Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Cross Florida Barge Canal Photos

Yes, I forgot to bring my camera to take pics of the unfinished Cross Florida Barge Canal on Tuesday, so Wednesday we decided to retrace our steps with a camera. 

The canal was over 25% completed when construction was halted in 1969, forty-three years ago.   It  was to be cut through a low, flat part of Florida, and part of what was completed were bridges and locks.  Seeing a high arched bridge like the one below really stands out.  It's the highest thing around for miles.

It reminded me of the Olympic ski jump in Lake Placid.

Or a roller coaster.

Here's the same bridge from below. 

Most of my boater friends will recognize the wooden bulkheads under the bridge.  It's the section of the bridge that boats are to pass through.  The bulkheads serve two functions.   First, and most importantly, they protect the bridge abutments from collisions with errant boats.   Second, it helps protect from wave erosion.

The next three pics are three sets of pilings that barges could tie to.  The first is easy to see.  It's the vertical set of logs banded together at the top.

The second a bit more difficult because it's on the edge of the forest, but you can see it smack dab in the middle of the pic.

The pilings below are difficult to see, being surrounded by 43 years of tree growth.  Look right in the middle of the photo.  In another month, when the leaves are fully out on the trees, this piling will be completely hidden.

Although I am an environmentalist, at least in spirit, I am also a businessman and a boater.  A canal across Florida would have been very cool, saving time, fuel, and money.  Flooding this whole area to benefit a small segment of the commercial freight hauling industry may have been a good idea at the time, but in hindsight, commercial boat traffic just isn't what it used to be.  Look at what would have been lost.

 Dime bugs!    Hundreds of them!

If you catch these and put them in a Dixie Cup overnight, the next morning you'll find that they've turned into dimes.  That worked great when I was a kid, but no matter how many times I've tried it as an adult, it just doesn't work anymore.  I don't know why.

Lizards.  Many, many lizards, trying to attract mates.  Hey baby, how you doin'?

Although this river isn't a boon to barge traffic and cruisers, it certainly is to fishermen and fisherwomen and nature lovers.

This is one of the most beautiful places I've ever been.   I think many others have felt the same way.

There are several wooden headstones that we found along the river yesterday.  Better than a cemetary.

The Cross Florida Barge Canal

What's that, you say?  There is no Cross Florida Barge Canal?  No, there is not.  But there  almost was, from the St. John's River on the Atlantic side to the Withlacoochee River and the Gulf of Mexico.

A canal across Florida was first proposed back in 1567 by Phillip II of Spain.  It was again proposed in 1818 as a way to avoid pirates and piracy.   FDR started work on the canal in 1935, but work was stopped a year later due to concerns about Florida's aquifers.  Work was begun in earnest in 1964 and expected to be completed in 1971.  Environmentalists got the work stopped in 1969 and Richard Nixon officially ended the project in 1971.   Instead of the Cross Florida Barge Canal, it is now called the Marjorie Harris Carr Cross Florida Greenway in honor of the woman who spearheaded opposition to the project.

You might be wondering why I'm writing about a defunct canal project.  Well, right now Pam and I are in Eureka Florida visiting relatives.  We rented a car and drove down yesterday.  Pam's step-dad, Earl, took us for a quick tour of the local river, once destined to be part of the canal.  As we approached the river in this flat-as-a-frying-pan section of Florida, a bridge arched up at an incredible angle for seemingly no reason.  It was built as part of the planned canal, along with a number of other bridges and locks.  The canal was over a quarter completed when construction stopped.

You math whizzes might have calculated that the bridge should have been over 70% completed in 1969, and if it had been perhaps the project wouldn't have been halted, but this is a government project we're talking about here.  Has any government project ever come in on schedule, or on budget?

So as a result of us 1960s tree hugging hippie baby boomers stopping this canal project, we 2012 retired hippie baby boomers now have to make the long trek around the bottom side of Florida at the Okeechobee Waterway or even around the Florida Keys to get from one side to the other.

Ironic, isn't it?  You reap what you sow.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Cruising and Photography

As you regular readers know, I take a lot of photographs while cruising.  I also took a lot of photographs while simply living aboard.  I guess I just take a lot of photographs.  I took the advice a photographer friend once gave me, that if you want to take a couple of good photos, take a few hundred.  The couple of good ones will be in there somewhere.

I wrote one time about the many photos I put in our blog and wondered if they were too many.  The overwhelming response was a resounding no (did you ever notice that responses are always overwhelming, and are followed by a resounding answer?).

Some idiot left his camera up on the flybridge in the rain recently, which killed it real good.  Pam's little point and shoot camera actually takes nice photos and I'll just use that, I thought.  but against my protests, Pam persuaded me to buy a nicer camera, a DSLR (digital single leans reflex). 

These new fangled DSLRs are amazing pieces of equipment.   Like the old film SLRs, the lenses are changable so you can switch from a wide angle to a telephoto.  Each lens has a motor to assist in keeping the image stable, a plus on a boat.  But perhaps the most amazing thing to me was the software that came with it to improve and enhance the photos taken.

First, a disclaimer.  I'm a total newbie at this.  Although I'm a computer guy, I don't learn fast.  I have  to come to understand something before I can learn it.  Rote memorization  doesn't work for me.  So yesterday, being a rain out here in Isle of Hope, I spent many hours taking test photos using many different camera settings and then tinkered with them with Nikon's software, called View NX2, to see how much I could fix things.  Here are a couple of results.

First, let me explain that a photographer friend advised taking pics in "RAW" mode.  I'm not sure, at this point, exactly what that is, but it's supposedly a format that gives you more ability to modify photos.  So I set the camera to create two images of each pic, one in a standard JPG and one in NEF, Nikon's version of a RAW pic.

Here is a pic of Dirty Gertie, our cat.  It was taken without a flash, so it's dark.  It's also cockeyed, something I do frequently.  I think I list to starboard.

Here is the same photo after straightening it, cropping it,  and messing with the focus and lighting.

No, I know it's not a great shot, but it went from really bad to OK.

The next one was more difficult.  I set up a still life with a couple of wine glasses and a wedding photo and took many pics using different camera settings and both lenses.  I picked this one to mess with.

Not only is this pic boring, but the wide angle lens makes the two wine  glasses heel (a sailing term that means "lean".  Sailors say "heel" as part of their special lingo to confuse everyone else) in opposite directions.  The lighting isn't too good either.   Basically, this is a bad pic.  So I chose it.

The first thing I did was to make one of the glasses more or less vertical using the software's "straighten" function.  I chose the one on the left since it's the one in focus in this short depth of field.  I then cropped the photo to get most of the other glass out of there, but I left some of it to add some interest.  I then played with the light and color settings until I got something I felt was an OK pic.

That was how I spent most of my rainy day yesterday, playing with the camera and its software to learn its capabilities.  I'm sure I've only scratched the surface, and knowing me, I'll never spend the time to learn all it can do.   I'd rather be out there doing it.

My advice to you is to consider doing the same.  Buy a halfway decent camera and learn how to use it, so that when I'm in the home and you're the ones out cruising, I'll have plenty of nice photos to look at on your cruising blogs.

By the way, I appreciate all the comments and emails, and those who choose to follow this blog.  Your encouragement is what makes me get up at 3 AM to write this stuff.  I learned long ago that this hour is when my mind is most clear and I write the best.  Now, back to bed. 

Monday, February 27, 2012

Writer's Block

I write this blog every day.  It seems that there is always something interesting or odd that goes on in our liveaboard world that I can share with you all.  Yesterday wasn't one of those days.

Well, it probably was, but maybe I just wasn't in the right frame of mind to see it.  Drift Away hasn't moved in a couple of weeks.  We're getting into the dreaded "routine".  We're getting Blasé.

So maybe, like the Seinfeld Show, today will be a blog about nothing, just miscellaneous ramblings about what it's like to live aboard a boat, now many hundreds of miles from friends and family, tied to a concrete dock in a strange place.  Well, Isle of Hope isn't exactly strange.  It's actually quite nice here.  Especially the people.  But you know what I mean.  We're far removed from familiar faces and places.

Well, let's see.  I started my day as I usually do, as I'm doing right now, up at 3 AM and sitting at my laptop.  I first check my email.  Yesterday, there was an email from PayPal.  It seems that one of our readers, whom I will only identify as "Kurt" to protect him from spammers and scammers, liked our blog so much that he tracked down our PayPal account and sent us ten bucks.  Thanks "Kurt"!  We write this blog only for shits and giggles, but ten bucks is ten bucks!   I'll send it on to Kent, our VP of R&D, who called last night from his research lab at the Black Duck in Westport Connecticut.  He needs more funds.  He's working on our export line and needs money for "Navi-Brazil-Nuts".  I can't wait to see what they are!

Later in the morning, I walked Ruby and Chevy up to the fenced in yard at the marina where they can romp and play off leash.  As often happens, folks out on their jogs and walks will wave hello and comment on the dogs.  A fella came by, pointed to the playing dogs and asked "Are those pit bulls?"

"Yes, they are."

"Then they should be on leashes!".

Wow.  Grumpy ignorant idiots, even here in Isle of Hope!  Well, everyplace has at least one.

Back at the boat, I surfed Al Gore's internets.  I joined a web site called to pick up tips on using my new camera.  They have tips and tricks and even student assignments.  The current one was about composition and the use of odd numbers.   It seems that photos are more interesting if there is an odd number of subjects, they claim.  So I entered the contest with this pelican photo that I took a couple of days ago and posted here.  One is an odd number. 

The next assignment is "Composition: Get Down", taking photos from the perspective of a baby, or a bug. Should be fun.

Later, Pam and I took the dogs for a short walk. Chevy's paw seemed to be doing OK and he was antsy with dog energy, so I grabbed my camera and off we went.   I only took a few photos.  It was an overcast, gloomy day.  But two came out OK and will  be candidates for the bug's view assignment.

I like the colors and lighting on this one below.

And I like the perspective in this next one, as well as the various textures.

Back at the boat from the walk, it turned into a lazy day.  Pam watched a Sherlock Holmes movie while I finished my book "Haunted Meza" by Louie L'Amour.  It was just about his last book before he died at age 87.  It showed.  I could see pieces of brilliance in it, but he kept repeating himself, over and over.  Well, he didn't but Mike Raglan did, his main character.

Pam finished her movie and sat down with her iPad.  I decided to pretend I was eight again and watched old Lone Ranger flicks from a $5 DVD we got at the bargain bin at the Walmarts.  Then a wonderful gumbo dinner followed by a few old John Wayne movies, again from a $5 Walmarts DVD. 

And that was it.  Not too exciting, eh?  No... but many of you are reading this from your work cubicle.  To you, I say NEENER NEENER NEEEEEENER!

No.  That was just wrong.  I'm sorry.  You keep on plugging away there.  I appreciate all you do, paying into social security and such.

Oh, and this link is for you, Leslie.  Doug said these would be wonderful on Leslie Kay.  Yes, they're pricey, but Doug said nothing is too good for you - Portland Boat Mattress Toppers.  I hope I didn't spoil the surprise.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Pelican and the New Camera

Besides the new camera, I also bought myself a fishing pole and gear.  I haven't been fishing for thirty years, but I used to really enjoy it. 

I also enjoy photography, and one set of pics I wanted to get since we started this cruise was of pelicans.  I never saw one in person before.  I always thought they were clumsy, goofy looking birds.  They're anything but.  They're graceful in flight, and maybe they're not beautiful, but they're not ugly.  Well, not too ugly.

I bought my Georgia fishing license online, $45 for a non-resident, good for a year.  I walked down to the end of the dock and spent a few hours dragging silly lures through the water that I'm sure cracked up the fish.  "Look Charlie, here it comes again!  HAHAHAHAHAHA!!"

While I was out there, a pelican was also trying to catch fish.  I ran back to the boat and got my camera with the telephoto lens.  Here are a few samples of what the new camera can do.

I finally got a pic of a pelican as he hit the water.   I always assumed they hit the water with their beak open to scoop up fish.  Not so.  Look at the minimal splash his head made.  If this was the Oympics, it would be a perfect 10 by all three judges. 

The photo above is the original.  The photo below is after I cropped, sharpened, and color balanced it.  I used Nikon software that came with the camera.

My photography was progressing much better than my fishing.

Pelicans are amazingly graceful in flight.

I really like the photo below.

In dog news, Pam took Chevy to the vet today.  The vet put a new bandage on Chevy's paw and made an appointment to go back on Monday.  Chevy may need to have the cut opened up and restapled.  We'll see.

So we may not get any farther south this season since one of our crew is down and out, but we planned on heading north in a few weeks anyway.  We'd like to be in Washington DC for the cherry blossoms, and there's this big party and raft up with friends in May.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

The New Camera

First, I'm going to let you in on a little secret.  I actually write these blogs in the evening of the day that stuff happens.  I save a draft of it, and then when I wake up at o'dark thirty I proof read it, and then publish it.  Then when Pam gets up she reads it and points out all my typos and I edit  it and repost it.

Yesterday (today actually, but when I hit the "publish" button tomorrow, it will be today.  See the pressure I'm working under here?) Pam convinced me to buy a new camera.  I enjoy taking photos, and someone left my old camera on the Boston Whaler overnight and it rained.  It wasn't waterproof, apparently.

We drove to a mall in Savannah and went to Wolf Cameras.  I was approached by a young (I'd guess about 9), thin, blond girl, shy and demure.  Oh great, I think to  myself, a kid who works here part time and won't know jack about cameras.  Boy, was I wrong. 

Her name was Savannah ("I know, and I'm not even from here!").  She asked me what I was looking for in a camera.  I told her my old one was a high end point and shoot and I was thinking about a low end digital single lens reflex (DSLR).  I didn't want to spend a lot of money on it since 100% of my photos stay on my laptop or wind up downsized for this blog.  I'd like a couple of lenses for it, with a decent telephoto, and image stabilization would be nice since I take most of my photos from the boat.

Savannah handed me a Nikon D3100, a 14 megapixel camera, with a Nikkos 18-55mm lens and a 56-300mm.  She explained the important features of the camera quite expertly.  Each lens has its own motor and stabilization.  I liked it and bought it, along with an extra battery and a case.

Back at the boat, I actually read the directions before putting it all together.  It might be a reflection of my age, but this camera has way too many functions.  There are myriad buttons and knobs to push that set the camera to do all kinds of things automatically, and if that's not good enough, you can do them manually.  My last SLR was a film camera and it had a built in light meter and I thought that was pretty exotic.  I'd set the aperature and shutter speed and focus and shoot.  This thing requires ten minutes of surfing through menus to do the same thing.  Such is progress and modern technology, I guess.

Just to show you how intimidating this camera is, these are the instructions that came with the battery charger.

Most of the instructions are cover your butt legalise and all about the danger of fire and putting your eye out and stuff.  If I wrote the instructions, it would read:

1. Put battery in charger.
2. Plug in.
3. Wait.

It would fit on a post card.  And have a font large enough to read without a magnifying glass.

Here is our cruisers' dinner last night, photographed with the new camera.  One thing about being retired, cruising, and staying in one place too long is that you sleep late.  When you sleep late, you eat breakfast late, and lunch late, and dinner is just too much too late.  This works for us sometimes.

The last thing I'm going to mention, and I know this is going to come as a shocker to you all, is that we're converting the week we paid for here to a monthly rate.  We probably won't go any farther south than Isle of Hope, Georgia.  Why, you ask? 

Well, first of all, we really like it here.  The marina staff are very nice and accommodating and dog friendly.  There is a fenced in place for the dogs to run off leash.  It's close to downtown Savannah and all the sights there.  The weather here is warm now with Spring busting out all over.  And it's close to the vet.  The vet?

Last night, Pam looked at Chevy's paw that was sliced open by an oyster shell and thinks it may be infected.

So it's off to the vet for Chevy today.  Poor dog.  He's such a good boy.  Ruby would never tolerate having her paw stuck in disinfectant like that.  That's the difference between getting a dog as a puppy and spoiling her rotten, and getting a rescue dog that was set to be euthanized because his owner didn't want him and who is grateful to have a forever home.

That's a story for another day.

Friday, February 24, 2012

This Tug Boat Captain is Amazing.

Isle of Hope Marina is on a very tight bend in the river.  You can see it in the screen shot from Google Earth below.  This turn is no problem for small boats, of course, but tugs and barges are another matter.

I took the following video while working on the Whaler up on the roof a few days ago.  Watch how close the tug comes to the docks on the outside of his turn and how masterfully he makes it.

This guy obviously knows what he's doing.  Kudos to him!

In windlass news, the electrician ordered a new reset button and it will arrive Monday.  So we're "stuck" here in Isle of Hope, Georgia.  It was sunny and in the upper 80s yesterday.   It was also very breezy.

I decided to install the one silly thing I bought when outfitting the boat, a Taylor Made Comfort Zone misting system for the flybridge.  I ran into two problems.  One is that there is a loose connection or something up on the bridge because I'd have 12 volt power sometimes and then I wouldn't.  The second problem is that a strong gust of wind blew the box the unit came in off a table and several parts vanished, presumbably straight to the bottom of the river.   I guess Neptune can't watch over numbskulls like me all the time.

Rant-  I called "customer service" at Taylor Made in my hometown of Gloversville, New York, to get replacements and was told they wouldn't sell me any parts and that I'd have to find a dealer and order through them. No dealer would carry these parts in stock, obviously, and they  would have to order them from Taylor Made, a delay of several days, at least. I guess Taylor Made doesn't account for cruisers who are on the move.  West Marine is a Taylor Made vendor.  They order on Wednesdays.  If I called them today (Friday), they would order on Wednesday, and shipping from New York to Georgia is three to four business days.  The parts would get there on Monday or Tuesday of the following week.

When I worked for Dutchman and someone called for parts, I would look up and give them the name, address, and telephone number of the closest sail loft to them that sold Dutchman sail flaking systems.  I would also offer to ship direct if it would be easier for the customer.  Customer service should be all about taking care of customers, not taking care of dealers.  Taylor Made should learn this.  End of rant. 

Thanks.  I feel better now.  Well, I feel better, all except for a Comfort Zone misting system that doesn't work.  I'll have to see about disassembling the helm and running new wires up to the bridge.  That's a project for another day.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Isle of Hope to Savannah in a Powerboat

One nice part of cruising is the people you meet, especially if you stay in one place for a bit.  We met Gene, who is living aboard his Chris Craft powerboat, and Bill and Patti, who are cruising on their Pearson 40 sailboat, shortly after arriving at Isle of Hope Marina.

Gene is fairly new to boating, having done so for only a few years and that being on Lake Michigan.  He's living aboard here to be close to his son (who is a ranger in the army) and daughter-in-law and grandkids.  He got the bug to cast off his dock lines yesterday and asked Bill and Patti and Pam and I if we'd accompany him on a short cruise to Savannah for lunch.  Since we're going nuts here waiting for an electrician to look at our windlass, we eagarly took him up on his offer.

Drift Away is a trawler, a type of boat called a displacement hull.  We move through the water displacing it as we pass through it.  Our top speed is about ten miles per hour.  Gene's boat, Light 'n Up, is a planing hull, meaning that his boat has the hull form and enough power to actually skip on top of the water and plane right over it.  His boat can do thirty miles per hour.  Fun! 

I had mentioned before about being fascinated by the wide variety of boats there are.  Looking back at yesterday's photos really drove this point home.  Here is our trip, in pictures.

First off, Gene's boat can plane.  It has enough power to get up out of the water, push it aside, and scoot over its surface.  To this old sailor, this is impressive.

Gene took a short detour into Thunderbolt Marina where we saw this passenger ferry...

a big yacht...

more big yachts...

and a really really big yacht that I couldn't fit in all in the photo (it's comforting to know that the fabulously wealthy are getting through the recession OK.  I was worried about them)...

And then we saw some fishing trawlers...

a tug and barge...

a freighter...

and this is Gene's boat...

All those boats were in the short hop from Isle of Hope to Savannah, a two hour trip. 

We tied up at the River Street Marketplace dock and walked down River Street towards an Irish pub that Gene wanted to eat at.  Along the way, Gene received a text that said to go to the Bayou Cafe.  He didn't know who it was from.  Since we were all cruisers and therefore adventurous, we did exactly that.  We weren't disappointed either.  It was excellent, and a good time was had by all.

Don't you hate it when you're reading a blog and the writer posts a pic of people and doesn't tell you who is who?

So we left the Bayou Cafe... what?   Oh.  That's me (Dave) on the left, with my honey Pam holding up a bottle of homemade Bayou Cafe hot sauce that we purchased, then Bill (c'mon Bill, smile!), his lovely wife Patti, and captain Gene.

We left Savannah to head back to Isle of Hope Marina where an electrician would be arriving to work on Bill and Patti's hot water heater, which wasn't making hot water, and our windlass, which wasn't windlassing.  Gene was doing a great job as designated driver...

On the ride back, passing Thunderbolt Marina, we saw Big Yacht Number One hauled out of the water.

Can you imagine what it must take to lift a behemouth like that?

Along the way, we were entertained by dolphins...

Really, these things are getting annoying.   Look at me, look at me, I'm a dolphin!  Yeah, whatever.

We arrived back at the marina and the electrician working on Bill and Patti's boat and Drift Away took our lines.  We had locked the dogs in the main saloon with the A/C on so he could get on the boat without being attacked by our vicious pit bulls.  Mike the Electrician waved our windlass's reset button at us, saying it was toast and he had to order a new one.  He also had a verdict for Bill and Patti's hot water heater, but I didn't pay attention to that one.

This is the life of a liveaboard cruiser.  While you poor saps were slaving away in your cubicles, we were all outside playing.

Sorry.  Come join us!

Side note.  It's now 4:15 AM and I'm writing this at the table in the main saloon.  I was about to hit the "publish post" button and Ruby, who is sleeping on the sofa, began to howl like a wolf.  I don't know what she was dreaming about, but it's kind of freaky.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Killing Time In Isle of Hope, GA

We're still waiting for the electrical guy to show up to take a look at Drift Away's windlass.   We'd like to anchor out as we travel south in Georgia now that the weather is getting really nice here and having a working windlass would be great.   Pam is hardly strong enough to pull up our 80 pound anchor by hand. 

If you read yesterday's blog, you might be thinking that I'm getting a little batty.  You might be right.  Some of you might be thinking "a LITTLE batty??"  We've been here a little too long, over a week now.  Let me be clear, though, that we love Isle of Hope and the marina staff here have been terrific.  It's just our wanderlust kicking in and the desire to see new and different things.

Speaking about different, this went by early in the morning.

Now, I'm not saying this is bad, only different.  I don't really care what other people's boats look like.  I only care about mine.  Well, if you saw Drift Away up close, you'd wonder if I cared, but I do, and I have plans to paint the whole thing.  Eventually.   So, people who live in glass houses etc.

I mentioned before that I'm amazed at the wide variety of watercraft there are.  I'm also amazed at the variety within each category.  Sailboats come in cruisers, racers, monohulls, catamarans, trimarans, pilot houses, motorsailers, sloops, ketches, yawls, cutters, schooners, and on and on.  The variety is endless.  I guess yacht architects will just keep doing it until someone gets it right.

We kill time everyday by taking the dogs for a walk, and Isle of Hope is a great place to do it.   Yesterday, we did our dog walk, choosing the pretty lane that runs along the shore.

No McMansions here.  And really, no big mansions to speak of, just beautiful homes.  The big porches make them look bigger than they really are.  The pic below is his view across the lane.  

I could live here.  Well, I could if I could afford a million dollar house, which I can't.  We're not even living on a fixed income at this point.  We're living on no income.   And if I could afford a million dollar house, that means I could afford a million dollar boat!

Chevy is doing great, thanks for asking, and his paw must be healing up quickly.  He hardly limps at all and insists on going for his walks each day.  After the walk, back at the marina, Ruby wanted to play in the pavillion.  I left her leash on and just let her go.  She was prancing and dancing with her leash in her mouth, hopping all about and just being a silly dog.  Chevy insisted on playing too, so Pam let him off leash.  Ruby's leash became a pull toy.

Pit Bulls love to wrestle, and Ruby is good at it, growing up wrestling at Taylor Farms off leash dog park in Norwalk, Connecticut with Italian Corsos (hi Gary!) and boxers (hi Hubert!).  Ruby can kick Chevy's butt at will, even though she's smaller.  Ruby went easy on him.  Must be she knows he's hurt.

And at the end of the day, this big trawler pulled into the marina.

Since the marina was closed and the dock hands weren't around, a couple of us liveaboards took their dock lines.

So that's our typical liveaboard I-don't-have-anything-to-do-day.  When I'm not playing on Al Gore's internets, I've been reading a Louis L'Amore book, "Haunted Mesa".  I've been in a western mood lately, and between that book and watching old Lone Ranger TV shows that came out of the Walmarts $5 bargain bin, I think I'm overdosing on westerns as well.  I'm developing a drawl, a strange hybrid of Western and Southern.

So that's it for today.  Ya'all come back now, pardner.  By crackie.