1,000 Foot Ore Freighter, Soo Locks, MI

1,000 Foot Ore Freighter, Soo Locks, MI

Near Peggys Cove, Nova Scotia

Near Peggys Cove, Nova Scotia

Colorful Truck Sales, Weed, CA

Colorful Truck Sales, Weed, CA

Hollywood Sign

Hollywood Sign

Mackinac Bridge, MI

Mackinac Bridge, MI

Pelicans, Grays Harbor, WA

Pelicans, Grays Harbor, WA

Grand Prismatic Spring, Yellowstone National Park

Grand Prismatic Spring, Yellowstone National Park

Sally and The Gator . . .

My old home town took a direct hit from Hurricane Sally, a Cat 2 storm, that came ashore day before yesterday. Looks like a lot of damage from the photos online.

GulfShores Sally

If you know the area, this is about a block or so off the Gulf on the main road, which is to the upper right.

And this 12ft gator went swimming by someone’s house over in the Orange Beach area, where my parent’s cottages were.

Sally Orange Beach Alligator

Yikes!

Looks like there’s more that just possums and raccoons back in those lagoons and bayous.

I have an old friend who lives over in Fairhope and she said they have a lot of damage, no power, probably for a week,  and no traffic lights.

So now a Nashville TV station has discovered that the Mayor’s office and the Metro Health Department have been hiding the stunning decline in CoVid cases among bars and restaurants. While thousands of cases are attributed to construction and nursing homes, only 22 cases were linked to bars and restaurants.

And now these places are wondering why they haven’t been able to reopen.

https://fox17.com/news/local/covid-19-emails-from-nashville-mayors-office-show-disturbing-revelation

And now it looks like a common over-the-counter solution rapidly kills the virus, in just a few seconds.

A commercially available nasal antiseptic solution “inactivates” COVID-19 just 15 seconds after the coronavirus is exposed to it, effectively preventing the infection from developing, according to a study published Thursday by JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery.

By inactivating the virus, the antiseptic nasal rinse — a povidone-iodine solution administered in the nostril — also would help prevent those infected from spreading it to others, the researchers said.

https://www.upi.com/Health_News/2020/09/17/Nasal-solution-may-stop-spread-of-COVID-19-study-finds/1881600350075/

Let’s just hope that the President doesn’t mention it.

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On To Quebec


September 17, 2009

Parlez-vous français?…

This morning we left Notre Dame du Lac, QC for St. Nicolas, QC, 166 miles away. St. Nicolas is a suburb of Quebec, and is right across the St. Lawrence River from the city itself.

We’ve decided to stay here for two days so we can explore the Quebec area before we head toward Montreal and Ottawa, on our way to Rome, NY and Niagara Falls.

We’re getting Frencified very quickly. Luckily, we’ve been able to stumble thru with people who speak a little English and my very little French. It does make for some interesting conversations, though.

We’re parked in a small cul-de-sac in this RV Park. I’m not really sure how I got the rig in here, and more importantly, I’m not sure how I’m going to get out.

We headed out for dinner at Boston Pizza. We figured even if no one spoke English, we could point to items that we know on the menu.

And it worked out pretty well.

Coming back to the rig, I got the satellite dish set up while Jan watched Mister roam around the woods surrounding our site.

Then it was in for the night.

More tomorrow…

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Wrapping Up The Frac


September 17, 2013

Like Rats deserting a Sinking Ship . . .

Or we’ve got to eat faster. They’re gaining on us.

Well, they’ve wrapped up the actual ‘fracking’ part here, so everyone involved with that is pulling up stakes and heading out, along with a lot of big equipment.

2013-09-16 14.10.52

And our vehicle count is winding down too. Yesterday’s count was 129 and today’s was 117. Much nicer than the almost 300 of a few days ago.

Next up is the ‘coiled tubing’ procedure where they drive tubing down into the well. Supposedly it will get somewhat busy again, but not like the fracking part. We’ll see.

Jan and I got our replacement canopy put up the other night, with no problems this time. I did check to be sure all the bolts were tightened first, and they were.

While I was getting ice, I went by the the GGS office morning to drop off the trash and see if Jamie was around. I wanted to see if he had any info on our future moves, but he was out and about, so I’ll try him later. I also dropped off the old canopy for UPS to return to Amazon.

Hell Fighters’ Kitchen dropped off a couple of more meals last night. Not really a problem of course, but they’d already dropped off two more from the lunchtime feed. So that’s 4 meals in one day. And since we split each meal (they’re that BIG), that’s 8 days of meals. And we still have two days of pork chop and chicken fried steak.

I guess we’ve just got to eat faster.

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Thought for the Day:

If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs, you’ve very likely misread the situation.

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Passwords


September 17, 2014

From Russia . . . with Love?

Someone in Russia, and the Netherlands too, doesn’t like me.

Or at least they’re trying to hack into my blog.

Twice this week or so, someone from the Russian Federation, Volgodansk in particular, has tried to log in to my blog, i.e. take it over. And last week, someone in the Netherlands tried to do the same thing.

Why, I don’t know. But this has been going on for a while. In fact, since I moved to this new blog theme a few months ago, there have been 2317 lockouts.

A lockout comes about after 4 failed login attempts. At this point, that person’s IP address was blocked from trying to login again for 20 minutes. After they were locked out 4 times like this, they were then locked out for 24 hours. At least that’s how it was until a couple of days ago.

Now they get two failed attempts, and then they’re locked out for 60 minutes, not 20. And then after they do this twice, they’re now locked out for 48 hours, not 24.

The culprits are probably using bots or scripts to throw words and numbers at the blog. In fact there are specially-written programs, coupled with dictionaries, just for this purpose. But they will almost certainly not guess mine. Because it’s not a word or words. It’s garbage.

It looks something like this.

oIh$P+T1f$s-W   (not the real password of course)

You can use a website like Strong Password Generator to create this type of password for you. Or you can just make it up. And No, you don’t have to remember this. You use a password manager, like Roboform, or LastPass.

A password manager works like this. When you go to any website that requires you to login, and you enter your name and password, the password manager pops up and asks if you want to save this password. When you click YES, the next time you come back to this site, the password manager pops up and asks if you want to login. When you click YES, it enters the name and password for you. Neat!

And the other neat thing is that when you first go to a new site and it wants you to give it a password to set up your account or login, the password manager will create one of these strong garbage passwords for you.

And then you never have to worry about it again.

Roboform costs about $30. LastPass is free. But at least get one of them.

Finishing up, whatever you do, don’t use the same password, or same few passwords for all your logins. (and some of you out there know who you are.) This is just inviting trouble.

Remember the news a couple of weeks ago about 5 million Gmail accounts and passwords were stolen. Now think if your bank account login uses the same one. And don’t think that because you’re just little old you, you’re not a target. How would they know about you?

They don’t, but they have millions of bots out there, trying to hack into millions of accounts at the same time. And they just sit back and wait for the results to roll in. And they only thing they had to do was click the Start button.

It’s all a game of numbers, just like Spam email, for example. They can sent out tens of millions of spam emails with the click of a button, at little or no cost. So if they get a few thousand sales, or even a few hundred, they’ve made money. That’s why they keep doing it.

So pay attention, and let’s be safe out there.

Oh, as far as here today, it’s rained all evening, and a guy saw a rattlesnake about a hundred feet up the road.
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Thought for the Day:

Heaven is where:

the police are British,
the lovers French,
the mechanics German,
the chefs Italian,
and it is all organized by the Swiss.

Hell is where:

the police are German,
the lovers Swiss,
the mechanics French,
the chefs British,
and it is all organized by the Italians.

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Another Rig Repair


September 17, 2015

Summer’s Last Gasp?

I certainly hope so, because we’ve got 3 or 4 days of mid to high 90’s in store before it cools back down. At least unlike before, where we also had mid 70’s at night, we’ll still have night temps in the 60’s. And by Monday we’re supposed to be back down in high 80’s to low 90’s. We can hope.

As of this morning, our water heater is back in full operation. This morning I replaced both the ECO cutout and the thermostat with the new parts that came in from Amazon yesterday.

Water Heater Repair

Turns out that when I got into it, my water heater doesn’t use the stick-on method of installation, but the parts are held on behind a metal plate. The new ones also come with springs to press them against the side of metal tank.

And just to help things along, I found a tube of thermal paste left over from my computer-building days and used a dab of that on each thermostat to help the heat transfer. Thermal paste was used between the top of the computer’s CPU and the heatsink/fan to help cool the CPU as much as possible.

After I finished the installation and tightened everything down, I turned on power to the water heater and used my voltmeter to check things out. Measuring from ground, I found I now had voltage all the way through to the heating element, so it appeared to be working. But the big test would be when I took my shower tonight.

The frack has been shut down since early this morning while they prepare to switch to the second of three holes they’re doing at this site. So it’s been relatively quiet all day with only 100 vehicles coming through, rather than the 125 to 130 we’ve been running.

So I decided this might be a good time to take the trash down and drop it off on the pad. We hadn’t seen the usual wire-sided trash trailer come through, so we were wondering what they were doing for trash onsite. I had been dropping our trash off at the Whataburger’s dumpster after getting permission from the manager.

But then a few days ago one of the workers mentioned that they did have one on the pad, but rather than the wire one, it was an open-top goose-neck gondola type trailer.

I found it all the way at the back of the pad, and threw my bags in with no problem. While I was there, I was surprised to see actually how much equipment is on site.

This is what it looked like before they started the frack,

Site Carthage

but now it’s just wall to wall trucks, trailers, pumps, and cranes. There’s just barely enough room to drive around the sides.

Finally getting my shower this evening, I found everything working fine. One thing I did notice was the water temperature. When we started using it on propane all the time, I was surprised to find how much hotter the water was on gas than when we were on electric, figuring it was just the difference in the two heat sources. But tonight’s shower on electric was just as hot as one on gas, so I figure that thermostat had been slowly dying before it finally quit for good.

I mentioned yesterday that I’d gotten an Amazon Echo with my order that came in yesterday. I’m going to wait a few days before I talk about it so that I can give you more info.

But for now, I LIKE IT!

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Thought for the Day:

I used to be indecisive. Now I’m not so sure.

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Nice Slow Day On The Gate


September 17, 2016

A Problem and A Non-Problem . . .

It’s been a S L O W day today, our slowest full day so far.

In fact we only had 23 vehicles come through the gate today, not even a full page of 24. So very nice.

Jamie, our GGS supervisor/service guy came by about 8:30 this morning to do the oil/filter change on our generator and top off our diesel. He didn’t bring water with him, but said we still had 250 gallons, so half a tank.

I was already in bed when he got here, and I vaguely remember him shutting off the generator because the white noise machine we use went off. Then a while later I woke up HOT. It seemed like a good bit of time had gone by, and I could hear the generator running, so what the heck?

Checking up front, we had no power there either. So I stuck my head out the door and ask Jan if Jamie was still here working on the generator and still had the circuit breaker off. She said No, and that he left a good while ago.

At this point I was think that maybe he forgot to turn the 50 amp breaker to the coach back on. Todd, our service guy at Carthage Gate last year did this. But Jan’s fan and stuff under the canopy run off the 30 amp breaker and the lights and bell run off the 20 amp, so hers were working.

Getting dressed and going outside I found the 50 amp breaker in the ON position, so what the heck?

Next I checked my Progressive EMS (Electrical Management System) and I found it was only showing power to L1 and nothing on L2. Going back and looking closer, I noticed that the right side of the breaker was just slightly lower than the left side, and when I wiggled the handle the left side was firm and the right one had a little play in it.

So, a bad breaker.

We had a breaker die completely last year, so nothing new.

The reason the Progressive EMS shut down power to the coach is that a low or no voltage condition on one line is considered a fault condition and it shuts down. We had the same thing happen on one of our first gates in 2012 when L2 on the generator dropped to 80 volts, so the EMS shut down to protect the AC’s from the low voltage.

In this case, with no voltage, I could have put the EMS in bypass mode which would have gotten half the coach working, or I could have plugged the coach in the 30 amp breaker, and then used my AC bypass line to run the 2nd AC from the 20 amp breaker.

So I had several backup options, but I wanted take a little time to play with the breaker to see if I could get it working. So unplugging the coach power cable, I used my voltmeter to monitor the voltage on the bad side and flicked the breaker off and on until I got a reading, pushing up hard on the right side.

It took about 10 tries, but when I finally had voltage, I plugged the coach back in with the breaker still hot. Not a good idea normally, but necessary under these circumstances. And a minute later, I heard the generator lug down a little as both AC’s came on at the same time. Success!

Then it was back to bed for another couple of hours. Later in the afternoon I called Jamie and told him what happened, and to bring a new breaker with him next time he comes by.

So that was the problem. The non-problem, that’s where you think you have a problem but you really don’t, showed up right after I got the new TV installed. Jan was no longer getting a signal back to her TV in the bedroom.

Now the TV upfront has nothing to do with her TV in back. Her signal comes from an S-Video and L-R audio output from the DirecTV DVR, both of which feed into a stand-alone RF modulator, and then the output of this feeds on Ch. 4 on the line going back to the bedroom TV.

Her TV showed no signal, just snow, so that pretty much eliminated the DVR as the problem, since if the modulator were working, I’d have a black screen, not snow. So either the RF modulator was bad, or the cable from the modulator, through the wall down the length of the coach, was bad. Not a good thought.

So to test this out, I got a 50 foot length of cable and ran it directly from the modulator , down the hall, to the bedroom TV. And now I had video.

Bummer!

I would use another word, but this is a family blog.

This means the cable was bad. And since I wasn’t going to be able to pull a new cable, and I don’t think Jan would like to keep the cable running down the hall, I went on Amazon to look at wireless AV transmitters. But something kept nagging away at me.

And then in one of those AHa! moments, I remember the rig’s original RF switcher. This was a little push-button box that let you change inputs and outputs between the two T’V’s, the rooftop TV antenna, and the VCR.

And then I also remembered that although I had bypassed all the front TV and VCR cables, the feed to the bedroom TV still went through the switcher.

So digging into the overhead cabinet where the switcher lived, I found the TV2 button in the wrong position. I guess I must have pushed against the DVR which pushed against the switcher when I was moving stuff around getting the new TV into position.

So that was how I fixed the non-problem. I just pushed the button. Sometimes it’s the easy stuff that’s hard.

One other thing I accomplished this afternoon was to program our DirecTV remotes so that they will control the new TV. It took longer than I expected because I had to go through about 20 5 digit codes before I found the right one.

As I mentioned yesterday, today was Blue Moon BBQ day, so I made the 1/4 mile trip down there about 12:45 to pick up lunch. And I won’t make that mistake again.

In the past I’ve always gone there about 11:30 and have always gotten my order in immediately, but today the place was packed and I was 6th in line, with some large orders in front of me. So it was about 20 minutes until I got my order taken.

I went later today, since I slept in a little longer due to my rude awakening from no AC’s working.

Jan got her favorite (well, her favorite besides the Nachos last week) Stuffed Baked Potato, while I again got the 3 meat plate, but with Pork Loin instead of Ribs. The Brisket and the Hot Sausage are delicious, but for me the Ribs are only good, not great.

They’re obviously parboiled before they’re put on the grill, or in the smoker. This way they have that ‘so tender, they fall off the bone’. And that’s what you get. With a slight tug, the meat just comes right off, leaving a nice smooth bone.

I don’t like that.

I like my rib meat with more texture, and with the meat sticking to the bone, so you have to gnaw it a little to get all the meat off. But that’s just me. Your mileage may differ.

We both had leftovers for tomorrow, and I also got a small Cowboy Cornbread to add to it, a Blue Moon two’fer. Nice.


Thought for the Day:

As I said, sometimes it’s the easy stuff that’s hard.

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Vera Bradley


September 17, 2018

Back On The Road For A Bit . . .

Looks like our rig test drive is on for tomorrow morning since the rain chance is down to 20%, and that’s for the afternoon.

After I got home from work this afternoon, first thing was to check the rig’s tire pressures, and found them all still at 100#. These tires just don’t leak, and I last checked them back in June before our Illinois/Alabama trip.

Really like these Hercules Ironman tires. I’ve always run truck tires on the rig, and I saw a lot of trucks at the oil rigs running these. And they’ve been great for us too.

Another product I picked up from the oil rig trucks is Diesel Kleen.

Diesel Kleen

I found a lot of the fleet operators use it in their engines, and it’s less then $9 at WalMart.

While I was at West Marine on Sunday checking out their battery cables, I also picked up a bottle of BioBor JF Diesel Biocide. With all the rain we’ve been having, and the cooler temperatures on the way, your diesel tank is a perfect breeding ground for algae. Which then clogs up your engine’s fuel filter.

But keeping your tank as full as possible, and using BioBor regularly, will head off the problem.

I mentioned several months ago, before our most recent trip, that I wanted to order a new wheel simulator donut for one of our rig’s front wheels.

The missing one looks like this.

Rig without Wheel Simulator

And the replacement will look like this.

Rig with Wheel Simulator

So I finally remembered to order a new one from Spartan for $24.11. So not a bad price. Until I saw it come through on my PayPal MasterCard, a charge for $44.72.

So they charged me $20.61 to ship it via UPS Ground?

Ouch!

We’ll probably head out around 9am tomorrow, hoping to avoid the heat since we won’t have the rig AC’s, with a stop at the La Marque Buc-ee’s to top off our diesel tank for our upcoming Florida trip. That will get us all the way to the Tallahassee area stop.

Our second stop will be for Jan. I have always appreciated how low-maintenance she is as far as jewelry, clothes, etc. But apparently she’s had her eye on this high-end Vera Bradley shoulder bag that she wants to take on our European trip.

Vera Bradley Bag

So our second stop will be right down the Interstate at the Tanger Outlet Mall to see if the Vera Bradley store has one in stock. If not, I’ll order one for her.

After all, it’s our 51st Anniversary coming up the end of the month, and she’s definitely worth it.



Thought for the Day:

The weatherman said it only rained twice this summer: once for 45 days and then again for 30 days. That’s about right here in Houston

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Coiled And Ready . . .

My Helicoil installation kit came in today, but it looks like my gaskets/bolts won’t be here until Saturday. So I probably won’t get to try it out this weekend.

Helicoil Kit

As I’ve checked out Helicoils on Google and YouTube, I’ve seen a number of articles about how, because of the fact that the Helicoils are Stainless Steel and the way they lock into the base, they can be torqued down more than in the soft aluminum.

So rather than just redo the two holes that are stripped out, I’m going to do all four threads. That way I can torque the bolts down to 20-25 ft. lbs., rather than the original 17+ ft. lbs. That, coupled with the two new gaskets, will hopefully fix this once and for all.

Of course I’ve said that before.

So right now the plan is that as soon as this is done, Jan and I will take the rig out on a test drive, probably all the way out to Luling, about 175 miles away. We’ll stay overnight and then come back the next day.

The last time we tried this, we had no leakage when we got up to the Katy Buc-ee’s and thought we had it fixed. But then it started leaking again about halfway between Columbus and Luling. And leaking worse than before.

But we figure if we can do a 350 mile round trip with no leakage, then we can call it fixed. But if not, while we’re still configured for traveling, we take it up to the repair place in Channelview to let them fix it.

We figure we’ll just get a hotel room in the area, since they will need us to test any fix, since the leaking only occurs when we’re towing the truck.

But hopefully it won’t come to that.


A recent statistical analysis done by The Ohio Star, an Ohio newspaper, showed that virus cases INCREASED after masks were mandated.

Data Show 40 Percent of Ohio Counties Experience Rise in Coronavirus Cases 7 Weeks After Mask Mandate Despite Claims by DeWine, CDC

And this is not a one-off case. The same thing showed up in Hawaii and Los Angeles County.

Masks Don't Work Hawaii

LA County Mask Cases

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Our 3rd Time in Canada


September 16, 2009

Canada, Oh, Canada…

Today we headed back into Canada for a few days on our way to Rome, NY and Niagara Falls.

We could have gone back by staying in the States, but going through Canada was only about 50 miles further.

So why not?

About 9:30 am we drove the truck down to have breakfast at our favorite Big Stop truck stop and then by 11:15 we were back there with the rig filling up with diesel. While we were in Canada last week I just put enough in to get us back to the States since diesel is about $1 more a gallon there.

We put in 102 gallons for $280 and by 11:30 we were on our way up US 1.

We were heading toward Quebec and the town of Notre Dame du Lac (Our Lady of the Lake) about 150 miles away.

One of the things we wanted to do was to drive to the end of US 1 in Fort Kent, ME, since we had been in Key West, FL at US 1’s Mile Marker 0, and although we didn’t travel all of US 1 between FL and ME, we did travel a lot of it.

Here is the photo I took of Mile Marker 0 in Key West.

US1 mile marker 0

And here is the other end in Fort Kent, ME.

End of US 1

And then about a block past the end of US 1 we took a right turn across the Rue Ferry bridge and we were back in New Brunswick, Canada.

Customs took about 10 minutes and we were on our way. And about 12 miles later we entered the province of Quebec for the first time. Then an hour later we pulled into our park in Notre Dame du Lac.

This may be the most beautiful site we’ve been in so far. We’re parked on a bluff overlooking a lake.

Notre Dame du Lac 1

Notre Dame du Lac 3

And Mister really enjoys the view too.

Notre Dame du Lac 2

After we puttered for a while we headed to find a place to eat. We drove about 6 miles north to the town of Cabano and found a nice-looking restaurant called ‘Bistro du Duc’ or ‘Duke’s Bistro’.

Our waitress didn’t speak much English and I don’t speak much French. Spanish and German are more my thing. But we did get our order OK. We ordered the Spaghetti with Meat Sauce and it was really good.

One thing I’ve noticed is that in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Newfoundland, pretty much all signs, I.e. traffic signs, street signs, billboards, etc, are in both English and French. However that apparently doesn’t work both ways.

Here in Quebec, everything is in French, with no English at all. Even Stop Signs say ‘Arret’, and not ‘Stop’.

We saw this last year too, going through Canada to Alaska. All of the English TV channels had French subtitles and/or French audio subchannels.

But the French language channels had no English translations whatsoever. When I mentioned this to a waitress in Whitehorse, she just laughed and said “You’ve noticed that, have you”.

Getting back to the rig, I got the satellite set up and Jan and I enjoyed the view. By then it was starting to get a little chilly, so we went in for the night.

Tomorrow we will head for Quebec City about 150 miles away.

Thought For The Day:

Godzilla v Titanic

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Back Home in Texas


September 16, 2010

Great Sunset . . .

Not much going on today.

After a lazy morning of coffee and conversation, we left about 12:30 to head over to Brand’s. Jan was going to Landon-sit while Brandi took a nap.

After dropping Jan off I headed out to check on new tires for the truck. (See Nick. I told you I’d get new tires when I got back to Houston.) I checked out three different places, and I’ll go back to NTB tomorrow to get them installed.

I told Jan I’d give her two hours of private Landon time before I came back, so to kill a little more time, I stopped off at Starbucks to get a Cinnamon Dolce Latte and catch up on some reading.

Getting back to Brandi’s about 3 pm, I got in some Landon bottle feeding time and even got a couple of good burps out of him.

About 3:30 pm we headed back to the rig, stopping off at La Brisa on SH 146 in Bacliff for dinner. I had their great Chicken Tortilla Soup and Jan had the Shrimp Nachos.

We got back to the rig about 5:30 and settled in for the night. A little later we got to enjoy this great sunset.

Gal Bay Sunset 1

This shot in the other direction shows lights from the many refineries in Texas City.

Gal Bay Sunset 2


Thought For The Day:

“Courage is fear that has said its prayers.”

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More Gate Stuff in East Texas


September 16, 2014

It’s A Three Holer . . .

Got some interesting news today about our rig. Well, the rig right in front of us. We have another rig right down the road. And two more right up the road, for that matter. But those two are not ours, I.e. not behind our gate.

Anyway our rig is a 3 holer!

No, not like an outhouse. Well, maybe, kinda. In that 3 holes are involved.
No, what this means is that they’re going to drill 3 separate wells on the same pad here. And amazingly, they do it by dragging the drill rig 25 feet until it’s over the new drill hole. And in a couple of weeks they’re gonna do it again.

When the rig was first erected, it was done on big steel plates. And when the time comes to move it, they grease up the plates, hook up two big honkin’ cranes like this one,

Big Crane

and just drag the 100 ton rig to its new location, using the two cranes to both pull it and steer it.

When we were following a Marathon/H&P rig down in the Eagle Ford area in 2012, they did this on our rig. And the nice thing about it was we got a couple of days off while it was going on. But since we have multiple pads here, we won’t have that luxury this time.

A few days ago, I started working with the Gate Guard Logging program that I wrote last year while we were on our frac gate.

Right now I’m just using to set up a database of everyone who comes through our gate, I.e. name, company, and tag number. This is all the info we need, other than how many people are with him, and where he’s going, which can change with every visit. The program is capable of logging people in and out, but I’m not using that function right now. I’ll talk about that in a later blog.

Right now it’s running on my laptop, but it would be easy to convert to an Android tablet like a Samsung Galaxy Tab, and use it instead of paper logs. I know some companies are using iPads for this, so we’ll see how it works out.

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Thought for the Day:

Since 1965 the Federal Government has spent $22 Trillion fighting the “War on Poverty”. Adjusted for inflation, that’s three times what the US has spent on all ‘real’ wars, including the American Revolution. (note: this amount does not include Social Security, Medicare, or Unemployment.)

At that time 7% of children were born outside marriage. Now 42% are.

The Census Bureau says the Poverty Rate is presently at 14%, almost exactly the same as when the ‘War’ started.

So, maybe we would be better off if we just surrendered?

Of course, also according to the Census Bureau, poverty just isn’t what it use to be. Check out this chart.

poorinam-UPDATE-01a

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More From East Texas


September 16, 2016

Three Neats and Two Peeves . . .

First up, Piper had surgery on her recently-broken arm this morning, and everything went fine.

Don’t know yet how long she’ll have to have her cast on, but if it’s like it was when she broke it two years ago, she’s also looking at several months of physical therapy with it.

Piper's Broken Arm

That hurts just looking at it.

I put in a call to Colaw RV Salvage outside Carthage, MO this morning trying to locate a new (used, but new to me) screen door latch for our rig. As I mentioned, American Coach no longer stocks them, so Colaw was my next bet.

The guy muttered for a few minutes and then said that he didn’t have them in stock. So I reminded him that out in his back lot, he has an American Eagle (like ours) and an American Dream, both of our vintage, and could he please have someone check to see if there is one still on the door jam of either coach.

He was kind of curious how I knew that they had those two, so I told we’d been there and bought parts off the Eagle, and that several body panels for our blowout repair last year came off it too. He said he’d have someone check it out and get back to me, but I haven’t heard anything yet.

My Plan B on this is to have my son Chris bend me one up out of aluminum stock and drill a couple of holes in it, but I’ll wait to hear from Colaw first.

If you haven’t been to Colaw’s, you need stop by if you’re in the neighborhood.

Colaw RV Salvage

The rig’s out front are for sale, but in back are hundreds of wreck/burnt RV’s. They have golf carts for you to drive around back there, and maps to show you what rigs are where. Neat!

I’m really liking our new Samsung TV more and more, and I’m still discovering all the neat stuff it can do. I spent a while this morning playing around with it, trying different things, the first of which was the Screen Mirroring function.

Any it only took about 10 seconds to have my Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 displaying on the TV screen.

New TV Mirroring

Not exactly sure what I’ll use it for, but it is neat.

Another neat thing is that you can never lose the manual. It’s built right into the TV. Just hit the ‘E-Manual’ button on the remote and there it is on the screen. You can search through it, scroll through it, however you want. Another neat.

Of course, you can also download a computer copy if you want, which brings me to my first peeve. When you download the manual file, this is what you get.

ENG-US-NMATSCJ-1.104-0410.pdf

Why in the He . . . Heck can’t what it’s for be in the file name? Not only can’t you tell what model of TV it’s for, you can’t even tell it’s FOR a TV, period.

I see this all time when downloading manuals and such, and there’s no excuse for it. Depending on your directory path length, you’ve got a couple of hundred characters to play with.

Why can’t it be something like –

SAMSUNG_SMART_TV_5200_ENG-US-NMATSCJ-1.104-0410.pdf?

That’s got something for everyone, and I don’t have to rename it. Otherwise I won’t remember what the file is for next week, much less in six months.

Now on to peeve two. The remote is too small for the number of buttons it has.

Samsung Remote

Count-wise it has a few more buttons than our DirecTV remote, but it’s a good bit smaller. Plus the up, down, right, left arrow function needs to be separated out somewhat so that it’s easier to find in dim light.

The buttons are just too small and too jammed together, so it’s not a very ergonomic design. They should have taken a cue from the DirecTV one. It’s much more user-friendly.

After two fairly busy days on the gate, today we only had 42 vehicles come through. So that was nice, but of course to balance it out, at 95 degrees it was kind of hot. It’s looks like our Fall weather that was forecast last week, with highs in the low 80’s and lows in the high 60’s went back into hiding, since we’re now looking at low to mid 90’s for the next 10 days or so.

But on the plus side, tomorrow’s Blue Moon BBQ day, so that makes it all better.


Thought for the Day:

The four most beautiful words in our common language: 
I told you so. – Gore Vidal

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Birthday, Birthday, Birthday


September 16, 2017

Up Way Too Early . . .

But Well Worth It!

Today was the big birthday celebration down in Galveston. Our granddaughter Piper’s was on September 7th and our daughter Brandi’s was yesterday, the 15th. And also thrown in here was Landon’s 7th birthday last month.

His big party for all his friends got hurricane-cancelled, so he was in on this too.

So Jan and I were on the road by 6:30, more than 30 minutes before sunrise, way too early for anyone, especially me. The one positive thing to all this was there was no traffic, even through downtown Houston. It was just 70mph all the way.

We got to our son Chris’ about 8am where we were all rendezvousing. Brandi, Lowell, and Landon showed up a few minutes later, and in turn, we were all on the road with Jan and I riding with Chris and Linda, and Miss Piper riding with Brandi, et. al.

Our destination, the Sunflower Café, has been a favorite of ours for a number of years, since Brandi and Lowell introduced us to the place. It’s always been a great place for breakfast , brunch, and lunch, with a wide array of specialty dishes, like Fried Quail and Grits, Crab Cakes and Eggs, and Eggs Benedict Surf and Turf.

Of course, with all these wonderful selections, Jan got Eggs, Bacon, Potatoes, and Toast.

Sunflower Cafe Small Breakfast

For me, I branched out a little with the Hatch Green Chile Omelet, stuffed full with Hatch Chiles, and Havarti Cheese, along with Potatoes and Jalapeno Toast.

Sunflower Cafe Hatch Omelet

The Hatch Chilies were very hot, and really good.

And it was all topped off with a large carafe of OJ and a bottle of Cook’s Champagne for breakfast mimosas.

It’s always hard to get this ragtag bunch to all smile at the same time. In fact a couple of them are downright surly.

Sunflower Cafe Group Shot

But I get other photos when they’re not paying attention.

Sunflower Cafe Landon

Sunflower Cafe - Piper

Leaving breakfast we all headed over to Moody Gardens to check out the newly-remodeled Aquarium Pyramid, and the da Vinci exhibit.

We started off with the penguins, always everyone’s favorite.

Aquarium - Pengquins 1

They’ve really got a great habitat here and they seem to be very happy.

Aquarium - Penguins 2

Here’s Miss Piper and Landon trying to get a shot of a baby penguin who was very curious and kept coming right up to the glass.

Moody Gardens - Landon Piper and Penguin

And the many reef and coral displays are just beautiful.

Aquarium 1

Aquarium 2

Aquarium 4

Aquarium 5

One of my favorites, the Lionfish.

Aquarium - Lionfish

And they had a number of tanks filled with jellies.

Aquarium Jellies

Aquarium Jellies 2

Finishing up the Aquarium, we next headed over to the da Vinci exhibit in the Discovery Museum, but I’ll save that for tomorrow since this is running long.

Since we’d eaten early, by the time we got back to the Clear Lake area, we were all hungry for Floyd’s Cajun Seafood, one of our favorite places since the 90’s.

This is Jan and I finishing up a dozen raw oysters, with chile sauce and a lot of horseradish mixed in.

Floyd's Oysters

Jan got her favorite CFS, gravy on the side,

Floyd's CFS

while I just had a bowl of their Shrimp Gumbo, chock full of shrimp.

Floyd's Gumbo

All really good, and the perfect way to end a wonderful family get-together.

We finally got back to the rig about 5:45, and both immediately took naps. An even better way to end a really great day.

Finally I want to thank everyone for their many kind words about the blog. It’s much appreciated.



Thought for the Day:

The executive who works twelve hours every day will be successful, and be fondly remembered by his wife’s second husband.

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