Amtrak Cross Country Trip: First Time Train Trip Adventure

Amtrak Cross Country Trip: First Time Train Trip Adventure

we started our cross country amtrak tripOur grandchildren live in Ontario, Canada.  We live in California.  We have not been able to visit them since just before COVID.  My wife and I thought about driving across the country because we have a motor home.  Then, we decided to make an adventure out of the trip doing something we have never done.   We decided to make a Amtrak cross country trip.

Scheduling an Amtrak Cross Country Trip

Although Amtrak has a website, it is difficult to navigate with all the options.  So, I went to the station and asked the clerk to make our reservations for us.  I was glad I did that.  There were a lot of things I didn’t know about scheduling our trip.

Pricing for Amtrak

As departure time approaches, cruise lines reduce the price of rooms.  They upgrade people if more expensive rooms are open in hopes of selling the less expensive rooms.  Amtrak is just the opposite.  The closer you book to your departure date the fewer seats may be available.  As seats sell out, the remaining seats become expensive.  Book your trip well in advance, if possible.  Also, check with a ticket agent about departure days at both end of the trip.  Some days are normally busier than others and are more expensive to begin with.

Booking Rooms for An Amtrak Cross Country Trip

There are a variety of rooms available on most Amtrak trains.  Pricing is based on travel datesour room on our Amtrak Cross Country Trip.  The roomette is big enough for two people.  There are two opposing seats, a fold down table and large window.  An upper bunk drops down and the seats fold out for sleeping.  There is no private bath.  A bed room is bigger with a couch and chair and private bath.  Of course, this is a more expensive room.  Each train has a family size room and an accessible room.

My wife and I booked our roomette a few months in advance.  I got the room instead of a coach seat.  At the time, the roomette was not very much more expensive that the seat.  My wife bought a seat, but, of course, shared the roomette with me.  Amtrak then was able to sell her coach seat again.  meals on our Amtrak cross country trip

The roomette included all meals for both of us.  The meals were amazing.  There were a least 5 menu options at each meal.   We had the choice of eating in the dining car or having meals served our roomette.  We ate in the dining car.

One thing we did not think about  was the location of our room.  With two floors of rooms, upstairs is quieter.  The center of the car is best away from stairs and bathroom.  The station attendant also booked rooms so we could see the ocean coming home but could see the mountains heading east.

The Cosmopolitan Lounges

the cosompolitan lounge on our Amtrak Cross Country tripOne more important perk with any Amtrak room are the Cosmopolitan Lounges.  At every major station there is a Cosmopolitan Lounge.  When we waited to catch the train from Chicago to Detroit, when we waited in the Cosmopolitan Lounge.  There are comfortable chairs, television and free or inexpensive food and drinks.  When we headed north from Los Angeles on the trip home, we waited in the Cosmopolitan Lounge.  Free redcap service with shuttles to help with bags and getting to the train is leaves from the Lounges.

Scheduling for an Amtrak Cross Country Trip

first station on our amtrak cross country tripTight scheduling during a long train trip is not a good idea.  We were 13 hours late getting to Chicago from just outside San Francisco.  Because this was our first cross country train adventure, we didn’t care.  But if we had tight connections along the way, it would have been upsetting.

Our train arrived late to begin our trip because track waswe hit a car in our Amtrak Cross country trip washed out somewhere along the way.  That delayed our departure by 4 hours.  Halfway to Chicago we hit a car.  Fortunately, no one was hurt but between the police, railroad inspectors and changing engines, we were delay another 5 hours.  Other little delays here and there added up to 13 hours late.

When we travel by train again, we won’t schedule anything during the trip that can’t be cancelled or changed.

What to take on a Amtrak Cross Country Trip

Because we were visiting family for ten days on top of the train trip, we took a lot more stuff than we needed.  Our thought for the future is to take one, carry-on bag each and a back pack.  For the sleeping cars, there was a place to store bags so they are accessible.  In the roomette, their was enough room two back packs, and a few other items.

good bags for an Amtrak cross country tripCarry-ons should be hard.  With hauling them off and on the train onto stationgood back pack for an Amtrak Cross country trip carts and up platform stairs, they take a lot of abuse.  Good handles are essential.  Spinner wheels make it easy to walk with the bag when walking through the station to a Cosmopolitan Lounge.  Bag packs can be carried the traditional way or strapped to the carry-on handle.

Towels, soap, shampoo and linens are provided on the train.  Personal items should be carried on.  There is no place to buy items on the train.

Things to do on an Amtrak Cross Country Trip

Eating and Sleeping

On any trip, these are two important things to think about in terms of expense and comfort.  On the train, each group of rooms had a Steward assigned.  That person scheduled and ordered all meals.  At the time requested, the Steward set the room for sleeping.  We just had to show up for meals and when ready, climb into bed.  Of course, there was also a shop in the lounge car to buy snacks and drinks.

The Lounge Carobservation car on our amtrak cross country trip

Our train had a lounge car.  Some trains have observation areas on a second level.  We could go to the lounge car, buy a snack and drink to sit and watch the scenery go by.

All the passengers had access to this car so there were times when the seating was taken.  Fortunately, we had a large window in our roomette.  We went to the lounge car to stretch our legs.

Station Stops

sales on our Amtrak Cross Country tripEvery couple of hours there was a brief station stop with time to get outside and walk a bit.  Three times in our trip, we stopped long enough time to look at things local people had made for sale and to walk around the town close to the station.  These stops were a good chance to get fresh air.


The Best Part

For us, the best part of the entire train trip was being together on this adventure without having to worry about driving or accommodations.  In our room, we played cards, read, talked, slept and looked out the window.  That might sound boring, but it is just what we needed.  We had a great time with our grandkids.  But, that’s another adventure.





Walking for Health Tips

Walking for Health Tips

Exercise is just as important for us as seniors as it was when we were young.  Resistance training helps retain muscle and core strength.  Walking has lots of benefits.  We want to share some walking for health tips that we have learned together over the years.

We Learned Some Walking for Health Tips

Over the years, we have learned a few things about walking.  When should we walk?  What kind of shoes are best for walking?    Where is the best place to walk?  Should we walk fast or slow?  Should we walk during the day or at night?  Should we walk on the street, the sidewalk or a track.  Is hiking in on trails in the woods more beneficial that walking in our neighborhood? We have thought about all these questions.

Why is Walking Healthy?

  •  Walking is a good for cardiac health.  When we walk at a normal speed of about 3 miles per hour, our heart rate increases.  This increases blood flow and improves cardiac health.
  • Our lungs benefit from walking.  If we walk at a pace that allows us to talk and walk, our lungs are working and strengthening, but not over working.
  •  Walking improves muscle tone.  When we walk, our arms swing and our legs lift and push.  This helps improve and maintain muscle tone.  Just the act of keeping ourselves upright when we walk strengthens our core and neck.
  • Our joints benefit from walking.  As was move, our joints move.  There is some resistance despite minimal trauma to the joints.  Adjusting speed, footwear and walking surface to our particular needs makes sure that are joints are moving and safe.
  • Walking on sunny days boosts our supply of vitamin D.  The National Center for Biotechnology Information lists other benefits of walking in the sun.
  • Often, walking can provide some social interaction as we pass others who are walking and offer a simple greeting.  This is part of “getting out of the house.”

(The above examples are opinions and not based on any specific medical statements or expertise)

When is the Best Time to Walk

We have learned over the years that we can walk anytime and for any reason.  We walk the dog daily Walking the dog is One of our walking for health tips together.  This can be up to a mile or more or less.  The only problem is that Sage, our dog, stops every 100 ft. to smell something.  We don’t really get our heart rate up, but the walk is still important.

About once a week, we shop at Costco.  Although we have a list, we still end up walking through the store endlessly because things are always moved around.  Again, walking at the store does not raise our heart rate, but we are walking for a long time.

This is one or our walking for health tipsIn the early evening, we often walk through our neighborhood for 45 minutes or an hour.  We enjoy talking during this time so we don’t walk extremely fast.  We do raise our heart rate.  This is one of our walking for health tips.  Walking together makes it more fun.  Walking together at night helps us feel a bit safer.  We live in a good neighborhood but….

When we are really serious about raising our heart rate as wewalking on a track is a good walking for health tip walk, we go to the track.  When we walk on the track, we try to walk as fast as we can for a sustained amount of time.  I tend to start on the outside lane and work inward with each lap.  Each lap gets shorter because of the turns.  I think of the the shorter lane each lap as little reward or an incentive to keep walking.

Equipment Walking for Health Tips

Walking is a natural thing to do.  Despite that, we need to think about what we equipment will make walking safe and enjoyable.

Wide Fitting Walking Shoes

good shoes are a walking for health tip Shoes are perhaps the most important piece of equipment for walking.  Shoes should reflect the surface on which we walk as well as comfort for our feet.  I need wide fitting walking shoes.  My feet are not particularly wide.  However, I have a problem with my feet that can cause pain if my shoes are not wide enough.  I don’t worry too much about look or even durability, but comfort when I am walking.

Hats For Walking

We are not big hat fans.  However, when we are walking for any length of time, we wear a hat.  I thinkgood hat is a walking for health tip a hat should fit personality, mood and occasion.  I have a hat for hiking and one for just walking around.  My wife prefers baseball caps.  Any hat will do as long as you like it and it protects your head from the sun.

Jackets for Walking

The weather dictates whether or not a jacket is needed to go for a walk.  Of course, rain demands one kind of jacket and cold another.  I tend to wear a waterproof windbreaker outside and layers inside depending on the cold.  My wife has lots of jackets for different looks as well as the weather.

Walking Sticks and Canes

I have just been told that I should be using a cane when I walk.  Maybe I will.  Walking sticks anda walking stick is a walking for health tip canes are important pieces of equipment especially when hiking.  Rocks and uneven terrain can be dangerous for anyone.  A walking stick for balance is a good idea for every hiker.

Neuropathy, vertigo and other health concerns can make the use of a cane manditory.  The style, weight, and height of a cane are dictated by personal need.  For some reason, I have no problem using a walking stick when I am hiking.  However, I am finding it difficult to use a cane for walking.

Wooden walking sticks are nice.  Aluminum walking sticks are fashionable.

Hydration Hiking or Just Walking

We probably don’t need to think about hydration if just walking for a few moments.  Particularly in heat, some form of water bottle or bladder pack is needed for hydration.  Heat stroke and dehydration are real possibilities even just walking around town.  Take some time to think of what kind of hydration equipment works best for you.

Walking for Health Tips: Final Thought

The UK NHS recommends a ten minute, brisk walk daily.  This contributes to the 150 minutes weekly of exercise that they recommend.  The fact is that walking is good for us.  It can be leisurely around town, productive in the store or strenuous on the trail.  Get in the habit of walking sometime each day.  If you do it with someone else, it will be more fun.




Painting Garage Floors Step by Step

Painting Garage Floors Step by Step

Our garage floor looked terrible.  We decided that painting garage floors would be a fun life adventure. Painting is the process of applying a protective coating or sealant to a concrete garage floor. This is done to prevent moisture, oil, and other contaminants from damaging or staining the garage floor.  The paint forms a barrier on the floor to protect it from wear and tear.  The type of paint used on a garage floor can vary, from simple concrete paint to more a advanced epoxy coatings. The painting process typically involves cleaning the surface, allowing it to dry completely, and then applying the painting according to manufacturer instructions.

A New Project

finish the kitchen before painting garage floorsOnce our kitchen renovation was complete, we decided to tackle the garage floor. The garage floor was almost 50 years old.  We didn’t know anything about cleaning and painting garage floors.  So, we did some research and found that there were 3 main steps to painting garage floors.

– We thoroughly cleaned the floor

–  The floor needed to be primed. before painting garage floors, the floor was a mess

– Paint needed to be applied

Our floor was a mess. We swept and power washed the floor several times.  Despite all the work, it still looked terrible.  Eventually , we were satisfied that it was clean enough to prime and paint.

Priming Before Painting Garage Floors

sage supervised painting the garage floorsThere are several reasons to prime a concrete garage floor.  Ultimately, we primed the floor  so that the paint would bond better to the concrete.

Our dog Sage, had a ball supervising the work.

We applied two coats of primer to the floor as soon as it was clean.  Consequently, there was no dirt or dust to prevent the paint from bonding to the cement. The primer went on easily and dried quickly because it was thin.

Painting Garage Floors after Priming

We decided to paint our garage floor for several reasons.  The floor was covered with stains. Painting the floor gave it a fresh new look.  We choose grey paint.  To protect the floor from stains, tire marks, spills etc., we used an epoxy based concrete floor paint.  Immediately, the floor became easier to clean.  It also became less slippery for wet shoes.

Sage watched us painting garage floorsWhile we were painting we blocked the garage door so that our supervisor could watch us, but not get on the floor.

Because there are two sides to our garage, we painted both separately.  The paint instructions recommended 48 hours before allowing foot traffic.  As well, we found that we needed to wait 5 days before driving on the new paint.

Overall, painting our garage floor improved the look of  our garage.  The epoxy paint will protect the floor from all the stuff that is spilled on it.  The garage will be much easier to clean.

Tools Needed

We did not need a lot of tools for this job.  Initially, we swept the garage floor with a bush broom.  Wepower washers help painting garage floors washed the floor sever times with a power washer, but a bucket and mop would work just as well.  We were not ambitious enough to use a bucket and mop.  If there are chunks of paint, tape or other foreign stuff on your floor, you will need a scraper to remove them.  Otherwise, they will be painted onto the floor.  Finally, we used several deep mat rollers and a long handle to apply both the primer and paint.  That’s all the tools needed for this home improvement job.

If you are considering sprucing up a stained, dirty garage floor, be sure to clean it thoroughly.  Follow the directions for the primer and paint provided on the cans.  This life adventure doesn’t cost much and doesn’t take too much effort, but makes a dramatic difference in a garage.

Thanks for joining us on this senior adventure.

G E Gas Cook Top Finally Installed

G E Gas Cook Top Finally Installed

Our kitchen renovation adventure continued.  We had our new G E gas cook top.  After 3 weeks of getting estimates for a new countertop to go with the new cook top, we decided the  countertop we wanted was too expensive.  So, we installed our G E gas cook top in our old counter.  Installing a cook top seems pretty run of the mill.  However, the demolition and installation was another senior adventure.

Our G E gas cook top was finally installed

                            Clearing the Cabinet for the G E Gas Cook Top

The new stove top had to fit in here.Before starting any work on the stove top, we cleaned out the cabinet.  We foundAll this stuff would be replaced the the new G E gas stove topthings that had been stored and forgotten.   Incredibly, there was everything from things that a slice and dice to ancient hot plates.  We found cast iron pans and some wonderful old, pot holders made by a distant aunt. Everything was piled on chairs in the dining room.  Of course, we could no longer walk in that direction.

Once the cabinet was empty, we tried to remove the old cook top and downdraft.  How difficult can that be?  It was difficult.  We turned off the gas tothe new stove top was gas disconnect the line.  Of course, this meant no heat or hot water.  Which meant a chilly house and no showers for awhile.

We unhooked the power to the old cooktop so we could take it right out.  Of course, it wouldn’t come right out.  Years of caulking around the cook top held it in place.  As well, when the counter top had been redone long ago, the cook top was glued down.  Eventually, careful work with a putty knife  cut the glue.  Finally, the old cook top came up.  We broke some trim tiles, but damage to the cabinet was minimal.

A Few Minor Adjustments for Our G E Gas Cook Top

Of course,  we ran into a few unexpected problems which delayed the stove top installation. Delaying installation delayed the gas hook up.   No gas meant meant no showers or heat.

The new cook top had a 1/2 inch gas fitting.  The old fitting was 1/4 inch.  So, I went off to the hardware store.  It just took a couple of minutes to change the fitting on the gas line.

Unfortunately, the unexpected adjustments didn’t endthe vent for the downdraft was huge there.  While looking over the manual for the new downdraft, we discovered  the volume of air moved was much higher than the old unit.  Consequently, it had to have an outside vent.   Consequently, we had to cut a hole in our house.   So, I went off to a larger hardware store to find an outdoor vent and all the piping.  Cutting the hole through the wall and the stucco was a real joy… not! The outside vent cover was huge. It was designed to have the finished wall around it.  Cleaning the edges and painting will make it look a little better.

Installing the G E Gas Cook Top

Eventually, the new gas fitting, the down draft pipe and vent were installed.  The next task was installing the downdraft and cook top into the cabinet shell.  I am much better at breaking things than fixing them, so I had to be careful throughout the process.   The 24 inch long 1/2 inch gas line was easy to install.  I also capped off the electrical wires that had been to the old downdraft.  The new downdraft pipe took awhile to install.  Unfortunately,  we had to cut the interior cabinet wall and the outside wall for the outside vent to be installed.

The G E gas stove top itself was 3/8 inch too big.  I couldn’t believe it.  It must pay to have good eye sight when reading a tape.  Fortunately, the grout line between the stove and the tile edging was about the right size.  The edging broke when the old stove top came out.  Without the grout, the new one fit.

When we unpacked the new downdraft, it looked far too big with its motor and fan to fit into the counter.  With some angling and some technical language,  the downdraft fit.  As it turns out, this one is far more powerful than our old one.

The new G E gas stove top and downdraft were in.  We are still trying to figure out what to do about the countertop.  That’s another adventure.


Kitchen Remodel Expense Completely Unexpected

Kitchen Remodel Expense Completely Unexpected

Of course, we continue Kitchen Remodel Adventure.  We knew our Kitchen Remodel Expense would be high. However, we were totally shocked when we found out just how high.   Fortunately, we weren’t going to put in a new door or take out a wall.  We just wanted a new cooktop, sink and countertop.  Thanks for joining us as we for this senior adventure.

The New Cooktop part of our Kitchen Remodel Expense

Our home warranty company had repaired our 30 year old cooktop lots of times.

Recently, when two burners stopped working, they offered us a new cooktop and downdraft.    Naturally, the home warranty covered this cost.   However, we had requested a stainless steel cooktop. Ultimately, they sent us a new white cooktop and down draft.  Although the cook top was not the color we wanted, we had installed both.

This is part of the Kitchen Remodel Expense

In the end, with alterations, we only paid about $300 for the appliances and installation.

The Countertop was a major Kitchen Remodel Expense

Once we installed the cooktop and downdraft, we had to replace our outdated countertops with modern, exciting stone.   

Consequently, we went to warehouses to look at slabs of different kinds of stone.  There was  quartzite, slate and granite.  Beautiful porcelain slabs were imitating stone.  For our countertop and backslash, we needed about 130 sq. feet of material.  Incredibly, prices ranged for $47 to $250 /sq.foot.  The material we picked had a total price of $6200.  Wow!!

As well, on top of the material cost, we received bids to install the countertop. They ranged from $3800 to $5200 depending on the material.  Incredibly, the cost for the material and labor  could be almost $1400.  We were not at all sure we needed a modern kitchen for that price.

New Kitchen Sink and Faucet

Naturally, we thought about a new sink and faucet to go with the new stove.  We knew that we wanted a large, single bowl, stainless steel sink.  As well, we wanted a new industrial faucet.  In fact, our old porcelain sink and fixture had been around for 15 years.  Consequently, we were sick of it and wanted something new and easier to clean.  Beforehand, we had estimated that the cost for a new sink and fixture with installation would be about $500.

The Estimated Kitchen Remodel Expense Changed Things

Because of cost, we are going to demo the kitchen counter ourselves.  Fortunately, we will eliminate that part of the cost.  As well, I will hook up the sink and faucet eliminating the need for a plumber.  Since the beginning of the project, we intended to redo the cabinets ourselves.  Hopefully, we can cut our costs almost in half by making a few simple changes.  Watch for the next episode of our senior adventure.

Affordable Kitchen Remodeling Ideas Adventure

Affordable Kitchen Remodeling Ideas Adventure

Our 30 year old cooktop has two dead burners.  Apparently, the home warranty company has repaired the appliance so many times,  they finally said, “Enough.”  As a result, we were offered either a cash buy-out or a new cooktop and down draft.  This appliance demanded affordable kitchen remodeling ideas We choose to take the new cooktop.  Suddenly, we found ourselves looking for affordable kitchen remodeling ideas to accommodate the new stovetop.  Take a minute to join us on this little life adventure.

Why Affordable Kitchen Remodeling Ideas

When we realized we needed a new, gas cooktop, we also realized that everything else ina flat bar was part of the affordable remodel the kitchen was almost 30 years old.     Not only that.  We wanted to change the style of the island that held our cooktop.  Eventually, we decided that having a level eating bar in front of our cook top made more sense than the raised bar that we have.  Consequently, we would need a carpenter to alter the peninsula.  Years ago, we would have done this ourselves.  Now, we wanted it to be done quickly and with a minimum of mess.

Replacing this tile with a slabThe tile on the counter and the backsplash was dated.  Originally, it was put in to last for 10 years.  It has been there a lot longer.  As well, we have found that the grout between the tiles requires a great deal of maintenance.

We decided that some kind of a slab counter top with matching backsplash was needed.  Of course, this required the special skills of someone who can work with natural or artificial stone.

Affordable Kitchen Sink and Faucet

Although our sink and faucet are fairly new, we decided that new countertops called for new fixtures. list is part of the affordable kitchen remodeling ideas Naturally, this meant that we needed a plumber willing to set the sink before the countertop went in and then plumb both the sink and faucet.  All too soon it was obvious that our plans for affordable kitchen remodeling ideas was evaporating.  Understandably, the labor needed to do all the work related to the remodel was going to make the project anything but affordable.

Affordable Kitchen Remodeling Ideas Include Stone Types

The major expense for our kitchen renovation would be the countertops.  We knew that we didn’t want tiles with grout.  Basically, we had to decide if we wanted our countertops to be natural stone like granite or engineered stone like quartz.  We also decided to look at porcelain slabs because of durability and easy maintenance.  The choices were overwhelming.  Unfortunately, so were the prices.

We knew we needed three 5 ft.x 10ft. slabs to do what we wanted to do.  The price ranged from $4200 to $6800 for the minimum we thought we would need.   Consequently, the idea of an affordable remodel disappeared completely.

Thinking about What We Need for a Kitchen Remodel

We decided that the configuration of our kitchen cabinets was fine.  For the remodel, we would simply make new doors, with new hardware.  Fortunately, the timing was right to change the door hinges and drawer slides.  We decided to use all soft-close hardware.  As well, we wanted to change several lower cabinets into drawers.  We calculated the full cabinet overhaul would be about $1200.

That was only a fraction of what our affordable kitchen remodeling ideas cost.

The estimate we came up with became a whole new adventure.

  • Lower the bar – $500
  • Refurbish cabinets – $1200
  • Porcelain Countertops & Backsplash – $4800
  • Porcelain Sink and Fixture – $750
  • Countertop Guy – $5500
  • Plumber – $300

We decided to change the name of this adventure to Kitchen Remodeling Ideas.  We dropped affordable.

Thanks for joining us on this shocking little senior adventure.  Keep watching to see how things turned out.

Hollywood Sport Rider E Bike Rack Build Adventure

Hollywood Sport Rider E Bike Rack Build Adventure

We have been enjoying our Step Thru E Bikes just riding around town.  We bought folding e bikes because we thought they would fit in our SUV.  However, we added cargo baskets to the bikes. Consequently, they do not fold properly.   So, we bought a bike rack  that would fit on our SUV.  We needed it for our RV anyway.  This meant that the next senior adventure for us would be a Hollywood Sport Rider E Bike Rack build.  Thanks for joining us on this adventure.

Hollywood Sport Rider E Bike Rack Instructions

The first step in this build was to look over the instructions.  As we looked through the booklet, weinstructions for the hollywood sport rider e bike rack weren’t at all sure that we could build the rack as quickly as we needed it. We were heading out for a family gathering hoping to take the e bikes with us.  We had two days for the build.  This was going to be an adventure.  However, we felt that two senior adults should be able to hand assembling a simple bike rake.

We made sure all the parts and provided tools were there.  We laid all the parts out as we found them listed on each page.  The logical thing was to go page by page and image by image.

Assembly Should Have Been Easy

the main part of the hollywood sport rider e bike rackFollowing the instructions, we began by assembling the part of the rack which attached to the receiver of the car.  Once we located the right bolts, lock washers and nuts, things went together pretty well.  We added the bottom brackets and the center post.  They would hold the bikes up straight.  After that the stabilizing hooks were added.  These kept the bikes from shaking when driving.  Of course, there was time for redoing things when the wrong bolt was used or the part put on upside down.  As I mentioned, we felt that two senior adults should be able to assemble a simple bike rack.

We put the tire rests on upside down which meant that the locking, hold-down straps were on the wrong side of the rack.  So, we took those off and turned them over.  Assembly took about an 2 hours.  I figure we put every part on at least twice.

Things Not on the Rack

Once the Hollywood Sport Rider E Bike Rack was together, there were two things that needed to be tested. They were not part of the rack.  However, the rack could not be used without them.

Bar Adapters

Both of our e bikes were “step through” models.  Years ago, they were called “girls bikes.”  We  bought this model because one of us was used to a step through and the other of us wasn’t confident about climbing onto a regular bike without fall over.   The stabilizing hooks of the bike rack could not be used without a center bar adapter to hook onto.  We had purchased one of these for each bike so we tried them out.

The bar adapter went between the front fork and the seat post to create a solid place to hook the stabilizing bars.  At first, it was a bit difficult to get the bars off and on the bikes,  but we got it.  With these bars, we were going to be able to carry 2 e bikes on the rack.


We also needed to make sure that the entire Hollywood Sport Rider E Bike rack was not stolen off our vehicle.  This was true whether orthis locks the hollywood Sport Rider E Bike Rack to the car. not bikes were on the rack.  We had ordered a receiver lock with our bikes.  We installed that to see how steady the whole assembly seemed.  A pin went through the bike rack tongue and then through the vehicle receiver.  A lock was attached to that pin.  Any pin lock would work, but ours was made for that Hollywood Rack.

In addition, we needed to lock the bikes to the rack.  Although the stabilizing hooks locked over the center bar another lock through the wheels seem appropriate.  So, we also installed aThis locks the bikes to the Hollywood Sport Rider E Bike Rack 10ft. long, steel, cable lock which could wrap around the rack and all 4 bike wheels.

Of course, the stabilizing hooks and the cable lock could be cut if a thief had the right tools and a bit of time.  We had decided to have these three locks as a deterrent and for our peace of mind.

Finally Done

Our two hour session of assembling the bike rack was over.  We had read the instructions.  Then, we assembled the rack piece by piece.  Through the process, we disassembled and reassembled the rack piece by piece.  As well, we had added the few extras we felt were necessary.  We were finally done and could put a bike on the rack.

It was fun to share this little senior adventure.  Click here to leave a comment about the adventure.  Check us out on YouTube @Our Senior Adventure.








Hollywood Sport Rider eBike Rack Unboxing Adventure

Hollywood Sport Rider eBike Rack Unboxing Adventure

We had ridden our ebikes around town enough to get used to them.  It was time to get out on some trails.  We needed a way to carry both ebikes with our SUV or RV.  After a lot of research, we decided to buy the Hollywood Sport Rider eBike Rack.

Hollywood Sport Rider eBike rack is great
Hollywood Sport Rider eBike Rack

Why We Chose the Hollywood Sport Rider eBike Rack


With dozens of bike racks for sale, we decided on 10 things we had to have in our bike rack.

  1.  Able to carry 2 e bikes
  2.  Sturdy construction
  3.  Rated to carry at least 130 lbs
  4.  Rated for both an SUV and RV
  5.  Tilt function when in use
  6.  Easy to attach to a vehicle with 2″ receiver
  7.  A receiver lock
  8.  Easy to load
  9.  Lock to the e bikes
  10.  Good price

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First Lectric Ebike Adventure

First Lectric Ebike Adventure

We have always enjoyed riding bikes.  As we get older,  hills seem to get higher. So, we decided to rent e-bikes.   Our  first e-bike ride was about 20 miles.  We went up some steep hills.  With long open stretches of bike path, we tested the speed and handling of the bikes.  The rental so much  fun that we decided to buy e-bikes.   After a lot of research, we decided on the Lectric E bike 2.  The step-thru model seemed best for us.  This would be the first of our senior e bike adventures.

Lectric Ebike 1st Ride

This bike was compact, affordable and foldable.  We thought it would be perfect to transport in our car or small motorhome.  We took some time to get used to the Lectric Ebike learning how to use the peddle assist, cruise control and throttle.  For example, the normal, 7 speed bike gears worked differently  with the 5 ranges of pedal assist.

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Garage Cleaning Adventure

Garage Cleaning Adventure

Everything we do together, in life, is an adventure.  Garage cleaning was no exception.   It’s just another life adventure we shared.

Garage Cleaning

With 40 years worth of stuff piled to the ceiling, this adventure had 2 distinct parts.  First, we had to sort through a garage full of stuff including decades ofthe reason for the garage cleaning adventure memories.  Then, we had to get rid of all the stuff we didn’t want.  This meant giving things away, selling things and hauling things to the dump.  Who knew garage cleaning could be so involved?  Although there was still lots to do, after a few days hard work, we emptied the garage. We moved everything taken from the garage to the back yard so we could finishing the garage cleaning.  Our senior garage cleaning adventure was well underway.

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Winter Lawn Care- Our Latest Adventure

Winter Lawn Care- Our Latest Adventure

Different parts of the country deal with winter lawn care differently. For example,  in the north, lawn care stops because of snow and ice.  But, here in central California, winter lawn care is important because of seasonal rain.  Cutting the grass can be an adventure for my wife and myself because of what is important to us.  Our attempt at winter lawn care is our next senior adventure.

Why Winter Lawn Care?

Would you rather cut grass or shovel snow during the winter.  I have done both.  Believe me. IThis explains the winter lawn care affiliation prefer winter lawn care to shoveling snow.  In this part of California, winter means rain.  But, a few day of rain is always followed by several bright, sunny days that help the grass grow.

the lawn needs winter lawn care

Our parkway shows several reasons for winter lawn care.  There are lots of leaves on the ground.  As well, the grass is long and the edging between sidewalk and grass looks terrible.  My wife and I had some decisions to make about how to take care of the lawn.

Lawn Care Decisions

People make decisions about lawn care no matter what the season.  Although I have been cutting lawns since I was 12 years old, it is only in the last few years that I have thought about the way I cut grass and do yard work.  What I do in my yard is important.

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Safe Activities Avoiding COVID19

Safe Activities Avoiding COVID19

The pandemic is the main topic of discussion everywhere I go.  There is good reason for that.  It is world changing.  Since late March of 2020, we have been isolated staying at home and avoiding contact with others.  As a seniors, my wife and I have adjusted because we have been told we are most vulnerable.  We are figuring out what are safe activities during the pandemic for us.

Safe Activities During the Pandemic

Things are beginning to open up here in central California, but we are still being cautious.   What are safe activities outside the home at this stage of the pandemic?  Because my wife and I have had both our shots, we have some degree of confidence in the vaccine, but  still wonder what is safe to do.  The CDC has issued pandemic safty guidelines for everything from grocery shopping to extending families living together.

I find the guidelines issued by California helpful.

here are guidelines for safe activities during the pandemic

It is up to each person to determine what feels safe as they practice any pandemic cautions. My wife and I  have discussed safety for hours to come up with this series of personal guidelines.

  1. We will go into the community only when necessary.
  2. Only close family, who have been isolating, will be able to be in our home without masks.
  3. We will wear a mask outside of the home when in contact with anyone.
  4. We will wash our hands or use hand sanitizer after every “out of home” encounter.
  5. Curbside delivery will be used whenever possible.
  6. In store shopping or pickup will be done during special senior citizen hours when possible.
  7. If necessary, “take out” restaurant food will be ordered where curbside pick up is available.
  8. Each of us will schedule our medical appointments will be scheduled on the same day as much as possible.
  9. Minimally, we will have weekly contact with children and grandchildren via some for of video conferencing.
  10. Monthly, we will plan a large family video gathering.

safe activities for seniors might include family gatherings

Camping Got Us Out of the House

Things are beginning to open up here in central California, but we are still being cautious.    Keeping in mind CDC,  we decided to travel just a bit.  Our motorhome helped us go camping and keep 8 of 10 of our personal pandemic guidelines.

camping is one of many safe activities for seniors

We had everything needed for 3 or 4 days away from home.  We only drove about 50 miles to the redwoods in the Santa Cruz mountains, but, after a year at home, it felt like going around the world.  There were others at the campground.   The California nights are cold in winter so the closest camper to us was about 50 yards away. The only contact we had with people for the weekend was with office staff when we paid our camping fee and our daughter and her husband.

What was There to Do?

We did exactly what we were doing at home, but we were somewhere else.  The quiet majesty of the redwoods made all our normal activities seem new.  We cooked meals as we do at home.  Using a propane grill or open fire made cooking an adventure.   We walked the dog.  The big difference was that we were walking through the redwood forest.  We sat around and read.  Not in the house or our backyard, but in camping chairs listing to a creek just a few yards away.

Even Sage enjoyed sitting around in a new place listening to new sounds and smell new smells.  It was chilly.  Sage need in pjs under her jacket, but it was time away to familiar safe activities in a new place.

Will We Do it Again?

With two shots, we now have full immunity from COVID.  At least we hope we do.  Our RV will be our means of fun travel for through to the fall.  With grandchildren and siblings across the country, we envision so fun road trips.  In our minds, staying at a hotel is not among the safe activities despite the CDC standard.  So, we travel with our little hotel room on wheels.

We have been told that planes are safe because of the mask and distancing rules as well as the sophisticated air circulation systems.  My wife and I have no desire to spend time walk or waiting in a crowded terminal.

Rail travel seems to be a good option because of spaced seating and the possibility of a private room. But, we want to be able to stop when we want to and take the route that seems most interesting to us.  We would travel by rail before travelling by plane.  Fortunately, as retirees, we have plenty of time to devote to travelling.

Figure it Out!

You know what are safe activities at home.  Figure out a way to do what you do at home away from home.  Keep as many of the new rules for interacting as you can.  Take every precaution as you need to when you meet people.  Have have you tried camping?  You can rent motorhomes in almost every city.  A tent and camping equipment is reasonable especially if you use it a number of times.  Just figure out what you need before you buy.

Absolutely Everything Outdoors

Day hikes at county and state parks can be a great way to leave home without going very far.  If you are close to a national park, makes a reservation to visit with a day pass as soon as you can.  A day in the beauty of nature is refreshing in itself.  Being with other people, who have something in common with you, can be very uplifting.

So, there are safe activities to do during this pandemic.  Figuring out a way to travel with which you feel safe is important.  Once that is settled you can get away and a lot of the things that are safe at home while visiting a completely different place.




Physical Labor Jobs Challenge Senior Citizens

Physical Labor Jobs Challenge Senior Citizens

I find that everything is getting heavier as I get older.  A bag of groceries seems to weigh a ton.  I swear  that somehow my hammer puts on weight year to year.  Like many seniors, I am experiencing some loss of strength and mobility.  For some reason, I still think I am 30.  When is comes to physical labor jobs around the house, this is a bad combination.

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Physical Labor Jobs are a Challenge

Physical labor jobs like ditch digging are challenging.Last year I dug a trench for a gas line to our  barbecue.  In total, it was about 50 feet long and 18 inches deep.  I took a week to dig the trench.  It would be great to say the heat or rain or broken shovels slowed me down.  But, in fact, I am not used to physical labor anymore and not as strong as I used to be.  Even 10 years ago, I would have dug the trench in a day.  Stopping to ease my back and catch my breath took time.

The list of things to do around the house is endless.  From changing light bulbs to rearranging furniture.  Of course, physical labor jobs are more difficult and often more dangerous.  Home Advisor lists the most common household injuries and how to prevent them.

Think about the Job

When we have any job to do around the house, there are a few things we consider as we plan.

  • How important is the job compared to everything else that needs to be done?
  • Can we do it ourselves?
  • Does the job fit into our budget?
  • What tools do we need to do the job?
  • How long will it take?
  • What will be interrupted as we do the job?
  • What do we want to achieve?

For example, we have solar panels.  They need to be cleaned periodically for maxim efficiency.  We know we will use a ladder, a hose and a pressure washer.   The big question is who will do the job.  Because my wife does not trust me on a ladder anymore, she washes the solar while I prepare to catch her if necessary.  We realize the day will come when we need to have help doing this job.

Know Your Limits

Difficulty for most jobs around the house difficulty is relative term.  Some things are easier for me to do than for my wife.  As well, she has more experience doing some things than I do so she does them better and visa versa.

Physical labor jobs

Recently, I decided to do a job and scared my wife.  We had a very large tree in our yard near the house and electrical service wires.  The trunk has cracked.  I suggested that I cut it down before the wind in the canopy brought the tree down on the house.  My wife suggested that we hire someone in the interest of preserving my life.  Through a bit of research, we found that removal of the tree would cost $2500 – $3000.  As it happens, when I was younger, I cut down dozens of trees.  Many of them we close to buildings.

So, I went through the check list.  Professional removal was too costly.  All I needed to do the job was a ladder, a chain saw and some rope.  I had all these things.  Having cut lots of trees, I knew how to do the job, but I had to do it in stages.  Only about a quarter of the tree would fit into our yard waste bins.  They were picked up weekly so the whole job would take a least 4 weeks.  This would give me plenty of time to rest. Rather than cut the whole tree, we decided to attempt to train it to grow into a large bush.

Trimming a tree is one many physical labor jobs.
Lots of small trunks

My wife was scared by two words that went together during this job…. ladder and chain saw.  I reassured her.  What could go wrong.  My plan was to type a rope as far up in each trunk of the tree as I could.  I would cut each trunk almost completely through and pull it down with the rope.  Each trunk was tall but not thick.  There were 9 small trunks like these.  My plan worked.  As I pulled each trunk, it dropped where I wanted it.

Enjoy Your Work

Unfortunately, I fell as I pulled down the last trunk. Even more unfortunately, my wife was watching.  My using a chain saw while on a ladder days are over.

The result of physical labor jobs.
Physical labor jobs can be rewarding
In a year or two

When I was done, the tree wasn’t beautiful anymore, but all the
literature says it will look like this in 2 years.  So, I am happy with the results.

This project although one of the most demanding physical labor jobs around the house was well thought out.  Lots of things could have gone wrong, but with planning, it all went well.  Now I just have to explain to family and neighbors why that beautiful, big tree looks so bad.

For all the physical labor jobs
Soothing Balm for muscle and joint pain anytime

Don’t be afraid of home projects, but be realistic.  Plan well and don’t push yourself.  The satisfaction of a project done well will last for years.






Senior Citizen Volunteer Opportunities

Senior Citizen Volunteer Opportunities

I have a lifetime experience.  You probably do, too.   Senior citizen volunteer opportunities help us share that experience.  Also, volunteering  encourages seniors to make friends and help others.  Are you a senior thinking of volunteering?

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 Senior Citizen Volunteer Opportunities


Naturally, many seniors are grandparents. I have 5 grandkids… 4 grandsons and 1 granddaughter. Coincidentally, there are foster grandparent positions at school, hospitals and childcare centers and  there are opportunities to help with kids at home for school.  Grandparenting experience is a valuable.   Americorps, for example, lists volunteer programs for grandparents.


Work experience helps seniors help businesses.   Websites  like Volunteer Match have hundreds of senior  volunteer positions.

Title for Senior citizen volunteer opportunities

These are senior citizen volunteer opportunities.

Fortunately, google can find places for seniors to volunteer anywhere in the world.  Because volunteering can have costs,  business will cover expenses.  Incidentally, most  communities list local senior volunteer positions.


A docent is a volunteer who acts as a guide.  For example, at the Steinbeck House,  volunteer senior ladies serve lunch and lead tours and at Ano Neuvos Preserve, docents teach park visitors about elephants seals.  Guides are needed at parks, zoos, historical sites, registered homes, community theaters.  Once again, local listings site local opportunities.Docents are senior citizen volunteer opportunities.

Senior Citizen Volunteer Opportunities

Canadian Executive Overseas

National and State ParksLibrary

Local Outdoor Fund Raising Events


Local Specialized Programs

Political Campaigns

Animal Rescue Groups

Environmental Groups

Organization Boards

Seasonal Events

Help Groups

There are thousands of volunteer positions like these around the world and one example may inspire you.

Thinking about Volunteering

Volunteering is like applying for a job so there are things to think.

  • Why do you want to volunteer?   Seniors volunteer for many reasons.  Some seniors just want something to do.  Many want to give back to in the community. Others want to help or meet people.  Some want to share their expertise. What is your reason?
  • What do you want to do as a volunteer?  There are seniors who will do any kind of volunteer work, but most have something specific in mind.  Some follow their passion.  Many seniors volunteer based on their work experience.  Others want something fulfilling.  How about you?
  • Find out what the volunteer position involves.  Of course, you have to think about things like travel, physical demands, working conditions, working hours and other workers.
  • What kind of commitment is needed?   How often will you work?  As well, how many hours would you be volunteering each day?   How long will the position last?
  • What do others think?  If possible, talk with people who know the position.

Groups from churches to zoos ned volunteers.  Your free be a way fulfilling way to give back.