Saturday, February 27, 2010

We were lucky...and...Nanette is a Cover Stealer!

Today I am going to share with you something I would rather not be sharing.  But as we told you we would share the parts of the adventure that may not be so good.

Some of you may remember me suggesting that with your RV it is a good idea to keep all of your senses active as you go through the daily activities of living.

Late last night as I walked past our Power Control Center I caught a whiff of something strange.  It reminded me of the Ozone smell that you get when something is hot.

So I put my hand up on the breakers and they were hot -- not burn your hand hot but just hotter than I thought they should be.

Today Nanette and the kids went into town for the day and knowing I had to cut all the power to the motorhome to check out the power panel I decided to do it this morning after they left.  It is 20 degrees and windy after all -- didn’t want them getting cold.

So I cut all the power -- 120V and 12V feeds.

I started at the breakers -- I noticed a little discoloration at the main breaker but nothing I would have really done anything about.  I checked all the compression screws for every wire going to the breakers and the grounding blocks.  Still nothing wrong there.

So...I decided to pull the entire panel -- not an easy job let me tell you -- but I just had this nagging feeling.

I pulled the panel -- still nothing obvious.  I then decided to pull the cover off the Transfer Switch.

What I saw when I removed that cover caused me to have that butterfly in the stomach thing.

Let me just say we are very lucky to still have a motorhome.

I think pictures will tell the story best.  I couldn’t get a picture of the problem while everything was connected but I did take pictures of the components.

IMG00012-20100226-1148

This is a wire nut that I saw first -- it connected the wires from the main power feed coming from shore power to the transfer switch hot side.

IMG00013-20100226-1149

If you look closely you will notice the wire nut is melted.

IMG00010-20100226-1148

This is the wire from the main shore power feed -- that black on the right end -- that is tape that is melted into the insulation.  It gets better just hang on!

IMG00009-20100226-1148

This is the wire that comes out of the hot side of the transfer switch.   Notice the amount of wire that is exposed on the right side?  This 3 inch piece of wire should only have about 1/4 inch of wire showing. The rest should be covered with insulation.

I found this strange -- until... Take a close look at the next and last picture.

IMG00016-20100226-1151

I found the insulation. That blob on the bottom right -- that is the wire insulation from both wires and melted electrical tape. Also notice how the inside of the connector is burned and I mean really burned.

I should tell you that it took about 10 minutes for this wire nut to cool off enough for me to touch it.  The plastic was molten and when I opened the panel there was smoke coming from this connection!

This was a fire in the making. 

Now you may wonder how this happened.

The most likely cause of this is due to the the connection working its way loose inside the connector due to the vibration of the MH while moving.  Once loose there was arcing where the wires were not securely touching each other but rather having an air gap.

There have been many discussions online regarding connections coming loose over time due to road vibration.  The most common sign of this happening is heat being felt near the connection or the outlet.

So I went to work replacing every single connection in the Control Center -- cut off old ends and made new connections -- double checked each connection again.

I re-energized the panel -- turned on everything I could find -- to really put heavy load on the panel --and the panel stayed cool to the touch.

The amount of heat at this connection must have been intense since it was being transferred to the front cover of the control center.

We were very lucky! 

I will suggest again never dismiss those smells or things that look or feel strange to you.  Either have someone check it out or if you feel qualified do some investigation.

Now to Nanette the Cover Stealer!

Nanette has made stealing the bed covers an Art Form! 

She is cold natured -- make that VERY cold natured. 

When she gets cold -- nothing else but a heat source matters.  I know I have seen this personally.

It isn't pretty!

So apparently last night she got cold!

I should also tell you that in regard to Ken losing the covers -- It is a tag team thing.

Banjo the dog has figured out that when he lays down at the foot of the bed -- if he leans up against the covers and then kind of slides down the bed he can pull himself some covers down on the floor to sleep on.

So I have them being pulled off me by the dog in one direction and then by Nanette in the other.

The only loser in all of this is me. 

Last night I ended up with no cover!. 

Let me tell you the LAST THING a person ever wants to do....

Try to take the covers back from Nanette when she is asleep and cold!

She will take your birthday away from you!

She does not tolerate -- at all -- having her slumber disturbed let alone losing her heat layer.

She can wake up very...well...unpleasant -- of course she is probably really still asleep.  So she is sleep cranky I guess.

You see what I am looking for here is -- sympathy.

I hope someone feels bad for me having to contend with the stinkin’ cover stealin’ dog and the “Don’t you EVEN wake me up to take the covers that I just stole from you back!” Nanette.

Well?

Anyone?

Anyone???

Ken and Nanette

Friday, February 26, 2010

First Job Offer...Winter Is Back...and...Our Biggest Day for Visitors

As we have said we are looking for work on the road. 

We received an email out of the blue from an employer interested in us for a Campground Manager position.

We went back and forth with emails for a couple of days and during that time we were given the name and location of the Campground as well as compensation information.

We started researching the opportunity to learn as much as we could and were very tempted to accept. 

Actually we had gone as far as checking mileage and time to get there as well as fuel costs and so on.

In the end we turned down the opportunity to the disappointment of the employer.

What I want to tell you is this was the first opportunity presented to us and we looked at everything involved and made sure we didn’t just jump at the first one.

What we did was ask ourselves what would it look like after we had been there a while.  What would our lifestyle look like.  We also had to ask if this opportunity moved us toward or away from our goals.

When we did this we found that there were things about this opportunity that would move us away from our goals. 

It would fill a short term need but in the long run it would pull us away from where we really want to be and it would also commit us for much longer than we really wanted initially.

We learned some things about this world of workamping and some things about ourselves.  We learned that investigating and understanding clearly all the details about the opportunity before us is very important.

We learned the questions to ask and to not be shy about making sure we understood the answers.

I guess the worst part was after we turned down the opportunity to be told how disappointed the employer was in our decision. 

They understood though once we explained our reasoning but we found ourselves feeling bad.

So our first experience was a really good one -- of course we had a very open and honest employer that we were dealing with. 

We are still on a steep learning curve but we feel the important part is we are learning even with the ones we let get away.

Winter....

Winter is sure back here.  Snow, cold and windy!  We were teased with that one really nice day last week when in the 60s and then here we are in the 20s with the wind chill much lower that that.

You know it seems the temperatures can really have an impact on your mood.  That one really nice day we had -- we were all so happy -- now we have all kind of sunk back into the winter blues thing.

We are trying to get to warmer weather -- really we are!

A Shock!...

Today I started getting emails from the program that monitors our blog for activity.

The first one was notifying me that we had set a new record for visitors per hour.  Then about 30 minutes later I got one for a new record for page views per hour. 

In addition to these -- in the late evening I got more for new records for both returning and new visitors.  Then all these rolled up into the biggest daily totals in all these areas.

Wow -- I don’t really know what to say other than Thank You All!

I have to tell you that I never expected this -- I am totally shocked.

We just write stuff that comes to mind -- throw in some stories once in a while and maybe even a picture or two.  And you all come and visit us.  We feel so honored and we sincerely mean that!

Did I ever tell you this?

I once had a dog I named “Kitty” -- really messed people up when I would holler to the dog -- “Here Kitty!” 

I think that was wrong on some level but I kind of enjoyed it.

That’s it for today.

Tomorrow -- I have no idea what I will write -- should be interesting!

Ken and Nanette

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Being Connected...Fishing...and...Work...

As we have told you earlier we receive a lot of emails from our blog.  We thoroughly enjoy having people write to us!

I want to address two things that have been the subject of many emails.

One has been how we stay so “in touch” with the activities on our Blog and Facebook..

The other one, and overwhelmingly the biggest, is regarding working.

So I will take the connection issue first.

I have a pretty hefty background in Information Technology -- of course it is always a love / hate relationship.

Anyway - what I have setup is this:

First of all I use a Blackberry.  My Blackberry is the real center of the connection.  It is connected to the internet and to our home network when here...even when we are not here I am connected to our home network just in a different way -- most everything flows into and out of it when I am not sitting at a computer.

We monitor our blog in real time as far as the comings and going of visitors -- Returning vs... New Visitors -- where they come from -- what sites they are referred from, what pages are most popular and so on.  There are notifications that we can setup if we are looking for something specific.

Any comments that are left we know about immediately and can read them on my Blackberry.

Of course any emails we receive come to my Blackberry the same way.  We can respond to the emails immediately from the Blackberry as well.

Facebook works the same way -- any comments, link referrals and any update comes to the Blackberry and can be replied to immediately.

I am going to talk about work later but we also receive all new job postings from Workamper and can immediately reply and attach our resume from my Blackberry to the employer.

I can also post to the blog with my Blackberry never having to use the computer -- it looks exactly the same as when I do it on the laptop.  Since my Blackberry is connected to our network here I have full access to anything on both computers such as pictures.

We feel this type of real time connection is important so that we can reply quickly to questions and acknowledge the people that have taken the time to write us.

So when you write us, comment, or send us an email we know it immediately -- it is like you are standing there talking to us.

There you have it -- if you have any further questions about any of this just let us know.

Now onto working...

This has by far been the number one thing we have been contacted about -- or course questions about my dad rank up there too. smile_regular

As you know we are looking for work on the road.  We are in the category that we need to generate income.

So here is our approach and take on it so far.

We are following two paths at the same time since there is a time-line that we must have income flowing by June.

One path is a traditional job that would be designed to do one thing -- buy us time until we can find what we really want which is a job that is more in-line with our full time lifestyle -- like workamping.

On the traditional side we are pursuing that in the traditional sense -- through people we know and through various job boards. 

Networking by far has the greatest returns.  The shear number of people out of work results in employers receiving 1000s of resumes for a single job posting. 

Networking on the other hand results in finding positions that have not even been posted yet and usually comes with a referral by the person that knows about it.

The Workamping approach is new to us.  I do belong to a few different sites but rather than list them here. 

Here is a good site that lists all the sites that may help -- in addition there is a little description to go along with each one and the link.  http://www.cartol.com/jobsearch.htm

Workamper appears to be the granddaddy of them all.  We are on there with our resume and pictures and have made sure the employers know what we are looking for.

As I told you above we know immediately if an employer has looked at our resume or as soon as a new job is posted -- if they write us we are able to respond immediately.  (actually as I have been typing this post two new job were posted and I sent in our resume to one.)

With Workamper it appears speed is essential in replying.  We have found that a lot of employers wait until the last minute to fill positions -- not all of course -- and there are also the opportunities that pop up due to a worker canceling.  These type of jobs are coming from a motivated employer -- the best kind!

So -- we are looking hard -- what we lack in the workamping arena is the network.  The people that know what is out there -- the good, the bad and the ugly  learned through experience.

And yes, we will keep you informed of how things go.  I have a couple of things already I would like to share but need to wait until I conclude the communications that are underway.  Already there are some good lessons learned for us.

Now quickly to fishing...

I love to fish...

And here is a picture of WHY I love to fish...

I caught this fish in a lake that is only a few miles from where we are now.  You can see the lure I used laying on the deck of the boat to the left. 

And this fish was released back to the water in great shape.  I only practice catch and release.

One final thing -- we were asked why we write about multiple topics instead of just one per post.

We know there are a lot of different people that visit us so we try to put out something for everyone if we can.

That is all for today. See you tomorrow!

Ken and Nanette

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Guess Who?...and Pole Racing...

Okay...Okay!

Guess Who This Is?

It is me!  Ken!  That would be Ken of Ken and Nanette.

So for those that have been writing and asking...and asking...and then threatening now you have a picture of the guy that does all the rambling here. smile_regular

Not much going on today here -- just watching the yucky weather -- kind of rainy and cloudy and it sure isn’t tropical. 

So it is a perfect time to share another story about Trigger the Wonder Horse!  ...and because  a lot of you have asked for more -- and this still isn’t all.

When I was growing up we were very involved in 4-H.  This was a great organization and I have great memories of the time I spent associated with it.

My mom was the Horsemanship Leader so we did a lot with horses -- imagine that!

Every year there was a 4-H Horseshow held in a town close to us and we participated every year that I can remember.

During these Horseshows there were different events like Barrel Racing, Egg Carry, Obstacle Course and Pole Racing.

Pole Racing was basically a line of poles that the horse and rider ran in a slalom fashion then turned around at the end and came back the same way.  The fastest time wins.

The Horseshow was conducted in a county fairground and the horse events were held in a fenced stadium within the fairgrounds.

My dad had a lot of really good ideas in his life.

He also had some really bad ones.  Some of which you have read about here in our blog.

Well what I am about to tell you was one of his worst as it turned out.smile_whatchutalkingabout

He decided that it would be a great idea to have my brother Larry enter Trigger in the Pole Racing event.  Trigger as I told you earlier was a very large Palomino Stallion and was very fast.

So apparently agreeing with my dad my brother entered Trigger into the race. 

When we showed up at the Fairgrounds Trigger got a LOT of attention. 

He was, first of all, really something to look at -- quite stunning actually -- and second he was extremely friendly.  He could sure charm the ladies -- I remember that well!

The event was the last one of the day and it was getting to be evening.

The stands were filled and there were a lot of people -- parents and competitors lining the white wood plank fence that encircled the arena.

Larry was 4th in line to run the poles.

He had practiced earlier in the day and actually Trigger turned in the 2nd fastest time.  My brother actually held him back some during practice. 

My brother was 6 years older than me and to be honest I think he was a little intimidated with the size and strength of Trigger.  He did manage him well though.

So it was my brothers turn to compete.  The way it worked was they would open the gate to the arena and the rider and horse would go up to a starting line and stop.  They would wait for a tone that would signal the start.

So Larry and Trigger went through the gate, to applause actually, and stopped at the starting line.

Now -- for the rest of the story I need to stop here for a minute and get you visually tuned in.

You have the white wooden fenced arena with the fence being about 5 feet high (not positive of the height). 

You have the fence surrounded by people watching.

This is a horseshow.  So in horseshows you have horses.  These horses with their riders ride around pretty much everywhere including outside the arena. 

As my brother and Trigger stood at the starting line -- off to their right was a group of horses and their riders milling around.

So the tone goes off and Trigger launches off the starting line and I mean LAUNCHES!

He cuts the first pole just like he should and the second and third...

Then my dad’s great idea suddenly becomes not so great!

It seems that one of the riders, over there on the right, decides to take off running with his horse along the fence and head out into the field at the end of the arena. The arena was surrounded by huge fields -- we were in the country after all.

You have read about Trigger before I hope.  And if you did -- you know what he was trained to do.  You would also remember what happened when a horse, once before, ran past him.

Well...sure enough...Trigger caught a look at the horse running away from him and...

No more pole racing...he never even thought about making it around another pole.

What he DID think about was catching the horsey!

So he took off like his hair was on fire and his rear end was catching!

He made a beeline for the end of the arena, with the poles he was supposed to be going in and out of...flashing by...he kept going and was STILL PICKING UP SPEED...my brother being on him...also made a beeline to the end of the arena and was also picking up speed.  That is the way physics work I guess.

Trigger cleared that fence by a good 3 feet.  My brother also cleared that fence but more like by 5 feet. 

The reason for this difference is that my brother had secured a death grip on Triggers neck and was unprepared for Trigger’s new trick...which was to clear a 5 foot fence while at a wide open full throttle run.

So what I saw was Triggers rear end as he went over and my brothers rear end flying much higher than Trigger’s.  It was kind of like something you would see in a circus.

Then my brother came down and slid down on the left side of Trigger and managed to pull himself back up on him. 

I am thinking he would have been far better off to have fallen off.

I also noticed the people in the crowd had this really confused, stunned, “Did you just see that?”..look on their faces.

Although my brother would not have known that since he was being hauled off into the abyss by this horse that had apparently lost all touch with reality.

The last image I had of my brother and Trigger was the grass and dirt  flying up from Trigger’s hoofs, my brother hanging on for dear life...his rear end bouncing up in the air...and them both heading out across those huge fields into the sunset.

It was at this point that I was pretty sure I had just seen the last of my brother.

By the way -- my brother was yelling the whole way -- a trait I guess he inherited from my dad.

The horse that caused all of this of course had just stopped and then returned to the arena.

My brother apparently got Trigger stopped somewhere in the next county but he didn’t return for about an hour. 

I know this because that was the amount of time I heard my dad calling that horse all kinds of names and again questioned his sanity for ever getting this wonderful animal and saying what he would have done if he had been on Trigger.

It was at this moment that I made one of the biggest mistakes of my young life. 

I told my dad “Well you weren't able to stop him that day with mom.”  Oh...the look...that I got told me that I probably should have not reminded him of an apparently very dark memory.

I should tell you a couple of other things.

When my brother got back he looked...well...white as a sheet.  I think he was still in shock from what could have only been a very “memorable” ride.

The other thing that I noticed about my brother was he had some scratches on him.

Apparently Trigger was not intimidated by trees -- because he took my brother through several of them as they hit the end of the fields.

So now Trigger had a second friend and I am convinced to this day that Trigger was actually quite proud of himself with his performance that day.

Actually Larry and Trigger became great friends -- although no more Pole Racing. 

You know now that I think about it -- my brother was always very skeptical about any ideas my dad came up with after that day.

I can’t imagine why! 

Well actually I can -- I saw too many of those bad ones in action.

Ken and Nanette

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Inside Day and Reading Blogs...

It was one of those rainy days, cloudy but not real cold. 

It was a good day to stay inside...so we did!

I am wondering if anyone else that is full-timing loses track of what day it is.

It seems about a month ago this started happening to me.  The days really seem to fly by sometimes now.  I sometimes forget what day of the week it is.

There seems to be a very different “flow” of things now.  I am not sure I can explain it just yet but I can sure feel it.

This is a very different lifestyle to be sure.  It is starting to really sink in as to what so many have described.

It really is a moment by moment lifestyle.  Each moment matters and can bring so many things if one just keeps their eyes open.

I feel like an anchor line has been cut.  There are so many opportunities for adventure out here -- so many things to see -- so many people to meet -- so many life stories.

Of course we are building our own life story although I have this funny feeling the story is about to get a whole lot more interesting.

This brings me to Blogs...

There has been so much written about the blogosphere. 

Why people blog -- why people read them -- what value exists in them and so on...

For me -- every morning I get up -- turn on the coffee pot -- feed the birds (hopefully not the skating thing) and then sit down with my coffee and begin reading blogs.

I think the blogs we read cover a wide spectrum. 

Some are very detailed travel journals with amazing photos.

Some are of people yearning to get on the road and express frustrations and movement forward.

Some are from people that are exploring themselves from the inside out and use blogging as a therapy of sorts.

Some of these blogs can really move me.  The stories, trials and triumphs brought to me via the internet and into my mind and emotional realm. 

I have laughed and almost cried. 

I have been jealous as well as wondering how anyone could enjoy doing the things they are doing.

Perhaps the biggest thing I look for is a view from the inside of this lifestyle we are so new to.

I am not sure there is any “one thing” I am looking for.  I have no anticipation of reading anything in particular.

I will tell you this though -- there hasn’t been one morning that there wasn’t something of value gained by getting a peek within other’s world.

Then there are the opportunities called “work”.  The opportunities out there read like a list of “must see places” in the United States.  I am amazed at some of the locations and facilities that are out there.

As I read through them I find myself wondering what it would be like to be in these places -- sitting outside in the evening relaxing taking in the beauty and environment that we would be surrounded by. 

This lifestyle is so much more than just selling everything and moving into an RV. 

It is about a huge door opening to experiences and destinations that bring about emotions.

A library of emotions that we will draw upon for the rest of our lives.

Blogs in my opinion are a very big part of this.  When you are committed to writing a blog that you know people are reading everyday and perhaps some even count on to be there -- you are forced to take a daily accounting of the happenings and thoughts each day.

In my opinion this is a good thing for me.  I am on a daily scavenger hunt for things that I want to share with all of you.  I find myself more sensitive to the “meaning” in things.

So for me -- this blogging thing -- is a good thing. 

I enjoy it and find it a great way to not only share with you our thoughts and experiences but also those same thoughts and experiences with myself.

Now I don’t mean to say that full timing is a utopia- life does goes on. 

There are problems, troubles, financial issues and pain as well as all the good things.

It was once said that in life “Pain is unavoidable but the suffering is optional.”

I suppose for me this means that as I have said before we can live our lives either by circumstance or by purpose.

For us we chose to live our lives by purpose -- life will come at us -- as it always has -- however we can chose how to react to what life throws at us. 

To live life on our terms and not let this ‘ol world invent our future for us! We chose to do that ourselves!

Well -- I think that is it for today.

Tomorrow I must share the story about that horse I wrote about earlier (Trigger) and Pole Racing.  Just now as I wrote that last line the mental images came flooding in like it happened yesterday!

I am also working on our picture sharing.  We have a bunch of them we just need to get them up.

Until tomorrow -- enjoy the journey and -- for today -- go out and make some great memories!

Ken and Nanette

Monday, February 22, 2010

Black or White and Hot Water Heater Repair

Lets start off with something fun...

Are the dots White or Black?

320px-Grid_illusion.svg

Weird huh?

64 Degrees today!  We spent a lot of time outside and loved every minute of it!  Of course we are just being teased since it is still February.  But we will take it.

Before I go on I want to answer a question we  received a few times yesterday about the little horse story I told. 

Yes, there is much more to tell about Trigger.

I will share some more stories in future blogs -- like the time my dad decided that it would be a good idea to have my brother ride Trigger in a 4H Pole Racing competition. 

Wow! I will NEVER forget that day and neither did he!

We also want to  thank you once again for visiting our blog -- we hope we are adding some small value or maybe just bringing a smile once in while! 

Please make sure you visit the blogs of the followers we have here -- they are listed over there on the right and I am sure they would appreciate the visit too.

Now about the Hot Water Heater...

Many people have read that RVs can be high maintenance.  If you think about an RV it really can be a rather complicated thing with all their various systems.

Add to this that we pull or drive them down the road -- hitting bumps -- exposing them to rain -- exposing them to temperature variations and while doing all of this...

...we are dragging those systems right along with us. 

Last night Christian came in to tell me the “little red light is staying on.” 

We have told the boys to let us know if they ever see or hear anything that seems strange.  (Of course we had to tell them that excludes their brother!)

That little red light was for the hot water heater and it was telling us that it had gone into ‘lockout”.

It is a propane only direct ignition water heater and this lockout can happen for two reasons. 

One is that it failed to ignite when called upon and the other is due to being to hot or over maximum temperature.

Once it locks out it will not attempt to restart until it is cleared -- a good thing. The way to reset the lockout is to turn it off and back on.  Usually it will restart -- this time -- it didn’t.

When I troubleshoot a problem I tend to look for the obvious and then work on the simplest thing first and work up to the more complicated and usually most expensive things.

So I started with all connections at the hot water heater -- pulling each one off and inspecting for corrosion, dirt or just being loose.  After going through all the connections there was nothing obvious.

Not knowing if I had hit the problem I went in and turned on the hot water heater.  It lit!

Now the problem was which connection was it -- I wanted to know this since there was a chance it wasn’t just loose but perhaps something else that would fail again.

I went back through the connections looking again very closely for a tight fit and any dirt or corrosion.  Nothing.

I then grabbed my Volt Ohm Meter and started doing continuity checks.

Bingo! 

It was the feed wire coming off of the control module.  It looked like a very thin layer of corrosion had formed deep in the connection and I could see arc strikes at the point of corrosion. Cleaned it up and all tested fine and is now working well. 

Why spend money before you need to -- so sometimes the simplest things first is a good route to follow.

On the work front -- our resume on Workamper appears to be getting read a lot by employers. 

Not sure if that means anything but it is better than never being read - right?. smile_regular 

We are also sending our resume in response to some of the jobs being listed.

So...keep your fingers crossed for us as we go along.

Well that is all for today!

Ken and Nanette

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Enjoying the Weather and The Battle Of The Wills...

May not sound warm to some but with the temperatures in the 50s we are loving it. 

This has been a very hard winter so far and we are eager for spring to show up.

It is funny but all of our full timing experience so far has been in weather that most never experience in an RV.  We are yet to experience the weather Rvs were made for.

Seems kind of backwards huh?

Now let me tell you a little story about my Dad and a horse named Trigger.

Trigger was a huge Palomino Stallion and he was absolutely gorgeous. 

My dad and Trigger had a very interesting relationship.  They both were very smart and very hard headed!

Trigger would let my dad ride him “sometimes” -- and other times he wouldn’t let my dad get close to him. 

Now if it were my mom or us boys Trigger would run up to us and couldn’t wait for some good old human interaction.

Trigger had been trained by the previous owners to perform about 50 tricks on command. 

One of these was to kneel to allow a woman to get up on him.  He would extend his leg forming a step to use to mount.

There were many other tricks -- like shaking hands -- playing dead -- rearing up on command -- drink any beverage out of a bottle -- removing someone’s hat as well as many more.  As I said he was very smart.

One other trick he performed was to ALWAYS be one step ahead of my dad.  No matter what my dad tried to do with him he would do the opposite.

One of the things Trigger loved to do was to catch my dad next to the watering trough.  Trigger would take his huge hoof and drive it down into the water creating and Old Faithful replica and soak my dad.  He could be counted on to do this any time the opportunity would present itself -- unfortunately it wasn’t often enough for me.

I want to tell you about how this relationship started.  

It was a beautiful summer day and it was the first time we had taken him out on a ride.

My dad would be his rider.  A ride that will never be forgotten by yours truly.

Now to tell you the core of the story I need to fill you in on a couple of little things that you are not aware of yet.

So stay with me here and you will see a picture forming....

First my dad was never mean to Trigger -- not one time did he mistreat him -- unless you can call cussing under his breath at him.

Second -- Trigger’s real name was Gorgeous George. 

Third -- It is WHERE he got this name that is very important here.

Gorgeous George was his TRACK name.

George was a trained Breakaway Horse at a Thoroughbred Race Track.

A breakaway horse is a horse that is trained to catch a horse that has either lost its rider or has broken away from it’s rider’s control.  They must be very fast -- and able to catch a horse that is also very fast.  They are very good at sprinting.  Not so good at stopping!

Got all of that...

So we go off on our ride...very uneventful.

We were heading back to the barn.  I was on a little Welch Pony named Pepper and my mom was on a Quarter Horse named Calico.  My dad was of course on his majestic steed Trigger (aka Gorgeous George).

I went ahead to the house and was going to go onto the barn.  To get to our barn you needed to make a 90 degree turn into our driveway and then go down about 100 yards to the barn.  REMEMBER THIS!

So I turn into the driveway and stopped. 

My mom and dad are about 1/4 mile from the house. 

All is well.

Until...

My mom decides it would be fun to race my dad back to the house -- First Mistake!

She was behind dad and Trigger and kicked Calico into gear and zoomed past them -- Second Mistake!

Apparently seeing a horse go past him is the big signal for Trigger to light his afterburners and go get ‘em -- and he did!

My Dad had a beautiful voice.

A booming voice.

A voice I heard clearly from 1/4 mile away!

What I heard was a stream of words...”Whoa!” was among them...”Stop!” was also...a number of names that I didn’t know Trigger went by...and a whole bunch I can’t type here.

Now unknown to my dad...Trigger apparently could not hear words when in “Full Tilt Bozo Catch The Horsey mode!!!”

There is another little problem that developed -- Because my dad and him went past my mom and Calico (quickly) but didn’t stop them -- Trigger must have figured there was another horse he just couldn’t see yet.

So...he just kept running!

I had turned into the driveway -- Dad and Trigger did not  -- at least not on the first pass.

So they flew past me as a screaming, hollering, name calling, thumping blur!

Heading to Kansas City I guess. Actually at this point I didn't know if I would ever see them again.

My dad got him turned around in a field down the road somewhere and Trigger headed back at full speed toward the driveway.

Horses are very agile when they choose to be.  They can turn on a dime also.

So this time when Trigger came upon the drive -- he made a high speed skidding 90 degree turn into the drive.

My Dad....However...DID NOT!.

My dad continued straight in a solo aerial display... ...and he went on...and on...and on...until his soaring ended with a kind of rolling, flopping, tumbling, grass and dirt flying sort of landing thing happening. 

For me -- it was more like watching a slow motion train wreck!

Trigger went to the barn wisely -- My dad got up -- slowly -- was beet red -- and boy was he mad as he limped along.

He headed to the barn -- to have a talk with Trigger I think.

To add insult to injury as my dad walks up to Trigger -- Trigger reaches up and immediately snatches my dad’s hat off his head and tosses it.  Of course it had to land in the pig pen.

My mom and I just stood there stunned!  We didn’t know what my dad would do next...well what he did next was totally unexpected.

As he was staring at Trigger certainly going to give him a piece of his mind -- he stepped back one step and as he did so he backed right straight into the electric fence! 

That thing cycled and about stood my dad’s hair on end!  He jumped about two feet straight up!

My dad was a beaten man. Having been outsmarted by a horse. 

He just picked up his hat, brushed himself off and slowly walked to the house muttering something about horses...why he ever bought this thing...and what was he thinking...and something about the "next time!"

As for Trigger -- well -- he just stood there batting those big eyelashes -- knowing he had a new “friend”!

From that day on they had a unique relationship -- my dad loved that horse -- and hated him -- as for Trigger -- well he was just a horse -- and their clash of wills would prove to be...well...Legendary!

Ken and Nanette