Saturday–25 February 2017

Much happenings since last post. We went to CA to see the newest granddaughter (and the rest of that great family). All the kids were cute, as expected. Pam flew down on a Thursday (she couldn’t wait); I drove down on the following Monday (Church things: a talk, and organist, plus the usual meetings). Drive was uneventful; the weather was mostly partly cloudy.

Although there had been much rain in CA before I left. The Oroville Dam (my uncle was an engineer for the dam) had problems with the spillway (main and emergency), with overtopping the emergency spillway causing some flooding concerns. They had a mandatory evacuation of low-lying areas below the dam. Lots of water in the flood plains as I drove down that area.

We drove back on a Friday. Big rainstorm that day, heavy from about Woodland to south of Red Bluff. But the freeways were above water – although that wasn’t the case the next day. Flooding across all lanes of I-5 north of Woodland (CA), but we missed it.

Our big concern was another landslide across the northbound lanes of I-5 above Woodland (WA). We were on the wrong side of that stretch during our return from CA a previous trip. Had to stay in Woodland, then a 50-mile detour that took 8 hours due to traffic. That closure lasted 3 days, so we were concerned a bit with the landslide that happened very near the first one.

But, we lucked out. The WDOT folks had only one lane (of three NB) blocked by the time we got there. Other than that excitement, a usual trip home. Although we had to stop in Roseburg for Pam to check out a sale at JoAnn’s – big sale, and no sales tax. I found it interesting that there were a half-dozen men waiting in that parking lot with me.

Since returning, I’ve been working on a ‘Learn to Read’ programming project. Found out that Windows 10 has an acceptable reading ‘voice’, so have spent some time designing a web-based site that includes reading and speaking words. Interesting to do.

Weather here has been typical – cloudy and showery some days, and showery with ‘sun-breaks’ other days. Temps ranging from 25-45F.

We got the electric bill for last month – there was a lot of cold weather (below freezing) which made our heat pump work overtime. The bill was $400. Our only alternative for heat is a propane fireplace insert, so not sure of savings there.

But I decided to do a wholesale replacement of all of the ‘can lights’ bulbs to LEDs. Found a 6-pack of LED 65W-equivalent bulbs for $18, so bought 3 of them. When they arrive, we’ll replace almost all of the existing bulbs (some CFL, some ‘old-fashioned’) with the LEDs. One on-line calculator said that I could recover the cost in electricity savings in about 7 weeks. And then the LED’s will only use about 10% of the power that incandescent use. Since there are some can lights that are on most of the time, this might save a bit on the next electric bill.

A trip to UT is planned for next month. We’ll drive there, then fly to TX for Pam to visit her mother (the flight goes from SLC to SEA to TX, but we got a cheap deal using Alaska air miles). Then drive from TX to UT (we’re bringing a car back to UT), then driving home. We’ve made the TX to UT drive before; it is quite scenic. Not sure how weather will affect us; hoping for minimal snow problems.