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

Coming Up On Discovery . . .

Jan and set out on the first leg of our BBQ Weekend with a stop at the Rudy’s BBQ up in Webster.

Jan got her usual Big Baker with Lean Brisket, and all the fixin’s.

It’s hard to tell from this photo but this potato is about 8” long. A big one.

I got a little bit of everything,

with a link of the Jalapeno Cheddar Sausage, a 1/4 pound of Moist Brisket, and 4 Ribs.

And of course, Rudy’s famed Cream Corn.

As I’ve said before, Jan doesn’t really like corn, but she loves Rudy’s version

And as before, we always have enough to bring home for another meal.


And the reason I said this was the first leg of our BBQ Weekend is that tomorrow we’re having lunch at Spring Creek BBQ.

More BBQ! Yumm!

Then, since Jan wanted to get a shirt altered, we headed up to an alteration place near our old house, but it’s now closed on Saturday and Sunday. So then it was back on down our area to do our usual Saturday Wal-Mart thing before getting home about 3:30

Wild Pigs Kill More People Than Sharks

Between 2014 and 2023, the average yearly number of fatal shark attacks worldwide was 5.8, while the average number of fatal wild pig attacks was 19.7. In 2024 alone, there have already been seven deaths from wild pig incidents.

According to groundbreaking research published in 2023, the number of humans killed by wild pig attacks steadily climbed from 2000 to 2019, for a total of 172 deaths—including a freakishly grisly fatality in southeast Texas.

“Most of the public doesn’t know the facts about wild pig attacks on humans,” says John J. Mayer, lead author of the study and wild pig research pioneer. “It’s not sharks, wolves, or bears that kill the most people—it’s wild pigs, and the numbers are consistently trending up.”

Coming Up On Discovery . . .

Hog Week

or maybe

Hognado: Pigs Attack

Looks like we have a tropical system moving in, with a lot of rain starting Sunday night and running pretty much all week, with rain percentages in the 70-80% all that time.

Thought For The Day:

You ever notice how quickly things can go to hell, and you haven’t even got your first duck lined up yet?

Your Retro-Preview Highlights –

2009 – The Lady & Sons – Paula Deen

2011 – Baldy’s BBQ in Bend, OR

2013 – Cows & Goats in Idaho

2017 – Bartlesville and the Drummond Ranch

2019 – Dodge Dakota Brake Job

2022 – Cousin Margie and Big Bob Gibson

And Now On To Today’s Retro-Blogs.™

June 15, 2009

The Lady & Sons…

Today we made a pilgrimage to Savannah’s holiest of holies, Paula Deen’s “The Lady and Sons” restaurant.

But it’s a two-part pilgrimage.

You can’t just show up and expect to get a table.  And you can’t make a phone reservation unless you have a party of ten or more.

So, starting at 9:30 am you show up at the restaurant and get your name on the list.  If you’re lucky.

Lunch is from 11 am to 3 pm.  Dinner is from 5 pm to 10 pm.

We got there a little after 10 am and were not able to get a lunchtime until 2:30 pm.  If we wanted dinner, it would not be until 7:30 pm.

We picked lunch at 2:30.   Since lunch was only served until 3 we were lucky we didn’t get there a few minutes later.  And when we came back at 2:30 the earliest dinner opening was 9:30 pm.

Since we had about 4 hours to kill before returning for lunch, we headed over to a Babies R Us to pick up some baby gifts for our new great-niece and the soon-to-arrive baby of a friend.

After that, it was to WalMart for our weekly ‘stuff’ acquisition trip.  Then we drove around through some of the neighborhoods before heading down the Interstate to the local Camping World.

By now it was time to head back to downtown Savannah and Paula’s.  Her restaurant is a 3 story building that once housed the old White Hardware Company.  It’s located about two blocks from the Savannah waterfront.

Paula Deen's 'The Lady and Sons' restaurant

The Lady and Sons Dining Room

The Lady and Sons Dining Room

At lunch, you have your choice of ordering off the menu, or partaking of the lunch buffet.

Needless to say, we picked the buffet.  And it was a great choice.

Fried chicken, mashed potatoes, rice, cheese grits, sweet potatoes, collard greens, etc.

And great desserts.

It was all we could do to still walk when it was time to leave, but of course, we had to leave through the Paula Deen Gift Show.

And after that meal, it was back to the coach for a nap.

June 15, 2011

Croissants and BBQ . . .

This morning started with our usual coffee and a good surprise.

Jan found another package of the Williams-Sonoma Croissants in the back of the freezer.


This is my blog post from December:

And to go with it, we had one of the gifts we got from Brandi and Lowell, a box of Williams-Sonoma Croissants.

These croissants are fantastic, so good, in fact, that they’re on the list of Oprah’s Favorites.

They come out looking like this, but they start as little frozen logs. There were two types in our box, plain and chocolate-filled. And both are delicious.

They’re shipped overnight, frozen in a Styrofoam container. You let them thaw out and rise for 9 hours and then pop them in the oven for about 15-20 minutes, or 13 minutes in our convection oven.

They come out crispy, flakey, and fantastic.

MMM! MMM! Good!

About 1:30 pm we headed out up to Bend for lunch and some shopping. On the way, we dropped a package in the mail to our grandson Landon, and then it was on to Baldy’s BBQ. It was highly recommended by both locals and online, and we had to give it a try.

I mean, you’ve got to love a BBQ place that uses this logo,

Baldy Logo

and is owned by a guy with my hairline. What more can I say?


I had a Combo plate with Pulled Pork, BBQ Chicken, and Beef Brisket with a delicious salad. I ordered the beans extra because I’d heard how good they were. This is a lot of food for $10.50.

My Baldy's Combo

Jan had the full rack of ribs with Cole slaw, beans, spicy potato salad, and honey-jalapeno cornbread.

Jan's Baldy's Combo

This was really good BBQ, with the sides to match. We’ll definitely go back again before we leave.

Leaving Baldy’s we headed over to Lowe’s to pick up some cleaning stuff, and then it was on to Fred Meyer’s for some groceries.

Leaving Fred’s we stopped for a Cinnamon Dolce Latte at the Starbuck’s next door before heading home.

And on the way home we made a happy discovery, a Boston’s Pizza, our favorite pizza chain. We’ve eaten at Boston’s from Fairbanks, AK, to Jacksonville, FL, to Rapid City, SD, to Moncton, NB, Canada, and it’s always been great.

We’re thinking about doing a movie tomorrow, and hopefully, we’ll eat at Boston’s afterward.

Coming home I stopped at the park store and signed up for the honey wagon to come by tomorrow morning and dump our tanks. We could make it till Tuesday when we leave, but Jan really wants to do some laundry, so this will take care of that.

June 15, 2013

Cows and Goats . . .

Since we wanted to have breakfast this morning before we left for Nampa, we got all ready to go, and then about 8:55 walked over to the restaurant.

And the breakfast turned out to be as good as last night’s dinner. This is the #1 Combo that I had. Not a bad deal for $6.95. And all really good.

The Narrows RV Park 3

We had the same waitress as we had last night and were talking to her about her cow encounter. She said there was even more to the story.

After she hit the 6 cows, she called 911 and reported the accident. When the 911 operator asked if she needed an ambulance, she said ‘No”. But they sent one away. And the 911 operator forgot to tell the ambulance driver about the cows.


The ambulance took out 3 more cows. If you keeping score, we’re up to 9 dead cows now.

Then the police showed up at the scene of the accident.

Oops. They weren’t told about the cows either.

So now we’re up to 11 dead cows. About this time our waitress was picked up by her husband and left the scene. But she said more cows were hit during the night. Apparently the herd of over 200 wandered back and forth over the highway all night.

The next morning they were using forklifts to clean up the highway. Yuck!

“This is Oregon?”

We headed out from The Narrows RV Park about 9:50, but we considered it as 10:50 because about 70 miles down the road we’ll enter the Mountain Time Zone, so it’s easier to just think that way from the start.

About 25 miles after we left the park, we hooked back up with US20 and headed east for Nampa, ID about 170 miles away. But we quickly began to wonder if we were still in Oregon.

It looked more like what we’ve seen in Wyoming or Montana. Long sweeping vistas with wide valleys, steep climbs, and curvy roads following the Malheur River that runs alongside the highway.

And it made for some really nice photos.

Nampa Trip 0

Nampa Trip 1

Nampa Trip 2

Nampa Trip 3

Nampa Trip 4

Nampa Trip 5

Nampa Trip 6

Nampa Trip 7

A really beautiful trip. And even better, considering all the curves, no cat barf.

About 40 miles out of Nampa, we got on I-84E, and by about 3pm we were parked and getting set up.

A little after 4pm we were out driving around, thinking about what we wanted for dinner. Then we passed a Texas Roadhouse, and that made the decision for us. Texas Roadhouse it was.

Jan had the 12 oz. Sirloin Strip and I had my usual  16 oz. Ribeye. And both really good.

Getting home about 5:30 we found we had some new neighbors right next door. We have seen RV’ers traveling with cats, dogs, turtles, lizards, parrots, cockatoos, and even ferrets and monkeys.

But goats?

Meet (from left to right, Bonnie, Goldie, and hiding out in back, Clyde.

Garrity Goats 1

Their owner says that they’re Nubian goats.

Garrity Goats 2

And to Jan’s relief, they’re dairy goats, and pets, and not pre-cabrito.

Garrity Goats 3

Tomorrow we have a trip of about 180 miles to Declo, ID, and the Village of Trees RV Resort.

Hopefully, we’ll have as nice a trip as we did today.

June 15, 2014

Skyping and Cookies . . .

On what might be our last nice morning for a few days before the rainy weather sets in, we sat outside with our coffee, muffins, and Mister for a while.

Brandi called about 11 to wish me a Happy Father’s Day, and set up a time for us to Skype, so after a nice lazy afternoon, we Skyped with Landon, Brandi, and Lowell for a while about 4:30. Landon was mostly occupied with playing in the backyard,

Landon Skype 2014-6-15 A

especially on his water slide.

Landon Skype 2014-6-15 B

He’s growing so big so fast that we can’t wait to see him in August for his 4th birthday. Really looking forward to it.

About 1pm our son Chris called with Father’s Day greetings and broke the news that he’s got a new toy.

Chris' New Bike

He said all he needs now is a bandana and a ponytail. Not sure what make of bike it is because the photo’s not that clear, but it kind of looks like a Yamaha logo.

For dinner tonight, we combined leftovers from Famous Dave’s BBQ, Wings Etc., South Side Soda Shop, and Mancino’s Pizza. A real feast, and we’ve still got some Mancino’s pizza and cheesy bread for tomorrow night.

Then we’ll have to start eating out again so we can stock up on more leftovers.


June 15, 2016

A Well-Fed Anaconda . . .

About 2pm, Jan and I headed back down to the Asian BBQ & Grill for lunch, but more of a business lunch. I mean we still had their delicious Vermicelli Bowls, Jan’s with Lemon Grass Chicken and mine with Grilled Pork and Shrimp,

Asian BBQ Lemon Grass Chicken

but I’ve been talking to the owner about setting him up a website for his restaurant. I showed him how his two nearby direct competitors, China Delight and East Buffet, both have websites, and how the other restaurants in his area also had websites.

Then I showed him samples of some of the other websites I’d done for clients, which he liked. He does seem interested, but wants to talk with his wife when she gets back to town next week.

I told him we’ll be moving back to Columbus on Sunday and then would be back here in two weeks, but to give me a call in the meantime. He knows we’re RV’ers and are moving back and forth so that’s not a problem.

After we got home, I put the last panels and screws back in the microwave and then Jan finally got to finish cooking her Sopapilla Cheesecake in the convection oven that she’d prepared last week and then never got to cook.

It smelled great as it was cooking, and later tasted even better when it cooled. And, even better, the oven worked perfectly.

Sometime before we leave on Sunday I’m going to have to get back up on the roof and finish the AC evaporator coil cleaning. But with the forecast temps in the 97-98 degree range for the rest of the week, I’m not too enthusiastic about the whole thing. But I do at least need to get back up there and fasten the shroud down, because I don’t want to lose another one.

In 2008, a few weeks after we hit the road for the first time, we were traveling through the dunes between Yuma and San Diego, and a passing truck driver kept pointing to our roof. So I pulled over and took a look.

Even without getting up on the roof, I could see that the rear AC shroud was completely gone. Figuring there was no use in going back to look for pieces, and hoping it hadn’t hit anyone, and since no one was chasing me, we kept on going.

It was about a week later we were parked at the Moose Lodge in Escondido CA and I finally found a Camping World that had two in stock.

I needed two because when I got up on the roof, it was easy to see what happened. The fiberglass/plastic? of the shroud was so deteriorated by the sun that it was brittle and cracking all over. In fact the shroud had just broken away from the screws leaving small pieces of the plastic underneath the heads. And the front shroud wasn’t far behind. So they both got replaced.

At the time they were replaced, the old ones were 9 years old, so the new ones are now 8 years old. But happily, they show no signs of deterioration at all.

So it looks like they’re good for a while longer.

My new Zero-G hose is still working fine. Of course, it’s only been one day, so it’s not much of a test. I noticed my shower last night had a kind of ‘new plastic’ smell, but it seems to have been gone today.

At least I shouldn’t get any more kinks that start swelling up like balloons.

Kinked Hose

There were 3 kinks like this, and if the water pressure was high, the hose looked kinda like a well-fed anaconda.

June 15, 2017

. . . We’re Not In Kansas Anymore . . .

After an easy morning, we pulled out of the I-80 Lakeside RV about 10:15, leaving our lake view site behind.

I-80 Lakeside RV Park 2

In about 10 minutes we were back out on I-135 south heading for Bartlesville, OK, about 230 miles away. 80 miles later, just south of Wichita, we got on the I-35 Kansas Turnpike for the last 40 miles before the Oklahoma border.

40 miles for $4.75. Not bad.

And 20 miles later we got off I-35 and onto US60 east for the next 80 miles or so. Then about 10 miles out of Pawhuska, we passed the entrance gate to the Drummond Ranch.

Drummond Ranch Sign

Doing a little reading later, I was amazed at how large the ranch actually is. At 433,000 acres, the Drummonds are the 17th largest landowners in the US.

WOW! That’s Texas big.

In fact, the Drummond Ranch and The Mercantile, home to Ree Drummond, the Pioneer Woman, is the reason we’re here in the first place. This has been on Jan’s bucket list for a while

Coming through Pawhuska a little after 2pm, we passed the place, and as we had been told, saw the line around the block waiting to get in. According to the web, they serve about 6,000 customers a day, with peaks up to 15,000. All this in a town of only 3,500 people.

We pulled into the Lakeside Recreation Park a little after 3pm and were led to our pull-thru site and got set up.

We had planned to go back to Pawhuska for dinner at The Mercantile, but then decided we wanted something closer and quicker, so we headed right down the road to have dinner at Montana Mike’s Steakhouse. And it turned out to be a really good choice. Great steaks, homemade salad dressings and rolls, and excellent service.

As we were pulling into the restaurant parking lot, we were surprised to see this sign on a restaurant right next door.

Monterey's Sign

Monterey’s Little Mexico is one of our favorite places in the Houston area, and we always thought of it as a Houston chain. And it is, except for 3 locations in OK, 2 in Tulsa, and this one in Bartlesville. Don’t know if we’ll get to eat there while we’re here.

The only downside to this park, is that just like last night’s park, I can’t get a satellite signal. But they have a good cable TV lineup, so I’m hooked up to that.

I think I may have set a new record. Somehow I managed to use 1GB of data on my MiFi . . . without being online.

I received an email from Verizon at 6:26am yesterday morning saying that I had 1GB left on my MiFi account. And then at 4:29pm, I received another email from them saying that I had now used all my 10GB of data . . . so 1GB in only 10 hours.

The real mystery is that I wasn’t online during this time, or at least,  hardly any of it. We were on the road almost all day, traveling the 330 miles from North Platte, NE to Assaria, KS.

So who was using all my data?

June 15, 2018

Guess We’ll Have To Get Netflix Now . . .

I spent the morning at work mostly doing hardware stuff for a change. Wish I got to do more of it.

A customer had sent her Proteus Machine in to have the probe output connectors from the old pin type to BNC connectors, since pretty much all the probes are now fitted with BNC’s.

Proteus Output Jack

I’ve done one of these before, and it’s a pain in the rear, but it’s fun because it’s a challenge.

Getting the old coaxes unsoldered and the connecters out is not really the problem.

Proteus Inside Case

And neither was drilling out the holes so the larger BNC’s will fit. Any time I drill in a populated chassis like this, I back up the hole with a wad of wet paper towel to catch any metal chips that might cause problems later.

No, the real problem is getting my hand holding the solder, my hand holding the hot soldering iron, and my hand holding the flashlight all into the tight confines of the case.

Oh, wait. I think I see the problem.

Because of the bends in this one-piece sheet metal cabinet, there is just not a lot of room, even after I pull out the circuit board from its socket. But after a lot of tries I finally got it done, put back together, and tested to be sure it was OK. It’ll go out on Monday.

Later heading home, I called ahead to tell Jan to get ready and we’d go out for breakfast at Denny’s. After that, we made a quick WalMart stop to pick up another storage bin for our storage room project, and then it was home.

Back home I went back outside for a few more chores. First up was to crawl under the rig and spray my Power Gear levelers with silicone oil.

Rig Front Leveler

I do this once or twice a year and so far I’ve never had a problem. Knock on wood.

Next up I took down my La Crosse Weather Station’s anemometer that‘s mounted on a pole at the rear of the coach. Then the last thing was to dump our black and gray tanks.

Tomorrow we’re going over to our son Chris’ to unload the pickup bed and then load up the furniture we’re taking to Illinois next week. And hopefully, lunch will be scheduled in here somewhere.

I just read this evening that one of our favorite shows, the recently-cancelled Lucifer, has been picked up by Netflix Streaming today, and apparently at the last moment. After today, the options for the actors and actresses would have expired and all contracts would have had to be renegotiated. Which probably would have killed any deal.

So I guess we’ll have to get Netflix now.

June 15, 2019

I’m Pooped, But It’s Done . . .

After leisurely coffee, I went outside about 11:30 to tackle my Dodge Dakota’s front brake pad replacement.

Like most projects, prep work is key, and sometimes takes longer than the actual project.

Disc Pads 1

I knew my floor jack wasn’t going to go high enough to lift the truck so I borrowed a concrete block from the trash pile across from the dumpster to lift things up a bit.

Disc Pads 2

Then after putting the jack stand in place to hold things up in case the floor jack failed, and with the tire off, I was able to get to the caliper/pad assembly.

Disc Pads 3

And removing two bolts and a little prying with a big screwdriver to push the calipers back in a little, I was able to slide the assembly off and lay it up on top of the housing. You don’t want to let it hang loose.

Disc Pads 4

Then the pads themselves just pop right out. I then took a close look at the rotor surface and it looked fine. No grooves, scratches, or raised edges.

Disc Pads 5

I normally replace the rotors every other time I replace the pads, and they were changed out last time so I was expecting them to still be in good shape.

Next up I used one of the old pads and a caliper spreader to push them back in completely flush with the housing so they will fit over the new, now thicker, pads.

Disc Pads 6

Normally I would just use a big C clamp, but I couldn’t find mine, and when I went to buy a new one, I found the spreader was actually cheaper than a big clamp.

I then replaced the silver pad retaining clips with the new ones that came with the pads.

Disc Pads 7

And here’s what it looked like with the pads in place on the clips.

Disc Pads 8

Finally, I put Anti-Seize lube on everything that isn’t supposed to seize, and then it was just a matter of sliding the caliper assembly back on the rotor, installing the two bolts, and tightening them down.

And I was done.

With the easy part.

Next comes the hardest part, at least for me. And that’s to lift the 80# wheel/tire combo and get it up on the lugs.

But with a lot of fussing, cussing, and tussling, I got it in place, and tightened down. Then after removing the jack stand, and lowering the truck, I did a final tightening of the lug nuts.

And I was done.

With the driver’s side.

And since it was getting hot now, I decided to wait until about 5pm to do the passenger side since it would be in the shade by them.

Then by around 6:30, I was done, had done a test drive, and was in a hot shower, after taking some Advil.

So that’s how I spent my Saturday.

How did you spend yours?

June 15, 2021

Cousin Margie and Big Bob . . .

This morning, our second here in Athens, started with a visit to the WalMart right down the street. Then we spent the next several hours just driving around Athens checking out all the changes, and the places we lived.

This is the house my parents bought after we moved back from Colombia, SA in 1963. It was brand-new when they bought it and still looked good when we took this photo in July 2018. Looked really good for a 55+ year-old house.

36 Sandra Lane 2

However when we drove by today, though it still looked good, there was a construction dumpster in the driveway, and all the shrubbery and trees had been taken down and were laying in the yard.

There was a woman walking across the yard and I stopped and asked her about it, telling her my parents used to own it. She said that she and her husband had just bought it about 3 weeks ago and were completely redoing it.

Besides the landscaping, she said it was gutted down to the studs inside. Glad to see it being treated right.

Next up was the duplex Jan and I rented back in 1969 before I went to work as a DOD contractor, and we started traveling around the country to different military bases.

115 Hammond St 2

Also still looks good, though the tree wasn’t there when we were.

As we drove around some more, I was looking for all the places around town that I helped build. I spent two summers working for a heating, AC, and plumbing company, including a big shopping center. But the only one that I can find that’s still around is now called Ro’s Grille.

Ro's Grille Athens

Still in business, still busy, and looking good.

While we were out and about, we also drove by what is probably the most famous house in Athens, AL.

Needless to say, we always called it The Parthenon House.

Parthenon 1

Parthenon 2

Designed by famous architect Paul Rudolph, it was on the cover of Life magazine, and featured in a number of other magazines. And I dated the girl who lived here for a while before I went off to college.

It was nice to see that a lot of the shrubs that were obstructing the view of the house have been cleared away since the last time we were here.

About 12:30 we showed up at my cousin Margie’s house to take her to lunch. Margie is my mother’s first cousin, making her my first cousin, once removed. At least that’s what the Internet says.

Big Bob Gibson Cousin Margie

Margie is a very spry 92 and still going strong.

Our lunch destination was Big Bob Gibson’s BBQ down in Decatur. Listed on pretty much everyone’s Top Ten BBQ restaurants in the country, one entire wall inside is covered with trophies, medals, and blue ribbons highlighting their contest wins.

And it’s always on our menu when we’re in the area, too.

While Jan and Margie got sandwiches and fries, I got the Little Bob Sampler Platter with Pulled Pork and Sliced Brisket.

Big Bob Gibson Little Bob Sampler

Makes you wonder how big the Big Bob Platter would be.

Really, really, really good.

Besides their BBQ, Gibson’s is also very well known for their great homemade pies. While Jan and Margie split a piece of their Chocolate Meringue Pie, I got my usual Peanut Butter Pie.

Big Bob Gibson Peanut Butter Pie 2

Really, really, really, really good.

We spent a good while just sitting and talking after we finished eating, so long that our waitress asked me if I would mind going ahead and paying the check since she was going off-shift and wanted to cash out. No problem, and we talked for a while longer before taking Margie back to her house.

Where we talked for a while longer. Hey, it’s been a while since we’ve seen her and we had a lot of catching up to do.

It seems Jan can collect new flamingos for her flamboyance even while we’re traveling. She found these two on Facebook, and they may be waiting for her when we get home.

New Facebook Flamingos

The tall is 32” high, so they’re not small.

Tomorrow we’re heading down to Birmingham for one night to catch up with old friends Bill and Carol Alverson. Bill and I worked together at TV and radio stations in Birmingham in the mid 70’s.

It will be good to see them again.

June 15, 2022

Back To Texas . . .

The biggest Buc-ee’s is coming back to Texas. Where it belongs.

Up until recently, at 68,000 sq. ft., the biggest Buc-ee’s in the world, was the one in New Braunfels, TX. But then the new one in Sevierville, TN surpassed it by about 6,000 sq. ft.

But now that honor is coming back home.

To Luling, TX.

But wait. There’s already a big Buc-ee’s in Luling, right?

Well, yeah. But now there’s going to be two. At least for a while.

Rather than close down the existing one to build the new one, or even try to remodel the old one while staying open, they’re actually going to build a completely new, bigger one right next door to the old one, and then just switch over.

Then I guess they’re just going to tear down the old one. But they don’t say.

But as busy as all of them are, maybe they’ll just keep both of them open.

Jan and I really enjoyed having the two ice makers in the condo, so we decided to break down and order one of those tabletop models, in this case, one that came highly recommended by our friend, Debi Hurlburt.

Vivohome Ice Maker

Should be here Friday.

And speaking of Debi,  tomorrow Jan and I are heading up to The Woodland area to meet up with Debi and Ed for our monthly lunch get-together at the Pappasito’s there.

Can’t Wait.

June 15, 2023

Steaks and More . . .

First up, we’ve had a number of questions recently about two different things.

1. Are we still traveling in the RV?
2. Did I ever get the oil leak fixed?

Well, actually these two are related.

Here’s how I recently answered these questions for long-time friend, Leroy Willis.

Our last full travel year was 2017, and the last time we traveled at all in the coach was 2021. I had finally decided that the only way to fix the leak was to have the entire oil cooler assembly replaced. Not something I could do, since the rig needs to be on a lift for that, which figured to run about $3K. At the same time, it was also, age-wise, time to replace the tires, which would run about another $3-4K.
But then while I was getting all this set up to do, getting the rig towed, looking at tires, etc., Jan revealed that she really wasn’t comfortable traveling in the rig anymore, and hadn’t been since our big blowout in 2015.
So between that, and the fact that the rig was now 20+ years old, we decided to hang up the keys, and just consider the rig a Park(ed) Model.
So we still live in it, and will for the foreseeable future. Now we just travel by plane, car, and maybe another cruise in the future.

So if you have any more questions, let us know.

By now probably most of you have seen the myriad of ads/commercials for Temu, showing all the cheap stuff they have.

I didn’t install the app just on general principles, like it’s pretty much owned by the Communist Chinese government.

And it seems to be a big security risk as well.

Check out what Tech Guru Kim Komando has to say about it.

Kim Komando On Temu

From the article:

What you need to know before using Temu

First, you’re buying goods directly from manufacturers in China and other parts of the world. That’s why shipping times are often much longer than on sites like Amazon. You might get your stuff in a week, but it could be more like 12 days.

For the most part, the prices are low because the goods are cheap. The pictures of what you see advertised may not be what you actually get.

Temu collects, among other things:

  • The info you provide, like your name, address, and phone number.
  • Details you enter, like your birthday, photo, and social media profiles.
  • Your phone or computer’s operating system and version, IP address, GPS location (if you allow it), and browsing data.
  • They also gather more about you from third-party sources, including Temu sellers, public records, social media, data brokers, credit bureaus, and marketing partners.

    Let’s be safe out there.

    Today was our monthly get-together with our Alvin Opry group of friends, this time at the Texas Roadhouse up in Webster.

    They were really busy, but we were seated as soon as all seven of us arrived. And our orders came out really quickly too.

    Starting with a really good salad,

    and then moving on to Jan’s Sirloin and Grilled Veggies.

    And of course, my usual Ribeye, along with the Green Beans.

    All really good. And though my Ribeye wasn’t as tender as the ones I get from Saltgrass, it was noticeably cheaper, and even better, it tasted delicious.

    Because of the long table we were at, I had to get two photos to get everyone in.

    First up, Bob and Maria

    We’ve known them since the mid-80’s.

    And here’s the rest of the group.

    From left to right: Jan, Connie, Harry, and Sadye. We’ve known all of them since the late 90’s. And Harry and Sadye are celebrating their 67th Anniversary this coming August.


    With Jan and I coming up on 56 in September, we’re lagging behind.







Not Much Today . . .

Just some more about NASA/Boeing’s Starliner capsule possibly being stuck at the Space Station.

A couple of our readers wanted to know why they would need the maneuvering thrusters to come home.

Well, they need the thrusters to undock from the Station and move away from it. But more importantly, they need the thrusters to start their reentry into the atmosphere, and assuming the correct attitude to safely reenter.

And if the thrusters were to malfunction so they did not reenter at the correct angle, they could easily burn up during the reentry.

Tomorrow looks to be Rudy’s BBQ for lunch, along with our usual Saturday Wal-Mart visit.

Thought For The Day:

“If history has taught us anything, it has demonstrated that the very best & most effective forms of diplomacy involve massive explosions, raging fires & city blocks full of rubble.”

Your Retro-Preview Highlights –

2009 – Uncle Bubba’s

2010 – Eating At The Big Texan

2011 – Crater Lake

2016 – Microwave Repair

And Now On To Today’s Retro-Blogs.™

June 14, 2009

Trolleys and Uncle Bubba…

Today we had lunch at Paula Deen’s brother’s place,  Uncle Bubba’s Oyster House.

Uncle Bubba's

View from Uncle Bubba's Dining Room

View from Uncle Bubba’s Dining Room

First off,  we had a little problem finding the place, but apparently it wasn’t just us.

Our GPS system took us to the left of US 80, which was very obviously a residential neighborhood.  Finally, I decided to turn around and go back across the road.  As we were going back we saw several cars full of people coming the way we had just come, all looking at the GPS on their dashboards.

We crossed back over US 80 and about 100 yards down the road there was a small sign on the left.  I don’t know why they don’t have a sign out on US 80.

When I asked the hostess about it, she said they have contacted MapQuest, Garmin, Magellan, Google, etc. to try and get the problem corrected, with no luck.

We got there about 20 min before they opened at 11 am. While we were waiting, we heard the staff, and some customers waiting with us, talking about what happened the night before at the restaurant.

Apparently, a maintenance person mixed bleach and Drano to do some cleaning.  The resulting chlorine gas started spreading through the restaurant, the Fire Department arrived, and the place was evacuated and closed for the night.

I guess we just missed all the excitement.

Anyway, the food was great.  Jan had the Shrimp/Oyster combo platter, and I had the Low Country Boil, with boiled shrimp, grilled sausage, boiled potatoes, and corn on the cob.

For dessert, we shared a fantastic Strawberry Shortcake, made with pound cake.

While we could still walk, we headed back into Savannah to take the Old Town Trolley tour of the Savannah Historic District, from the same company we’ve taken tours with in Key West and St. Augustine.

Savannah has the largest Historic District of any city in the country and the tour was a lot of fun, but hot.  Savannah certainly has a lot of very old houses.

After the tour, it was a quick stop at a pet store, and then back to the coach.

Later in the afternoon, I checked out my toad taillight upgrade, and Jan and I set outside in the shade.

June 14, 2010

Another cow bites the dust…

We left Valley View RV Park in Ft. Sumner, NM about 9:30 am after getting 107 gallons of diesel at a Valero. It was $3.09 a gallon, which is better than the $3.69 I paid in Washington State a few weeks ago, but not as good as $2.89 in Salt Lake City about a week ago. And of course, it was $2.74 when we got into Texas today. Oh well.

About an hour later we passed through Clovis, NM, our daughter-in-law Linda’s hometown, though we didn’t really get to see a lot of it just passing through.

Then, about 10 miles later we were back in Texas and the Central Time Zone, for the first time since late February.

It’s good to be home, and “back to civilization’” as Jan says.  Of course, Jan defines “civilization” as any place that has a nearby WalMart. And today in Clovis was the first sign of a WalMart in 4 days.

Compared to the RV park from Hell in Magdalena the night before last, the park in Ft. Sumner was a Rivera resort.  And they were both the same price, $20. Here are a couple of photos of the Ft. Sumner park.

The kind of funny thing about here in Ft. Sumner is that, although I had no usable cell service, just a signal, but with no bars, I had good Internet on my Verizon AirCard, which is supposed to use the same signal band. If I tried to make a phone call, it would try to connect and then just drop out. Funny.

ValleyViewRV 1

ValleyViewRV 2

And, although it’s hard to tell from this photo, the Amarillo Ranch RV Park we’re now at here in Amarillo for the next two nights is even nicer, and only $16.50 with Passport America. Whoopee!


After arriving at Amarillo Ranch RV Park about 2 pm we got set up, and then a little while later headed out for some shopping. Our first stop was Sam’s Club, and after that, we headed toward Kohl’s so Jan could find some sandals for Brandi’s wedding.

But we discovered that the Kohl’s was way west of town about 12 miles away, and we’d decided we wanted to eat at the Big Texan Steak Ranch, which was the other way, before it got too crowded. So we headed back toward the RV park, and the Big Texan, which is about a mile on the other side. We’ll do Kohl’s tomorrow.

Let me tell you, the Big Texan is big!  It not only has the enormous two-story restaurant and gift shop, but a small casino with slot machines, and a motel next door.

BigTexan 1

Jan was apparently too hungry to get up close and personal with Big Tex here,

BigTexan 2

like she did with Babe the Blue Ox in Klamath, CA last month. Maybe next time.

Babe 1

Babe 2

The Big Texan claim to fame is their 72 oz Steak Challenge.

Free Steak!  I’m going to have to check this out.

BigTexan 3

The décor can be described as “Western Chic”, but who cares if the steaks are good?

BigTexan 4

And here’s where the action takes place. It’s up on a stage, complete with two live steaming Internet WebCams to record all the action.

And here’s the deal.

BigTexan 5

You have 1 hour to eat a 72 oz Sirloin steak, shrimp cocktail, salad, baked potato, and a dinner roll.

If you do it, it’s all free.

If you don’t, it costs you $72.00.

I assume they get their money upfront.

Yikes!  That’s not a steak, that’s a roast. That’s 4 and a half pounds of meat!


I don’t know if you have to eat the two raw jalapenos or not.

The oldest person to complete the challenge was a 69-year-old grandmother.

The youngest was an 11-year-old boy.

The record time is 8 minutes 52 seconds by Joey Chesnut, the World Champion Hot Dog Eating Contest Winner.

And a Bengal tiger once ate the 72 oz steak in 90 seconds. Don’t know what he did with the baked potato and shrimp cocktail.

We found out later that they have this limo that will come over to the RV park and pick you up and return you.

This is probably a good idea if you plan on trying the Challenge, since you’ll probably be too stuffed to drive, win or lose.

BigTexan 6

For our part, Jan had the 9 oz Filet, and I did the Quarter Challenge, with the 18 oz. Ribeye.

Unfortunately, I was too hungry to take a picture first, but 18 oz. of steak is big!

And, although I finished the 18 oz. steak, salad, baked potato, and a roll, I don’t think I could handle 3 more steaks and a shrimp cocktail.

I told Jan that I’d be willing to starve myself for a couple of days and give it a try if someone else wanted to foot the bill.

We were certainly too full for dessert, but we’d heard they had really good carrot cake so we asked for a slice to go.

And this is what we got.

When they say Big, they mean it.  It fills the whole container!

BigTexan 7

As we staggered out to the truck, almost too stuffed to walk, our daughter Brandi called to check up on things since we had had spotty cell service for the last couple of days

Then it was back to the rig, to just sit around and digest.

More tomorrow…

but we probably won’t eat again ‘til Thursday.

June 14, 2011

Crater Lake . . .

Jan having gotten up earlier as usual, this morning started at 8:30 for me, since we were leaving at 9 for our day trip down to Crater Lake National Park.

But our first stop was at the park entrance at Big Jim’s Coffee Wagon, a coffee and pastry kiosk that’s open every day from 6:30 to 10:30 am, and gets a lot of business from outside the RV park, as well as park residents. Jan had a Hazelnut Hot Chocolate and a breakfast sandwich, and I had a Snickerdoodle Latte and a bagel w/cream cheese. Both very, very good. We’ll go back.

Big Jim's Coffee Wagon

Then we were on the road heading about 100 miles south to Lobert Junction where we would pick up SR 62.

Along the way, we saw Mt. Scott which is right next to Crater Lake, and blocks it from our view.

Mt Scott

Right before we turned onto SR 62 we stopped for gas and a pitstop at the Crater Lake Junction Truck Stop, and then it was back on the road for the 35-mile trip up into the park.

We started out about 4000 feet, and by 4500 feet we were seeing snow.

Crater Snow 1

And more snow at 5000 feet

Crater Snow 2

And even more at 6000 feet.

Crater Snow 3

Then we see this.  Oh, Boy!

Avalanche Zone

But finally, at about 7200 feet we pulled into Rim Village, and seeing a lot of people on top of a hill taking pictures, we decided to join them.

Crater Lake Hill

And this is what we saw!

If ever a view was breathtaking.

Crater Lake Panorama

Crater Lake is 6 miles across and 1949 feet deep, and from where we were standing on the rim, it’s 900 feet to the water.

This ‘lump’ is Wizard Island, formed from lava eruptions after the volcano Mount Mazama exploded in 5700 B.C., and then collapsed into the crater we have today.

Wizard Island

Here’s an Internet photo showing it from a better angle.


And this Internet aerial view gives a better perspective of the entire crater.


The water in the crater, formed from snow melt over thousands of years, is some of the purest in the world, and really acts like a mirror.

Crater Lake Mirror

Since it still goes down into the low 20’s here at night, you can see a sheen of ice around the edges of the lake.

Crater Lake Ice

And here’s my Sweetie, showing up the view.

Crater Lake Jan

While we were at Rim Village we checked out the gift shop and café. The first thing we noticed were these ‘snow tunnel’ entrances leading out to the street.

Snow Tunnel 1

And it’s really a long hallway leading into the building. It turns out that these are done this way so you can get into the building when there is 30 to 40 feet of snow covering up everything. Crater Lake gets an average of 44 feet (FEET!) of snow a year, and this way the snow plows can clear the entrance right along the edge of the road, so you can get inside the building.

Snow Tunnel 2

Even the outside restrooms are done the same way.

Crater Lake Restrooms

A little after 1pm we drove about half a mile along the rim to the Crater Lake Lodge to have lunch.

Crater Lake Lodge

Originally built somewhat shoddily in 1915, it had deteriorated to such an extent that in 1989 it was condemned, torn down, and rebuilt from scratch, with only the Great Hall being saved. And they did a beautiful job.

Jan and I had great Reuben Sandwiches in the dining room,

Crater Lake Lodge Dining Rm

and then went outside to take in another great view of the lake from the lodge porch.

Crater Lake Lodge View

We even had a Steller’s Jay taking in the view with us.

Stellar Jay

All during the day, we kept bumping into this group of motorcyclists, who asked me to take their picture with their camera. So the last time I saw them I took a picture with mine.

Motorcycle Gang

If it had been a little later in the year, we could have taken the 31-mile loop drive around the crater. And we could have also come in the north entrance and saved ourselves about 100 miles. But the loop is still snowed in.

It takes 10 men working for 4 months starting in April to clear the loop. They can do about 1/4 mile a day to clear 30 feet of snow from a roadway 30 feet wide. That means they’re moving over 1 million cubic feet of snow a day. That’s over 25 million pounds. A DAY!

After getting our National Park Passport stamped, we headed back toward home, after having a great day. And then to top it off, after coming through the tiny town of Fort Klamath on SR62, we had probably our last view of Mt. Shasta, about 90 miles away. What a sight!

Mt Shasta from Crater Lake Rd

We got home about 6 pm, after a 9-hour trip of about 275 miles. A long, but really nice day.

Tomorrow, who knows?

But I know I’m sleeping later.

June 14, 2013

A Hidden Gem . . .

By the time we waited in line to get diesel this morning, got the toad hooked up, and finally got on the road it was about 11am, but since we only had about 170 miles to go today, that wasn’t a problem.

And we got free coffee. Since we bought about $350 of diesel, the manager didn’t charge me when I got Jan and I coffee/cappuccinos right before we left.

But once again we got hung up trying to get filled up. The station was very busy, but with 10 pumps (8 gas, 2 diesel), they only had one lady trying to get everyone taken care of. In addition, the placards on the pumps say it is against the law to leave the area of the pump while you’re filling up. But the lady would be 60-70 feet away at times taking care of someone at the other end of the station.

Finally getting on US97 N, we headed into Bend where we would pick up US20E. We did make a small detour through the weigh station along the way. I had noticed that pretty much every time we went past, it was closed. But like most of these, the digital scale was still operational, with a large outside display. In fact last week, I’d driven the truck through the scale to weigh it.

Finding it closed again, I drove the RV through and recorded the front and rear weights. Because of the way the station is laid out, there was no way to go around again so I could get the side-to-side weights, just the front and rear. But it showed that as usual, we’re running right at, or a hair over our gross weight.

But it’s always good to double-check.

After a couple of very nice rest area stops, we turned south at Burns, OR onto SR205 for the last 12 miles down to Princeton, OR, and The Narrows RV Park.

SR205 was a good road, except for the cows.

The Narrows RV Park - Cows

We saw several of the ‘livestock on road’ signs, and they really mean it. Later at dinner, our waitress mentioned that she ‘hit six cows last year’.

I then ask “You hit cows six times last year?” She said “No, I hit six cows all at once. BOOM, BOOM, BOOM . . . I was driving on a dark night, came over a hill, and there was a herd of black cows, so it was BOOM, BOOM, BOOM!”


We got into the park about 3pm, and after being led to our site, we got plugged in and set up. With Passport America it was $14.14 for 50 FHU, a great price for a really nice little park.

The Narrows RV Park

About 4:30 we walked over to the small restaurant located in the office to have dinner. We both got the Chicken Fried Steak and it was a great choice. We were both amazed at how good everything was. This is just a small place with 4 tables and 4 stools at the counter, but it was easy to see that the cook really knew her way around a kitchen.

The Narrows RV Park 2

While we were eating, she came out front to get a drink and we complemented her on the food. And by then we’d already decided to come back tomorrow morning for breakfast before we leave.

Tomorrow we’ve got a 200-mile trip to Nampa, ID, just south of Boise, and it looks like we’ve got a lot of curvy road between here and there.

Oh good. Cat barf.

June 14, 2014

Rally Redo . . .

So about 11 Jan and I drove back over to the FMCA GLAMARAMA/Fleetwood Rally at the Elkhart County Fairgrounds in Goshen.

Jan wanted to look over some purses that one vendor had for sale.

I mentioned yesterday that I’m always on the outlook for new and novel items, but I missed this one yesterday. What I saw when I walked up to the booth was a guy holding an extension cord with a small lit light bulb screwed into a socket on the end.

And his hand, and the lit bulb looked something like this.

Strike-Hold Electric Bulb


Now that got my attention.

Turns out it’s done with a product called Strike-Hold being sold at the rally by Ken Murphy and his wife Marilyn.

Strike-Hold CLP is marketed as a cleaner, lubricant, protector, and demoisturizer.

Strike-Hold Bottles

It was originally developed for use by the military to protect weapons from sand. When the parts are sprayed with Strike-Hold and allowed to dry, it functions as an excellent dry lubricant that repels the sand.

As far as the underwater light bulb, the spray has a dielectric insulation value of over 38,000 volts. Thoroughly spraying the socket and the bulb base is all that’s needed. Ken would even unscrew the bulb while it was underwater and then screw it back in again.

And on the website is another incredible demo where an electric drill is sprayed internally, and then while running, it is immersed in a bowl of water, and keeps running.

Needless to say, I came home with several bottles.

If you would like to order some, you can contact Ken Murphy at 214-850-4677 or [email protected].

Coming home about 2pm we made a DQ stop for a frozen treat before getting back to our rigs about 3.

Tomorrow will, hopefully, be a nice do-nothing day.

June 14, 2015

Seven Weeks And Counting . . .

Well, here we sit starting seven weeks in Prescott, the longest we have been in one place since the winter of 2013. Talk about Hitch Itch.

And I’m not really sure we’ll get out of here this week like we had hoped. The glass guy is coming by tomorrow morning to ‘measure’ the opening, which tells me that the glass has not even been ordered yet. Which means probably 3 or 4 days before they’re actually ready to install the glass. So I’m thinking it will very possibly be sometime next week before we get out of here.

If we’re lucky.

We’re booked into a hotel for two nights starting tomorrow, but I suspect I’ll have to extend that. Hopefully, I’ll know more tomorrow.

About 2:30 Jan and I drove over to Texas Roadhouse to have linner. One thing we both like about this location is that they don’t have the loud music blaring like others. In fact, they had no music whatsoever. Very nice.

Jan had the 12oz Sirloin while I went with my usual 16oz Ribeye, and this was another great steak from them, just like last time.

Texas Roadhouse Ribeye 2

Tender, with just the right amount of fat around the edges that crisps up, it was delicious. Hopefully, we’ll get to go back before we leave the area.

One thing that Jan and I always laugh about when we’re at a Roadhouse is remembering the first time we went to one. This was about 15 years ago, back when they had the big barrel of peanuts in the waiting area, and the floor was covered in peanut shells.

Our granddaughter Piper was only about 6 at the time, and when she walked in, she looked around and said in a loud, little-girl voice, “This place is filthy. Don’t they ever sweep up in here?” And the place roared.

Maybe that’s why the floor is clean now and they don’t have the big barrel of peanuts anymore.

June 14, 2016

A New Hose and a Fixed Microwave . . .

About 3pm Jan and I headed down to the Katy area to have dinner with Brandi, Lowell, and Landon, pick up our packages, and make a quick stop at the Camping World just past Brandi’s turn-off at FM-1463. Earlier in the afternoon I had called CW to double-check that they had the Zero G RV Hoses in stock.

The Zero G hose is a hybrid version of a regular RV water hose and one of those Pocket collapsible hoses.

Zero G RV Hose

I’d been waiting for someone to come out with a drinking-water-safe version of a soft, non-kinking hose. And this appears to be it.

The hose is normally $35, but if you’re a Good Sam member, it’s $30. And even better, if you’re a member, it’s Buy One, Get One at Half Price. So I got two of the 25ft 5/8 inch hoses for $45. Nice!

I presently have a 35ft heavy-duty ‘non-kinking RV hose that has kinked and crimped in three places. And this is my 2nd one.

I bought the first one at an RV Rally 4 or 5 years ago, and within a year or so, I had several kinked/weakened spots on it that were starting to bulge out like a bad tire. So much so that it would no longer really coil up, but would just kink and fold over at the crimp spot. So when I encountered the vendor at another rally a year or so later, I showed it to her and she swapped it out with a new one.

And it started crimping within six months. So much for a ‘Lifetime Warranty’. Maybe it just means the lifetime of the hose.

We got to Brandi’s just as Lowell was leaving to pick up Landon, and when they got back, we waited until it was time to meet  Brandi at La Finca Mexican Restaurant, our favorite Katy Mexican place. Yeah, that’s right. We had Mexican two nights in a row. And that’s not our record.

Back in the 80’s when the kids were young, we actually ate at the same Mexican restaurant (the late, lamented Burrito King in Webster) seven nights in a row.

If Mexican is good one night, it’s good two nights . . . or seven nights.

Landon just had chips and queso, and pretty entertained himself.

Landon at La Finca's

But he kept cracking us all up with the faces he was making.

Landon at La Finca's 2

Finally, after a great meal and a great time, we headed back to Conroe about 6:30, taking the Grand Parkway once again to avoid the Houston going-home traffic.

As soon as we got home I went outside to install my new hose.

Zero Hose Box

I was happy to see how heavy-duty it was,

Zero G Hose Couplings

with strong metal couplings and a thick nylon washer.

Unlike the Pocket hoses, this one does not expand or contract, but just firms up like a fire hose.

Zero G Hose Full

And when you turn the water off, it flattens down and can be smushed into a small ball. The canvas-feeling fabric seems to be durable and stretchy.

I’ll let you know how it holds up, but I like it so far.

Back in the rig, I thought I’d see how my replacement microwave door latch was going to work.

Here’s how I started the repair.  Easier Than I Thought . . .

The new part, the black one at the bottom, is heavier, and the piece that broke off the old is now beefed up. So hopefully it will be good for more than the 17 years that the first one lasted.

Microwave Open Lever Part

It only took about 5 minutes to snap the new door opener in place, push down the locking tab, put the control panel back on, and plug the power in.

Pushing the button in, the door opened, and when I heated up a cup of water, it worked great. It’s nice to be able to make a $6.80 repair, rather than $400-$500 for a new microwave.

Now Jan will be able bake her Sopapilla Cheesecake that she’s had waiting in the fridge since the oven broke.

June 14, 2017

80,000 and Counting . . .

Since we had a 320-mile trip today, longer than our usual trip days, we were up at 6am and on the road by 7:30, with our first stop the U-Fillem about 3 miles back west just off of I-80

When we first scouted this place on Sunday, it looked perfect,. But when we drove by yesterday they had half the front lot torn up with construction. But it still looked doable.

And so it was this morning. And luckily for us, we got there right before the 6 side-dump gravel trucks pulled in. Since only two could fill up at a time, we would have been there for a while.

But after filling up, and hitching up we were back out on I-80 by 8:30, heading east for about 85 miles, until we turned south on US-183. But the high point of the day took place about 70 miles along the route.

At 9:27am we hit 80,000 miles, that’s 80,000 miles that we’ve put on the coach since we picked it up from the dealer January 6th, 2008. Then one month later, on February 6th, we headed to Alaska.

Today’s trip was really nice, especially for a long one. The scenery was great, not a lot of traffic, the generator/AC’s worked perfectly, and all four highways we were on, I-80, US135, I-70, and I-135. were really good, with only a few construction spots on 183.

One thing we really didn’t expect was how hilly/curvy Kansas turned out to be. Today’s part of the trip in Nebraska was straight and flat, but as soon as we entered Kansas, hills and curves. Who knew?

We pulled into the aptly named Lakeside Recreation Park about 2:30pm, and were led to our lakeside RV site.

Lakeside Rec Park

$15 for W/E-50amp under Passport America, Nice.

The only downside is that it was about a mile off the Interstate, down a dusty dirt road. So our nice, clean white truck is now tannish-colored. Well, that and the fact that due to all the trees surrounding the lake, we don’t have satellite tonight.

For dinner tonight we had our leftover Italian from Luigi’s last night, so we didn’t even need to unhitch.

Tomorrow’s trip is about 100 miles shorter, with a 230-mile run down to Bartlesville, OK for a few days so Jan can check out Ree Drummond’s Mercantile in nearby Pawhuska.

June 14, 2018

My Mother Had Me Tested . . .

I went outside early this morning, well 9am is early for me. to work on the cool side of the rig before the sun came overhead.

I mentioned yesterday how much I liked the Turtle Wax Wax & Dry spray, and how it takes off dirt, water spots, and white streaks. So here’s what I started with,

Rig with Streaks

and here’s after I wet it down, sprayed it with the wax, and wiped it off.

Rig without Streaks

Very nice!

Next up I sprayed the passenger side wheels with water, and then the Eagle One Aluminum Cleaner, let it stand for a few minutes, and then rinsed it off. Still doesn’t work as well as the Busch’s version.

As I was doing the front wheel I noticed that my wheel hub cover was missing on this side. This is the chrome ‘donut’ that surrounds the wheel hub and looks like this,

Rig with Wheel Simulator

and not like this.

Rig without Wheel Simulator

Later in the afternoon I put a call into American Coach Parts and waited on hold for about 30 minutes, only to find out that it didn’t come from them, but from Spartan, the chassis manufacturer.

Luckily this time it only took me about 5 minutes to find out that they had them in stock and the cost was $24.11. Not bad.

But I think I’ll wait to order it until after we get back from our trip, since we leave a week from today.

The last thing I wanted to do was to ‘pre-empty’ the truck bed. It’s been about 3 years since I last cleaned it out, so it was about time. I’m doing this mainly because on Saturday we’re going over to Chris’ to unload the truck bed completely and then load up the furniture we’re taking up to Illinois.

One thing I found going through the stuff was our flamingo menagerie, so I put them out to graze.

Flamingo Group

Later, a little before 4pm Jan and I headed out to have dinner at Pho 20, a local favorite of ours.

I got my usual White Chicken Breast Pho with Veggies,

Pho 20 Chicken Pho with Veggies

while Jan got something new, Lo Mein with Chicken and Veggies. Unfortunately, I forgot to get a photo of it. Maybe next time.

Our next stop was the Xfinity Store. When I was recently checking our Comcast Internet bill at my client’s, I noticed that it said that with our business plan, we got access to the millions of Xfinity WiFi Hotspots. Great.

But after two hours on the phone yesterday, I still was no closer to finding out where to get an account. So I decided to check out the Xfinity store. I did have to wait in line for about five minutes, but when I explained my problem, the guy laughed. He said they never get this straight, and told me exactly how to get online.

And couple of minutes later I used my Samsung Tab 4 to get on from the parking lot. Nice!

Then after a quick HEB stop, and an even quicker stop at our storage room, we got home a little after 6pm.

Another busy day. And we’ve got another week’s worth before we hit the road next Thursday.

June 14, 2019

King’s Bierhaus . . .

I  spent the morning making and testing a number of mostly cosmetic upgrades and changes to the website. I guess the customers are happy with it also, since the number of daily orders is back up to normal levels.

And even better, my client did come through with a floor jack for me to borrow for tomorrow.

The engine roughness that I noticed when I got the truck back hasn’t improved, so when I got to my client’s this morning, I got out my phone to check for any fault codes that might apply to the problem.

I used the Torque app on my phone and a Bluetooth OBD2 Scan Toot module that plugs into your vehicle’s diagnostic port.

Bluetooth Scan Tool

With the engine off, turn the key on and tell the app to look for any fault codes, and the one that came up was P0308, which is Cylinder #7 Misfire. Almost certainly my problem.

The modules are only about $12 on Amazon, and they not only give you the code, but tell you what it means. So no more looking up the code in the little book that comes with your cheap scan tool, or buying a much more expensive scanner. And it will clear old codes too.

So  $12 and you’re done.

Normally we eat at home on work days, but since I want to do the truck brakes tomorrow, and not really be rushed, I thought we’d eat out tonight, and then stay home tomorrow. Especially since we’re going up to Sugarland on Sunday to meet up with Brandi, Lowell, and Landon for lunch.

And since we’ve been in a German mood lately, and we’ve been driving past the new King’s Bierhaus on FM646 in League City, we decided to try it for dinner.

King's Bierhaus

Walking in we found kind of a German Bierhaus/Sports Bar fusion,

King's Bierhaus Inside

with the waitresses dressed in German-style Dirndl dresses and a couple of guys in faux-lederhosen, which was pretty much just cut-off blue jeans. Probably not a lot of places sell short leather pants here in Texas, at least not for guys.

I started off with a 1/2L of Spaten Oktoberfest beer,

King's Bierhaus Spaten Oktoberfest

after finding out they didn’t carry the RauschBier (Smoked Beer) we had in Bamberg.

Then we started off with a Sausage Sampler Plate,

King's Bierhaus Sausage Sampler

with a Sliced Brat, a Spicy Kielbasa, and a Kasewurst. All very good.

Especially with some of the Spicy Sweet Mustard we brought home from Regensburg.

Regensburg Mustard Jar

Next up,  Jan got her long-time favorite Jaegar Schnitzel with Spaetzle Noodles and Red Cabbage,

King's Bierhaus JaegarSchnitzel

While I got the Bavarian Platter,

King's Bierhaus Bavarian Sampler

with a Wiener Schnitzel, a Bratwurst, and Kasewurst, along with Austrian Potato Salad, and Homemade Sauerkraut, and an extra side of the Red Cabbage.

Jan said her Jaeger Schnitzel was actually better than the one at Der Lindenbaum in Fredericksburg, TX, her gold standard for comparison. And she liked the Spaetzle Noodles and the Red Cabbage.

I thought the sausages and the Wiener Schnitzel were really good, but I was kind of disappointed in the Red Cabbage, Sauerkraut, and Potato Salad. They were all kind of tasteless to me, especially the Red Cabbage, which I normally really like.

I don’t think there was any cloves, or sugar in it, or maybe just not enough.

For dessert, we split a delicious piece of their Cream Cheese Apple Strudel.

King's Bierhaus Cream Chese Strudel

Really great, and one where we had dueling forks scrabbling for each bite full. And as usual, we sample a lot of stuff like this on a first visit, we had lots to bring home.

We’ll certainly go back, but next time I’ll probably just get the Sausage Sampler and my own piece of the Apple Strudel.

Coming home we stopped off at the WalMart/Murphy’s station in Texas City to top off the truck, and it was down another penny, to $1.95 a gallon. I like where this is going.

June 14, 2021

Should I Be Worried?

On our first full day here in Athens, I started checking in with friends and relatives, trying to set up times to get together.

But while I was on the phone/text/FB messenger, we walked up to the office for the free ‘breakfast’, expecting not much of anything. In fact, at our La Quinta where we stayed last Monday down in Brandon, MS, the ‘free’ breakfast consisted of coffee. Just Coffee.

So we were pleasantly surprised to find biscuits and sausage gravy, scrambled egg patties, cereal, fresh fruit, juice, yogurt, etc. The same breakfast we had here back in February 2020, the last time we were here.


But we had already set up lunch today with an old friend, actually a girl I once dated. Once. I was dating her sister Jane at the time, but she got grounded due to flunking a test, I believe. However, since I had already bought tickets to something, Jane suggested that I take her younger sister, Anne. (That’s Anne with an ‘e’, I’m supposed to say.)

Anne was, I think, only 14 at the time, and this was her very first date. And our only date. So that’s why I say we once dated. Once.

After going through several restaurant selections down in Decatur where Anne lives, and finding them closed on Mondays, we finally settled on Let’s Do Lunch, a Tea Room type place that closed at 3pm.

The reason we were meeting Anne and not her sister Jane is that I was really saddened to find out that Jane had died back in March of 2019. And after my cousin told me this, I tracked Anne down on the Internet to give my condolences and find out what happened.

In fact I hadn’t seen Anne (or Jane) since the summer of 1967.

Let's Do Lunch - Anne Segrest Rice

But the thing I worry about now is that Anne and Jan quickly bonded like BFF’s. I’ve always heard that when your wife and an ex-girlfriend (kind of) get together, it can only mean trouble.

I guess I’ll find out now.

For dinner tonight we met up with cousins and second cousins over at Rosie’s Cantina over in Huntsville. We’ve eaten for years and it’s really good Mexican food.

Helen and her husband own the family RV park where we’ve always stayed when we were RV’ing, but we always get together whether we’re in our RV or not.

Rosie's Cantina - Helen, Darby, Luke, Harland

From the back, that’s Luke, Harland, Darby, and their mother Helen.

Really nice people!

Tomorrow we’re going to get together with my cousin Margie for lunch at Big Bob Gibson’s BBQ down in Decatur. And I’m still trying to catch up with my Aunt Lenette.

But we’ll see.

June 14, 2022

X-Rays And Trip Thoughts . . .

We were on our way about 12:15 this morning with our first stop at my neurosurgeon’s up in Webster to get new X-Rays.

Next Monday I’ve got the 6-month evaluation after my November 2021 Cervical Spine Fusion surgery. And while we’re there I also want to talk about a possible Lumbar Fusion as well. I’m still having some weakness in my legs and some pain in my lower back, especially when I sit up or move wrong.

The question is about the success of lumbar surgery. Jan knows from her medical record days that lumbar surgery is likely to have more problems than cervical surgeries. So I want more info before I proceed.

Afterward, since we were in that area, we had lunch at our old Pho Barr there in Webster. Just as tasty as always.

Then after a quick stop at Sam’s so Jan could get the nose piece on her glasses replaced, we were on our way home.

Getting back to our recent Alabama trip:

Along the way, the price for gas varied from $3.99 somewhere at a truck stop in Mississippi to $4.52 in Gulf Shores. Though there was that time when I paid $5.22 at a WalMart.

I had already run my card when I noticed that the pump was only for Premium Unleaded Ethanol-Free. Luckily I was only topping off, not filling up.

As far as our hotels, during our trip, we stayed at a La Quinta in Slidell, a Days Inn in Athens,  a Hampton Inn in Birmingham, a Sleep Inn in Montgomery, and a Sleep Inn in Baton Rouge. And of course the condo in Gulf Shores/Fort Morgan.

All of the hotels except for the Sleep Inn in Baton Rouge we’d stayed at before. And the Sleep Inn in Baton Rouge was the only disappointment.

Since my recent unpleasantness, we’ve been booking handicapped rooms, mainly for the extra handles in the showers. So we were happy to see one like this at the La Quinta in Slidell.

And the Sleep Inn in BR had the same layout. But there was no holder for the shower nozzle, and the water pressure was pathetic. If you turned the nozzle pointing up, there was only enough pressure to spray the water up about 9”, so it just kind of drizzled on you when you were trying to actually use it. Hard to even rinse off the soap.

Since we figured that the shower at the condo wouldn’t have anything extra, we ordered these from Amazon.

Shower Handles

They worked great, so much so that we also used them at the Athens Days Inn since we were there for 5 days. And we decided to add them to our shower in the rig when we got home.

June 14, 2023

Ding! Ding! Ding! We Have A Winner!

One of our faithful readers, Paul, figured out where my Radiator Cooling Fan Relay really was, and even sent me a photo.

And a YouTube link.


And I think I know what happened, and why I couldn’t find it for myself.

As he mentions in his email, Paul said that in ‘early’ 2003 Jeep Liberty models, the cooling fan relay is located on the splash panel underneath the PDC/Battery area on the driver’s side of the vehicle.

And looking where he said, there it was, though my relay looks a little different, since it has a big, honkin’ heatsink on the top.

Not even my 3” thick Jeep Factory Service Manual was no help. And I think I know what the problem is.

The YouTube video that shows the correct location is actually for a 2002 Jeep Liberty, which explains why I didn’t come up on my searches for 2003 Jeep Liberty’s.

So somewhere during the 2003 model year, they changed the location. I ran into this several times with our American Eagle RV, with things in different places depending on when in the year it was made.

It took a bit of work but I was able to get the relay out and get another one ordered.

I could get one locally from O’Reilly’s for $72, or get the same one from Amazon for $48, though it wouldn’t be here until Sunday.

Decisions, decisions.

In the meantime, my kludge fix is working just fine.

I guess I gave up too soon.

Thanks a lot, Paul.

Tomorrow we’re getting together with our Alvin Opry Group once again, this time at the Texas Roadhouse up in Webster. We missed last month since we were back in Alabama, so we’re looking forward to seeing everyone again.