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

Immersed And Impressed . . .

Jan and I were on our way into Houston for our Monet exhibit by around 10:30, but our first stop was at the Cleburne Cafeteria on Bissonnet for lunch. Cleburne’s, along with Katz’s Deli, is one of our go-to places to eat while whenever we’re in this area.

Cleburne’s has been around since 1941, and owned by the Mickelis family since 1952, and it’s still a Houston standard.

Cleburne Cafeteria

Everything is fresh and homemade, even their mayonnaise.

And it’s all delicious.

Cleburne's Food Line

Jan got a fish dish that I didn’t get a shot of,

Cleburne's 20220630

while I got Bratwurst and Kraut, with White Beans, Steamed Kale, Fruit, and a Blueberry dessert.

And we both had leftovers to take home for tomorrow night.

Delicious.

Since we still had time before the Monet exhibit, so Jan wanted to stop off at a nearby Whole Foods for a few things.

Then it was on over to our Immersive Monet & The Impressionists, being shown at the same location where we saw Immersive Van Gogh last October.

Van Gogh Building

And it’s also where the Immersive King Tut will be shown this Fall.

I’ll just leave you with some photos tonight. I did a number of videos, but I want to clean them up a little before I post them tomorrow night.

Here’s a wide view of the theater.

Monet Wide View

One thing you can’t see in these still shots is that the scenes are constantly in motion, morphing from one painting to another, and all synchronized to the music. Everything from Bolero to the Rite of Spring, and many others.

Monet Dancers

Monet Flowers

Monet People

And of course, Water Lilies.

Monet Water Lilies

More tomorrow.


Thought for the Day:

All I’m saying is, at any point during that ride through the desert, he could have given the horse a name.


New Braunfels, TX


June 30, 2010

Hummingbirds vs Ceiling Fans…

No, not what you’re thinking, not yet, anyway.

Anyway, we headed out about noon for Gina’s. As we were leaving our rig Jan took this photo of one of the two fawns that are  hanging around nearby.

Fawns 1

On our way we stopped off at the park office to find out what time we have to check in tomorrow to see if we can keep staying here. Hopefully with all the rain and bad weather in the next week or so, it won’t be a problem. We’ll see.

After we picked up Gina we drove over to Sattler to have lunch at Granny D’s and then stopped off at the Post Office to mail some packages.

Then it was back to work at Gina’s.

There’s a hummingbird feeder on the porch where I’m installing the ceiling fan. There’s six of them in the area, but one of them is a bully and keeps trying to run off the others. In fact he spends more time chasing them off than he does actually feeding.

HB 1

HB 2

But every once in a while, some of them settle down and leave each other alone.

HB 3

HB 4

I finally got the ceiling fan mounted and hooked up temporarily. I wanted to test it first before I finished it up, since I installed one a while back, that was completely dead when I first turned it on. But this one worked fine, and came out perfectly balanced, too, with no wobble.

Gina decided she would move the feeder further away from the fan, since she didn’t want it turning into a hummingbird Cuisinart.

CeilingFan

We headed home about 5:30 pm. I let Mister out for a while, and while I was watching him, two deer showed up. They didn’t seem too worried about Mister, they just wanted corn. So I was feeding the deer from my hand and from the bowl while Mister was only about 10 feet away.

On To Bremerton, WA


June 30, 2011

Last Day in Long Beach . . .

We started this morning with coffee at 10:30, lunch at 11:30, and then at 12:30 I went down to the office to pick up my package.

About 1:30 I went outside to do some stuff around the rig to get ready to travel tomorrow.  First I put some air in my slightly leaky tire, then I cleaned up around the rig, and also cleaned all the bugs off the front cap that accumulated on the way up from Bend. It was all nice and shiny when we left, but we hit a lot of big juicy ones on the way up here, but a little Awesome took care of them quick.

About 4:30 we headed out to meet Bill Joyce and Diane Melde for dinner, with a few stops on the way.

First at the PO for Nick to mail some stuff, on to 42nd St Café where we ate a few days ago. Jan wanted to buy a couple of jars of their homemade jam that we sampled then.

Our next stop was on to El Compadre, the really good Mexican place we eaten at twice before.

Coming home, we made our usual stop for cappuccino before getting home a little before 7.

We’ve got an early start scheduled tomorrow because, although it’s only about 150 miles to Bremerton, there’s a lot of curves and hills, and I also wanted to get diesel before we leave. So we’ll head about 8:15 to fuel up and then hit the road.

More tomorrow from Bremerton.


Gillette, WY Escapade


June 30, 2013

How to Turn $25 into $225, just like Magic . . .

Jan and I were up this morning about 7:30 to have time for coffee before we headed over to the Cam-Plex for the opening of the Vendor area. Jan wanted to sign up for some of the limited-size craft classes before they filled up, and I wanted to be at the Blue Ox booth when they opened so I could sign up to have my Aventa LX tow bar serviced. The tow bar is what connects the RV to the Dodge Dakota truck we tow behind us. We bought our Aventa at the beginning of 2008 and we’ve put over 56,000 miles on it since then. So it was about time to have it serviced.

I had tried at a couple of other rallies where the Blue Ox guys were present, but always got to the booth too late. But today I was the first person to sign up.

The charge for the service was only $25, but a phone call about 10:15 magically jumped that up to $225. Brian, the service guy, was already at the rig and was calling to tell me that my hitch connector, the now-shiny part that you see below, needed to be completely replaced. I had already noticed a lot of ‘loosey-goosey’ movement in the ball joint that had slowly appeared on the years, but it has always worked with no problems.

But if the ball joint came apart, the safety cables would be the only thing still connecting the truck to the rig.

Not a good thing.

Blue Ox Aventa Repair

I was happy to find out that the new ball joint connector will not wear out near as quickly as this one did, And since this one lasted over 5 years, hopefully we won’t have to do this again.

For lunch Jan heated up her left-over pizza from Old Chicago last night, and I had the last of my BBQ from Big Hole BBQ last week in Victor, ID. Both still very good.

A little before 3pm Jan and I drove back over to the Cam-Plex for the opening ceremonies for the Escapade. But I think the real reason to be there was the fact that they were having a drawing to give away two $500 gift cards. Neither of which we won, unfortunately.

Escapade Open

By the time everything was over, it was getting to be time to go eat. So about 5pm we headed out to have dinner. After finding our first choice Chinese restaurant closed on Sunday, we headed over to Humphrey’s, a place we had eaten at when we were here 3 years ago. Our meal was good, but when Jan ordered her burger well-done, I got mine well-done, whether I wanted it that way or not.

I’m more of a medium / medium-rare kind of guy myself. But we had a good time, anyway.

Getting back to the rig, we again sat outside for a hour or so until the sun went down and it started to cool off quickly.

Then it was in for the night.

Still No Windshield in Elkhart, IN


June 30, 2014

Finally . . . Maybe

Well, I was at the repair place at 8am this morning.

And then things went downhill from there.

When the guy from RV Glass, that was supposed to know all about installing this type of gasket on an American Eagle, didn’t show up, Josh, from Coach Supply, gave him a call.

And it turns out that the guy knew nothing about coming to help install my gasket. Nobody had said anything to him about it.

And in fact, he was already booked solid the rest of the week, anyway. And on top of that, he had never installed this gasket on any American Coach whatsoever.

At this point I threw a major snit fit (note the ‘n’).

I first called American Coach parts down in Decatur, IN to confirm, yes they did have the gasket in stock, and it was $266.69.

Then I got on the phone with RV Glass out in CA and jumped all over them, but politely.

The local RV Glass guy here in Elkhart had admitted on Friday afternoon that they were trying to use a cheaper, generic gasket instead of getting the real one from American. This, coupled with the phantom, know-it-all, no-show repair guy, was the last straw.

When I related all this to RV Glass HQ, that seemed to get the ball rolling. It took a little while but I later got a call back saying the gasket was waiting down in Decatur.

I had already mentioned that I was willing to go down and pick it up, so about 1:30 Jan and I hit the road for the two hour drive down there.

Real Gasket

When we got there, the gasket was waiting as promised, and already paid for.  I had told Josh not to worry about trying to install everything tonight, since we were already on the hook for tonight’s motel room, but that we would get a early start tomorrow morning.

We got back to Elkhart about 5:30 just in time to have dinner at El Maguey, probably our last time this year.

So hopefully, this time tomorrow we’ll be back in our rig.

We hope.

Little Choo-Choo Trains


June 30, 2015

Sedona and Wyoming . . .

About 1:30 Jan and I headed for a train day in Cornville, AZ.

We were going to visit the Wyoming Division Historical Society HO Model Railroad in the small town of Cornville.

Located in a fairly non-descript warehouse type building, there’s no sign of what’s inside.

Wyoming Division RR 5

The only giveaway is the mailbox.

Wyoming Division RR 4

Located in a 50’ x 75’ building built just for this purpose, it is geo-thermal heated and cooled via ten 180’ deep wells under the building. Right next door is a 30’ x 36’ shop where all the woodworking and metal working is done, keeping all the dust and fumes away from the trains.

We were warmly greeted by Verryl Fosnight, the owner and head engineer of the Wyoming Division Railroad, who spent over an hour showing us around and explaining the layout.

Wyoming Division RR 6

Wyoming Division RR 12

The layout depicts the 485 mile Union Pacific route between Cheyenne, WY and Ogden, UT in the year 1957, and is built on 3 different levels, with the top two levels for operating and bottom hidden level for staging the trains and simulating other destinations, like Chicago, California, and Oregon. Using 1957 as the year of operating allows them to authentically run both steam and diesel locomotives on the railroad.

Wyoming Division RR 2

As you can see from the above diagram, the layout folds back and forth on itself several times, allowing the depiction of the many towns and industries along the route. It also isolates the operators from each other’s view, allowing for more prototypical operation.

Wyoming Division RR 9

And overhead catwalk lets you look down on the layout, giving a better view of the overall operation.

This is one of two helices on the layout. A  helix is basically a spiral staircase for trains, enabling them to move up or down between the 3 levels.

Wyoming Division RR 11

And this is one of 3 turntables used to move engines into the roundhouse for either maintenance or storage. In addition, it can also be used to turn an engine completely around.

Wyoming Division RR 10

These control boards allow the operators to remotely control the many switches in the train yard.

Wyoming Division RR 7

The towns and industries on the layout mirror the actual ones found along the real route.

Wyoming Division RR 8

Wyoming Division RR 15

As of 4/15 the benchwork, track, and the DCC control system are all up and working, and they have regular operating sessions once a month. About 1/2 half the buildings are done, and then the actual scenery comes next.

Verryl just recently got his website up, and much more info can be found here:

Wyoming Division Historical Society HO Model Railroad

Sheldon would be so jealous.

Finally leaving the Wyoming Division, we drove toward Sedona on AZ179, a route we’ve never taken before, and in our opinion, much more scenic than the usual route coming in from Cottonwood on 89A.

Sedona Trip 3

Sedona Trip 2

Our main reason going to Sedona was to have dinner at the Szechuan Restaurant. We had been jonsing for Chinese since we left Prescott and our favorite Beijing Garden, so we thought we’d give this place a try.

Szechuan 1

The Yelp review gave this place only 3 1/2 stars, but looking at the reviews, it showed a lot of 4 and 5 star reviews, and some 1 and 2 star reviews, complaining about how they thought the martini’s were too expensive, or they didn’t like the sushi.

Our review would give it 5 stars. Everything was delicious.

We both got the Dinner Special, which gave us Hot and Sour Soup as well as an appetizer plate.

Szechuan 2

Jan got the Sesame Chicken, with white rice,

Szechuan 3

and I got the Orange Sauce Chicken with fried rice.

Szechuan 4

Note all the peppers on mine. I finally found a place that doesn’t wimp out when I tell them I want it extra, extra, extra, extra spicy. Mine also had pieces of grilled orange peel in it. Probably the best Orange Chicken I’ve ever had.

And because we had soup and appetizers, and the entrée portion was so large, we both had plenty to take home.

It would be nice to go back, but I don’t know if we’ll have time before we leave here next Monday.


Everything’s better with Bluetooth


June 30, 2016

What Might Have Been . . .

Jan’s been a little under the weather for the last couple of days. Night before last she woke up about 1am with a migraine coming, which I think is a first for one starting in the middle of the night.

She was OK yesterday, but then woke up this morning feeling bad again. So bad she didn’t even want coffee this morning, but she did have some cheese toast later in the day.

Hopefully she’ll back to normal tomorrow.


As Sheldon says, ”Everything’s better with Bluetooth.”

And apparently that includes First Response Pregnancy Pro pregnancy test

Now with Bluetooth!

So now, after you pee on the stick, or dip it in the cup, you can wander off and wait for the stick to contact the downloaded app on your phone with the results, via Bluetooth.

And even better, the app has Wait Time Support, where the app provides distractions to help reduce stress while waiting.

I mean, are we talking Solitaire, or a short story to read, or what?

And while we’re on the subject, did you know that there was a unaired pilot f or The Big Bang Theory done in 2006, before the series we know and love debuted in 2007.

The first pilot of what will become “The Big Bang Theory”. Leonard and Sheldon are two awkward scientists who share an apartment. They meet a drunk girl called Katie and invite her to stay at their place, because she has nowhere to stay. The two guys have a female friend, also a scientist, called Gilda.

The unaired pilot was available at one time on a Big Bang Theory Bonus DVD, but it is currently not available.

But you can watch a couple of video clips from that pilot here.

Unaired Big Bang Pilot

Seeing what might have been, I’m really glad they didn’t go with the first idea.

And as it turns out, a lot of well-known TV shows had unaired pilots, including The Munsters, All in the Family, and Gilligan’s Island. You can read more here.

Unaired Pilots


Maybe Green Next Time


June 30, 2019

Little Boy Blue . . .

Wrapping Up Our Waco Weekend.

Our stay at the Marble Falls Motel 6 was OK, I guess, except for the broken WiFi. And flakey cell signal so I couldn’t hotspot my phone either. Bummer.

Saturday morning, with Linda working, we met Chris and Piper for breakfast about 9am over at the Grand Central Café in Kingsland.

Grand Central Cafe

If this place looks kind of familiar, like you might have seen it in a movie or something, you’d be right. It was the setting for The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, shot in 1974. The house, but not the location.

When it was a movie set it was located over near Round Top, Texas, but was disassembled and moved to Kingsland in the late 1990’s, where it’s now part of the Antlers Inn, a turn of the century railroad resort that sits on Lake LBJ.

Grand Central Cafe 2

And the breakfast was just as good as the history behind the place.

Jan and I both got the Two Egg Breakfast, with Jan getting the Home Fries and Fruit,

Grand Central Cafe Jan

while I got the same thing, but with grits and bacon.

Grand Central Cafe Greg

Really good, especially the bacon.

Finally, getting in our goodbye hugs, we were on our way for the 3-1/2 hour trip down to Katy to meet up with Brandi, Lowell, and Landon. We were going to eat at a new place they’ve heard a lot about, Astor Farm To Grill.

It’s kind of an eclectic, fusion type of place, with a combination of South African, Venezuelan, and Argentinean food.  Not sure how they came up with that menu, but it is good. Very good.

Jan had the Lemongrass Grilled Chicken Breast with a salad,

Astor Lemon Chicken Breast

while I got the Gluten Free 8oz Angus Burger with Sweet Potato Fries.

Astor Plantain Burger

It’s gluten free because the bun is actually made from Fried Plantains. Other than that it was a normal, delicious burger.

I really got it for the plantains, not the GF aspect,.

Everyone really enjoyed what they had, and we’ll certainly go back.

We got home about 4:30, got everything out of the car, and then Jan followed me over to the Enterprise office to drop it off.

Then this morning while Jan was unpacking the suitcases, apparently Karma decided that the next time we leave to go somewhere, she’s going with us. Even if she has to camp out in Jan’s suitcase so she won’t be left behind.

Karma in Suitcase

Wrapping up, Landon decided he wanted to do something different with his hair this summer, so he went with BLUE.

Landon Little Boy Blue

Well, that’s certainly different, I guess. It’s temporary, and will wash right out if he wants to try something different.

Like GREEN!

We had a great time the last few days, getting to catch up with old friends, meet a new one, and also see both of our kids, et. all.

Really fun.



June 30, 2020

Bunny Rabbits . . .

I was on the phone awhile this morning, first with the Moen faucet people to order a new 1222 cartridge. Our Moen single handle shower faucet has started leaking, I.e. it doesn’t turn completely off. This is the 2nd time I’ve had to replace the cartridge to fix this problem. Luckily we have an on-off switch on the shower head so we can still turn it off there.

Then I put in a call Fleetwood-American Coach to get copies of the electrical schematics for the dashboard area. Our taillights and turn signals don’t work, and with both not working it’s almost certainly something with the main power feed to the systems.

I need to get this fixed before I put the rig in the shop for the oil leak.

Later, after a nice morning, Jan and I headed out about 1pm, and on the way to drop off some trash at the dumpster, we found we had visitor to our site.

Site Bunny Rabbit

Our first stop was the Snooze up in Webster for breakfast, with each of us getting our usual, Jan’s Bravocado Toast,

Snooze Bravacado Toast

and my 3 Egg Classic.

Snooze Gregs Eggs

Our favorite meal is breakfast, and we have it a lot when we’re eating. In fact, we also had breakfast a couple of days ago at our local Denny’s, with Jan getting an Mushroom Omelet with a side of Avocado,

Denny's Jan Omelet 4

while I got the All American Slam with Fruit.

Denny's Greg Eggs 4

Then it was on to Sam’s Club, WalMart, and the Post Office before finally getting home about 3:30pm

Nice day.

To Sous Vide Or Not To Sous Vide


June 30, 2021

I Guess They Ran Out . . .

I’ve been looking over sous vide recipes for doing our ribs this weekend, and it’s all over the map.

165° for 12 hours, 150° for 24 hours, or 145° for 36 hours. Rub or no rub. Salt or no salt. Marinate in vacuum bags overnight or not. Sauce or no sauce.

Or the ultimate blasphemy of them all, Liquid Smoke or not.

I think I’ve decide on how I’m going to do them, hoping that they come out looking like this example from the recipe I’m using.

BBQ Ribs Sous Vide

I’m not going to detail procedure yet because I’m sure that someone (everyone?) will be quick to tell me how I’m doing it wrong.

Now, chili. Beans or no beans?

I mentioned on Monday that I was ordered a new HP printer for work, not because of a printer problem, but because the scanner had cratered. And I probably scan more documents every day than I print.

And when I ordered it, it said it was available for Next Day Delivery. Great! But a little later when I looked at my Amazon orders, it now said that delivery would be between July 12 and 27th.

I guess they suddenly ran out of printers. So I quickly cancelled the order and started looking again. But quickly found nothing available on Amazon.

So ranging further afield, I found I could order it from WalMart, but it wouldn’t be delivered until July 7th. And there wasn’t one available for in-store pickup anywhere in Houston.

But then I found it at Staples. Same $120, Free Delivery, and it would be here this Friday. So I put my order in. Then today my tracking info said it would be delivered by FedEx tomorrow, Thursday.

Go Staples.

Things are looking up.

According to this article, Elon Musk has said that his Starlink service will be available ‘globally’ in August. Sure hope that ‘globally’ includes a little south of Houston, TX


Thought for the Day:

The trouble with trouble is that it usually starts out being fun.

Happy Birthday To Our Daughter-in-Law Linda

First off, Jan and I want to wish our daughter-in-law Linda a very happy birthday. Hope to see you and Chris soon.

I checked in on our Jeep repair this afternoon and found the needed torque converter bolts failed to materialize. They were ordered from the local Chrysler dealer who said they were in stock and they would be here Monday, but they didn’t show up. When my repair place checked back they were told that they were not in stock, and were on back-order. So now they’re looking elsewhere.

We finally got almost an inch of rain last night, enough to cool things off a little, at least. And though it’s been hot so far this summer, it’s never been as hot as it was right after we moved here in later 1978.

During our first summer in July 1978, we had 13 straight days with the temps above 100°.

A great welcome to Texas!

This morning tickets went on sale for the 2022 Wings Over Houston AirShow this coming October. And this year the Navy’s Blue Angel will be performing, so it’s certain to be a great show.

And because I bought the tickets so early, they were half price. So I splurged and got us tickets in the Family Chalet seating area. This area has large shade covers, and even better, free food and drinks.

FWIW One of my favorite memories of my time as a DOD contractor, besides, of course, getting to work on an SR-71, was getting to fix a problem of one of the Blue Angel’s F-4J’s. They had just transitioned to the F-4’s from the Grumman F11F-1 Tigers, so they were still getting acclimated to them.

Blue Angel F-4J

They came through the Marine Corp Air Station in Beaufort, SC, next to Parris Island where I was working and I got the call about a problem on one. Turned out to be just a bad relay, but I got to sit in the pilot’s seat while I was replacing it.

Neat!

I mentioned in a blog the other day about seeing Immersive Monet & The Impressionists exhibit up in Houston tomorrow, at the same location where we saw one of the Immersive Van Gogh exhibits last year. But our first one was actually in Paris when we visited there in 2019. It was called the Atelier des Lumières, and featured Van Gogh, but it seems that later this fall, it’s moving to New York.

Now called the Hall of Lumières, it will start off showing the works of Gustav Klimt: Gold In Motion.

Atelier des Lumières Gallery 1

Atelier des Lumières Gallery 2

Will definitely check it out if we ever get back to NYC.


Thought For The Day:

There are folks running the government who shouldn’t be allowed to play with matches – Will Rogers


June 29, 2009

Williamsburg and Jamestown…

Today we moved about 100 miles northwest to Williamsburg, VA  for a few days.

We want to visit Colonial WilliamsburgJamestown Settlement, and Yorktown Battlefield.

We’re at an RV park called Anvil Campground.  It’s only about 5 miles from Colonial Williamsburg,  but it’s not near as nice as our last park on the lake in NC.

Anvil Campground

Anvil Campground View

It’s OK,  but I guess we got spoiled at the last few parks.  Our coach backs up to the highway with no fence separating us,  so we have to keep a close eye on Mister when he’s out,  and although we have no neighbors right now, the sites are close together.

And there is a railroad track about 200 yards through the trees out in front of us.  We can’t really see the trains, or hear them, but strangely enough, we can feel them.  The whole coach vibrates as the ground rumbles.

After getting set up and goofing off for a while, we headed out to a local Hooters for our hot wing fix.  This was the first time we’ve been back to Hooters since we left Gulf Shores in March so we were starting to go into wing withdrawal.

In the latest news from the RV repair front, both my recent problems, the leaky water heater and the leveler jacks that wouldn’t go down, have mysteriously fixed themselves.

The water heater T&P valve stopped leaking the day before we left NC, and after not working when we got to the park in NC, the levelers worked fine here with no problems. Who knows.


June 29, 2011

Lewis and Clark . . .

Today was our last ‘touristy’ day here in Long Beach, so about 11 am we headed down to Warrenton, OR and the Lewis and Clark National Historical Park.

Unlike most National Parks, Lewis and Clark National Park is spread out over several locations in this area, both in Oregon and Washington. In this case we were visiting Fort Clatsop, where the Lewis and Clark Expedition wintered over in 1805-1806. In fact this was their last encampment in this area before heading back to St. Louis in March of 1806.

After watching a couple of videos on the “Corp of Discovery”, as the expedition was actually called, and getting our National Park Passport’s stamped, we walked out to the replica of the fort.

Built in 2006 to replace one built in 1955, that burned down in 2005, it’s based on plans drawn by William Clark. The fort was named for the Clatsop Indians who lived in the area and traded with the expedition.

This drawing will give you an idea on the size and shape of the fort.

Fort_Drawing

Probably the best part of our visit was Ranger ‘Tom’ in period costume telling us about life at the fort.

Fort Clatsop

Lewis 1

It was easy to tell he really enjoys his job. Most of this presentation concerned the weapons and ammo used, In this case, muzzle-loading flintlock rifles, horse pistols, and a air rifle. Yes, a .51 caliber air rifle, just like your Crossman pellet rifle, only a lot bigger. This photo show both rifles, the smaller one being the air rifle.

Lewis Rifles

The ranger also showed us a waterproof lead gunpowder container, developed by Meriwether Lewis, probably with the help of his close friend, then-President Thomas Jefferson.

What is unique about it was its usability. After the powder was emptied out, the lead container could then be melted down to make bullets.

Neat!

Lewis Bullet Container

Here he’s holding the Girandoni Air Rifle, or “Assault Rifle’ as it was also known.

The air was compressed with a hand pump and stored in the buttstock. Fully loaded, it could hold 22 rounds and could fire them as fast as you could pull the trigger.

Definitely the ‘Assault’ rifle of the era.

A little further research revealed some interesting facts about the Girandoni. In fact it has only been recently confirmed that it was a Girandoni at all. There seems to have been a big debate about this over the years due to incomplete information in some cases, and incorrect info in others. There was another air rifle of the period called a Lukens that most scholars seemed to think was the one carried by Lewis, But recent new facts have come to light within the last 5 – 7 years that led to the confirmation of the Girandoni, and even more importantly, the rediscovery of the actual rifle itself, which had been sitting in a private collection since the 1970’s.

The rifle’s identify was confirmed by matching details of the rifle’s damage, repair and markings, as told in Lewis’ journals, with the actual rifle itself.

Lewis Air Rifle

Next Tom gave us a demo of loading and firing the flintlock rifle.

Lewis Rifle Demo 1

After confirming that the barrel is empty with the ramrod, he poured in the coarse gunpowder, and then rammed a moistened cloth patch and a paper spitwad down the barrel. (Apparently they aren’t allowed to use a real lead bullet.)

Then as shown below, he primes the flashpan with fine powder after moving the cock to the half-cock position. Hence the phrase, ‘Don’t go off half-cocked.’ Because your rifle won’t fire that way. It’s like a safety.

Lewis Rifle Demo 2

Then after pulling the cock back to the full-cock position, the rifle is ready to fire.

I took this photo just as Tom fired the rifle. And when you fire a flintlock, you really get fire.

Lewis Rifle Demo 3

Zooming in on the photo shows the burst of flame igniting the powder in the pan and the first puff of smoke. I really lucked out on this shot.

A second later, Tom was enveloped in smoke as the rifle fired.

Lewis Rifle Demo 3 Inset

After that we headed back to the Visitor’s Center, leaving Tom, ever vigilant, guarding the fort.

Lewis Fort 2

Leaving Fort Clatsop, we drove a few miles up the road to Fort Stevens State Park.

We wanted to see the shipwreck that can still be found on the beach there. The Peter Iredale, a four-masted steel-hulled barque, ran aground on October 25, 1906, while on a voyage from Salina Cruz, Mexico to Portland, OR. (BTW a barque, or bark, is just a name for a ship that has three or more masts.)

Peter Iredale 1

Peter Iredale 2

The ship was trying to enter the Columbia River when a sudden squall blew it onto the beach here, and the high winds and rising tide further grounded it.

Seen in this photo, taken the day it grounded, the Peter Iredale, although not badly damaged, was unable to be salvaged, because during the several-weeks wait for favorable weather, the ship so embedded itself in the sand it could not be moved. Most of it was sold for scrap, leaving only the partial bow to mark its gravesite.

1906_peter_iredale_sized

While we were at the beach, Jan decided to feed this one seagull that was flying overhead. But he couldn’t keep quiet about it, so in a few seconds it was like we were under attack,

Seagulls 1

from both the air,

Seagulls 2

and the ground. Like being in a Hitchcock movie.

Seagulls 3

Leaving the beach, we drove over to Fort Stevens itself to check out the fortifications there.

What we didn’t know until I was doing research for this blog, was that the Battery , and to a lesser extent, the Peter Iredale, are famous for another reason.

Fort Stevens was the location of the only attack on a U.S. mainland military installation during WWII. On the night of June 21, 1942 a Japanese sub, the I-25, surfaced off the coast of Oregon and fired a number of shells from its deck gun into the fort, causing only slight damage and no casualties.

One of the shells, arcing over the remains of the Ireland, landed near the Battery and left this crater. Who knew?

Fort_Stevens_shell_crater,1942

Coming home, we did see this garage decorated with a very colorful fishing net float collection. And when we drove by, the guy was out there adding a new one. Now that’s a hobby.

Garage Floats

Arriving back into Astoria, we made a run by the bank, and then it was on to the Golden Luck Chinese Restaurant for the second time. And if anything, it was even better than last time. Really, really good food.

Getting back to the park area, we stopped in a the Shell station for the obligatory cappuccino, then after a stop by the park office to see if my package was in, (It was, but it was locked in the Manager’s office), we were home for the night.

Tomorrow will be a rest up and get ready to travel day, since we leave for Bremerton, WA on Friday morning.

Gillette, WY Escapade


June 29, 2013

Home at the Cam-Plex . . .

Since we wanted to be sure to be at the Gillette Cam-Plex by 2pm, I was up at 6am to start getting us ready to roll by 8am. If we get there after 2 then we won’t get parked until Sunday morning.

I woke up my Sleeping Beauty at 6:30, and after coffee and breakfast sandwiches, we were ready to pull out a little before 8, but then had a problem. The slide did not want to pull in. It would start up, move in two or three inches, and then stall. We then tried going out and in several times while I was pulling on it at the same time with no luck.

Then, although I done it a few months ago, I once again sprayed the slide rails with silicone lube, and while Jan hit the ‘In’ button, I pushed from the outside. The slide once again moved in a couple of inches, and when it stopped, I gave a big shove. The slide hesitated a bit and then started moving in with no problems. It seemed like something may have been on the track, and once it was cleared, it was all OK.

We pulled out of the park a couple of minutes after 8am with Jan following in the truck, and first headed down to the Sam’s Club to top off the diesel tank. A couple of days ago diesel there was $3.71. Today, just my luck, it was up to $3.75. Bummer. Of course, at 71 gallons, it’s only $2.84.

But it’s the principle of the thing.

While I was topping off, I added a quart of Diesel Kleen, something that was recommended to me by several truck drivers while we were gate guarding.

After fueling up, I pulled over to the side and Jan parked behind me so I could hook up the toad. I was happy to see that my somewhat-temporary solution to my towing lights problem seemed to be working fine.

I ended up wiring the taillights and the turn signals straight through, without any taillight converter, and they worked fine that way. As far as the brakes lights, I just upped the sensitivity on my Brake Buddy and let it provide the brake light function.

This should hold things until I can design and build my own converter.

We pulled out of the Sam’s parking lot and hit the road about 8:45 for 240 mile trip to Gillette, WY. The trip was smooth, with the only problem was a total of about 50 miles of one-lane construction zones. But with the very light traffic, and the fact that, though reduced, the speed limit stayed high enough that we weren’t slowed down all that much.

We pulled into the Cam-Plex about 1:30 and were quickly directed to our parking area.. In fact we’re parked right across the row from where we were parked in June 2010 when were were here for the American Coach Rally.

Life is good.

About 4:30 we headed out for dinner at Old Chicago Pizza which turned out to be very, very good. Jan and I both had salads and personal pizzas. All really good. Hopefully we’ll have a chance to go back before we leave.

Getting back to the rigs, we put our chairs outside, and along with Mister to protect us from marauding dogs, sat around for a while talking with our neighbors.

Tomorrow the vendor area opens at 9am and Jan wants to sign up for some of the craft classes so we’ll be there early.

Windshield Replacement in Elkhart, IN


June 29, 2014

Cabin Fever . . .

Jan and I headed out to breakfast at Bob Evans this morning about 10:30. It was either that, or take her down with a tranquilizer dart. And Mister too.

Both of them are getting severe cabin fever stuck here in this EconoLodge motel room. As far as me, I have my laptop, my Kindle, and my phone, so I’m fine.

But our breakfast was good. In fact we’ve never had a bad meal at Bob Evans.

About the time Jan was bouncing off the walls again, a little after 2pm, we headed over to Mishawaka for some shopping, finally ending up at Golden Corral for dinner about 5pm.

This is our third visit there and every one has been great. We’re going to miss it when we leave the area.

On the Landon front, he has his own version of the shish kabob. His is made from marshmallows and strawberries. Actually it looks pretty good.

27

Chris sent over a better photo of his new Yamaha 1900 bike. He and a bunch of other retired firefighters are planning a trip out west later this year, and he’s really looking forward to it.

Yamaha 1900

Tomorrow morning we’ll have the continental breakfast here at the motel, then I’ll head down to Coach Supply around 8amto see how things are going to work out with our windshield gasket. I’m also going to call American Coach down in Decatur, IN to confirm that they do have a gasket in stock and how much it is.

I want something decided by 11 or so, in case we need a gasket from American Coach. Either way, I’m afraid we’re probably looking at another night here in Cabin Fever hell.

Verde Valley and Sedona


June 29, 2015

Trains and Cranes . . .

First off, we want to wish our daughter-in-law Linda a very Happy Birthday, Looking forward to seeing y’all in a couple of months.

About 1pm I drove over to the park office and extended our stay until Monday, the 6th so we won’t be traveling on the 4th of July weekend. And by the time we leave here Monday morning, the high is supposed to only be in the double digits, the very high double digits, but double digits, nevertheless,

One thing we learned to do here, or at least Jan has learned, is to unlock the rig door before the sun starts hitting it in the early afternoon. Otherwise the door expands, and it’s very, very hard to get it unlocked and open.

About 3pm I called the Wyoming Division Model Railroad over in Cornville, AZ to schedule a visit for tomorrow afternoon.

Wyoming Division RR 1

Modeling the entire Union Pacific route from Cheyenne, WY to Ogden, UT, it has over 45,000 feet of HO gauge track. That’s almost 9 miles.

Wyoming Division RR 2

You can read a newspaper article about it here.

http://srr.stparchive.com/Archive/SRR/SRR08152012p05.php

Afterwards we may drive on over to Sedona for a look around. We visited here several years ago, so it’ll be nice to see it again.

About 4pm we drove into to have dinner at Hog Wild BBQ, a great favorite local place of ours, with really good ribs and pulled pork.

As usual I got the big Sampler Platter, of which I only end up eating about a third.

Hog Wild Sampler

Then the rest of it comes home as a later meal for both of us.

And all you have to do is park in the lot,

Hog Wild Smoker

and the great smells from the smoker just overwhelm you.

I’m kind of tempted to just hitch it up to the truck and take it home.


Ever try to win a prize for a child or grandchild on one of those crane or claw machines and wondered why it’s so dang hard to win something.

Crane Machine

That’s because it’s programmed that way, and and in more ways than you think.

Claw Machines Are Rigged

BlackTie Crane Manual

Ever grab a prize and start moving it to the opening,and then have the claw open slightly and drop the prize? That’s because it’s set to do that.

Actually the machine can be programmed directly for a wanted profit level. For example if it’s set for 50% profit level, the machine will only operate at full strength and work correctly 1 out of every 23 times

Or you can just let your grandchild climb inside and get his own prize like this.

Kid in Crane Machine

I’m sure Landon would give it a try.


Sealy, TX


June 29, 2016

A Close Call . . .

Or Thank Goodness For Whipping Cream.

Around 4pm Jan and I headed out for Sealy, about 30 miles back east on I-10. We wanted to get some stuff at Wal-Mart, and the one in Sealy is a full SuperCenter, and not a mini SuperCenter like the one in La Grange. And the one in Sealy is only about 4 miles further away.

But first we had planned on eating at the Whataburger, but ended up at the Hinze’s BBQ right next door.

Hinze's 1

We haven’t eaten at a Hinze’s in years, and never at this one. But we used to eat at one near Katy when we would visit Brandi the first time she lived in the Katy area. But then it closed, so that was it.

Hinze's 2

Jan had a Sliced Brisket Sandwich with Fried Okra and French Fries, while I had the 2 Meat Plate with Sliced Brisket and Ribs, and Bacon & Onion Potatoes and Green Beans.

Hinze's 3

Everything was good, especially the Potatoes and Green Beans. The BBQ was pretty good, but not Rudy’s or Peter’s good. But good.

Leaving Hinze’s, we headed right across the street to the Wal-Mart for a few things, before gassing up and heading back home to the rig. Then getting back home and unloading the groceries, it happened.

As I was bringing in a couple of bags, Miss Karma got loose by jumping out  the little sliding window in the screen door. She hit the ground and then froze, looking around with eyes the size of quarters. But before I could get to her, she turned and ran under the rig.

I called to her a couple of times, and she would stick her head out for a minute and then retreat. And the next time I looked under the rig, she had disappeared. But as I figured she had just jumped up on the front axle to hide.

So I asked Jan to to hand out the secret weapon from the fridge.

Reddi Whip2

Karma has been crazy for Whipping Cream since the first time she tasted some. In fact, I can even make the “squaawk!” sound and she will come running. So I got down at the front of the rig and squirted some out on the gravel.

But as Karma started to creep forward to the cream, a guy came by walking two small, loudly barking dogs. Karma immediately freaked and ran back under the rig.

So I started all over again, coaxing her out again. But just about then the guy came back by with the #%#$ dogs.

But finally after about 15 minutes I lured her out far enough to grab her and get her back inside the rig.

Glad that’s over.

Brandi and Lowell have introduced us to a new drink. It’s called Jin+Ja and it’s delicious. And very spicy.

Jin Ja

It’s made from Fresh Ginger, Cayenne Pepper, Green Tea, Lemon & Mint. It’s supposed to be good for your digestion and metabolism. We haven’t been taking it for that long, so we can’t answer to how good it is for you, but it is tasty.

And with the fresh ginger, and the cayenne pepper, especially the cayenne, it packs a real kick. But it’s very refreshing at the same time.

It’s available on line, and in some stores. Check it out.

More Photoshop Fun


June 29, 2017

The Gang’s All Here . . .

Jan and I headed into Katy once again this afternoon, about 12:15, but with a first stop at the Park Office.

I realize this morning that since we hadn’t left the park after we got here on Sunday, I hadn’t paid my $3/day 50amp fee yet, so I stopped off to take care of that.

We got Brandi’s just as Lowell arrived with Curtis, Tana, and Gwen, after picking them up at the airport. They had flown in this morning from Orlando after doing the theme park thing there. So we finally had the whole crew in one place.

Early in the afternoon we surprised our daughter-in-law Linda with a birthday cake.

Happy Birthday To Linda

Then everyone ended up in small groups scattered around.

Jim Tana Lauren Annisten

Piper Linda Debbie

It was really funny listening to Jan, who did medical records coding for 35+ years, Miss Piper, who’s now doing psych facility coding, and Curtis, who’s also in the medical field, throwing medical codes back and forth.

Jan Piper Curtis

Chris brought all his gumbo paraphernalia with him today and started working on a big batch of Seafood and Andouille Sausage Gumbo for dinner. Really made the house smell good, and the gumbo was even better.

Chris Gumbo 2

Jan and Brandi made up garlic bread to go with, the perfect addition.

Chris Gumbo 1

Then it was cleanup time with a lot of helping hands.

Reunion Cleanup

Later in the afternoon I was finally able to get everyone (except me and Jim who were both taking the photos) somewhat lined up so I could get a group shot for posterity.

This is the first shot.

Family Group Shot 468

But 3 people are missing from this shot.

Annisten was taking a nap, so I took a photo perched on the sofa arm a little later.

Annisten Shot 2

Putting the two photos together gave me this.

Family Group Shot with Annisten 2

Then I put Jim and I into the photo, giving me this finished shot.

Family Group Shot - New Finished 468

top left to right: Our son Chris, his wife Linda, me,  Jan, our son-in-law Lowell, our daughter Brandi, Jim, Debbie’s husband, Jan’s sister Debbie, Debbie’s daughter-in-law Laura, Laura’s husband Jason, Debbie’s daughter Tana, and her fiancé Curtis.

bottom left to right: Tana’s daughter Gwen, Laura’s daughter Avery Jane, Miss Piper, Landon, Laura’s daughter Ella, Debbie’s daughter Christina, and Laura’s daughter Annisten. And of course, Baxter the dog. I think I got them all.

That’s a motley crew if I ever saw one.

Jan and I finally headed back to the rig about 7:30, and after a quick stop at the Brookshire Bros. in Columbus, we were back at the rig by 8:45 after another fun day.

Tomorrow we get a day off, since most of the bunch are going over to San Antonio for the day. As far as Jan and I, Been There, Done That. Several Times.

But Saturday it all starts back up again with a cookout. Then Sunday we’re going down to Sugarland to watch Landon play Ice Hockey.

Wrapping up, I had been worried about the status of my Arizona CCW permit. I mailed it off from Apache Junction April 12th to an address right down the road in Phoenix. So now at the 2-1/2 month mark I was starting to get antsy.

Every time we would talk to Brandi I’d ask if they’d gotten anything for me from Arizona. And always, NOPE.

And I was sure that I had ask for my CCW permit to be sent to Brandi’s, but I was wrong. This evening, when I went through our mail that had come to our son Chris’ I found the letter with my permit. enclosed. And it was dated May 2nd. When means it got sent back out one day less than 3 weeks after I sent it in.

Fast service.

Gun Fun in Illinois


June 29, 2018

A Photo Finish . . .

I was up early this morning and back on the phone with Onan Tech Support. I guess they only have one guy because I talk with the same person every time.

But I finally got through to him and gave him the results of the fuel flow test. He then asked If I had checked the governor actuator connections. He said it was the next most likely cause of my problem.

So since our schedule today was pretty full with family stuff, tomorrow morning I’ll take the top panel off and hopefully discover a loose connection or two on the controller box. If not, we’ll just have to tough it out during our 400 mile trip to Athens, AL on Sunday.. Then I can get back on it Monday.

Once thing fun about visiting up here is that there’s always some shooting going on. Jim and Debbie have 15 acres with plenty of room for a shooting range.

Lowell got to try out his new XDS .45 for the first time.

Lowell Shooting 1

He said he really like the way it felt.

Curtis brought several of his guns, including this AK-47 semi-auto.

Curtis Shooting AK-47

I’ve been so busy working on the genset that I forgot to bring anything except my Ruger LCP .380 semi-auto. Curtis gave me some .380 target ammo so I didn’t have to shoot my expensive Cor-Bon’s, so I ran about 3 mags of his cheaper stuff  through it.

25 yards is kind of long for this small pistol, but after I got the range I did OK. My biggest problem was my eyes, or at least my glasses I wear glasses for my distance vision, and then take them off for close-up work, I.e. reading, computer, etc.

So if I wore my glasses, the target was clear, but the sights, such as they are, were pretty useless. And with my glassed off, the sights were sharp and clear, but the target was fuzzy.

But after some trial and error (some of the wild shots) I decided that I did better with my glasses off, looking through sharply focused sights at a big fuzzy orange ball. And once I got the sight picture locked in – sights over here, big orange fuzzy ball over there.- I did pretty good.

Shooting Target

Not bad for 25 yards with a pocket pistol. Every shot was on the paper.

We’re shooting again tomorrow so I’ll bring some bigger stuff.

After a delicious dinner or Crock Pot Pizza Casserole, Lasagna, and Salad, we all dressed up and headed outside for the picture taking, They had hired a professional photographer to come out and do a group photo and then individual family photos.

Family Photo Shoot 1

Here’s Brandi, Lowell, and Landon.

Family Photo Brandi

And here’s Jan’s sister Debbie and her family.

Family Photo Debbie

Tomorrow I’ll take another shot at fixing the generator, and then about noon we’ll head over to Debbie’s once again for a big BBQ feast with even more family.

And more guns, too.

Waco, TX


June 29, 2019

Magnolia Table and More . . .

Catching Up On Friday.

After our great time getting together with our long-time friends Bill and Carol Alverson, and meeting Bill’s cousin June for the first time, on Thursday, Friday was our day to check out Waco’s other big attraction, Chip and Joanna Gaines’ Magnolia Table and the Silos.

We had decided to go ahead and brave the long lines that everyone had warned us about, and have breakfast at the Magnolia Table, which as it turned out was right across the street from the Comfort Inn where we spent the night.

Magnolia Table 1

We had been warned by a number of people that we might have to wait for as long as 2 hours to get a table, but we figured we get there about 9 and wait it out.

Magnolia Table 2

So we figured that we must be living right when we were told it would only be about a 45 minute wait. So we were really surprised, and happy, when we got called for our table before we hardly had time to set down in the waiting area.

It was a whole 12 minutes! And the food was so good it would have been worth the 2 hour wait anyway.

When we signed we had said we were fine sitting at one of the communal tables, but ended up with a two-top all to ourselves.

Magnolia Dining Room

We started off trying some of the things friends had recommended, like the Lemon Lavender Donut Holes,

Magnolia Table Lemon Lavender Donut Holes

and the Biscuits with Strawberry Butter.

Magnolia Table Biscuits with Strawberry Butter

Both really delicious!

Then Jan got her fave, Avocado Toast,

Magnolia Table Avocado Toast

while I got a favorite of mine, a BLT, made with thick-sliced Maple Sugar Smoked Bacon.

Magnolia Table BLT

One of the best BLT’s I’ve ever had.

And here’s my sweetie, showing off her new You Are My Sunshine cat shirt.

Magnolia Table Jan

Then since I didn’t feel like braving the crowds, I dropped Jan off at the Silos, the other part of the Gaines empire, while I made a WalMart run. And once again the long lines we’d been warned against didn’t materialize.

Jan said there was about a 20 wait to get into the bakery, but it moved fast and Jan came out with some delicious goodies.

At this point, after connecting up with our son, Chris, we headed down toward Kingsland, with plans to meet Chris, Linda, and Piper, in Kempner at the Brick Oven, a really good German place.

Brick Oven Group

And like last time Jan got her favorite Jaeger Schnitzel,

Brick Oven Jaegar Schnitzel

while I also repeated with my usual Sausage Plate.

Brick Oven Sausage Plate

We also had a nice time talking with the owner, Hanzi, who is from Germany, about her recipes.

Finishing up, Chris, et. al, headed back home in Kingsland, while Jan and I drove on into Marble Falls to check in to our room at the Motel 6, before we joined them for a while.

Tomorrow I’ll catch with the rest of our trip, and work on the next installment of our recent trip, Cologne, Germany.

More Gator’s and Sous Vide


June 29, 2021

Maybe Tomorrow . . .

With on and off drizzling, we decided not sit outside with our coffee. Maybe tomorrow.

And it was still drizzling when we headed out about 1pm for lunch once again at Gator’s Bar & Grill.

Jan wanted to get the Redfish once again, but they were out. So she went with the Grilled Chicken Breast once again, while I got my favorite Blackened Chicken Breast Sandwich with Bacon and Texas Toothpicks.

Gator's Blackened Chicken Sandwich 20210629

It’s obvious why Gator’s has been become our new favorite place.

After that we made a stop up at the office in Clear Lake to pick up a bunch of Amazon stuff that had come in, and then it was on over to WalMart for a few things, including some baby back ribs.

Rather than Ribeye Steaks, we decided that the inaugural use of our Inkbird Immersion Cooker will be Baby Back Ribs for the 4th of July weekend, probably Monday, since most of the recipes call for a 24 hour cooking time.

Based on online recommendations we’ll be doing the cooking in a Styrofoam cooler with a lid which should help hold the heat in and reduce the need to add water along the way.

Inkbird Sous Vide

So, expecting a run on Ribs for this weekend, I decided to pick some up today at WalMart while we were there. And I’m glad I did.

The long cooler advertising Ribs was empty except for a brand-new stock of Smithfield Extra Meaty Baby Back Ribs and already vacuum sealed. So two slabs went home with us. But I may open them and use a dry rub depending on which online recipe I used.

Thought it’s been overcast and raining the last couple of days, when the sun is shining I’ve been impressed by how well the solar-powered fountain in Jan’s Flamingo Birdbath works. You just drop it in any container of water and off it goes.


Thought for the Day:

The only difference between a tax man and a taxidermist is that the taxidermist leaves the skin. — Mark Twain

  

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