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

Cricut . . .

I’m looking into purchasing a Cricut machine for use at my client’s office. I want to use it to make new front panels for some of the used epilators we purchase for resale.

Panels like this.

CriCut Berkowitz Epilator

Now this one is in good shape. But we have others, of many different brands, with smeared or scratched details.

It would be easy to repaint the panels, but what to do about the lettering/stripping?

Then I stumbled across a YouTube video on how to make permanent vinyl decals for cars. And it looks like it would be perfect to make new panel decals for the machines.

I downloaded the Cricut Design Software to get some idea about working with it, so I’ve got some more research to do.

When I left this morning, there was a bare concrete pad down at the other end of the park. But when I came home 6 hours later, I found this.

Petticoat Junction Garage Going Up

Like a giant Erector Set. (probably dating myself here.)

Thought For The Day:

I admit that my level of weirdness is above the national average, but I’m OK with that.

August 15, 2009

Hawaiian Shirts and a Roast Pig…

After doing some research on the Internet, I decided to try and track down a fuel filter for our rig.

St. Johnsburg, VT is a small town, but I was surprised to find that the local NAPA auto parts store had one in stock.  So I got the filter, and a strap wrench and drain pan to help change the filter.

Tomorrow I will get under the coach and see what it’s going to take to get the filter changed.  After that I will take the coach on a test trip down the road, and fill up with diesel while I’m out.

I have to do a test drive because the problem only shows up under heavy load, like hill climbing.

I didn’t try to change it today because it’s Hawaiian Day here at the park and they had a pig roast and potluck this afternoon.

And the pig and potluck were delicious.

So tomorrow, we’ll see how it goes.

Just a note, we don’t have cell service here at this park.  We have it at the top of the hill and down the road in town, but not here down at the bottom of the hill.

With Family In Vandalia, IL

August 15, 2011

Quilts and OraJel . . .

Once again we gathered at Robbi’s, for breakfast, and unfortunately, to say a temporary goodbye to Brandi, Lowell, and sweet little Landon. We met at 8 am instead of our usual 9 so they could get an early start back to St. Louis to catch their flight to Houston.

Brandi was worried because Landon was teething and really fussy this morning, very unusual for him. The last thing she wanted was to be the mother with the screaming baby on the airplane, but after some OraJel, and a little Benadryl, he was his usual cheerful self and slept the whole flight.

We won’t see them again until we’re back in Houston right before Thanksgiving, so we’ll have to make do with regular Skype sessions between now and then.

After breakfast and goodbyes, Jan headed back to Debbie’s so they could do some quilt-making, and I drove back to the rig to work on some projects.

A little after 3 pm I drove back over to Debbie’s to meet up with them for supper. As it turned out, the restaurant where we ended up was in Greenville, not too far from our RV park, so after dinner we just came home.

We’ll do our usual breakfast tomorrow morning, but with a smaller crowd.

Leaving Gulf Shores, AL

August 15, 2014

The End of an Era?

We pulled out of the Gulf State Park a little before 9 heading for Broussard, LA about 310 miles away. But our first stop was the Wal-Mart about 4 miles later to diesel up before we hit the road.

I had it all planned. I would pull up to the outside left diesel pumps, fuel up, and then loop around the back of the station and out into the parking lot where Jan was waiting in the truck. But the unplanned part was the big Coke delivery truck parked along the back of the station. So when I was finished, I had to back out into the street, but luckily it went pretty smoothly, and we were hitched up and back on the road pretty quickly.

Thirty miles later, we got on I-10 and headed west. After crossing the Mobile Bay Causeway, we dipped down through the tunnel under the Mobile River and up on the other side.

Going though this new tunnel always makes me think of the old Bankhead tunnel. Before this Interstate 4-lane tunnel was built in the mid-70’s, the 2-lane Bankhead tunnel, built in the early 40’s was the way under the Mobile river.

When it was built, it opened as a toll tunnel, costing 25 cents in the 1960’s. The toll was supposed to pay off the $4 million tunnel construction costs and then be discontinued.

But in the early 70’s a curious reporter wondered why it was taking so long to pay off that $4 million. A little investigating turned up the fact that the tunnel had actually been paid off around 1955. Since then the toll money just went to pay the salaries of the toll takers and all the administrators. But by the time this was discovered, the new Wallace tunnel was ready to open,

I was surprised to find out that the old tunnel is still there and in daily use. But no tolls now.

When we stopped at the Louisiana Welcome Center for a rest stop, Jan took over driving for a while, planning to take us almost to Baton Rouge, 90 miles away before we swapped back. But that didn’t quite work out.

About 20 miles out of Baton Rouge, the traffic ground to a stop. After creeping along at idle speed for about 10 minutes, I checked the Sigalert app on my phone and found there was a car on fire about 5 miles ahead, blocking the right lane. I went ahead and had Jan get in the left lane, hoping to speed things up.

Finally, while we were sitting still for a few moments, Jan and I swapped back, and I took the wheel again. Then about 10 minutes later, all of a sudden, the traffic starting moving, and was soon back up to full speed. And we never saw any wreck, or any sign of a car fire, no fire engines, no ambulances, just one lone police car sitting in the median without any lights on. Huh!

About 4:30 we pulled into Maxie’s Campground, about 10 miles south of Lafayette. The owner told us to pick any open site and let him know where we parked.

All the sites are back-ins, so we unhitched first, and then found a site where we could back in away from the highway. So we probably won’t hear any road noise.

Maxie's Campground 1

Maxie's Campground 2

A very nice park for $15 a night, 50 amp full hookups, under Passport America. The only downside here is no satellite reception. See all those beautiful oak trees?  There’s a whole forest between us and the satellite. But no problem for one night.

Passport America is something I recommend for all RV’ers. It costs about $45 a year and will pay for itself very quickly. In fact, since we left Houston the middle of May, we’ve already paid for a subscription, twice.

We had originally planned to eat at our usual place for dinner, Pont Breaux, nee Mulate’s, over in Breaux Bridge. In fact in 20 something years, we’ve never passed through here and not eaten there.

From 1994 to 2005, every month I drove up to Birmingham from Houston to check in on my mother. And I always stopped at Mulate’s for lunch, going and coming. And since I always ordered the same thing, I.e. large seafood gumbo, iced tea, and then bread pudding with whiskey sauce for dessert, all I had to do was walk in and sit down, and they would bring me my food, no ordering or anything.

But with Pont Breaux 13 miles away, and it’s hot and no AC in the truck, I asked the park owner about someplace closer, and he recommended Poor Boy’s Riverside Inn, a couple of miles up the road. This may be the end of an era.

Opened in 1932, it was originally out in the country, but as the years passed, an industrial area built up around it, with a lot of oilfield service companies, pipe companies, etc. Not really a bad area, but not where you’d expect to find a nice restaurant. As Jan said, you’d have to know this place is here, to find it. You’re not going to stumble across it by accident.

But we knew we’d picked the right place when we arrived and found the large parking lot almost completely full.

Poor Boy's Riverside Inn 1

And it’s very nice inside, white tablecloths and everything.

Poor Boy's Riverside Inn 2

I started out with a cup of their seafood gumbo, and then Jan and I both had the same thing. Well, almost.

We both had the Stuffed Pepper Jack, Bacon-Wrapped Chicken Breast. Mine was with Alligator stuffing, but Jan wimped out and had the Shrimp stuffing. On top is melted Pepper Jack cheese, and fresh sautéed mushrooms.

Poor Boy's Riverside Inn 3

Everything was just delicious, and seasoned perfectly. Even the Stuffed Baked Potato was great. And it all came with a salad with their homemade dressings, and a big basket of hot, fresh yeast rolls.

And if we weren’t stuffed enough ourselves, we had to finished it off with an order of their homemade Sweet Potato Beignets with Vanilla Sauce.

Poor Boy's Riverside Inn 4

Overall, this was one of the best meals we’ve had in a long time.

Tomorrow we’ve got a 300 mile run to the Colorado River Thousand Trails where we’ll be for a week or so before our next Gate Guarding adventure.

Colorado River Thousand Trails, Columbus, TX

August 15, 2015


As much as we love this park, it does have a downside: stickers, sandspurs, sandburs, or whatever you call ‘em. They come in on your shoes or pants cuffs, and then drop off to lurk in the rugs or carpet, waiting for a bare foot to wander near.

Mister’s bad about bringing them in as well, so we have to comb him out when he comes inside. But he always seems to smuggle in a few that we miss.


We didn’t do much today, never even left the coach. After being on the go for a while, it’s nice to just be able to read, watch TV, and play on the computer. Well I take that back. I did go outside to hook up water and sewer, since when we got here yesterday it was so hot I just hooked up shore power.

For dinner tonight Jan fixed up our leftovers from last week’s visit to Lambert’s Throwed Rolls in Foley, AL. With her Fried Chicken and my BBQ Pork Steak, it was a really good meal. And I guess we should consider ourselves lucky  that we didn’t have to file a lawsuit  due to “throwed roll injuries”. I guess maybe I’m a better roll catcher than she was.

Tomorrow morning we’ll head out about 8am for the 100 mile trip down to our son Chris’ house in Friendswood so he and I can replace the leaking radiator in our Dodge Dakota.

If we have time, we also may take a shot at replacing the blower fan resistor pack. The AC fan motor is running slow and this usually is caused by the resistors changing value

But we’ll have to see what we have time for. The radiator is the important thing.

August 15, 2016

Benchmark and BBQ . . .

With a 337 mile trip to Waskom, TX this morning, we were pulling out of the Benchmark RV Park in Meridian, MS a little before 10am. I was happy to hear no more groaning from my power steering, so I guess the added AW32 hydraulic fluid took care of that problem.

We’ve stayed at Benchmark once before, and it’s a really nice park. All 27 sites are long pull-thru’s, and at $17 Passport America, it’s a great deal.

A few minutes later we were back on I-20/I-59 heading for Miss Ellie’s RV Park in Waskom, about 3 miles into Texas from Louisiana, and about 20 miles west of Shreveport. The last time we were in Shreveport was last year when we had some time off from our gate guarding gate near Carthage, TX about 50 miles away.

The first leg of our trip today was only for about 90 mile to the outskirts of Jackson, MS, Brandon, MS to be exact. And Sonny’s BBQ specifically.

When we were eating at the Sonny’s BBQ in Pensacola a week or so ago, I noticed they had a location in Brandon, MS. I was checking to see if their Jackson, MS restaurant was still open, and found it wasn’t.

But checking where Brandon was, I saw it was right off I-20 about 15 miles east of Jackson. And checking Google Maps I found they had a really big parking lot in back. Big enough for an RV + Toad. So 90 minutes after we left Benchmark, we were pulling in the Sonny’s BBQ parking lot.

Sonny's BBQ - Brandon MS

This time Jan and I both started out with the Salad Bar, and Sonny’s BBQ does have a good one, with a lot of delicious options.

Sonny's salad-bar

And besides being really tasty, it helped fill us up, so we had more leftover BBQ to take home.

Jan got her standard Pulled Pork Sandwich with Fries.

Sonny's Pulled Pork Sandwich

While I went with my go-to meal, Sonny’s Pork 3 Ways.

Sonny's Pork 3 Ways

You just can’t go wrong with anything Sonny’s.

The trip was going really smooth until we started hitting rain west of Vicksburg, and it kept with us all the way through Shreveport  and on to Miss Ellie’s RV Park about 3 miles into Texas.

We stayed here at Miss Ellie’s back in 2014 on our way north to Elkhart, IN. Even though it’s not a Passport America park, it’s right off the Interstate, and at $22 it’s still a good deal.

We got in about 4:30, got parked, and set up. We got a nice long site, so we didn’t have to unhitch since we planned to stay in tonight.

Tomorrow we’ve got a 300 mile trip back to the Colorado Lake Thousand Trails, which has kind of become our home park. Saturday is Landon’s 6th birthday, and then we’ll start looking for our gate for this year.


August 15, 2018

Landon’s A 3rd Grader!

We still don’t know if  we’re closing tomorrow or not. They’re waiting on a release from the HOA (Home Owner’s Association), who apparently work at their own speed. Or lack thereof.

The buyer already has something else scheduled for Friday, so if we don’t close tomorrow, it will be on Monday. Assuming the HOA finally comes through, I guess.

After I left my client’s this afternoon, I went by the house to load our normal cargo back into the truck. So I guess if we do close tomorrow this was my last visit to the home we’ve owned for almost 40 years.

Jan and I really appreciate all the suggestions, hints, tips, and warnings we’ve gotten from our readers about our European cruise/trip. Every little bit helps, and it gives Jan more list-fodder, so she’s happy.

One reader mentioned the 30+ mile Chunnel trip between Paris and London 150 feet under the English Channel. I’m looking forward to it. Jan not so much. And not a lot to see along the way, I imagine.

Now that the whole ‘house’ thing is winding down, I’ve got a whole list of projects to get back on. Rig-wise, I haven’t looked at either my generator or my engine oil leak, so I’ve got that to look at.

And I’ve also got my smaller projects, like my remote dump valves, and the voltmeter/amp meter monitor using a couple of the modules, as well as several more things in the queue. Slowly, but surely.

Brandi sent over this photo of Landon off to school for his first day in the 3rd Grade. Hard to believe that he’ll be 8 this coming Monday, and he’s growing up so fast.

Landon's a 3rd Grader

Brandi said he had a great first day and was super excited when he got home. But she said she didn’t get a lot of details. She was on maybe her 4th question, when Landon said, “You have reached your max question limit for the day.”

She said she has no idea where he gets this sarcasm from. Jan and I told her we know EXACTLY where he gets it from.

Or as Jan says, “Revenge Is Sweet!”

August 15, 2020

Streaming Along . . .

Our changeover from DirecTV satellite to streaming YouTubeTV through our Amazon Firestick has gone pretty seamlessly. Of course, besides YouTubeTV, we also pay for  CBSAll Access, Acorn, CuriosityStream, NetFlix, and Amazon Prime Video. And even with all these we’re paying just over a third of what we were paying for DirecTV. Plus we also have some freebies like CWSeed, Pluto, Plex, and Peacock.

So we get more channels, unlimited DVR recordings, and full HD quality video.

Recently we’ve been streaming episodes of Grimm, Murdoch Mysteries, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, and Primeval. So this evening since we were down to the last 3 episodes of the last season, we binge-watch those to finish it up. One of our favorite shows.

Next up for our Science-Fiction selection we’ll replace Primeval with Warehouse 13, another 5 season TV show favorite of ours.

Several of our readers have inquired recently if we’ve given up traveling in our RV since we don’t seem to be doing much of it lately. No we haven’t.

2017 was our last year of  full-time traveling, where we’d leave Houston sometime in late February-early March and not come back until around Thanksgiving. But since then we’ve made several destination trips to Florida, Illinois, Alabama, and the Texas Hill Country.

In fact we did an RV trip this past January, but haven’t done anything since then while I’m working on my oil leak and lighting problems, but we’re not off the road yet.

August 15, 2021

My Baby’s Back Home . . .

When I got home from dropping off Jan up at Brandi’s Thursday afternoon the park WiFi was down, so I switched over to our Verizon MiFi in the interim. And when it didn’t come back up in a couple of hours, I texted Rob the park owner.

He told me that they were doing some upgrades to the WiFi and it would be back up soon. And when it did, WOW!

Physically it went from this,

Petticoat Junction WiFi Old_thumb

to this.

Petticoat Junction Wifi New_thumb

Plus the signal strength here in the coach jumped about 30%, and according to Speedtest.net the bandwidth went from about 10 Mbps to a little over 30. And a quick test showed me that unlike a couple of weeks ago, I can now stream 4K video with no buffering, jumping, or stuttering.

So, goodbye Starlink. For now, at least.

We were only looking at Starlink for more speed, but now we’ve got it . . .for free! So that will save us the $499 equipment cost, and the $99 per month once we get started.

So last night I put in for a refund on the $99 signup fee that I paid back in May, and they gave me no problem, and said my refund is on the way.

I was on the way up to Brandi’s in Katy a little after noon to pick up my lovely spouse. We had planned to eat lunch at Astor Farm to Table, but since we also planned on making our way over to Trader Joe’s at La Centerra afterwards. I decided that we should just eliminate a stop and have lunch first at the Grimaldi’s Pizzeria right across the street.

But it seems like everyone else had the same idea because we found a 30 to 45 minute wait. So we went back across the street and did our Trader Joe’s shopping while we waited. And as it turned out, we finished our shopping and still had about 15 minutes to wait for our table.

But luckily we already knew what we wanted so we were able to order immediately, starting with the Small House Salad. And the ‘Small’ part is an understatement. The Small Salad will easily feed 4 people. And we both had large servings and still had more than half to bring home for tomorrow.

Grimaldi's Katy House Salad

Pizzawise, we started with a Medium (16”) The Don, which comes with Italian Sausage, Pepperoni, and Meatballs. To which we add Bacon, Ham, and Mushrooms, our favorite ingredients.

Grimaldi's Katy Pizza

And like the salad, we had plenty to bring home afterwards.

Coming home we ran in and out some really heavy downpours before getting home a little before 5pm.

Glad to have my Baby Back Home.

I Think I Broke It . . .

Or – The Saga Continues.

Jan and I drove over to Gator’s this afternoon for what seems to have become our usual Sunday lunch. Saturday at Texas Huddle and Sunday at Gator’s.

But we both went in a different direction today, both getting something different, new for Jan and an oldie for me.

Jan’s been getting the Mushroom Cheddar Burger at Texas Huddle and today she saw they now one at Gator’s. Of course we’re really talking about a Mushroom Swiss Burger, but Jan’s version is always with Cheddar.

Gator's Cheddar Mushroom Burger 20220814

And of course the Sweet Potato Fries with some Ranch Dressing for dipping.

I went back with something I probably haven’t had for at least a year, the Blackened Chicken Breast Sandwich with Bacon and a side of Texas Toothpicks, which are battered and fried onion strips and jalapenos.

And of course Sweet Potato Fries, with Ranch.

Gator's Blackend Chicken Breast Sandwich 20220814

Always great.

This morning I tried to download a new album from Amazon, and I think I broke it. It started to download, and then stopped and died. Then when I tried it again, and then the rest of the day, it tells me to try it again in 15 minutes.

Rinse, lather, repeat.

If it’s still not working tomorrow I’ll get in touch with them.

And it looks like my UPS shipment is in orbit somewhere over Florida, moving from Riviera Beach to Hialeah to Orlando, and then to Jacksonville, before looping back around to Riviera Beach. Then it starts back over again.

Rinse, lather, repeat.

I mentioned in yesterday’s blog about Jan’s Opry crush, John Mark Davis, being a full-blooded Adai Caddo Indian.

John Mark Davis In Indian Dress

And here’s the proof.

Thought for the Day:

I really hate it when the voices in my head argue with my imaginary friends.

August 14, 2009

Moose River Campground…but no moose!

We headed out from Normandy Farms Campground in Foxboro, MA about 11:30 am, on our way to Moose River Campground in St. Johnsbury, VT.

We thought the 200 mile trip would take us about 4 hours, but two things intervened to make it a 6 hour trip.

First we hit a lot of traffic on the Interstates.  We’ve run into this problem ever since we left NY and headed up into New England.  There seems to be just too much traffic for too few lanes.

And, unlike Texas, where they will built a toll road specifically to BE a toll road, up here it seems like they just take an Interstate,  give it a name like ‘Mass Turnpike’,  and Shazam!,  it’s now a toll road.  What’s up with that?

But more importantly, the thing that really slowed us down is that we have an engine problem. About 100 miles into our trip, the engine started losing power on the hills and giving a “Check Engine” light.  My computer engine interface says that this is caused by a “Fuel Delivery Pressure” problem.

I’m showing no other problems.  It’s been a couple of weeks since I filled up with diesel so I don’t think it’s bad fuel.

Everything I can find online says the first thing I should do is to change the fuel filter(s) which may be clogged.  So that’s what I’ll try tomorrow.

Elkhart, IN

August 14, 2010

Tommy Guns and Wingmen –

We headed out this morning about 10:15 am, first to a gun show in Shipshewana, and then to the American Countryside Farmer’s Market.

We checked this place out last year and it’s really something.  It’s three stories high and totals over 51,000 sq. ft. inside.

FarmersMarket 1

FarmersMarket 2

FarmersMarket 3

FarmersMarket 4

FarmersMarket 5

And the really amazing thing is that, built by Amish craftsmen, there’s not a single nail in the entire place!

FarmersMarket 6

It’s all pegged together.

FarmersMarket 7

Here’s a shot from the construction in 2006. It’s all mortise and tenon and pegs.

FarmersMarket 9

At the Shipshewana gun show, we spent about 90 minutes walking the aisles and drooling over all the neat toys. I was tempted to buy Jan a Tommy Gun of her very own, but I couldn’t get the guy below $1000.


Here she is in Las Vegas earlier this year, taking out her anger on Osama bin Laden.

Gun 3

It’s hard to tell from this photo, but the target is pretty chewed up.

I did buy a new magazine for my Bauer “Baby Browning” 25 cal. semi-auto pistol though, so the trip accomplished something. This pistol means a lot to me, because it was my father’s pocket gun when he was a Police Detective in Birmingham, AL.

About 1 pm we headed over to have lunch at El Maguey, our favorite local Mexican place. Great as always.

Getting back to the rig about 2:30, I headed off to a nap.

It’s the strangest thing. I didn’t start out to take a nap. It just snuck up on me. What can I say?

About 5 pm I got the ladder out of the truck and climbed up on the roof of the rig. I wanted to remove a branch that was stuck in our rear “wing” and also install our Winegard Wingman TV antenna upgrade.


The Wingman fastens to the bottom of the head of the RV’s crank-up TV antenna seen below, and gives us a better signal on the new Digital TV stations.

Winegard RV Antenna

I also spent some time catching up on some other small maintenance items around the coach.

About 7 pm we drove over to a nearby Dairy Queen for a cold treat, and then getting back about 9:30.

All in all, a long, but fun day.

Still In Vandalia, IL

August 14, 2011

Fish and Boots . . .

First off, I want to show off Landon’s first pair of John Deere boots Brandi got him at Rural King.

Landon John Deere Boots

He’s all ready for the farm life now.

As usual, we met at Robbi’s for breakfast this morning, but with a slightly smaller group this time. Just Brandi, Lowell, Landon, Debbie, and Jan and I. Jim was a little under the weather and everyone else was off doing other things.

Leaving Robbi’s, Debbie showed Brandi, Lowell, and Landon some of the sights around town while Jan and I went back by Rural King so I could get some new boot laces

Later Landon showed off his new guayabera shirt, and then just showed off in general.

Landon George Shirt 1

Landon George Shirt 2

A little after noon everyone started setting up for the Fish Fry. This time we had everyone there for all the food and fun.

Debbie Fish Fry 1

Debbie Fish Fry 2

Jim had fried up a bunch of catfish he’d caught, and along with potato salad, corn casserole, pasta salad, and baked beans, we were in hog heaven. Emphasize the ‘hog’ part.

Debbie Fish Fry 3

Afterwards, too stuffed to move, we all set around and watched the kids play.

Debbie Fish Fry 4

Debbie Fish Fry 6

Debbie Fish Fry 8

Later, Jan told me to go fly a kite, so I did. But the wind wasn’t very cooperative.

About the time I would get the kite up about 20 or 30 feet, the wind would just quit and down it would come.


Debbie Fish Fry 5

And unlike yesterday, the weather cooperated and we didn’t have to move inside. So Landon just sat out and enjoyed the fun.

Debbie Fish Fry 7

All in all, it was an almost perfect day. The only thing that would have made it better would have been if our son Chris and his family, Linda and Piper, could have been here too.

Brandi, Lowell, and Landon leave tomorrow, and since they have to drive back to St. Louis to catch their plane, we’ll be having breakfast tomorrow at 8 am instead of 9.

We’re staying until Wednesday, when we head over to the Horseshoe Lakes Thousand Trails Resort north of Terre Haute, IN for two weeks.

August 14, 2012

Basketballs and Buckyballs . . .

Landon’s 2nd birthday is coming up next Monday and we ordered this expandable basketball goal for him.

Basketball 1

It looks like a neat toy and we’re sure he’s going to love it. And it can grow as he does.

Basketball 2
Note that according to the description it’s designed for ages 1-1/2 to 5 years.

Basketball 3

However a little further down the page is this required legal notice.


Basketball 4
So exactly what is the “small parts” Landon is supposed to swallow? The ball that’s almost as big as his head? The hoop that’s even bigger?


On a similar note, I’ve made my donation to the Save Our Balls campaign.

How about you?  (Get your mind out of the gutter.)

Buckyballs are adult toys made from powerful rare-earth magnets and are a little larger than a BB. Their popularity has taken the company from two guys in a garage to a $50 million company in three years.


Their sales and marketing plan was approved by the CPSC (Consumer Products Safety Commission) over two years ago. Now, with over half a billion magnets sold, and less than two dozen “incidents” with children, the CPSC has changed its mind and told the company to recall all of their products sold, refund all the money, and go out of business.

The danger with magnets is the fact that if a child swallows more than one, the magnets can stick together through the walls of the intestine and cause damage and infections.

This, of course, ignores the thousands of “incidents” of kids swallowing other small objects. In fact there have been over 30,000 hospitalizations from children swallowing money.,

They also sell Buckyballs in cubes, rods, and even Big Balls. (Again, out of the gutter.)

Big Buckyballs

So after reading the story I immediately ordered 2 sets, and they are really a lot of fun to fool around with. And of course they will be nowhere around when Landon is.

Well, one week from today (Tuesday) we will be on our way north to Celina, OH. Where the high temp today, 74, was lower than the low here today, 76.

And we’re really looking forward to some cooler weather.

Leaving Meridian, MS

August 14, 2013

Landon Bound . . .

Just in time for me to start getting things ready to travel this morning, it started pouring down once again. Luckily I had hooked up the truck last night so that didn’t need to be done. I ended up doing everything else outside in my shorts, T-shirt, and Crocs before finishing up inside and changing out of my wet clothes.

We pulled out of the Benchmark RV Park about 9am heading for Poche’s Fish N Camp and RV Park in Breaux Bridge, LA. Since rain was forecast all along our route, and we had a little over 300 miles to travel, we got a little earlier start than normal.

We did have rain pretty much all the way, but nothing like the gully washer we had yesterday. Jan took over a little before 11 and drove until we got into Louisiana. Of course, it rained even harder after that, but she handled it just fine.

But things ground to a halt coming into Baton Rouge, literally. Because of the heavy traffic merging from I-10 and I-12, and a jackknifed semi on the I-10 approach to the Paul Russell Memorial Mississippi Bridge, it took us over 45 minutes to go the 4 miles, but finally we were across the bridge and pulling into Poche’s a little before 4pm.

Poche’s is another very nice Passport America park at $18 for 50 FHU.

Poches RV Park 2

Poche's Sunset

All the sites here border around one of the several fishing lakes with a nice view in every direction.

Getting set up and the truck unhitched, we headed out for dinner at Pont Breaux (nee Mulate’s). We’ve really been looking forward to a big bowl of Seafood Gumbo all day. And of course Bread Pudding with Vanilla Rum Sauce for dessert. We’ve been eating there for over 30 years, and although Jan sometimes orders something different, I’ve never had anything else but Gumbo. It’s that good.

Tomorrow we’ve got a 240 mile trip back to Landon. And the rest of the family, of course. But we ARE talking Landon here.

August 14, 2014

Last Day in Gulf Shores . . .

I was up about 8:45, earlier than I really wanted, but it was for a good cause. We were having breakfast at Hazel’s Seafood Restaurant, another one of our must-eat places here in Gulf Shores, and another place we eaten at for years.

They have a great breakfast buffet, and normally we eat here the morning we leave. But since we’ve got a little longer trip tomorrow, and also have to stop for diesel, I figured it would be best to do it today.

Besides the great breakfast, we got to talking with the manager, Julie, who’s lived in Gulf Shores a long time, and remembers the old days like I do. She even remembered ‘White’s By The Sea’, my parent’s motel here. So we spent a very nice half hour or so talking over old times.

Next, up the road aways, we checked out the Wal-Mart gas station for big rig access to diesel up there tomorrow morning. Looks to be very doable, and a lot closer than doing it at Dodge’s in Foley with Jan having to follow me all that way. Plus we’ve got a better place to hitch up in the parking lot there.

Getting back to the rig I spent some time re-soldering the connectors on my Brake Buddy Alert Transmitter cable.

BB Cable Repair

This extension cable gets the transmitter up high enough, hanging from the rear view mirror, so that the receiver in the coach gets a better signal.

About 4pm, we headed for our final meal here in Gulf Shores. Well, in Pensacola, anyway. We decided to go back to Sonny’s BBQ for their great ribs, and pulled pork, but especially their sliced pork, which is something that’s hard to find in Texas. And by both of us getting the Pork Three Ways Platter, we had plenty to bring home and freeze for Gate meals.

Actually we’re kinda glad to be leaving here tomorrow because of the upcoming Flora-Bama Concert this weekend. Kenny Chesney is giving his one and only concert performance for this year at the Flora-Bama. And they’re expecting 10 of thousands of people.

They’re even shutting down the beach road and people have to take trolley’s in and out.

So it will certainly be a mess.

August 14, 2015

70,000 . . . So Far

We were out of our site here at Poche’s RV Park and on the road by 9am this morning, on our way back to Texas for the first time in about six months.

We’ve never stayed more than one night here, always on our way back to Texas. But it’s a nice park, and we always enjoy our stay.

Poches RV Park 1

The park is built around a number of stocked fishing ponds, and is popular with the locals, as well as RV’ers.

Poches RV Park 2

And the scenery is pretty great too. Note the heron on the sandbar.

Poche's Sunset

Besides being back in Texas today, we also hit another milestone. Since we picked up our coach January 6, 2008, we’ve put 70,000 miles on it, for a total so far of 134, 511 miles.

She’s just getting broken in.

Overall our trip was pretty smooth, except for the fact that I-10 becomes a pothole-pocked mess going through every town. Lafayette, Lake Charles, Beaumont, and of course Houston, are all a teeth-jarring mess.

We went through Houston around 2pm, so there wasn’t a lot of traffic, at least to me. I know some people don’t like to drive through Houston, but I guess I’m kind of use to it, having lived here since 1978.

I just find my lane and go. I was able to hold 50-60 mph most of the way with few slowdowns, but doing it at 5pm would have been a whole ‘nother story.

We got checked in at the Colorado River Thousand Trails about 3:30 and were able to get our favorite A2 site at the top of the hill.

Colorado River A Circle 1

We plan to goof off and rest up tomorrow, then on Sunday we’ll drive down to our son Chris’ and he and I will replace the leaky radiator on our truck, and get together for dinner.

For dinner tonight, and being Friday, of course it was the BBQ Buffet up the road at Peter’s BBQ. All the Brisket, Ribs, Sausage, Catfish, Shrimp, Fried Chicken, as well as sides and dessert, you can eat, and all for only $11.50. You can’t beat a deal like that.

It’s good to be back in Texas.

Meridian, MS

August 14, 2016

Worth the Rush . . .

We had planned to be up at 6 and on the road by 7:30. Instead we were up at 6:30 and on the road by 8.

We only had a 240 mile trip to Meridian, so normally we wouldn’t be on the road until around 10, but today we had kind of a time crunch.

Since we were overnighting in Meridian, we definitely wanted to eat at Weidmann’s Restaurant. But there was a problem. On Sunday, Weidmann’s is only open from 11am to 2pm for their Sunday Jazz Brunch.

So we wanted to get to Meridian by 1pm or so, to have time to get to the restaurant before they closed.

But besides our late start, there was another problem. We needed to get diesel before we got on I-65 S. And of course this was the ‘perfect’ morning for a really slow diesel pump.

So $300 and almost an hour later, we were hitched up and on the road by 9am. Later than we had planned, but with luck we might still make it.

We took I-65 south to Birmingham where we then took I-20/I-59 south by Tuscaloosa and on toward Meridian. We did run through another of those strange brief heavy rains under bright sunshine.

Then on the west side of Tuscaloosa we ran into another slowdown. There were signs for a construction zone ahead, and then traffic slowed to 5-10 mph crawl. Finally after about 20 minutes of this, passing construction equipment with no one around. we finally came to the traffic obstacle, the thing blocking the left lane, and forcing all the vehicles down to one lane. It was a SUV with flashing blue lights just setting in the left lane with no one around. In fact we didn’t see a single worker. And then once we were all past that, it was back to full speed again.

We got to the Benchmark RV Park about 1:15 and got parked and just plugged in shore power. We didn’t even put out the slide yet. And as soon as I had the truck unhitched we were on our way by 1:35.

We were only about 10 minutes away, so I was hoping that we could still get in for the brunch. And as it turns out, Weidmann’s is one of those places that if you make in the door before 2pm, you’re good to go.

Weidmann's Sign

Weidmann's Dining Room

Weidmann’s is the oldest restaurant in Mississippi, in operation since 1870, and a quick look at just their Brunch menu will show you why they’ve lasted this long.

Weidmann's Brunch

Jan of course, went for the Crab Cakes, homemade with lump crabmeat, special seasonings and served on fried green tomatoes with a white wine sauce and served with fresh fruit.

Weidmann's Crab Cakes

Jan has a new favorite dish, I think.

I decided on the Prime Rib Po’boy, a 8 ounce prime rib served on a Po’boy bun with their spicy horseradish sauce and topped with flash fried onion rings and served with homemade potato chips.

Weidmann's Ribeye PoBoy

And mine too was delicious, and so big that I could only eat half of it. And what’s even better here are the prices.

My 8 oz. Prime Rib Po’boy was only $13.95, and Jan’s Crab Cake were only $15.95. Really great prices. And our waitress Linda was great too. (she insisted I tell you that)

Getting back to the rig, we put out the slide and I set up the Satellite dome. We don’t normally hook up water and sewer on these one night stops, so after I let out the awnings, I was done.

Well, almost.

I had noticed this morning that as I was pulling out of the park that I was hearing a little groaning from my power steering. But it was fine once things warmed up. So I figured that I was a little low on hydraulic fluid and would add some when we got to Meridian.

I did keep an eye on my engine temp just in case since strangely enough, the same hydraulic system that runs the power steering also runs the radiator cooling fan. But the temp stay in its normal 175-180 degree range the whole trip.

So after I finished setting things up, I looked for my gallon jug of AW32 hydraulic fluid, and I couldn’t find it. It should have been in the back of the battery bay, but it wasn’t. And I checked a couple of other likely bays with no luck.

So it was off to a nearby O’Reilly’s for another gallon to take care of the problem.

Tomorrow we’ve got a 300 mile run to Miss Ellie’s RV Park a little west of Shreveport. As I mentioned yesterday, due to all the flooding and the road closures along 1-10/I-12, we’re taking the northern route home.

Flooding on I-12

In fact the flooding is so bad down there, that they are helicoptering in supplies to the motorists who have been stranded on the Interstate for more than 24 hours.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to everyone affected.

August 14, 2018

And One To Go . . .

Today was our penultimate visit to the house trying to wrap up clearing out the last of our stuff.

Actually though it was 3 separate visits today, with the first one to pick up a lot of left-over packing materials and a bunch of stuff for the Salvation Army.

We left the rig about 11 and after picking up the stuff at the house, dropped off the packing stuff at my clients since he ships so much stuff. Then after a delicious lunch at our favorite East Star Chinese Buffet, we dropped off the stuff for the Salvation Army.

Then it was back over to the house to get a load to take back down to the store room. And after that it was back up to the house for a load of things that we’re keeping at the rig until Brandi, Lowell,and Landon have moved into their new house. No use taking it up now so they just have to move it. So we finally got back to the rig about 4pm.

Then tomorrow I’ll go by the house one last time to load all of our normal stuff, air compressor, battery charger, antenna poles, spare parts, solar screen panels, etc., back into the truck. Then we should be done.

As far as we know we’re still closing on Thursday, but no time or place yet. And it turns out that Brandi’s closing has also been moved up a week, to Friday, August 24th. The sooner the better for all of us.

As we’ve been moving a lot of boxes of old family photos and letters, we keep coming across some interesting things, including this old photo of one of my parent’s beach houses at Orange Beach, AL near Gulf Shores.

Gulf Shores Beach House

In 1957 my parents bought 300 feet (six 50 foot lots) of beachfront land at Orange Beach. Then in the mid-60’s they traded 4 of the lots to a builder to build two houses, the Sea Fever and the Sandpiper, of my father’s design on the remaining lots. You can see the other one just to the left in the photo.

They rented them out over the next 30 years, and Jan and I stayed in one a number of times. Then my parent’s sold one in the mid-80s, and then in the mid-90’s, after my father died, my mother sold off the other one.

One of the buyers tore down the Sea Fever and built a nice three story brick house. The second buyer actually moved the Sandpiper to the other side of the street, shown below.

Gulf Shores Beach House Property 2

There were also nice brick homes built on the other four lots to the west. Then in 2004 came Hurricane Ivan.

Now my father had been building on the beach since the early 50’s, and he knew how to build things that would survive hurricanes. And that was the case with Ivan.

All the homes along the 300 feet just disappeared, with no trace left. And all the homes on either side of my parent’s remaining house also were gone. Only the Sandpiper survived. And it’s still there today.

And note that nothing has been built on the other lots in the last 14 years.

August 14, 2019

The Culprit . . .

Brandi sent over this photo of Landon all booted up and ready to go for his first day of school as a 4th grader. Brandi said he told her he was too old to be walked to school. Brandi wants to know where her baby went.

Landon Off To School 2019

And he’ll be 9 years old next Tuesday, the 20th. But for scheduling purposes, his party won’t be until Sept. 7th. Which also happens to be Miss Piper’s 26th birthday.

Speaking of Miss Piper, I mentioned last month that she had taken a job as a C.C.J.A.P. (Certified Criminal Justice Addiction Professional).at a at a minimum security women’s prison in the Burnet area, one that houses only substance abuse inmates. She’s counseling individuals who are incarcerated and/or receiving court-ordered substance abuse treatment services.

And even though it’s a minimum security facility, she still had to take a self-defense course before she started.

When we heard from her a week or so ago, she said that there were a lot of interesting stories and that it puts life in a different perspective.

I told Jan that it may be as eye-opening to Piper as it was to her when we first met. As I’ve mentioned before, we met when we were both working at a slightly-seedy amusement park in Titusville, FL

Besides a few college kids like Jan and I, the other workers were a wide swath of ex-prison guards, cowboys, carnies, and even a couple of Hell’s Angels. And believe me, all of this was a real eye-opener to a good little Mormon girl like Jan.

Luckily for me, she didn’t realize that I was the one she really had to worry about.

My new oil filter gasket finally showed up today, and since my new oil filter came in yesterday, I’m all ready to do the change out.

This is what the culprit looks like.

Cummins Oil Filter Gasket 2

But between a family get-together up at Brandi’s this weekend, and needing to get my brakes done first, the filter thing will have to wait a while.

Since my Mr. Coffee had been doing a lot of Snap, Crackle, Popping lately, that means that I need to run a few pots of vinegar through it. That will get rid of all the calcium buildup.

Mr Coffee

While I was doing that, I was trying to decide if I wanted to tear into it. We have enough momentary power glitches here that I’m getting tired of having to reset the clock and delayed start times. So I’m thinking about adding a small battery inside to keep the clock chip running while the power is off. Kind of an internal UPS, I guess.

I actually found a schematic of the unit online and it looks like a couple of diodes and a 9volt battery should do the job, and would last a long time.

Just something else for the list, I guess.

August 14, 2020

Fleetwood and Spartan . . .

I spent a lot of time on the phone today talking with both Fleetwood and Spartan about my wiring/lighting problems, and I may have a new insight on the problem

As before, Fleetwood/American Coach was no help, but when I was talking with the guy at Spartan Chassis about how this almost had to be something common to all 4 light systems, taillights, turn signals, brake lights, and backup lights, and not 4 separate problems.

And then he said, “Have you checked the point where American’s coach wiring splices into our chassis wiring?”  Well that sounds interesting. And when I ask where that was, he said that it was back in the engine compartment, and to just open the doors and look down.

And this is what I saw.

RV Chassis Wiring

This is also where the wiring that feeds the toad lights is spliced in. And it’s always looked like this.

Well, not all oily. That’s from my leak, but all tie-wrapped together in a big bundle. It came that way with the rig, and since it always worked, I left it alone. Until now, I guess.

But first I’ll have to degrease the area and then start tracing things out. More later on that.

Also looks like I’ll give to get up on the rig roof again tomorrow. The front AC is dripping in the rig, which means that the outside drain holes are stopped up again. This time I’m going to drill the holes out much larger and even maybe add some more.

We’ll see. But it’s going to be a busy weekend.

Our daughter Brandi got some good news from her work a couple of days ago. They won’t be going back into the office before the end of January 2021.

She said she gets more done, without the daily commute time, toll roads, gasoline, lunches, and business clothes. And think she’d be happy if it stayed that way.

And I think a lot of other people feel the same way about their jobs too.

August 14, 2021

Toads and Hummingbirds . . .

Well, it looks like the hummingbird we thought we saw zip by while we were out on the patio was not just our imagination. While I was sitting out Friday morning before going into work, I saw one hovering by one of the day-old, closed-up hibiscus blossoms.

Just saw him for a couple of seconds before he flitted away, but he wasn’t very colorful, just kind of grayish. Too quick for me to get a photo, but hope he’ll be back.

A couple of days ago I mentioned our ‘frog pond’, basically a plate that catches the AC drip from the rig roof to be sure that the family of frogs we have living around the patio always has water.


Turns out that Chris and Linda have a resident frog in this water fountain.


Made from an old fireplug, it’s a neat feature for their backyard. But it seems like they’ve a frog who visits regularly for a swim.

Toad The Wet Sprocket

Named Toad The Wet Sprocket, (Believe it or not, they’re still touring) Linda says he shows up every 3 or 4 days for a dip. She said Chris built a ramp to make it easier for him to get in and out.

This past Friday, tickets went on sale for this year’s Nutcracker Market, so I got us tickets for the first day, Thursday, November 11. So our busy November social calendar is filling up fast, with the Nutcracker Market on the 11th, the first Immersive Van Gogh on the 16th, the 2nd one on the 21st, and of course, Thanksgiving on the 25th.

And then that all segues into our Branson trip starting on the 5th of December. And with the Branson timeframe nailed down, we’re now talking about our next trip and our next, next trip.

For our next trip, having had two Alaskan Cruises cancelled out from under us, and all the uncertainty re: cruises, vaccinations, and people still getting the WuFlu anyway, we’re thinking seriously about just flying to Fairbanks next May, renting a car, and spending a couple of weeks checking out all the places around the state we liked when we spent 5 months up there in 2008.

And then for the next, next trip, Jan has always wanted to do a New England Fall Foliage tour, so we’re thinking about flying up there for a week or so  in late September – early October next year. So a lot in the works.

I’ll be heading up to Katy about noon tomorrow to bring Jan back home from her weekend dog-sitting caper. Probably eat lunch at Astor Farm to Table again before we head back down this way.

Can’t wait.

Thought For The Day:

And I thought we had it bad when I had to walk 5 miles to school.
Both ways.
In the snow.

Kids Crossing River

These are kids crossing a river on a pulley line to get to school in Italy in 1959.

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