Too Many Mosquitos for Photos

Pretty much had the day to play today so, while Dave was off on the bike, I took the Wee Beastie out for a bit of a run.

I headed out to Cass Lake, which is indeed a lake and a town.  Located in Cass County, MN, the town is within the boundaries of the Leech Lake Indian Reservation, the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe. I stopped at the rest area just on the other side of Cass Lake (the town) that overlooks Cass Lake (the lake) and, although I could have gotten a couple of good photos from viewing points there, I didn’t.  Why?  Well, because as soon as I parked, the car was pretty much swarmed by mosquitos and what appeared to be smallish mayflies.  Yep, you get that out by the lakes in Spring/Summer here. 

Cass Lake (the lake) is rather picturesque, as seen from U.S. Hwy 2.

Today has been the first day we’ve had sunshine in … well … quite a few days, and the high was in the mid (?) 60s.  Nice!  This was the first time I’ve had Wee Beastie out on a highway, and I’m pleased with WB’s performance.  I even opened the solid cover of the sunroof and enjoyed the sunshine. 

Next time out, I think I’ll take that same route to Cass Lake, a bit more down Hwy 2 to Scenic Hwy 39 North, through Chippewa National Forest up to Blackduck (a town), and then head back home via US-71.  That should make a nice loop.

Still, I enjoyed my wee road trip and finally got to see what Wee Beastie will do performance-wise.

Once back in town, I stopped off at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore to see what they have.  Still looking for the odd bit of furniture, etc.  Never know what’s going to show up in a secondhand place and prowling through is always fun.  Didn’t come across anything, but at least I’ve been there.  I kept missing the days/hours they are open lately, and it was a fun stop.

With all the rain and the trees doing their annual “dusting dance,” Wee Beastie needed a bath. 

Car wash 05242017

Sort of patriotic with the red, white and blue

The truck was so big I always hand washed it, so I hadn’t been in a car wash in close to 10 years.  What a hoot! 

We opted not to attend the community fish fry, enjoying a chicken stir-fry here at home.  We can see the big tent set up for the event from our front porch and, in fact, had been commenting on that for a couple of days.  It finally dawned on me yesterday it is over by the Paul Bunyan Communications building (which we can see from here but I didn’t realize it until now) and that’s what it is!

Fish fry 05242017

If you really look, you can see cars parked along the road across from the big white tent.

Small town, yes?  That, along with the fact that we’re on this side of town and there’s really no obstructions to our views.

Tomorrow we’re back to work, so we’re just enjoying the last evening of our weekend.

Thanks for stopping by!  Be safe out there, okay?

“Friendship between two persons depends upon the patience of one.”  –  Native American proverb

 

 

 

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Home for a Month

We departed Traders Village on the northwest side of Houston around 11 AM and headed on down Highway 290 West. Parts of it were under construction years ago when I lived in Houston and then later in Brenham and guess what? It’s still under construction an even longer way in what appears to be the addition of more lanes.

After getting really out of Houston’s reach, the highway became the 290 I remember, with no concrete barrier walls on the right side. Yay! We stopped at the Love’s I remember for a pit stop and a cup of coffee for Dave. I had a delightful conversation with a long-haul trucker while Dave was inside the store.

Scooting our way out of there, we were back on 290 until reaching Hempstead, where we branched off onto Highway 6 North. Now that was a pleasant drive! This took us all the way through College Station into Bryan, where we took the exit to get to Primrose Lane RV Park.

On our way here, we noticed how dry everything looked; the grass was brown, trees wilted and so forth. Entering the RV park, we noticed the same thing . . . even more so. The photos on the park’s web site are from days when there has been regular rain. That’s not the case now.

This park is divided into two sections. Up front there are some nice, long, concrete pull-thru pads for overnighters and short-term folks. There are back-ins for longer-term stays. There is another section behind a fence toward the back of the park that is a mobile home area. We took a walk this afternoon back there and decided we’ll stay up front in our section, as it really is . . . well, not our kind of area.

Primrose Lane site 5 10192015 1

I actually backed us in, with some great spotting from Dave!

Primrose Lane site 5 10192015 2

You can see how terribly dry it is here. Had to put our solar lights into cracks in the ground, as it was too hard to just put them anywhere. Yoinks!

We have a decent site, with tons of room between neighbors on either side. We do get some shade in the afternoons from the trees behind us. There is a street light across the street. Utilities seem fine so far; we were given converter boxes for the cable TV system. No TCM, but a better variety of channels than we have had other places. The manager was nice and helpful on our arrival, and we met a retired neighbor two sites down who came over to visit a bit.

This place really isn’t anything to look at and certainly isn’t nearly as nice as other places we have stayed; folks don’t seem to personalize or “cute up” their sites. There seem to be quite a few workers, but it is quiet out. That’s a good thing. The surrounding neighborhood appears okay; not fancy, but okay with some decent-looking houses across the road from the park. There is a nice H.E.B. about 2 miles away. The monthly rate is good and includes electricity (which is important in Texas) and I can get independent cable Internet if I need it for work. We have paid for a month and see how it goes.  We didn’t expect ritzy or upscale for the price we are paying.

We are expecting rain starting Wednesday with even heavy rain over the weekend. It won’t turn the grass green, but it should help the trees look and feel better. So incredibly dry . . . so sad. Guess you’ve heard there are wildfires in Texas again, even another one around the Bastrop area that was devastated not long ago by fires.

We did get settled enough today to go to H.E.B. for a few basic provisions and then I made quesadillas with guacamole for dinner. This evening I set up our converter boxes for the TVs and we’ve been enjoying having that on; right now we’re watching the series Fargo. Haha! It’s sooo Minnesota!

Well, we have landed safely and will use this as at least a starting point. I am grateful that the 90-something miles we traveled today were done in a safe and uneventful fashion.

Hope you’re settled and comfy somewhere and that you stay safe out there!

Thanks for stopping by!

Power Issue on Landing at Traders Village in Houston

We left Beaumont this morning about an hour earlier than usual at about 10:40. We boogied west on I-10 about 30 miles to make a pit stop at the rest area near Hamshire, TX.

Rest Stop Hamshire TX I10 10182015

Nice!

Restroom Rest Stop Hamshire TX I10 West 10182015

Grooviest ladies restroom I have ever seen at a rest area!

Our passage through Houston was uneventful and even easy up until we got onto Hwy 290 West. It wasn’t difficult, but a bit tedious; the right-hand lane had those construction barrier concrete walls all along the whole way with no shoulder. You know what I mean . . . makes the lane pretty narrow. We made it through just fine with no incident, although we heard a squeak/scrape sound at one point; Dave said he thought it was the truck behind us scraping the wall. Yoinks! I didn’t feel anything and checked our rig after landing here; it wasn’t us, as there was no sign of us caressing the wall.

Getting into Traders Village wasn’t as bad as I though it might be, although there was a ton of traffic. In case you don’t know, Traders Village is a humongous flea market with an RV park. We made it to our site with no problem and began our process for staying one night . . . lowering landing gear, putting out slides, etc. All was fine until . . .

No power inside the rig. Rut roh.

Power at the pedestal and into our power cord, but zilch inside. What to do? Called a couple of mobile services; it’s Sunday, so no joy there. Called Good Sam and talked with Technical Assistance, who was some help as to what it might be, but all they could do was give me phone numbers of RV service people. No joy there.

Opened all the windows and figured we’d just deal with it overnight and hit an RV service center in Bryan tomorrow (Monday).

Walking around outside, I saw two guys on the roof of a Class A two sites down. Walked that way thinking I might see a mobile tech van. Guy walks up and asks if I’d seen the owner of the coach; they were here doing work on roof and guy left his truck window down.

Nope, hadn’t seen the guy as we had just arrived. Asked him if he happened to be a tech.

Yesssssss!

So he came over and checked stuff with his voltage meter. After doing this, he right away determined it was our ATS (Automatic Transfer Switch), which is in a rig that has an onboard generator or is wired for one, which ours is. He found the box, opened it and voila!

The switch had melted. Yoinks.

He said this was probably due to low voltage. Well . . . our surge protector black box had shut us down a few times at the work site in South Carolina due to very low voltage like 105 (norm is 120). The facility manger had checked and said that everything was fine; however, by the time he would get to the spot to check it, incoming power would be back to normal ranges and our box would power us up again.

This happened several times during September. We weren’t totally convinced that our box was on the fritz, but there was nothing really to be done.

We did notice during our time there that our interior lights weren’t as bright as they had been . . .

So! Rhoan (the tech guy) commenced to fixing us. Since we do not have an onboard genny and have no plans to get one, he bypassed that portion of the ATS. Now power comes straight in and to the rig without going through that extra portion.

That boils down to power coming straight from the pedestal to the load (the rig). No middleman, so to speak.

Traders Village tech working on rig inside basement Dave watching 10182015

Dave watching Rhoan (inside basement) rewiring the ATS. You can tell we have no A/C at this point, because our door is open and so are all our windows!

Rhoan works at Demontrond RV but also works freelance on weekends. I tell ya, after checking voltage in a few places, he knew right away what it was. Said he has seen this happen quite a few times before. He said we would probably notice our lights were brighter since we were using straight power now and bypassing the ATS.

Turning on our living room overhead lights after dark . . . wow whee! Yep. It’s brighter in here again! We had replaced the regular bulbs with LEDs a few months ago and had commented on how nice and bright it was in here. We had noticed – while in SC – that it was dang dark in here and Dave was struggling to read or use the computer in his recliner.

Well, it was money we really didn’t need to spend on repairs, but taking it to an RV dealer might have cost us more, taken longer and might not have even been fixed.

Just Providence, good luck or whatever that I happen to look around and hook up with Rhoan.

So we’ve gone from looking at a relatively miserable evening and hassle tomorrow in getting to a dealer before landing at our spot in Bryan to being comfortable. A/C is working fine. I can charge my phone. The TV has picked up some sort of movie station (showing Gregory Peck movies).

Whew. What a day. I am looking forward to getting to our landing spot tomorrow, settling in, working my virtual assistant job and finding a medical transcription job. Hoping our life will settle down and we can get in a comfortable groove.

I am very grateful for today’s safe passage of a bit over 90 miles under beautiful skies and gorgeous weather.

Hope your Sunday was pleasant and that you stay safe out there!

Thanks for stopping by!

Relaxing in Beaumont, TX

We were sitting outside a wee while ago and realized we are finally get the relaxation layover we intended first in Lexington, SC (where we extended our stay due to the rain event) and then in Hope Hull, AL (where loose dogs were an annoyance in the park).

Finally! Yes, indeed!

Yes, Phyllis, there is still construction on I-10. Isn’t there always? Traffic was not backed up westbound, so it wasn’t bad at all. (Check out Phyllis’ full-timing blog here.)

We did get up and out the door in time to mosey over and check out the free breakfast here. It really wasn’t anything to write home about, but Dave got a cup of coffee. I brought a biscuit back, warmed it up and ate it with a bit of butter. Not bad, but not outstanding. It is a nice gesture on their part.

We were out and about before 11 AM, stopping first at Hidden Lake RV Resort not far from here. I certainly would not call it a “resort,” but it was a nice enough park on drive-through and one to perhaps consider in the future.

Our next stop was the Walmart, which was a bit of a drive from our park. We picked up a few items there and then dropped into the H.E.B. for some groceries on our way home.  For those who don’t know, H.E.B. is a Texas grocery store chain. This was apparently a “super” H.E.B., as it was the biggest one I have ever been in, and I’ve been in quite a few. OMG. Was it delightful! We supplemented to our current stock of provisions, so we’re good for meals for quite a while again.

We even have lettuce in the fridge again and we each had a salad with our stuffed salmon for dinner tonight.

Lettuce! The quality of lettuce was so deplorable in South Carolina that we stopped buying it. We haven’t had lettuce in almost three months.  I was in lettuce heaven this evening!

When I attended Lamar University here back in the late 1970s, I had no real reason to come to this west side of town. I tell ya what, though, it sure has grown! “Stuff” everywhere and the traffic to go along with that. We had initially talked (well, I did most of the talking – haha!) about having a meal at Patillo’s (BBQ) today, but after our errands . . . well, all I really wanted to do was chill out here at home. Dave was definitely okay with that, so that’s what we have been doing.

I recognized so many of the street names – Major, Phelan, Fannett, Gladys, Washington – even though I frequented those on their opposite end closer to the university. I sort of wish now that I had scheduled us for a longer time here so I could go exploring a bit. If we were here for, say, a week, I’d be checking out old familiar places, seeing what’s been done/renovated/added. There is a lot to do and see in the area. Oh well. Next time!

I’m just really enjoying relaxing and hanging out at home and the park.

We’ve had some strolls around the park, some with Maggie and some just the two of us. This is a wonderful place to walk, as the streets are paved and the park is well lit and fenced. One feels safe walking here even at night.

We have one more day here, and our friend Rachelle will be coming up to spend some time with us. Yay! Even though she and I talk on the phone frequently, we have not been together since right before we hit the road in 2010. She and I go waaaay back, having worked at Exxon together back in the 1980s/1990s.

So tomorrow should be a fun day, with perhaps a visit to Tyrell Park and the Botanical Gardens (or not), hanging with a dear friend, fueling up the truck and then hitching up later in the day with a view to hitting the road to and through Houston on Sunday. The emphasis will be chilling out. Just be-ing.

We did find our “Welcome to Our Clan” sign and hung it outside, and Dave graciously hung our pictures inside, since we’re having company! Tomorrow is slated to be about 12 degrees cooler than today, with a forecast high of 80F. I imagine there will be a bit of sitting outside time.

We can tell we’re definitely in Texas, as we can hear marching bands and the announcer from a nearby stadium and what sounds like a high school football game. It’s a lovely, almost cool and cloudless night, and the sound carries. I like it.

Speaking of sounds, we did not hear the trains after about 8 PM (I’m guessing) last evening and not at all today. Yay!

Hope your Friday has been as relaxing as ours and that your weekend will continue to be so!

Ya’ll take care and be safe out there, alrighty?

Thanks for stopping by!

Back in Texas

We had a nice overnight stay in Duson, LA at Frog City RV Park. We really did enjoy this park and would certainly return for an even longer stay. Part of that enjoyment was the visits we had with our next door neighbors, a part-timing couple from PA and their 14-year-old dog.

Rolling out of the park just shy of 11:30 AM, we hopped on I-10 to continue our journey westward. We planned to make a pit stop at about 50 miles at a Love’s Travel Center; however, there was no convenient truck parking and we had a bit of a tight squeeze getting through the travel plaza pump area after deciding this was not a practical stop. Whew. We did it, though, with no harm/no foul. That’s the last time I try that, I tell ya. RV parking my ptooie.

I do dig my Pilot truck stops and hanging with the big dawgs. It’s easy. We’re courteous – pull forward to the line after fueling, don’t leave our rig unattended – and we’ve never had an issue; in fact, all drivers we have interacted with have been courteous and friendly, if not downright helpful.

Good thing I wasn’t desperate for a pit stop, as the Calcasieu River Bridge in Lake Charles was definitely kinda skeery. Well, not really. Well, maybe just a wee bit. Gee, that was steep. Dave did the sightseeing. I didn’t want to look down and I was focused on getting us up, over and down again safely. That sucker is steep! Did you know that the Department of Transportation has declared it structurally deficient? The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development says it’s fine and dandy. That’s according to Wikipedia.

A tad over 91 miles from our start, we rolled into the Texas Welcome Center. I think that’s a record for yours truly without a pit stop. The traffic on I-10 just whizzed (no pun intended), by while we took our stretch break.

Texas Welcome Center 10152015

Texas Welcome Center I-10 West

This wasn’t too far from Beaumont and Gulf Coast RV Resort, our home until Sunday.  This is a big place with paved roads and sites, Wi-Fi that is nonexistent (and we’re even in the first row by the office) and minimal TV stations, about 13 with really nothing to watch. Oh well. The park is well-lit and a combination of long-term workers, short-terms and overnighters. It is well maintained. The restrooms are clean, individual units with toilet and shower. There’s a free breakfast consisting of Texas waffles, biscuits and gravy, muffins, cereal, coffee, juice. Don’t know if we’ll make it for that, as it is served from 7 AM to 9 AM. There’s a pool, exercise room, playground and dog park.  Our site is concrete and plenty long with ample room between us and the site. We are on an end, so we do not have a neighbor site on our driver side.

Gulf Coast RV Resort Beaumont TX 10152015

We are in Site #77, convenient to restrooms and laundry. We also have a lovely power station in our site and a useless patio. Other than that, it’s cool. Well, only if the trains don’t blow their horns all night.

Guess the only thing I’d say on the down side is that the utilities are at the rear of the site. The pavement is only wide enough for the rig, so you step down into grass. There is a concrete patio with picnic table; however, it is at the front end of the site and essentially useless. Makes you wonder if whoever designed the place had ever set foot in an RV. All the sites are set up this way.

Maggie at Gulf Coast RV Resort Beaumont TX 10152015

Maggie is feeling much, much better and is chillaxin’ here. She totally rearranged the daybed to suit her comfort.

We were walking Maggie in the doggie walk area earlier and about jumped out of our skins when the train blew its horn. Yes, the tracks are pretty dang close. I’ll let you know if this goes on all night.

Traffic was heavy coming through Beaumont, so I didn’t get to look around too much, but I did recognize some landmarks such as the Babe Didrikson Zaharias Museum and I certainly recognized names of the streets on freeway exits. We are on the western outskirts of town, and it’s nice not to be smack dab in the middle of things. We plan to go out tomorrow for a few provisions; not sure how much wandering around we’ll do. We’ll see. The washers and dryers in the laundry room are only a buck each, so I may do a load of laundry during our stay. Or not. Ha!

We’ve had a few strolls around the park, both before and after our dinner of burgers and steak fries here at home.

Again I am grateful for the 123.6 miles traveled safely and without incident today. It was in the low 90s here in Beaumont when we arrived but has cooled down nicely. Not a cloud in the sky all day.

We’re here for the weekend. Where are you spending your weekend?

Hope your Thursday was a good one. Stay safe out there, would ya?

Thanks for stopping by!

Spending the Night in Duson, LA

We both woke up before 8 AM this morning and got away from Indian Point RV Resort just before 11 AM.

Remember the dog I mentioned in yesterday’s post? Well, sure enough, poor doggie spent the night in the cage crate under the overhang of their 5th wheel.  Keep in mind that we had curtains open around 7:30 this morning. This is what we saw . . .

Indian Point RV Resort 10142015

Animal abuse takes all forms. This is one of them.

Okay, so they had a fan heater of some sort sitting there; however, this poor soul was obviously miserable, shivering with every breath. It was chilly and damp out overnight. Doggie is not sleeping, but is hunched down shivering, being uncomfortable and plain miserable.

Time passes. We do our morning stuff, walk Maggie, have breakfast and start our leisurely prep for departure.

These jokers finally emerged (well, at least the guy did) at about 10:30 AM to get the dog. This soul was in the crate for a bit over 12 hours. Yeah. Doggie got out of the crate and was chained to a tree to have his breakfast outside.

This sweet soul made nary a sound overnight. Even when seeing me out with Maggie, no bark, growl or whimper was heard from the cage.

Indian Point RV Resort rig with dog 10142015

Here’s the rig of these idiots. Truck front plate is an LSU tag (not a regular license plate). The truck is a white dually. That’s a new-looking Blue Ridge 5th wheel. They had 2 bikes on a rack in the back.

We stopped at the check-in station (which is a bit of a ways away from the RV sites and is not visible from the main campground) on our way out. I showed the photo of the dog in the crate to the gal on duty and explained what had taken place, beginning with their arrival and the dog in the open bed of the truck. She thought that was pretty awful, and assured me she would advise the owner of the park.

A few stops today to break up the trip . . .

Atchafalaya Rest Stop Louisiana 10142015

At the Atchafalaya Welcome Center

There sure were some long bridges heading west on I-10 in Louisiana! Whew! We stopped at a couple of Pilot truck stops; they weren’t busy, so it was a breeze in and out, and relaxing pit/fueling stops. I-10 wasn’t too bad, but a bit whump-a-whump over the segmented part in Louisiana.

We have landed here in Duson, LA at Frog City RV Park, cozied up in site #15 for tonight.

Frog City RV Park Duson LA 10142015

It was too dark when I got around to taking a photo of our rig in our site, but here’s a shot of the entrance sign.

This is not a bad little park at all.  The sites are neat, the park is well lit, the roads are paved and sites are gravel with a picnic table and of nice size. There are quite a few cable TV channels and free Tengo WiFi, but we are using my hotspot.  It’s a mix of long-term workers, short-term rigs and overnighters like us. There’s a hotel next door and a gas station/truck stop/convenience store on another side, but the park is fenced and these are not annoyances. You can hear some highway sounds from I-10 when outside, but not really when indoors. Restrooms are the individual kind with toilet, sink and shower; they are cute and clean. Dave is using these facilities tonight for his shower. The laundry room is clean and functional. There is a small swimming pool and a book exchange. Seems to be quite a few cats – young and older – around the office area. There was a raccoon washing its hands in a basin near the office; it scooted away under the office building when we went strolling by! Access is easy from I-10. Yep, we’d stay here again.

We have strolled the park and then had a nice dinner here at home of fettuccini alfredo and a chopped veggie salad.

We traveled 232.3 miles today – another long one for us. I am once again very grateful that our trip was uneventful and safe.

Tomorrow we head on to Beaumont, TX, where we will be for 3 glorious nights! It will be good to stop for a while!

Have a great evening and be safe out there!

Thanks for stopping by!

Landed in Gautier, MS for One Night

We departed Hope Hull, AL at about 11:15 this morning, in that time range that we seem to get going naturally.

We cruised south on I-65, stopping at a rest area and then a Pilot just north of Mobile to fuel up the truck. At Exit 0 in Mobile, we hooked up with I-10 West and headed towards Mississippi.

Mississippi Welcome Center 10132015

Mississippi Welcome Center on I-10 West

A little bit later, we rolled into Indian Point RV Resort in Gautier, MS. This is a huge place with hundreds of RVs in here and quite a few cabins and cottages for rent. There are long-term workers, folks with apparently seasonal sites (and boats) and then some overnight spots such as ours towards the front of the sites. We have a concrete pad and patio, although the pad at this particular site really is not quite long enough for our rig still hitched up.

Indian Point RV Resort site PA2 10132015

We are in Site PA2. That empty site next to us is no longer empty.

We were originally assigned to site PA1, the empty one in the above photo. Not sure why they gave us PA2 on arrival and I wish they had not. On this row of overnight sites, we have the most cramped and the trickiest to exit. Oh well. It’s only one night. There’s a small tree towards the front that is not in the photo; I’ll have to swing reaaaaally wide in the morning to get out. This site really is too close to the next one on the door side. Ugh. Oh well. One night.

Indian Point RV Resort 10132015

One of two lakes here

Impressions so far suggest this is fine for an overnight stop, but it’s just not my kind of place. There are just too many people here and too many trees . . . We are bypassing the free WiFi, as it is not secured with a password; we’re using my hotspot instead. The restrooms/showers are okay, but Dave opted to shower at home tonight; he will often use the facility showers if they are nice, enjoying a larger shower stall. There is cable TV; it is very basic cable, but we are able to tune into CNN and have the Democratic debate on right now. There is a clubhouse, pavilion for gatherings, café (apparently only open in the mornings), swimming pool, pier and boat launch. Quite a few of the roads are sand/dirt. The sites that are not concrete are more grass than gravel; perhaps they were nice gravel at one time, but the grass has pretty much taken over. Even though it has the word “resort” in its name, it has more of the feel of a campground and/or fishing camp.

Again, fine for one night.

Moving along . . .

Since the above photo was taken, a dually with a pretty and big 5th wheel pulled in. Why am I mentioning this? Because . . . their rather large dog (not a pit bull but some breed that sort of looks a bit like that) was riding in the open bed of the truck when they arrived. I really cannot even imagine my dog riding in an open truck bed, much less with a 5th wheel hooked up to the truck. Sheesh. Any bump or turn of the RV and . . . it could result in a not-so-happy ending for the dog.

Then . . .

They chained the dog to a tree and put its food and water bowl outside. They have a cage for it placed under the front overhang of their RV. Yes, they have been inside with the dog chained to the tree outside. Yes, I’m guessing the dog will be sleeping in the cage outside tonight.

What the hell is wrong with dog owners in the South?

Now back to our regular programming . . .

Interstate 65 South is actually a nice highway and an enjoyable drive. I-10 hasn’t been bad so far. We’ll see how tomorrow shapes up as we head on into Louisiana for tomorrow night’s stop in Duson.

I am grateful that the 203.3 miles we traveled today were done safely and without incident.

Maggie is pretty much back to her usual self and made today’s journey very well.  The weather was gorgeous with a high in the low 80s.

Have a great evening and be safe out there!

Thanks for stopping by!