Friday, October 23, 2015


Today is Oct 23rd. Yesterday at 3:30, Oct 22nd, my father passed away. It was on Oct 12th that he was admitted into the VA hospital with a mild infection and weight being below 100 lbs. After 1 week, he was scheduled to be released into a rehab to get his strength back up. That was Monday Oct  19th. 

By Tuesday, he was in failing health. I hopped a flight out of Dallas-Love Field on Wed. Arrived and was whisked away to the VA by my brother-in-law. Upon arrival everyone of the Brockman clan was there visiting him. 

Upon entering, I could see it was not good. After a few hours of talking to him, and watching, I knew what he meant last week by the words "don't let me". I called to see the attending physician to discuss his condition for the long term. Since I am the only one to have power of attorney, I made the ultimate decision to dispense with any meds (heart/blood pressure). I had have many hours to think about this since I arrived and know it was the right one, but still it hurt to see him like that. 

Once I made that decision, my hope was that he would not last the night. So, I went to my sister's house to grab a car and come back. Sis came back with me, but left after a few hours. I stayed the night until 4:30 am, went home cleaned and headed back. Again, he was still holding on. 

During this time,  I met many of the attending, nurses, and other people who serve on the 7th floor. I truly wish I could remember all of their names, but, I do not. I do remember the gentleman who brought in 2 recliners for my sister and me. Once she (sis) left, a wonderful nurse brought in pillows and sheets for me to use while I slept there.  I truly wish to thank every one on the 7th floor for taking care of Pop. I witnessed the gentleness, kindness and caring each one displayed. 

Around 10ish, I met with the Hospice Dr., Social worker, and Navel Chaplain. We talked until I felt it was time for me to leave as they wanted to transfer Pop to the Hospice Ward. What a Hospice, they had just remodeled it and it was wonderful. Once I left, I knew they, with great care would transfer him downstairs.  As I was returning into the parking lot a short time later, I received a phone called telling me his status had changed, so I had arrived back just in time for Pop to depart this world. Time of death, 3:30 pm on Oct. 22nd, 2015. Pop was 92 years and 2 months old. 

Here is just a little of what Bill Nelson, a close friend of his wrote about him.

"Another one of the "Old Guys" has passed away. If you knew Errett, you wouldn't forget him. He was a real character. You always knew when he was in the area, because his "Blue Runner" ('68 Ford van with a raised roof) would also be in the area. He finally abandoned it a couple of years ago when he moved from his son, Dale's, home in Apache Junction, AZ to his daughter, Carolann's, home in Lake Worth, FL. 

Dale told us last week that Errett was moved to a VA hospital and would probably then be moved to a nearby VA nursing home. He turned 92 in August. We talked with him for a while on his birthday and he was his usual curmudgeonly self. While he's been in Florida, his routine including going to a local burger place and getting a cheeseburger and fries. The fries were for the birds. He'd go to a park near the shore and put fries on top of his rear view mirror. The birds would come and eat them there while he watched.
His electronics career began while he was in the Navy during WWII, when he worked on and later trained others on the early radar systems. He worked for Philco which was later purchased by Ford, for quite a while before going to work for Sentrol, an early competitor of Industrial Nucleonics/AccuRay/CE/ABB. They didn't have a very large service organization, so his area ranged from Eastern Canada to Florida. He'd bought the Blue Runner with a Ford discount and ran up the first 600,000-miles while working for Sentrol. He had a spare parts van and would rebuild transmissions, engines, etc. as needed. While he worked with us, he was based in Camden, AR and Bastrop, LA. His wife, Bea, was unable to get around very well unless she was in a wheel chair. He made a seat lift out of a tractor seat, a Johnson outboard starting motor, and a slew of AccuRay parts. It worked and I was the first to try it. (He didn't want to risk her falling off, if it didn't work. He'd swing it into the side door and transfer her to a rearward facing bucket seat. Bea died before he left Bastrop. 
He's stayed in touch with a group of guys in the Bastrop area since his retirement. While they still lived there, they'd meet at the restaurant of the Bastrop motel every Saturday. We sat in on a couple of those meetings and those guys could lie as well as any ABB guy! The last time we saw Errett, was at the home of one of those guys during the time he was moving from AZ to FL. He already looked pretty frail, but still insisted on doing his own driving most of the time. He was sounding pretty frail the last couple of times we talked on the phone. He said he couldn't get around very well anymore and had to get into a "three-point stance" to feel secure. 
I can only imagine how that went, but have balance issues myself, so know about hanging onto stuff to stay upright. He's had  skin cancer problems as a result of too much FL sun earlier in his life and has been having numerous small surgeries to remove elisions for the past several years. He had a heart attack several years ago and drove himself in the Blue Runner to and from the VA Hospital in Little Rock. We think his body just wore out. Hope he's comfortable now."  

Written by Bill Nelson a very close friend in the Paper Field.

Ok, back to a few more words about the last few days of Pop. One of the final (best) things that happen to veterans at the VA is the procession from patient room to the morgue. The body is prepared for transport, a flag is draped over it and then it is wheeled thru the halls. Along the way, people will stop and pay homage to the fallen. 

Along the way, I witnessed many people stop, salute, cross their heart to pay homage to Pop as we slowly made our way. Among, the family and friends present for this procession were David & Andrea (Carolann's son & daughter-in-law), Richard & Barbara (Andrea parents), (Andrea sister), Jason & Michelle, (Carolann's son & daughter-in-law) Carolann & Ken (my sister and brother-in-law).

As a final word, Pop kept in touch with many of his friends in and around Bastrop Louisiana. Just about every night they would get on line via Skype to the discuss the world events and issues just to name a few. 

Finally, a last few words about the VA. As I stated, the 7th floor A wing was fantastic toward Pop, helping him, keeping him comfortable, especially with all the comings and going of family and friends. 

The Hospice section was brand new. The Hospice facility was just opened this week. People  had just moved in and were still getting use to everything. From the rooms to the people themselves. I personally met with Dr. Silverman and his team, just some of the names I remember are Dr. Miller, Lynnea Valpatic and a Navel Chaplin Officer. I do apologize for my oversight in not writing down each and everyone's names, but considering this week did the best I could. 

In the past I have heard of issues with the VA. What I have learned and witnessed is this. The VA staff are the most caring, loving and wonderful people in all the hospitals I have seen or been in. This is especially true of the West Palm Beach VA hospital. No where else have I witnessed this to be true. 

So, in closing, I say this:
Pop has left this planet for a better life.
There is a opening for his job
Title - Certified Public Nuisance
or to use the title that his friend called him :
The part of a washing machine called - Agitator.

Pop was a Self Taught Man. His biggest instruction was this:
The most important plastic card in your a library card.




Monday, October 19, 2015

10-19, Sanger Texas CamperForce

Well, this year has not been a good one for medical issues with friends and family.

We loss 2 Roadrunner members this year, Craig Weeder and Fran Kurz. Our hearts and prayers are with both, Lori and John.

John and Fran Kurz

Craig and Lori Weeder

Now on top of this, my father who is 93 is in the hospital. So I am flying out on Wed. (10/21), to see him and my sister in Florida.

Photo of Pop taken in 2005

Prognosis is not good, if they cannot him to eat, gain weight and strength, then it is only a matter of time. On top of that Della (14 years), has been having some issues with her arthritis really acting up. Della is the only original DaGirls left as we loss Koko in 2011. However we continue to have hope for both Pop and Della.

So, where are we and what have we been doing. Last time I wrote we were in Bridgeport Texas. Relaxing and doing clean up work on DaGirls Rv. We were also taking road trips around the area including, one to our final stop for the rest of the year.

Where you might ask? Sanger Texas, where we are staying at McClain's Rv Resort free of charge. Courteously provided by Amazon. Yep you heard right, Amazon, we were accepted into the  Amazon CamperForce, while we were in Alaska. Our start date – training was Oct. 14. With our start to work shift on Oct 18, Sunday. Our shift , will be 4 – 10 hours days, Sunday to Wednesday. With our overtime day being Thursday. From there it is as the work load demands. Keep coming back as I will be reporting in on the results of our jobs.

But lets not forget, our road trips around the area. Seems some of the cities were on the Chisholm trail and some of the buildings date back to the late 1800’s. So in driving around we manage to capture a few good photo ops, less us and DaGirls. So let me see what I can post online for everyone to see.

Photos of Sanger.

Photos of Denton

Yep it is still be showed on movie theaters 

Our spot at McClain's 

This couple has been here way too long

“SeeYa, Safe and Happy Journeys”

"DaGirls Rv, Me, Della, Susan & Tilly"

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Bay Landing RV Resort–Thousand Trails

We landed in B L on Sept 28. we rolled in about 11 am. Signed in, located our spot and proceeded to setup DaGirls Rv.

And just where is Bay Landing Rv resort?

Just southwest of Bridgeport Texas. Which is west of Fort Worth by about 45 miles.

You might asked how come it took you so long to report in? Well, we have been sitting back relaxing. AND doing a good job of cleaning DaGirls Rv, which means even the outside. Yes the outside, for the last day I have been cleaning and waxing her up. Taking my time to make her shine.

Another item I did was clean the storage compartments. Thanks to Dean’s  idea, we had very little dust/dirt from our long journey. What was his idea?  spray every crack, and seam with spray foam. Yes sir that was a excellent one. 

Susan on the other hand decided it was time to clean the refrigerator, and boy did it need it. We found things we thought we had lost. Or she found things I thought I had lost. What a difference a cleaning and organizing makes.

And she has been doing the cabinets along with the compartments.
On the other hand, Della has injured herself. I hope she has only hurt herself. She is going to the Vets, in Spanger  on Monday when we get to our Amazon Camper Force Campground till Dec 23rd. So we will wait and see, see only promised to go to Alaska and back, but we are forever grateful for the time we have with her.

Yep you read correctly, Amazon Camper Force. We decided to sign up and see what happens. We got jobs for 12 weeks. We are excited as this was something we wanted to try out. The Haslet facility is new and has not been opened very long. AND it is short of help. So we’ll see how it goes.
We have also located dog walkers for DaGirls while we are their. So this should be fun.

Tomorrow, Thursday Oct 8th, we are thinking about heading to the Texas State Fair in Dallas. Yep, you read that, to the Fair. 

No new photos, as of yet, least ways what we call special photos. Oh, another, the Camera I used in Alaska & Canada, we returned to Costco for a refund. Why you might asked? We thought you liked it? Yes I did like the Canon T6I, We found a better deal on Amazon, so returned it and ordered the other one. Shipment is schedule for Tuesday next week. 

Including with shipments - is Susan's new sink and faucet, which came in Via General Delivery to the Post Office here. Now, all we need is an installed, as I have never worked with the counter tops in the Alfa.  

“SeeYa, Safe and Happy Journeys”

"DaGirls Rv, Me, Della, Susan & Tilly"

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Battery Equalization

Ok, Battery equalization/maintenance , what is it and what does it do.
For a better understanding of batteries, maintenance, used, cleaning and equalization, please go to the link provided:

Press Here

Trojan Battery Manufacture provides a very good explanation on battery equalization.

Equalizing is an overcharge performed on flooded lead acid batteries after they have been fully charged.

It reverses the buildup of negative chemical effects like stratification, a condition where acid concentration is greater at the bottom of the battery than at the top. Equalizing also helps to remove sulfate crystals that might have built up on the plates. If left unchecked, this condition, called sulfation, will reduce the overall capacity of the battery.

Many experts recommend that batteries be equalized periodically, ranging anywhere from once a month to once or twice per year. However, Trojan only recommends equalizing when low or wide ranging specific gravity (+/- .015) are detected after fully charging a battery.

Step-By-Step Equalizing
1. Verify the battery(s) are flooded type.
2. Remove all loads from the batteries.
3. Connect battery charger.
4. Set charger for the equalizing voltage (See Table 2 in the Charging section). If your charger doesn’t have an equalization mode, you can unplug the charger and re-plug it back in. This also will conduct the equalization charge.
5. Start charging batteries.
6. Batteries will begin gassing and bubbling vigorously.
7. Take specific gravity readings every hour.
8. Equalization is complete when specific gravity values no longer rise during the gassing stage.

Next when checking your batteries, it is better to use a good Hydrometer.

Press Here

Article from Battery University on “How to Restore and Prolong Lead Acid Batteries”

Press Here

Good now you are familiar with equalization and the advantages of it. Now for a good example of equalization: DaGirls was heading to Canada and Alaska, our expectation was many nights of dry-camping along the way. Order of business was replacing our 6.5 year old batteries. Our selection was Costco at $84 each. That made it under $600 including tax. Usually we get a minimum of 6 years battery life before we think about replacing. That gives us a $100 per year or less on the batteries.

In mid Aug I notice that my Hydrometer reading was always in the white (1.250 – 1.265) never quite getting into the Green Zone of 1.277. Prior to equalizing the batteries, I turned off Circuit Breaker #8 (Left Breaker Box), and force the Inverter/Charger into the inverting mode. At the end of 4 hours, circuit breaker #8 was turned back on, allowing the batteries to be fully recharged.

Now by doing this, I ensured that battery were charged prior to starting the equalization mode. I repeated the Hydrometer test and verified that the battery cells hydrometer readings were not in the Green Zone of 1.277.
I starter the equalization process and once completed, I repeated the Hydrometer test. This time the test results of each cell were in the Green Zone with readings around 1.270 or higher. So you can see how good an equalization works.

The one issue we have not discussed is, is Equalization necessary if I do not Dry-Camp? Clarification, you always stay in an RV Campground with hookups and never dry camp. Then equalization is not for you. Why you might ask. The question you have to asked yourself are you willing to go thru the complete process of Discharging, Charging, Equalization, Testing, and refilling with Water? As whether you are in the campground or traveling on the road, your batteries are always being charged, even if they are not being charged to their fullest capacity.

“SeeYa, Safe and Happy Journeys”

"DaGirls Rv, Me, Della, Susan & Tilly"