
fourth RC micro helicopter: Blade Nano CPx that has a tail rotor, no flybar and true collective positive and negative pitch
in a 14-mph wind and catch up on this blog.
- I drove down to the Flour Bluff Walmart to wrap up, stay warm and dream about Packery Channel tomorrow. Tonight may be the coldest of this entire trip.

Sat 4/20 = Probably other kitebarders are a little smarter than me (that wouldn't be too hard to accomplish), but I went out to Packery Channel and rode with my 15m Epic Renegade Infinity on my Naish Custom Fish 52 x 17.5 surfboard with footstraps around noon. I did my first tethered self launch and landing using the new tether line I made yesterday. With such a big kite it doesn't take very much wind to be overpowered. Being alternately over and then underpowered was interesting and, after an hour of riding, I DID make it back to where I took off - almost. This area is DEFINITELY A BOOTIES AREA, with all the oyster beds. While I was out my van weather station showed a peak gust of 19.2mph, the water and air temperatures were both 67 degrees, my top speed was 23.3mph and I kited 5.17 miles.
- While I was waiting for my equipment to dry in the sun I downloaded and processed all the track logs from the Foretrex 201 GPS I wear while kiteboarding and also refined my swimming, dragging and walking distances from Wednesday and Thursday. If interested, just look back to the boldfaced numbers on those dates.
- Since Ace Hardware was closed and I couldn't work on a new shower nozzle project this evening, I made it much easier to determine the best kiteboarding locations for the wind directions by adding beach orientation markers to my maps and information.
- I spent the night at the back of the Flour Bluff Walmart where it was nice and quiet, except for some people arguing loudly in the middle of the night. This Walmart is on the way from Packery Channel to Lowe's, Oleander, Cole and Wildcat - possible destinations for tomorrow.

Sat 4/21 = I spent all morning finding that five places did not have the nylon double-barbed 3/8" splicer I wanted, so used an elbow, my hot glue gun, hack saw, drill and a jeweler's screwdriver to complete the new and improved van single-stream shower nozzle adapter for my running water system.
- This afternoon I hung around Cole Park with the Sunday crowd. I tried a third time to upgrade my iKitesurf membership but was unable to do it due to a continuing bug on their website. Since they have ignored my three previous emails, I left them a voice mail message.
- Just before supper I went to the YMCA to join as a Silver Sneaker (only had to sign a simple release form), to sit in their hot tub to ease my back discomfort (caused by my Oleander kite loop), take a shower and fix supper in their parking lot after they closed.
- It was sort of a long drive up to Wildcat in Portland, TX, but it was worth it. The wind was amazingly steady for my short, 20 minute, 1.80 mile session with my 12m, twintip and no booties. I was careful and everything went well with a few jumps and several jump jibes.
- For the night I drove down to the Staples St. Walmart in Corpus Christi. I chose it because it is not too far from the Oleander and JFK possible kiteboarding locations for tomorrow... and, according to my phone's satellite view, is not near a freeway for a more quiet night and has an adjacent large grassy area where I might be able to fly my
fourth RC micro helicopter: Blade Nano CPx that has a tail rotor, no flybar and true collective positive and negative pitch
tomorrow morning.

- About supper time I found and used a $2 fresh-water vehicle rinse and then headed back to Oleander Point where I found rock-steady winds, just perfect for my 12m Epic Screamer and 130 cm Lite Wave Stealth twin-tip board in a sunset session. Actually I landed about a half hour BEFORE sunset. I actually worked my way up to several jump jibes with kite loops. Some people were curious so I got to talk about my sport some. Since I was the only kiteboarder, I was the best!
- This evening my Phoenix kiteboarding friend, Chris Moore, phoned. He, his wife and his new little baby girl are on
South Padre Island, Texas
. Maybe we'll be able to hook up sometime this trip.
- I headed back to the Staples St. Walmart for the night after doctoring a scratch I noticed on the right side of my left big toe.

Tue 4/23 = This is the second day here at Corpus that I did not kiteboard. I wasn't very motivated - possibly due to my sore toe. No one else was out either. The wind maxed out in the upper teens - kitable, but not great.
- Around noon I stopped by Pro Kites and had good visits with Brandon, Jeremy and Jeff, the owner. What a good group! Jeff showed me how he made his splicing fids with kite rods and heat shrink tubing - better than mine with a rod antenna. It takes Jeff about five seconds to make a loop.
- Around supper time I went to Cole Park and was determined to get iKitesurf working, in spite of a bug on their website and their not getting back to me after multiple emails and a voice mail. I simply joined, again, under a different name and it worked. They seem to have good weather information, but their customer service really stinks.
- After supper I flew my
fourth RC micro helicopter: Blade Nano CPx that has a tail rotor, no flybar and true collective positive and negative pitch
in 10-12mph winds at Cole Park. The main rotor motor is on its way out, as it does not always start itself, but works OK once I give the rotor a nudge in the right direction. It appears to be using about the correct amount of current.
- After downloading 12 hours of new talk show podcasts thanks to a near-by McDonald's, I retired for the night at the Flour Bluffs Walmart in anticipation of strong north winds for Packery Channel tomorrow.

Wed 4/24 = The wind was perfect for my 8m Best Nemesis, the direction was from the north, ideal for Packery Channel, so I organized my warmest wet suit and hood, put my ambient thermometer on a post, took all my stuff to the grassy area, stretched out my kite lines, covered my sore toe with cut-off digits from a vinyl glove I bought at Dollar Tree on the way, read the post thermometer temperature at 56.1° F, wrapped up my lines, put everything away, deciding that it was too cold, my hands would probably get numb if I went out and that there would be plenty warmer days of wind to kite later on this trip.
- The rest of the day I made a big circle around Corpus Christi bay and explored where no man (at least not me) has gone before, including traveling about a mile north on J P Luby beach, a western Mustang Island launch site where I met Rob (kiteboarder from New Orleans wearing a dry suit), a natural gas pumping facility, the massive Port Aransas beach, their special Sand sculpture event, a four-minute ferry ride of .3 miles and a maximum speed of 9.2 mph, updating my To Buy file, buying a new Sony ICD-PX312 digital recorder at the Aransas Pass, TX Walmart to replace my old ailing one, flying my
fourth RC micro helicopter: Blade Nano CPx that has a tail rotor, no flybar and true collective positive and negative pitch
in a grassy area between the the Portland, TX Community Center and police department, applying hot/cold therapy to my back and neck with the hot tub and shower combination in the Corpus Christi YMCA and finally, heading to the Flour Bluffs Walmart for the night. (Wow! How's that for a long sentence?)

Thu 4/25 = Thanks to my new iKitesurf account, I was in no rush to head out this morning, considering there was little wind in the Corpus area, so I reconfigured the tiles on the Opera web browser home screen on my cell phone for
South Padre Island, Texas
- By noon I was out at on what I call Packery beach. That is just to the south of J P Luby beach on the other side of Packery Chanel, which leads from the gulf all the way to Corpus Christi Bay. There I found Marvin and John, who I had met several years ago on Hatteras, having fun in the gulf. What I did was not exactly fun. Using my 8m Best Nemesis and 130 cm Lite Wave Stealth twin-tip board I managed to land .3 miles down the beach without my board and a torn panel in my kite. The surf didn't seem that high or aggressive and there was a wide flat area right off shore before the little breaking waves. I finally found my board, washed up on the shore .2 miles further down the beach. The wind was from the north 19 gusting to 23 mph about 10 degrees side-shore. My 12 would probably have been a better call, as I would have had more power to get over the waves.
- I arrived on
South Padre Island, Texas
in time for the Arizona kiteboarders get-together at Gabrielas Restaurant. Good food and good service.
- I spent the night up near the north end of Highway 100 so I'd be ready to scout possible downwinder destinations tomorrow morning. Fri 4/26 = I waited about 40 minutes at the downwinder meeting place at the South Flats and no one else showed up so eventually I went out for a short, half-hour session with my 15m Epic Renegade Infinity and 130 cm Lite Wave Stealth twin-tip board and was alternately overpowered and underpowered. Walking about 150 slippery yards through less than 2" deep water until there was enough depth to launch was a bummer. Also coming back through the same. However I did have a pretty neat butt skid when my feet slipped out from under me. It ended when the slippery, slick bottom was replaced by some such as oyster shells.
- This evening I joined over a thousand wind enthusiasts for the annual South Padre Windsurf/Kitesurf Association dinner at Louie's Back yard. It was neat seeing people I had met here, on Hatteras and other places, as well as making some new friends.

Sat 4/27 = Had fun kiteboarding today in spite of the poor, ESE side-off winds and the disgusting flooding of the flats. Chris Moore, from Phoenix, and I did a downwinder the 2.2 miles from the South Flats to Outlaw Point. His wife, Adreaia who is fairly new at the sport, was going to join us after Chris went out as a Guinea pig. He was unable to make it back so he and I continued on downwind to Outlaw while Andriana patiently waited. I was on my Naish Custom Fish 52 x 17.5 surfboard with the footstraps and my 12m Epic Screamer. I did maybe one jibe but did lots of toe-side riding and had my highest jump so far with the surfboard!
- This evening, after a van problem (see Sunday's blog), I drove over to Port Isabelle for a fresh-water under carriage rinse and car wash because of driving in the salt water and then spent the night at Walmart there.

Sun 4/28 = No wind. The Van Problems: I don't think it is related to driving in the salt water at the flats yesterday (I took it really slow), but last night before heading the 3 miles across Laguna Madre on the causeway, my van transmission was in limp-in mode (third gear only). I shut the van off for about five minutes, checked for fault codes and started it up again. Then it appeared to be operating normally. This morning before it warmed up it was shifting with a little thump. This included selecting any gear from Park or Neutral, and also when automatically shifting from first to second. I didn't observe the other gears, as I did not go fast enough. Transmission fluid level was OK. After the van warmed up the shifting was back to its normal smoothness. This evening it was back to the thump and limp-in mode. At 45 mph the tachometer reads 3500 rpm when at that speed the transmission would normally be in direct drive mode at 1600 RPM.
- After breakfast this morning, with a fairly decent wind here at the Walmart, I drove over to the Isla Blanca park at the south end of
South Padre Island, Texas
and the wind there was pretty much as iKitesurf was reporting: Disgusting at 4mph. I charged my
fourth RC micro helicopter: Blade Nano CPx that has a tail rotor, no flybar and true collective positive and negative pitch
batteries and found a large grassy area in the park for heli flying. The only problem, after about two minutes of flying it started to sprinkle, so I had to quit, still needing to fly all three batteries down to their storage voltage.
- I spent most of the rest of the day in Port Isabelle working with my new Sony ICD-PX312 digital recorder reading more of its 130-page instruction manual, buying a 16gb micro SD card for it, selecting some photos to add to my Van Life web page and watching some torrential driving rain as a big thunderstorm blew through, lightning and all.
- A little after 9 o'clock this evening I realized that I still had charged heli batteries, so flew the
fourth RC micro helicopter: Blade Nano CPx that has a tail rotor, no flybar and true collective positive and negative pitch
in an empty part of the Walmart parking lot under their mercury vapor lights. I don't like flying on pavement as a good crash can do a lot of damage. I lucked out and apparently nothing was damaged except maybe the front landing skid mounting pin broke.
- I drove down to Dan's Automotive for the night to be first in line for him to check my transmission tomorrow morning.

Mon 4/29 = No wind. When Dan arrived this morning asked me to come back in about two hours, so I spent that time grocery shopping, flying my
fourth RC micro helicopter: Blade Nano CPx that has a tail rotor, no flybar and true collective positive and negative pitch
and organizing my van before pictures. Dan found the culprit: a bad turbine-speed sensor and a bad shaft-speed sensor (possibly shorted out due to my driving, however slowly, in the salt water at the Flats).
- After about four hours my van was fixed (cost less than one car payment would have), the new images of my van before kiteboarding were on my Van Life web page here, lunch, a Nano session at a nearby grassy area where I actually landed it on my Helibox (definitely a result of a lot of luck and not because of my skill level) and a plan for the rest of the day. I showed Dan my little Nano and naturally he wanted to see it fly, which I was happy to do out in the street. He and his crew thought it was neat!
- Another heli session in the nearby field and a second bout with the biting ants there. They are good at making their ant hills inconspicuous and evidently did not appreciate me standing on them.
- Later went to the Port Isabelle library where I signed up for three more years for $10 with Carmen, the head librarian. She and Marilyn, in the kits' section enjoyed watching me fly my
fourth RC micro helicopter: Blade Nano CPx that has a tail rotor, no flybar and true collective positive and negative pitch
in the large Children's' Room. There were no children. It was neat to catch up with my old friends at the library, update my website and check my email.
- After another heli session, this time in the grassy area west of HEB and my Monday night snack of three delicious Walmart/McDonald's chocolate chip cookies I headed over to the northwest part of the Walmart parking lot for the night. Before turning in, I used the frozen mixed vegetables I bought this morning to ice my middle back, which continues to be a little painful since my spill in Corpus at Oleander Point on the 18th.

Tue 4/30 = No wind so it became the watch day. I made a chart of all the features I want on a wristwatch. The desired watch, which evidently does not exist, would have a weighted score of 56. My old watch, which has a low battery and some display character segments that do not respond when it is cold, got a score of 41. The new watch, I bought got a score of 48. Some of the features I like are larger characters, louder alarm and, of course a display that works properly. I DO NOT LIKE that the Indiglo light flashes with the alarm and alerts. That feature is useless to me and significantly reduces the battery life. Both watches have memory for workout dates, times, splits and laps (150 for the new one vs. 100 for the old one).
- I retrieved the laundry that I had put in my clothes washer (a 3.4 quart plastic container) on Sunday, rinsed them and placed the items (T-shirt, under briefs & 2 wash cloths) around my van where they will be dry by tomorrow morning.
- The ant bites from yesterday were replaced by mosquito bites this evening. I should have scheduled today's second
fourth RC micro helicopter: Blade Nano CPx that has a tail rotor, no flybar and true collective positive and negative pitch
-flying session a little earlier, but didn't get around it until just after sunset in the field to the east of the HEB.
- I spent the night at Dan's Automotive... almost, or at least until 6:30 this morning when I was awakened with my refrigerator temperature alarm which sounded at 50° due to the
Low-Voltage Disconnect circuit set at 11.5V
of my
our van's Lithium/Iron/Manganese/Phosphate/Oxygen house battery
. This is the first occurrence of this trip.

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