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

More TENS . . .

I’ve been having some pain in my lower back and right leg, so Jan suggested I dig out my TENS unit and give it a try.

I first tried a TENS unit back in 2020 for back pains, and went through several different ones before I settled on this one.

TENS 7000 Unit

It has a lot of different modes and a timer. The standard unit uses a 9 Volt battery, but I hotwired it to use a 9 Volt AC adapter, because using it all night ran the battery down. But then I ended up buying a second unit so I could also have a portable one to use on the go. And at only about $32, it’s a great buy.

And, as usual, Jan was right. Using it last night made a big difference when I got up this morning, so I’ll be using it at night for a while.

Thought For The Day:

There are 30 times as many guns in the United States as there are swimming pools.

Yet, swimming pools are six times as likely as firearms to be involved in a fatal accident for children under the age of 15.

Ban Swimming Pools! It’s for the children.

Your Retro-Preview Highlights –

2010 – The Rally – Day 3

2013 – Bushplanes

2015 – Jim N Nick’s BBQ

2019 – The Designated Villain

And Now On To today’s Retro-Blogs.™

July 24, 2010

The Rally – Day 3…

Today started out with another round of seminars and vendors. Jan went to one about “Cooking with a Microwave Convection Oven” while I perused the vendor exhibits some more

At noon we met up for more corn dogs and fries. We like corn dogs, what can I say? I also had an ear of fresh roasted corn that the people from Progressive Insurance were giving out for a $1 donation to their charity.

At 1pm Jan attended a talk by Bradd & Hall RV Interior Renovators, while I spent some more time at the PacBrake booth talking about the problems with my unit.

I was looking at buying the PRXB PacBrake upgrade and installing it myself. This would save me $200, and I figured by replacing the entire unit, that would fix my non-functioning PacBrake.

It looked like an easy replacement. Just loosen the two clamps shown below and the unit should come right out.


The problem was that we couldn’t figure out which unit I needed. The metal tag in the photo above should have had the model number on it, but it didn’t. Only the serial number.

Finally, they offered me a good deal on letting them install the unit. This way they could take all the different possible units over to our rig, and, after removing the old one, install the correct one.

I asked how long it would take, and they said “About an hour”.  I said “Go for it”.

One thing I was interested in is shown in the graph below. Unlike my old unit (when it was working) and PacBrake competitors,  the PRXB doesn’t need high RPM’s to work well.

PacBrake Graph

True to their word, 45 minutes after starting, the mechanic was done. I’m really looking forward to trying it tomorrow when we leave.

We’ll see.

About 4 pm we headed out for supper at one of our favorite BBQ places, Famous Dave’s BBQ. And as usual, we had enough left over to take home for later.

Leaving Famous Dave’s we stopped off at WalMart for a few things before heading home.

Then about 6pm we drove over to the concert hall to see Super Diamond, a very good Neal Diamond tribute group.

SuperDiamond 0

SuperDiamond 1

SuperDiamond 2

SuperDiamond 3

SuperDiamond 4

After a great show, we got back home by about 8:30 and were in for the night.

Tomorrow, after attending the morning events we’ll head out a little early. I’d rather not wait until tomorrow afternoon when 3000 rigs will try to all leave at once.

July 24, 2011

Something I never thought I’d hear in a Mexican restaurant!

Got this photo from a postcard. It shows a full shot of Jimbo, the 106 foot Supersaurus at the Wyoming Dinosaur Center.

That’s one big dino.

Jimbo - 1000

And this is a little paleontologist humor from the staff bulletin board at the Dino Center.

Dinosaur Cartoon

Today was a do-nothing day for us, and after a couple of very busy days, we really needed it.

After coffee at 10 and lunch about 11:30, Jan napped and read, while I spent some time planning our trip to the Tetons later this week.

After a little research, I found a Motel 6 in Jackson, WY for $110.00 A NIGHT!

WOW! They’ve forgotten the whole concept of what the 6 in Motel 6 stands for.

We’ll go down on Tuesday, stay two nights, and then come back on Thursday.

We thought about taking the rig down, but RV sites in the area are $75 – $85 a night plus about $200 in diesel for the 360 mile round trip. So it’s still cheaper to pay $220 for the room plus much less gas for the toad.

About 5:30 we headed out for dinner, and decided to try La Comida, a Mexican restaurant right across the street from Zapata’s, where we ate our first night here.

And compared to Zapata’s it was a mistake. The chips tasted like they came out of a 50-pound bag from Sam’s Club or Costco. And I would swear the salsa came from ‘NEW YORK CITY”.

And when Jan ordered the Deluxe Nachos, I heard something I never thought I’d hear in a Mexican restaurant. She noticed on the menu that the nachos didn’t come with jalapenos, so she asked the waitress if she could have them add some.

And the waitress said, and I swear I’m not making this up, “I’ll see if we have some”. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.

Well, at least they don’t put black olives on their nachos like some places up north do.

Coming home, we walked over a couple of rows here in the park to meet Sherry and Charley Dilworth. They had heard from Lu and Larry Tillotson that we were here and left a card on our door saying they wanted to meet us.

We spent an hour or so getting to know them and had a great time. They’re planning on being in Celina, OH this coming September, so I’m sure we’ll see them again.

Coming back to the rig we meet our next-door neighbors, Beth and her husband. I’m sorry but I didn’t get his name. They’ve only had their camper for about 4 months, so they still learning about the RV life.

Tomorrow we’re taking a trolley tour around Cody, and then we’ll take in the Buffalo Bill Cody Museum.

July 24, 2013

Border Crossings and Bushplanes . . .

We left for the Canadian side of the Soo Locks about 1pm. And after showing our passports at the border, we first headed down to the Bushplane Museum.

First up was this Canadair CL-215 firefighting amphibious water bomber, one of the premiere planes of the type.

Bushplan CL-215

It fills its tanks by landing at high speed on a lake or river, opening the tank fill doors,

Bushplan CL-215a

and then waiting until the water starts gushing out of this overflow outlet. In 8 hours they can make as many as a hundred bombing runs.

Bushplan CL-215b

Whenever I see one of these old Bell 47’s all I can think of is “Whirlybirds”, an old TV show.

Bushplan Bell 47

Next up is this replica Fokker Tri-Motor, built for the movie, Amelia, about Amelia Earhart. Although I never flew in one of these, I did fly in a Ford Tri-Motor a number of times when we were living in South America in the early 60’s.

Bushplan Fokker Tri-Motor

Here’s a neat little homebuilt amphibian, an Esperanza 4.

Bushplan Esperanza 4

And this is pretty much the “end all and be all” of bushplanes, the de Havilland Beaver. First designed in the 1940’s, over 1600 were built until production ended in 1967, with more than 1200 still flying. A real workhorse.

Bushplan Beaver

And RC-3 Seabee

Bushplan RC-3 Seabee

And for some reason, they also had several old cars there. This is the fabled Stanley Steamer, a car that I had never actually seen in person before.

Bushplan Stanley Steamer

Doesn’t look like you’d have to change the sparkplugs on this one.

Bushplan Stanley Steamer 2

The next two are a couple of Fords. The only problem with the car displays is that there was absolutely no info on them anywhere, I even asked some of the guides and no one knew the make or year of any of them. Bummer.

Bushplan Ford Sedan

Bushplan Ford Runabout

After seeing a couple of good films on bushplanes and aerial firefighting, we left the museum and headed north up PH17, looking for moose.

Yep, we were on another Moose Hunt.

Jan had been told there were a lot of moose about 20 miles north of town in the Mile Hill area. So off we went. But although we found the area with a lot of “Watch For Moose” signs, no moose.

Sometimes I feel like Coronado searching for the Seven Cities of Gold. They’re always right over the next hill.

On our way north we had passed a Boston Pizza, one of our favorites, and by the time we came back past, it was 4:30 and we couldn’t resist stopping for dinner. And as usual, we ordered the large Meateor, to give us plenty of leftovers.

On a related note, what is it with the northern Midwest and cold drinks. First, pretty much every place we eaten since Bend, OR never has any sweetener on the table. And after they bring you your drink, they don’t even offer it. You have to ask for it. What’s up with that?

And I’m sorry, but ordering a glass of ice water or iced tea does not mean three lonely ice cubes floating on top of a glass of tepid liquid. It’s usually pretty cold up here. Why do they have to ration ice cubes?

Leaving Boston Pizza and heading home, we stopped off at a Tim Horton’s to pick up some muffins for our next travel days, and also got Iced Hazelnut Cappuccinos to go.

Except for having to wait in line behind a bunch of semi’s, we didn’t have any trouble getting back across the border. I guess Jan’s past hasn’t caught up with her yet.

As I mentioned yesterday, tomorrow we’re going to drive down to St. Ignace and take the ferry over to Mackinac Island, and then the horse-drawn carriage tour around the island.

After we were home for a while, Brandi sent over a bunch of Landon school pics for this year. A real cutie. Can’t wait to see him in about 3 weeks.

Landon School Picture 2013a

Landon School Picture 2013b

Landon School Picture 2013d

Love the hat and bowtie.

Later, just as the sun was going down, I got this shot of a big freighter going by.

Night Time Boat Passing

Don’t know what ship this is, but there are 13 1000-footers here on the Lakes, the largest of which at 1013 feet, is the Paul R. Tregurtha. The American Century we saw going through the Soo Locks the other day is also one of those 1000-footers.

July 24, 2014

Who Knew Armadillos Laid Eggs . . .

Ever wonder why restaurant service seems to get slower every year?

Well, maybe this is why. Check it out here.   Slow Service

About 4:45 we headed out to have dinner at Austin’s Casual Eatery & Bar, a place in downtown Wilmington with 4-1/2 stars on Yelp. And the stars were well-deserved.

Austin’s is named that because the owner is a 7th generation Texas who wanted to remember his home state. (Based on my calculations, his family was there for the Alamo.)

We started off with a couple of orders of their Armadillo Eggs. Now we’re from Texas too, (3 generations of us) and when we have had Armadillo Eggs, it’s been at T-Bone Tom’s, a place near us in Kemah, TX.

Featured on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives, T-Bone Tom’s is well-known for their steaks and BBQ.

And Armadillo Eggs. This is what the ones from T-Bone Tom’s look like.

T Bone Tom's Armadillo Eggs

Armadillo Eggs consists of BBQ Brisket stuffed into a large jalapeno, and then battered and fried.

T Bone Tom's Armadillo Eggs 2

And they’re delicious!

But here at Austin’s, they’re a little different.

Austin's Armadillo EggsA

They start by stuffing jalapeno cream cheese inside a rolled-up chicken breast, which is then completely enclosed in bacon slices. And then into the fryer they go.

And they come out really, really good. The creamy, spicy center, the chicken breast, and then the crispy, crunchy bacon combine to make a delicious appetizer.

Jan had the Cajun Catfish, while I went for the Grilled Mango Pineapple Pork Chop with Baked Beans and Mac N Cheese. The Mac N Cheese was really good, very cheesy, and seasoned perfectly. The Baked Beans were good, but not as good as the Bourbon Baked Beans at Quaker Steak and Lube last Sunday.

Maybe it was the bourbon?

The pork chop was perfectly done, tender and juicy inside, with a slight grilled crust on the outside. Just great.

Austin's Pork Chop2a

Jan really liked her fish dish.

July 24, 2015

I Guess Jurassic Park Just Sounds Better . . .

After a nice quiet morning, Jan and I headed into the Memphis suburbs about 2:15 for a movie, dinner, and Wal-Mart, all about 55 miles away.

Our movie of choice was Jurassic World, the fourth one in the series. The basic premise is that apparently they didn’t learn their lesson 20 years ago with Jurassic Park, as I guess not enough guests were eaten in the original. So for Jurassic World, they build a new, bigger, better park with more snacks, I mean guests, and larger, meaner, genetically enhanced dinosaurs.

What could possibly go wrong?

All this said, Jan and I really enjoyed the movie, with its non-stop action that never really let up. The two main stars are Chris Pratt, who was in another recent blockbuster, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Opie’s daughter, Bryce Dallas Howard, both very good.

On the bad guy side of things, are two Law & Order: Criminal Intent alumni, Vincent D’Onofrio and B.D. Wong. Plus Wong was reprising his same character from the very first movie.

One thing funny about the title, even going back to Michael Crichton’s original book, is that none of the movie’s featured dinosaurs, I.e. T-Rex, Velociraptors, Mosasaurs, and Pteranodons, actually lived in the Jurassic era, which ranged from approximately 200 million years ago to about 150 Mya.

No, they all lived in the Cretaceous era, from about 85 Mya to about 65 Mya, just in time to look up and see a fast-approaching bright light in the sky.

So I guess Cretaceous World just didn’t have the same ring.

Leaving the movie and extracting Jan’s fingernails from my arm, we headed up the road a few miles to have dinner at Jim & Nick’s BBQ once again, where our favorite server, Joy, greeted us with a smile and her usual great service.

We once again started off with the Sausage Appetizer,

Jim and Nick's Sausage

which I probably wouldn’t have gotten if I had thought ahead to what I was going to get for dinner. Even Jan, not a big sausage fan, likes this sausage, but I think she likes the accompanying Pimento Cheese even more.

For our meals, Jan again went with The Pig in A Bun, and Mac N Cheese, the same thing she got last time. She says that the Mac N Cheese is really great.

Jim & Nick's Pig on a Bun

For my part, I expanded my horizons and went from the 2 meat combo to the 4 meat combo, adding Beef Brisket and Hot Links to my original Pulled Pork and Ribs.

Jim & Nick's 4 meat Combo

For my sides, I again got the Baked Beans, but added the Slow-Cooked Collard Greens instead of the Potato Salad. And I’m really glad I did because the Collards were delicious.

I was kind of curious about their Beef Brisket, since when we’ve had it here a couple of times at other places here, it was more like sliced roast beef covered in BBQ sauce. Not good. But Jim & Nick’s came thru. Although not exactly Texas Sliced Brisket, it was very close, and very good. I’m glad I gave it a try.

As usual, with the big platter, I had plenty to take home for later, probably enough for a meal for both of us.

I mentioned on our visit last Sunday that we’d spent some time getting to know Todd, the manager. But tonight we got to talk with the other manager, Tyler. As soon as we mentioned that we were RV’ers, he said, “Oh, y’all are the ones whose card is on the wall in the office.” A very nice guy.

And even nicer, he comped our deserts, a couple of pieces of their made-in-house pies. We got some last time, and they were great, so we couldn’t miss out this time. Jan said their Chocolate Cream Pie is probably the best she’s ever had, and my Lemon Cream was fantastic.

I mentioned last time about their great Cheese Biscuits that they serve with the meal, so good in fact that we bought a bag of their biscuit mix to make some at home. And of course, we got a bunch to take home with us. They’re great for breakfast with our coffee.

Finally starting toward home about 7:30, we made a Wal-Mart stop along the way. They must be having a gas war in this area, because both gas and diesel are very cheap, and the same price. At some stations, gas is $2.26 and diesel is $2.27, and in others, gas is $2.27 and diesel is $2.26. Either way, it’s all dirt cheap. So I filled up the truck, and wished I had the rig here too.

We finally go back to the rig about 9:39 after another very nice day.

Life is Good!

July 24, 2016

A Doppelgänger . . .

With our last couple of really hot days, it’s easy to tell that cleaning the rear AC evaporator coil a few days ago certainly helped things.

It seems a lot of folks think that cleaning a coil like I did will give you cooler air. But as a matter of fact, the air might actually get slightly warmer. A clogged evaporator coil restricts the airflow through the coil, which means less airflow, less cold air, into the coach.

But the restricted airflow means less ‘cold’ is being pulled off the coil, so the coil gets colder and colder until it starts icing over, which shuts the airflow off completely. Most A/C’s have a freeze sensor mounted on the coil that when it senses this is happening, cuts off the compressor, leaving the fan running. This will quickly thaw out the coil and let the cooling resume.

Of course, this is only a temporary fix and you need to eliminate the problem at some point. So with the coil clean, the unit puts out much more, I.e. a larger volume of cold air,

Of course, a couple of other things can cause the coil to freeze up. The most common one is just a dirty or clogged filter, anything that slows down or restricts the airflow.

For technical reasons that I won’t go into (booorrrring!), low Freon in your AC will also cause the coil to ice over.

One other thing that I noticed when I was on the roof listening to the AC cycle on and off is that blower fan was still in good condition. It wasn’t making any strange rumbling or growling noises as it turned on and back off, so the bearings are still in good shape. Hopefully it’ll last another 17 years.

Jan was jonsing for fried chicken today, so about 11:15 we headed into Columbus to have the Sunday lunch buffet at Schobel’s Restaurant. With Fried Chicken, Roast Beef, Sliced Ham, and Grilled Sausage, six different veggies, as well as both a Salad and Dessert Bar, and including your drink, it’s a really great deal for $10.95. And delicious too.

My cousin Joy, who lives in Tampa, FL, posted a photo of her cat on Facebook, trying to stay cool in the hot weather

Mister's Doppleganger

And I would swear it’s Mister’s doppelgänger. Even to the same coloring.

Mister Bobcat Bait

They both look so much alike that it’s uncanny. And Mister used to lay just like this too.

July 24, 2017

Maybe, Maybe Not . . .

I spent the morning putting the finishing touches on the new website. The client said they really like it, so we’ll probably go live later tonight.

About 3:30 Jan and I drove into Columbus, with our first stop the hardware store just off downtown for a couple of project items. Then it was on to Whataburger for dinner.

Since we’re heading to Alabama on Wednesday, we wanted to get our Whataburger fix in. Of course, when we’re in Alabama we’ll be able to take care of our Sonny’s BBQ fix while we’re there. So it all works out.

For dessert, we split one of Whataburger’s new Coffee Shakes. We first had one last week at the Willis Whataburger, and it was good enough to have again. And again. And again.

This is probably the best coffee shake we’ve ever had. I don’t know what they’re using for flavoring, but it reminds both of us of those chocolate-covered roasted coffee beans you can buy. Really good.

Next was a stop at Brookshire Bros for a few things before we headed back to the park. We did stop at the office for a bag of the fire ant poison they provide. When we were parking after we got here yesterday afternoon, Jan was standing back by the driver’s side rear wheel guiding me in when she was swarmed by tiny red fire ants. A little later her feet swelled up some, and she had small red bumps all over her feet.

So hopefully this will take care of the problem for the next RV’ers.

We’re heading down to Clear Lake tomorrow to have lunch with our son Chris and pick up my repaired rear-view camera monitor mounting bracket.

On the way, we’ll stop at Brandi’s to pick up an Amazon order and also have Jan take my photo.

When we had our family reunion last month I took this family photo.

Family Group Shot 468

But without 3 of the family.

Annisten (who was napping)
Me (I’m taking the photo)
Jim (Debbie’s husband who is beside me also taking photos)

But what’s a family photo without the entire family, so I’ve added Annisten, the little girl on the right in pink, and now Jim who’s to the right of Lowell in the back.

Family Group Shot - New 468

Tomorrow Jan will get a photo of me standing in the right spot and with the same lighting, and in a few days I’ll be in the photo too.

The Amazon order I’m picking up is a remote control relay like this.

RF Remote Control for Slide

I want to use it to remote control our slide’s in and out. For some reason American Coach decided to put the slide switch in the overhead cabinet above the dining table, which means it’s kind of hard to reach for Jan, and even I have to stand on tippy-toes.

So it should be pretty simple to wire up. I’ll keep you updated.

Our daughter Brandi posted this on FB yesterday. This was her ‘trying to sleep in  Sunday morning wake-up call’.

Brandi's Wake Up Call

I’m not sure which one is cuter.

Finishing up, I may have an idea on my rooftop AC problem, or I may not, but I won’t be able to check it out until we hit the road on Wednesday.  I’ll let you know.

July 24, 2018

Great Friends and Good Offers . . .

Jan and I were out the door this morning by 10:15 this morning, to meet the next possible house buyer that we had scheduled to give us an offer.

He was just the first of three who were coming by to look at the house. And then we have one more coming by Thursday afternoon. Then as it stands now we’ll probably be making a decision this weekend whether or not we’ll accept one of the offers, or proceed to Plan B.

A little later we met long-time friend Tricia at the Barcenas Mexican Restaurant right outside the subdivision. It’s been a while since we’ve seen her, and since she’s been traveling a lot lately it was good to be able to catch up.

Then after saying goodbyes Jan and I headed back to the house to meet up with the second possible buyer.

When he was finished I went ahead and took Jan back to the rig since it was going to be a while before the third guy showed up. And by the time he was finished, things were really looking up.

We are now up over $10,000 from the initial offer we got from the first guy this past Saturday. And we still have one more guy to go.

Here’s hoping.

I dug up one of those adapters that let you use one of those little Micro SD cards in a regular SD slot on your computer. And when I did this, I found that the card worked fine. So the problem is apparently with my phone.

Chris and Linda are getting settled in at their new place up in Kingsland, TX, and sent over some photos of what they’ve done with the yard.

Kingsland House 1

Kingsland House 2

Kingsland House 3

Kingsland House 4

Really looks nice. We’re hoping to get up there in the next month or so to see them.

On a completely different subject, has anyone else noticed disappearing Facebook posts on your timeline? It seems at least once a day I will be scrolling down through the posts and then I will see a post start to scroll up and then there’s a jump and the post just disappears. As far as I can see the post are usually political in nature, but I don’t think they’re from the same source.

So has anyone else seen anything similar? Let me know.

July 24, 2019

The Designated Villain . . .

Jan watches a lot of ‘reality’ shows, and her most recent favs, and Miss Piper’s too, are Below Deck and Below Deck: Mediterranean, showing on Bravo. In fact it’s become one of their highest-rated series.

Jan usually watches these shows using headphones, but I catch bits and pieces, reading the closed captions while I’m on the computer. And I’m always amused by how ‘real’ these reality shows are. Or aren’t, as it were.

Jan was talking about a crew member that she doesn’t like, in this case, it was Rocky, the 3rd Stew. She was always getting into arguments with everyone, causing a lot of problems and just stirring up trouble.

When Jan mentioned that she didn’t like Rocky, I said, “Did you ever think that was on purpose?”

Every single season on both shows, six seasons of Below Deck, and four seasons of BD: Mediterranean, has a Designated Villain or Troublemaker. And if you don’t think that’s deliberate, think again.

These shows all have to have some drama, otherwise most of them would be pretty boring. It would just be the ship’s crew catering and pampering their rich guests. And by RICH, I mean very rich. It costs between $140,000 and $300,000 PER WEEK to charter one of these 150 ft. to 190 ft. Super Yachts as they’re called.

Below Deck - Eros

Below Deck - Valor

And having done so much video production over the years, I always notice how the camera shots are set up, with so much of it obviously staged.

In one recent episode, Rocky, after having a big fight with someone, has a big blowup, strips down to her bra and bikini panties, runs to the railing and dives off into the water about 30 feet below.

Now you see all this from behind as she goes over the railing. But the next shot is the camera looking over the railing down at her as she makes a perfect dive into the water below. Turns out she’s a championship diver.

But the real question is where did that camera shot looking over the railing come from? There was no cameraman standing there when she leaped over. This means she had to dive off the ship twice, once for the shot of her going over, and then another time for the camera looking down at her.

But it’s a reality show, right?

The only redeeming part for me is all the pretty girls in skimpy bikinis. But we won’t go there.

I sent my Panasonic Lumix FZ80 camera off to the Panasonic Repair Center up in McAllen to get it repaired. About a week ago when I got it out and took a couple of photos with no problems. But when I turned it off, it didn’t.

Panasonic FZ80 Camera 2

I tried to turn it off and on a number of times with no result. The only way to turn it off was to remove the battery. So I tried leaving the battery out for a few days to let the internal power run down, hoping something might reset. But no luck.

Since I did purchase the Asurion 4-Year Protection Plan that Amazon offers on higher priced items, I first contacted them. But they turned me over to Panasonic since this should be covered under the factory warranty.

The Asurion policy covers any damage to the camera like dropping it or spilling something on it, with no deductible or shipping charges. A good deal at about $8 per year.

Tomorrow afternoon I’ll be taking Jan up to Brandi’s to pet-sit until Sunday week while she and her family are vacationing in Costa Rica. Then after we all have dinner together I’ll head back home. Then it’ll just be me and Karma for the next 10 days.

July 24, 2021

Who’s ‘Brilliant’ Idea Was This?

We sat outside with our coffee again this morning, really enjoying the nice weather. Especially after all the rain we’ve had recently. It was only about 80° with a nice breeze, perfect patio weather.

We were also admiring Flamingo Frank in Paradise (yes, that’s his name), Jan’s latest addition to the Flamboyance.

Flamingo Frank on Patio

But because he’s a statue we decided he would look better on the patio rather than out with the rest of his buddies.

We left the rig about 11:30 this morning, with plenty of time to meet friends Janice and Dave Evans up at the Floyd’s Cajun Seafood in Webster. At least we thought we had plenty of time, but some ‘brilliant’ highway planner decided to put shut down the northbound side of I-45 to one lane. All three lanes. Down to one.

And, believe it or not, the southbound side, too.

So, on one of the first nice, rain-free weekends in a good while, they shut down the main road to and from Galveston.


So our normal 20-minute trip took us almost an hour and 20 minutes. So Janice and Dave were already there when we finally arrived.

Janice and Dave Evans 3

But we quickly got our orders in while we caught up with each other’s adventures.

Jan got her usual Grilled Catfish and Veggies, and a Side Salad. I was also thinking about getting the Side Salad along with my usual bowl of Shrimp Gumbo. But as I looked over the menu, I saw Floyd’s 19th Hole Salad. I think I’d probably seen it before, but I guess I’d never really read the description. But then the word ‘Wedge’ caught my eye.

So along with my Shrimp Gumbo,

Floyd's Shrimp Gumbo 20210724

I got this really good Wedge Salad.

Floyd's 19th Hole Wedge Salad

Rather than being just a wedge, it was more like half a head of lettuce. And they really piled on the Bleu Cheese too. Really delicious.

It was really good to see Janice and Dave again, and we’re already planning our next get-together in August.

Coming home we decided to take Hwy 3 back down instead of the Interstate to avoid the 3 miles of bumper-to-bumper traffic.

But guess what?

Some ‘brilliant’ highway planner (the same one?) decided that this would be the perfect time to narrow Hwy 3 down to one land going and coming for repaving.

So we were back in bumper-to-bumper traffic once again.


With this past week being so busy, we’re just staying home tomorrow and grilling hot dogs and brats on the Weber grill.


July 24, 2022

A Better View . . .

Jan and I were off for lunch a little before 1 heading for Gator’s Bar & Grill over on the Interstate and FM-517.

Jan went with her latest favorite, the Keto Birria Pizza, after starting with a House Salad.

Gator's Salad

Gator's Birrria Pizza

The pizza crust is made from shredded cheese grilled into a crust, then it’s covered with shredded beef covered in Birria sauce and more shredded cheese.

And of course, more Birria sauce for dipping.

For my part, I went with something completely different, starting with a cup of their new Cilantro Beef Soup.

Gator's Bar & Grill Cilantro Beef Soup

Really good, and a new favorite.

For my meal, I went with their Apple Chicken Salad.

Gator's Bar & Grill Apple Chicken Salad

It’s hard to tell from this photo, but it’s a big bowl, about a foot across, filled with big chunks of chicken breast, apples, grapes, pecans, and celery.

Really good, especially with their house-made Blue Cheese dressing.


Then next it was on up the feeder for our weekly visit to HEB, finishing up with a stop at the Post Office for the mail, before getting home about 3pm.

A nice day!

I mentioned a while back that Rob, our park owner, had bought the property right next to us to add some new sites.

This has been our view for the last 5 years since we arrived.

Petticoat Junction New Addition 1

But all of this should be gone by the end of August, all the old vehicles, the sheds, and the trailer.

Petticoat Junction New Addition 2

The view will certainly be a lot nicer



Pre-Admission Testing . . .

We were on our way up to the Houston Medical Center area, leaving the rig about 11:15 for the ~ hour trip. Our first stop was our other go-to lunch place in the area, Cleburne Cafeteria, the other one being Katz’s Deli.

Cleburne Cafeteria has been around in one form or another, and two different locations since 1941. It’s burned down twice, once in 1990 and again in 2016. But it seems to always come back bigger and better.

And more delicious.

Jan got her favorite Turkey & Dressing, with the Broccoli-Cheese Casserole, along with a piece of Pumpkin Pie to bring home.

I got a repeat of my Kelley’s meal last week, with the Chicken Fried Chicken, along with the fresh Green Beans and Charro Beans. And of course, a piece of Pecan Pie, also to bring home.

After a nice leisurely lunch, we made the 20 minute trip over to the Houston Methodist Hospital’s Scurlock Tower for Jan’s Pre-Admission Testing regime for her upcoming Parathyroidectomy next Friday, August 2nd.

They did an EKG (no problems), took her blood pressure (122/69 Great!), and took some blood for some other routine tests. Very efficient, and we were on our way in a little less than an hour.

We don’t know yet when our surgery will be, just that we have to be there two hours before.

Close to home, we made a Cowboy Coffee stop for Sugar-Free Hazelnut Coffees, needed because we didn’t have our rig coffee this morning, finally getting home a little before 5pm.

Originally, we had scheduled an Alvin Opry Group get-together this Thursday, at Saltgrass Steakhouse as usual, but with one person concerned about all the rainy weather we’ve got coming up, and another couple with the WuFlu, we decided to postpone until next month. So our social calendar had opened up.

Looks like tomorrow I’ll be back on phone patrol trying to get Spectrum to fix our phones.

Wish me luck.

I’ll need it.

Thought For The Day:

All of the Purple Hearts given out during the Korean War, the Vietnam War, The Gulf War, The War on Terror, etc., and ever since, were all from the original 375,000 manufactured toward the end of WWII in anticipation of the planned invasion of the Japanese mainland. But then weren’t needed due to Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Your Retro-Preview Highlights –

2010 – The Rally – Day 2

2011 – Digging For Dinosaurs

2013 – Whitefish Point And The Edmund Fitzgerald

3014 – Ohio and Big Chairs

And Now On To today’s Retro-Blogs.™

July 23, 2010

We’re 3 out of 4, but the iced tea was good…

Today started out at 10 am with Jan attending the Dog Talent Show and I hit the vendors area again. I bought a couple of things, and I’m looking at a few more, including a new PacBrake.

At noon Jan and I met for a lunch of corn dogs and French fries at the Food Court. What we didn’t realize at the time is that this would be the best meal of the day.

Then at 1 pm, Jan caught a seminar on RV’ing the Pacific Northwest by Mike and Terri Church. A little late since this is where we were earlier this year.

I checked out a talk on RV Refrigerators, which I hoped would help with a problem I’m having with mine.  No luck.  But it was interesting.

About 2:30 pm we headed north into Indiana to Sam’s Club to pick up a prescription and some other stuff. Then it was off to the low point of the day.

Since we’ve been in Louisville, we’ve eaten 2 places that were on the Rally Tours: Mark’s Feed Store, and Joe Huber’s Family Farm and Restaurant. We also discovered Cottage Inn, a nearby local favorite. All three were excellent.

The 3rd restaurant on the Rally Tours was Kingfish Seafood. In finding the directions online, I also read a few reviews. Some liked it, but others said it had gone downhill, and wasn’t as good as it used to be.  Another said the food was “Bland, bland, bland”.

And boy, was he right.

Jan had a Shrimp and Oyster Platter with Baked Potato and Glazed Carrots, and I had the Seafood Feast, with Tilapia, Catfish, & Shrimp, with Corn on the Cob and Onion Rings. Believe me, bland, bland, bland certainly described the meal.

Nothing had any taste or seasoning. Red Lobster is much better, and I really don’t like Red Lobster.

But as Jan said, “The iced tea is good, though”.  A ringing endorsement, indeed!

The view of the Ohio River was pretty, but it didn’t make up for the meal

Kingfish View 1

Kingfish View 2

On our travels, we collected photos of a number of city mascots in the last few years, including pelicans, mermaids, bears, bison, and now horses. We’ve seen a number of these around town, all with different paint schemes.


Getting back to the rig, we rested up and tried to keep cool for about an hour and then headed out for the high point of the day.

Tanya Tucker!

And just as a teaser here she is singing “Delta Dawn”.

And she was fantastic.

Tanya 1

Tanya 2

Tanya 3

Tanya 4

Tanya 5

Tanya 6

During the first part of the concert, I was impressed by the voice of the backup singer in the band. Turns out she comes by that voice naturally. She’s Tanya’s 21-year-old daughter, Presley.

And boy, can she sing, too.

Tanya & Presley


Presley 2

Tanya ended the show with the first big hit she had, Delta Dawn.  When she was 13!

Tanya 7

Tanya 8

Before the concert, they were selling aerial photos. So here’s what we look like here.

Rally Aerial Photo 3

We got back to the rig about 8:30 after a long day. It’s nice to be home.

July 23, 2011

Dinosaurus . . .

After coffee and bagels we headed over to Al and Adrienne’s a little before 10 am to pick them up at their rig. Then it was off for the 85 mile trip south to Thermopolis, WY.

Arriving there, our first stop was lunch at Lil’ Wrangler Family Restaurant. Al and Adrienne had eaten here a while back and said it was really good. And they were right. Hamburgers made with 1/2 pound hand-formed patties of fresh ground beef.

Really good.

After lunch we headed over to the object of our trip, The Wyoming Dinosaur Center, the largest privately-funded dinosaur research center in the world. And the only one to have excavations in progress on their own property.

Wyoming Dinosaur Center Sign

Wyoming Dinosaur Center

This is a cast of an ocean bottom containing hundreds of echinoderms, relatives to today’s sea stars and sand dollars. This fossil is about 300 million years old.


This is a pterosaur, one of the earliest flying dinosaurs. Although this one is about the size of a crow, other species had wingspans as large as 30 feet.


A Dimetrodon.


Archaeopteryx is considered the first bird, since it had feathers. There are only ten specimens of this dinosaur in the world, and this is the only one in America.


A cousin to the Stegosaurus.

Dinosaur 1

Two meat eaters in combat.

Dinosaur 2

A Protoceratops.

Dinosaur 3

A type of Ankylosaurus.

Dinosaur 4


Dinosaur 5

Allosaurus, cousin of T’Rex.

Dinosaur 6

A nest of baby duckbills,

Duckbill Babies

And their mama.

Duckbill Mama


Dinosaur 7

An Ichthyosaur, the ‘fish lizard’.

Dinosaur 8

This is Jimbo, so big I couldn’t get him all in one photo. A 106-foot-long Supersaurus, he’s one of the largest fossils in existence.

Dino Jimbo 1

Dino Jimbo 2

At 2 pm we all loaded in a tour bus and were taken about 5 miles out in the country to an active dig site. In the last 20 years, 17 dinosaur skeletons have been excavated from here.

Dig Site

These next two photos show the remains of an Allosaurus that they have been working on for 5 years, and it may take them another 15 years to remove it completely.

Allosaur 1

Allosaur 2

In the wintertime, this large excavation pit is completely filled in with dirt to protect the dinosaur bones from freezing and cracking.

Allosaur 3

Next, we were taken over to a large open excavation under the shed. The bones, mostly of plant-eaters, are lying around on the surface.

Dino Bones 1

Because of the jumble of chewed-on bones, they think this was a kill site where baby meat eaters were fed.

Dino Bones 2

Outlined in red paint, this is the footprint of a large Allosaurus.

Allosaur Footprint

And this is the footprint of a large plant-eating dinosaur. This is the only known location where both dinosaur footprints and fossils are found in the same area.

Dino Footprint

We really enjoyed our time at the Dinosaur Center, and it’s well-recommended. The displays are all top-notch, and very well done.

Leaving the Center, we drove up into the country behind the Hot Springs State Park just admiring the many unique rock formations, and rich colors.

Round Rock

Thermopolis Scenery 1

Thermopolis Scenery 2

Thermopolis Scenery 3

The many hot springs in the area have been a tourist attraction since the late 1800’s, and are considered the largest mineral hot springs in the world.

Just how mineralized the water is can be shown by these ‘travertine beehives’.

A 8-foot pipe is stuck in the ground over a hot spring. The mineral-laden water flows out the top of the pipe and down the side, leaving the mineral deposits behind on the pipe. It slowly builds up and expands, creating these rock-hard ‘domes’. As the dome grows, more pipe is installed on top as necessary.

Travertine Dome

After another great day of exploring, we got back to Cody a little before 6, and after dropping off Al and Adrienne at their rig, we came back home, tired but having had a great time.

A little before 7 pm, we walked a few rows over to Lu and Larry Tillotson’s, readers of our blog who discovered we were in the same park and wanted to meet us.

We had a great time getting to know them and talking over some of our experiences in traveling fulltime. They’ve been on the road for 8 years now, still enjoying the RV life. Hopefully, we’ll cross paths again soon.

And tomorrow . . . ?

Nothing, I hope. It’s time for a rest-up day.

July 23, 2013

240 Miles Today and still Mooseless . . .

Since we had a lot of things to cram into today, we headed for Whitefish Point about 8:15. But our first stops were at McDonald’s for Bacon, Egg, and Cheese Biscuits and a Holiday station for gas.

Gas prices here in Michigan are a little strange. Diesel is pretty much the same price that we’ve paid for the last several months, about $3.80 a gallon. But unleaded is through the roof. The last time we filled up the truck was in Sioux Falls, SD, and we paid $3.16 a gallon. Here it’s anywhere from $3.90 to $4.00 a gallon. They were even complaining about it on the radio today.

Our 70 mile trip to the Great Lake Shipwreck Museum at Whitefish Point took about 90 minutes with a lot of nice scenery, but no moose.

Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum 1

Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum 2

After getting parked we started our visit at the main museum building. I was very interested in these lighthouse Fresnel lens. They’re able to take a relatively small light source and turn it into a beam that can be seen for miles.

Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum 3

In fact this 9 ft. tall, 3500 pound lens could throw a beam over 28 miles. Made up of 344 leaded crystal prisms, it floated on a pool of mercury allowing for near frictionless rotation. In use before electricity, a grandfather clock-like mechanism with a 44 ft. long pendulum turned the lens, sweeping the beam across the horizon every 7-1/2 seconds. And the clockwork had to be wound every 2 hours and 18 minutes throughout the night to keep the light rotating.

No wonder lighthouse keepers had a reputation for being so grumpy. They were sleep-deprived.

Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum 4

The first commercial ship to sink on Lake Superior was the HMS Invincible in 1816, with over 300 more vessels to follow in the next almost 200 years. But of course, the one that everyone is most interested in is the SS Edmund Fitzgerald.

Launched in 1958, at 728 ft. it was the biggest ship on the Great Lakes. And to this day is the largest ship to ever sink on the Lakes.

Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum 5

In 1995 a dive team recovered the Fitzgerald’s bell which now resides here in the Museum. At the same time, a replacement bell inscribed with the names of the 29 crewmembers, was mounted on the wreck in its place.

Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum 6

In a nearby building, another replica of the Fitzgerald can be found. This 1:60 scale model is made from over 18,000 Legos and has taken 9 years so far. “So far”, because it’s not quite finished yet.

Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum 7

Looks pretty good to me. I’m convinced you can build just about anything with Legos.

Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum 8

One of the things that fascinates people about the Fitzgerald is that to this day they still don’t know what happened on that November day in 1975. Did it capsize, take on water through broken hatch covers, or break in half straddling two large waves?

No one knows for sure.

One thing that seemed very apropos for our visit today is that when we left the rig in Sault Ste. Marie, it was bright and sunny. But the closer we got to Whitefish Point the worse the weather got, ending with heavy clouds, high, gusty winds, spitting rain, and whitecaps on the Lake.

Just like it was on the Fitzgerald’s last voyage, bright and sunny when it left port, and then an unexpected storm rolling in.

Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum 9

After spending about two hours at the Museum, we headed over to Tahquamenon Falls State Park. At least we tried to.

Heading to the Museum earlier, and passing through the small town of Paradise, MI, we had to go through a construction zone where the road was down to one lane because they had dug out a deep trench in the other lane.

But coming back they now had both lanes of the pavement trenched out and were directing traffic across a temporary roadway that they had created by piling the dirt removed from the trenching into the deep ditch at the side of the road. What they apparently didn’t think about was how this big tour bus was going to navigate this.

The answer is, not very well.

Although OK for cars and trucks, the unpacked dirt was just a sand trap for the bus, which promptly sunk up to its axles as you can see in the pics.

Stuck Tour Bus 1

Stuck Tour Bus 2

Stuck Tour Bus 3

After about 30 minutes or so, they finally dragged him out with a front loader. Later, when we were at the Bear Ranch, I saw the tour bus and asked the driver about it. He said they told him it was well-packed and he wouldn’t get stuck.

He laughed and said, “It wasn’t and I did”. Glad I wasn’t trying to take the rig through there.

We got to Tahquamenon Falls State Park about 12:30 and made the 1/2 mile walk down to the Upper Falls to take a look. We noticed that the water is the same brown color as the Wisconsin River in the Dells, for the same reason.

The many swamps and decaying hardwood trees further north of here produce tannic acid that colors the waters downstream, though the acid level is not enough to hurt fish or other animals.

Tahquamenon Falls 1

Since it was now after 1pm we decided to have lunch at the Pub restaurant there. Turned out to be very, very good. I had the Beer Cheese Soup and a fresh Whitefish sandwich, and Jan had the Broccoli Cheese Soup and a Mushroom Pesto over Linguini. Made with fresh wild mushrooms, she raved about it the rest of the afternoon.

Tahquamenon Falls 2

She even got her one and only moose sighting there.

Tahquamenon Falls 3

On a weirder note, they even had this Moose Nativity scene for sale in their gift shop.

Tahquamenon Falls 4

For some reason, there’s something a little unsettling about this. They also had a Bear version, if you’re of that bent. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Finishing up a delicious lunch, we headed for Oswald’s Bear Ranch, about 20 miles away.

Although it was OK, I think Jan and I were both a little disappointed, especially for the $20 a car that we paid to get in.

All of the bears are either rescues, or are born there. And they have four large fenced-in areas for them. One for the adult males, one for the adult females, one for the yearlings, and one for the cubs.

Bear Ranch 1

Bear Ranch 2

It’s hard to get a lot of decent pictures because in most cases you’re shooting through a double layer of chain-link fence. They did have access holes in some areas, and observation towers in others, but the bears were always somewhere else, so you still couldn’t get many good shots.

They did have this area where, for $10, you and your family could have your picture taken with a bear cub. They give you a large spoon with Fruit Loops in it (apparently bear cubs love Fruit Loops) and one of you holds the spoon and distracts the cub with the Fruit Loops while you all smile and one of the employees takes several pictures with your camera.

I tried to get Jan to do it, but she smartly said, “What if they run out of Fruit Loops, or the cub decides he’s full? What am I going to do with an empty spoon?”

Bear Ranch 3

I thought maybe she could whack it on the nose while I ran away, but I wisely didn’t say that. I can see her point though. I wouldn’t want to fight off a snarling little fuzzball full of teeth and claws with a spoon either.

Our last stop was the Visitor’s Center in Newberry, the so-called “Official Moose Capital of Michigan” (Jan says, “Yeah, right”) to pick up our Moose Guidebook and find out the best areas to look for moose.

Jan says, “Yeah, right.

So after checking out some of the spots and remaining mooseless, we headed home, finally getting back about 6:30 after a really great day of exploring the UP.

Tomorrow, Canada, Oh Canada!

July 23, 2014

What is it about Ohio and Big Chairs?

Is it something in the water?

This afternoon as Jan and I drove into Wilmington, we saw this.

Big Chair in Wilmington
Then in 2011 when we were staying at Smith’s Campground near Loudonville, I found this cozy little number. BTW Smith’s Campground is a great RV park, right on the river, and owned by really nice people.

And not to be outdone, Jan found her own version, albeit a little smaller.

Jan Big Chair 2
We could have each had our own chairs like these two guys

Or we could have gone a little more modern.

Big Modern Chair
Or even to the beach.

Big Beach Chair 2

This one’s on Bournemouth Beach in the U.K.  It’s over 25 feet high and weighs about 6 tons.

Must be a B*t*h to fold up.

I recently came across some good info for cell phones.

The first one talks about Speeding Up Your Android Phone. I already knew a couple of these, but some were new.

The second one is for Samsung Galaxy owners. Several good things in this one too.

About 2pm Jan and I headed out for some errands. Our first stop was the Great Clips next to the Wal-Mart to get our hair cut. And Yes, I got both of mine cut.

Next up was a trip to the Wally World next door for a few things. Then heading home a little after 4pm, we decided to have dinner at Taco Bell. We were glad to see that they still have the Quesarito. Supposedly it’s a limited-time product.

The Quesarito is a burrito wrapped up inside a cheesy quesadilla. As before, Jan got hers with ground beef and I got mine with steak. And since we got the box, we got two tacos and a drink with it. Not bad for about $13.

Several blog readers had questions about Jan’s Hot Dog Casserole last night. This was Jan’s first time making the dish this way, and she says now she’ll do it a little differently next time.

This time she used a tube can of pizza dough, but that turned out to be a pain getting the big mass of dough separated into 8 pieces and flattened out. So she says next time she’ll use a tube can of the crescent rolls that comes already separated and rolled out.

Then she just mixed the Wolf Brand Hot Chili, Bush’s Hot Chili Beans, and the Habanero Rotel in a 9 x 13 pan, placed the wrapped hot dogs on top, and baked it for 20 minutes at 375°. Since she used our convection oven, you may need a little more time in a conventional one.

Jan also said that next time she will brown the wrapped hot dogs on one side under the broiler and then put that side down on top of the chili before cooking it. That way both sides will be brown and crusty. A very good dish. Try it for yourself.

July 23, 2015

ThunderBoomers . . .

The weather really turned nice today, or at least in comparison to the previous days of high 90’s. At 6am this morning a big line of thunderboomers moved through and combined with the pouring rain, shook the coach for about an hour.

Because of all this, it barely made it into the 80’s today with pretty much the same tomorrow. And tomorrow night is supposed to be in the 60’s. Very Nice.

I did get a few things done on my chore list today, but pretty much had to stick with inside stuff due to all the rain. I’m still trying to get my transfer switch replaced, not I’m not sure if I have time to have it shipped here, or at our next stop.

After a few days of 3 bars of 3G, my Verizon service here now officially sucks. For some reason my 3G just goes away and I’m stuck with a couple of bars of 1X, just pitiful. But sometimes late at night all of a sudden the 3G just pops back in. It’s going to be a real pain in the rear if this continues our entire time here.

My niece Stahlie has added a lot more content to her website Adventurous History. Check it out when you get a chance. She’s really doing a good job.

For dinner, Jan fixed up one of the Crusty’s Pizza Baked Spaghetti meals we vacuum-sealed and froze before we left Cottonwood, AZ and the Verde Valley Thousand Trails. Done with some garlic bread, it’s a really good meal.

Tomorrow we’re going to drive into the Memphis suburbs on this side of town to see a movie, probably Jurassic World, and then have dinner at Jim & Nick’s BBQ once again. Then on the way home, we’ll make a Wal-Mart stop for a few things.

July 23, 2016

Been There!

Another hot day here in Texas.

In fact, as far as we’re concerned, it’s the hottest one so far. We have a remote digital thermometer outside in the shade, and today was the first day it hit 100°. And tomorrow’s supposed to be a couple of degrees hotter.

Oh well, that’s Texas in the summertime. One thing that’s funny though, is that when I check the temps along our upcoming route when we leave here next Sunday, I.e. Breaux Bridge, LA, Biloxi, MS, and Gulf Shores, AL all the temps for the next week are in the mid to high 80’s, not the high 90’s like here.

Sounds like a good time to be moving on down the road.

We had originally thought about doing the park Potluck this afternoon, but decided it was cooler to just stay home, and also because then Jan wouldn’t have to heat up the coach preparing something.

Maybe next Saturday night right before we leave.

A few days ago I posted a time-lapse photo of the recent SpaceX Falcon 9 Take-off and the landing of the 1st stage back at the Cape.

But the Falcon 9 is just the start. Next up is the Falcon Heavy, basically 3 Falcon 9’s tied together, making it the most powerful rocket since Apollo’s Saturn V. That’s 27 engines firing at once.

It even does mid-air refueling of a sort. All 3 rockets are firing at lift-off, but the two side rockets are also pumping their excess fuel into the main rocket. So that when the side rockets shut down and fall away to land back on Earth, the main rocket is left with a full tank of fuel to continue on into orbit. Then when the payload is ejected into orbit, the main engine then deorbits and also lands back at the Cape.

Its first launch is scheduled for this December.


In fact, the Falcon Heavy could launch a new moon mission in only two launches. And since all three rockets are recoverable, it would be at a fraction of the cost of an Apollo mission.

And according to SpaceX, the next stop is Mars.

I mentioned a few days ago that Jan and I sometimes go through old photos of our trips and play ‘Name The Site’, trying to figure out where we were parked in that particular photo.

Well, we also play ‘Been There’, The winner is the first one to yell out ‘Been There!” when they mention a place on TV that we’ve been to on our travels.

Today they were talking about Harrisburg, PA. ‘Been There’. A few days ago, the Statue of Liberty. ‘Been There’.

Even a few years ago when CSI was still on the air, and they visited a gun store in Las Vegas, and although they called it by a different name, it was obvious it was The Gun Store where Jan found a new favorite toy.

Jan And Her Thompson 2

I guess this would make a good drinking game, but since Jan and I really don’t drink, you’re on your own.

July 23, 2017

Stumped, Baffled, and Confused . . .

Sounds like a good name for a law firm.

Up about 7am, with everything pretty much ready to roll by 8, we headed out for breakfast at Cracker Barrel, kind of a ‘leaving Lake Conroe’ ritual of ours.

Jan went with the Maine Blueberry Pancakes with Bacon,

Cracker Barrel Blueberry Pancakes

while I got the Fresh Strawberry Sourdough French Toast with Over Medium Eggs and Bacon.

Cracker Barrel Strawberry French Toast

And of course, coffee, lots of coffee.

Back at the rig we were hitched up and pulling out of Lake Conroe Thousand Trails by 10:15, heading for Colorado River TT about 120 miles away.

After a nice trip, but seemingly more traffic than usual, we pulled into Colorado River about 12:30 and got set up in A28, a new site for us, but with a nice big shade tree.

About 10 minutes out we lost the generator when the fuel level dropped to about 25%, which of course still leaves us almost 40 gallons, so no problem. We plan on fueling up at Colorado County Oil when we leave for Alabama on Wednesday.

Unfortunately, the generator shutting off early didn’t make a difference in cooling the coach, since despite my airflow baffle modification yesterday, we couldn’t tell any difference in cooling from the front AC. Bummer!

I thought that it would at least do something. Actually my big worry was whether or not it would survive the trip, and not get ripped off in the windstream.

AC Baffle Installation

I was able to install the panels without making any holes in the cover by utilizing pre-existing holes and slats.

For the top panels, I drilled holes that matched the mounting bolts holding on the cover,

AC Baffle Installation 2

while for the side panels I used 1/8” toggle bolts poking through the side slats

AC Baffle Installation 3

Then I taped it all together with Heavy Duty Packing Tape, especially along the front edges where it might catch the wind and be ripped off.

So, basically what I have here is a good solid installation of something that just doesn’t work. And that’s why I’m –

Stumped, Baffled, and Confused . . .

I really don’t have anywhere else to go on this right now. The only two variables here are AC Voltage on the generator and airflow. And the generator voltage stays at 118VAC whether we’re moving or sitting still.

And when we’re parked and using the generator, the AC works great.

So for right now, I’m stuck. Back to the drawing board.

July 23, 2018

Can’t Trust That Day . . .

Unfortunately, I’m pretty sure that the new power cord that I ordered for my Garmin GPS will probably fix my problem with the unit constantly shutting off and turning back on, all by itself.

I knew it wasn’t a bad connection or loose wire since shaking or wiggling it makes no difference. So what I did was bring the unit into the rig last night and plug it into my computer using another cord to charge up the internal battery in it.

Then this morning I put it back in the truck and used it going into my client’s, just running on the unit’s battery. And it worked perfectly, with no shutdown/reboots. And it worked coming home too.

I said, “unfortunately” because I already have the replacement GPS picked out. And I copied all my favorites off the old unit, ready to transfer to the new one.

BUT . . . I’m too cheap to discard a perfectly good GPS that’s still working fine, or at least will be when my new $6.89 cord comes in.

I’ve got three more buyers coming to see the house tomorrow, and a fourth one hopefully scheduled for Thursday, but I haven’t heard back from him about a time yet.

The first guy from the Ugly Houses people called back this afternoon, just ‘checking in’. When he finally came out and asked me if I’d made a decision, I said I had 4 more people coming out in the next few days and that we would probably be making a decision by this weekend.

So far our Splendide washer/dryer is working fine after my repair, so with that out of the way, and hopefully with the house out of the way after this weekend, I’ll be able to get back on rig stuff.

First up I going to use a garden sprayer filled with a mixture of water, Awesome, and Dawn to hose down the general area of the rig engine’s oil leak and then hose it off. Hopefully, then I’ll be able to get some idea where the leak is coming from using my new WiFi Endoscope Inspection Camera. I’ll probably have to run the engine for a while before I can see the problem.

Then I want to get back on my Onan Generator problem. Since our recent Illinois/Alabama trip, I’ve come up with some ideas and some more things to check, so maybe I can get a handle on it soon.

Wrapping up, the micro 32GB SD memory card in my Samsung Galaxy S8+ appears to have died. I noticed yesterday that the photos I had on it had disappeared. So this evening I took the phone out of its Otterbox case and pulled the SD card out and reseated it. No luck.

Tomorrow I’ll dig out one of those postage-stamp-sized SD adapters and try it in my computer, then I’ll know more.

July 23, 2019

Catching A Snooze . . .

Well, the brakes didn’t get done, and for a good reason. I really didn’t want to. But the excuse I’m going with was that Jan had a lot of stuff she wanted to do this afternoon and I didn’t want to have a problem and mess up what she wanted to do.

And I really didn’t want to.

So we headed out a little after 1pm with our first stop at Snooze AM for a late breakfast. While Jan went with her usual Bravocado Toast,

Snooze Bravocado Toast

I detoured from my usual 3 eggs, 3 bacon, English Muffin, and Fruit and went with the Shrimp & Grits.

Snooze Shrimp & Grits

And fruit.

Then it was on over to the nearby HEB for a refill on our favorite Lola Savannah coffees, their Texas Pecan and Vanilla Cinnamon Pecan. It only comes in Whole Bean and it’s easy to see that it’s really ‘Pecan’ since there are pieces of pecan right in with the beans.

HEB Lola Savannah Texas Pecan Coffee

And the cashiers at the checkout always comment on how good it smells.

Then it was on to WalMart for some more stocking up for her upcoming pet-sitting job up at Brandi’s starting this coming Thursday.

Done there we drove over to her favorite nail place to get her tootsies done, before we headed home about 5pm.

I recently saw another T-shirt I just had to have.

Abby Normal T-Shirt

For some reason, Jan says it’s typecasting.

Now that’s just mean.

Probably true. But still, just mean.

But the T-shirt I get the most comments on from people is this one.

I Am Old For Good Reason

Some people think it’s from Game of Thrones, but having never watched GoT, I don’t know.

July 23, 2021

Keep ‘Em Coming . . .

Thanks for all the suggestions we received about things to see/do in Branson this December.

So far we’ve gotten the most recommendations for Sight and Sound, but keep ‘em coming.

Tomorrow we’re meeting friends Janice and Dave Evans for lunch, but closer to home this time. They’re going to be down in this area visiting relatives, so we’re meeting at the Floyd’s Cajun Seafood up in Webster.

It’s been a while since we’ve been there so we’re looking forward to it.

I forgot to mention in yesterday’s blog that we had lunch once again at Snooze yesterday. It’s been a while since we’ve been there, maybe not since we came back from our trip. But everyone seemed happy to see us.

And as usual, we both got our usuals. Jan with her Bravocado Toast,

Snooze Bravocado Toast 20210207

and my 3 Egg Classic with fruit.

Snooze Egg Classic 20210722

I asked for crispy bacon, but they went a little past that, into ‘glass bacon’ territory. You know, when you touch it, it shatters. But it was still good.

And their fruit dish is always great too.

Someone asked if we were still liking YouTubeTV as our main streaming service, and we really do. And we really appreciate the feature to start a show at the beginning, no matter when you start watching it.

For example, if you started watching The Good Fight about 10 minutes into the latest episode, it asked you if you want to join it Live or Start From The Beginning. So you don’t have to worry about missing the first few minutes of a show.

In fact this works up to the very last minute the show is on.


July 23, 2022

Well, At Least We Tried . . .

Knowing they closed at 2pm, Jan and I got to Joe Fat’s Eatshop about 1pm, only to find them closed. Or at least dark, since as I said it’s actually inside the convenience store. We knew they had said that they were closing early yesterday for a catering job, so I guess that applied to today too. We’ll go back soon.

So our backup plan (we always have a backup plan) was right down the road a couple of hundred yards to Los Ramirez Mexican.

Our meals were as delicious as usual, and a lot of other people agreed with us, since they do a steady take-out business. But we’ve never seen one as large as this.

Los Ramirez Take Out Order

That’s the six big trays on the cart, four big trays on the table, everything in the box, and the three 5 gallon buckets on the counter. That’s a lot of food.

Sorry we weren’t invited.

Brandi and Lowell are having a pool party this weekend at their home up in Katy for Brandi’s coworkers and their kids.

Brandi Work Pool Party 1

Even a water slide for the kids. Looks like fun.

Brandi Work Pool Party 2

I’m sure most of you have seen or read something about the recent mall shooting in Indianapolis, IN. The shooter came out of the food court restroom where he had been hiding, and started firing into the crowd with an AR-15, killing three and injuring two more.

But 15 seconds after he fired the first shot, a 22-year-old bystander pushed his girlfriend to the floor, and using the Glock 9mm he was carrying, hit the shooter with his first shot. From 40 yards away!

See the small red X in the center of the photo.

That’s where the shooter was standing when he was first hit.

Mall Shooter Layout

Then advancing on the shooter, firing as he went, Elisjsha Dicken hit the shooter 7 more times, so 8 times total out of the 10 shots he fired. Weapons experts are pretty much roundly amazed at this accuracy.

It has been reported that he was taught to shoot by his grandfather, starting when he was a little boy. Looks like his grandpa taught him well.

Too bad Elisjsha wasn’t at the Uvalde school a few weeks ago. Things might have turned out differently.

It’s also been noted that his girlfriend was a nurse and immediately started helping the wounded.

I have seen various reports about whether or not he had a concealed carry permit, but actually he didn’t need one. Starting this past July 1st, Indiana became what’s known as a Constitutional Carry State, which says that anyone who can legally own a gun can legally carry it concealed.

I’ve also seen comments that Elisjsha broke the ‘law’ because the shopping mall had signs saying no guns allowed. Well, he didn’t break the law because that’s not a law. All the mall can legally do was to ask him to leave. If he doesn’t, he could then be arrested for trespassing. That’s it.

And of course, the signs didn’t stop the shooter from bringing guns in either.

July 23, 2023

Schafer’s, nee Outrigger’s?

We were on our way over to the Clear Lake Shores area, near Seabrook and Kemah, about 12:45 to meet up with former client/long-time friend Tricia. We’ve known each other a number of years and try to get together every few months or so.

We were meeting her at Schafer’s Coastal Grille, which is apparently the heir-apparent of one of our favorite places, Outrigger’s which used to reside under the Kemah Bridge before falling to the recent Hwy 146 expansion.

But Jan had recently seen something on Facebook about Schafer’s having a connection to Outrigger’s. And looking at their website confirmed it, showing a menu listing for Outrigger’s Famous Fish and Shrimp Tacos. Which just happens to be Jan’s favorite dish there.

Getting to Schafer’s, we found a large plain-Jane grey building, which belied the inside décor. While Outrigger’s had kind of a dive bar feel and décor, Schafer’s was more upscale.

They’ve even got tablecloths, which Outrigger’s had picnic tables.

When we asked Ryan, our server, about the Outrigger’s/Schafer’s connection, he said it’s the same owner and the same cooks. But when I asked him why they named it Schafer’s, rather than something like (my choice) Outrigger’s Too, he really didn’t have a good explanation.

But the food was as delicious here as its predecessor.

While Jan started with a House, I got their Wedge version.

Really good, especially the house-made Blue Cheese dressing.

Then Jan and Tricia got the Keto version of their Grilled Shrimp Tacos, which were wrapped in an Avocado half, rather than a tortilla shell.

I got the Hamburger Sliders, which unusually, looked a lot smaller on the menu than what I got.

Really good, and I had two leftovers to bring home.

Finally saying our goodbyes to Tricia until next time, Jan and I headed back over to our area for our weekly HEB stuff.

When we entered HEB some dark clouds were rolling in, and the thunderboomers started up while we were shopping. Luckily we got back to the Jeep right before the bottom dropped out. And it poured down until right before we got back to the rig, so we stayed pretty dry.

SpaceX has mounted the latest Starship on the launch pad down in Boca Chica, TX, hoping for a launch in the next month or so.