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

Good To Go . . .

For Another Year.

We were up at about 6am this morning, and on our way a little after 7, heading up to Friendswood for our yearly Doctor’s appointments set for 8am. We always schedule these appointments for the first thing in the morning, since it seems as the day goes on, things fall further and further behind. But this way we were on our way a little after 9:30.

I had mentioned before that, due to the discontinuation of our Kroger’s Pharmacy Plan, I was looking for a new drug provider. And after a lot of research, I settled on Mark Cuban’s Cost Plus Drugs.

The prices were even better than Kroger’s, so I set up accounts online for both of us a couple of days ago. And it looked like our doctor would just have to send our prescriptions into them like they now send them into Kroger’s. But then the nurse who took the CPD info checked her system and said they couldn’t submit prescriptions to them because they weren’t in her ‘system.’ Well, bummer!

But then a few minutes later Dr. Spuhler stuck her head in the door and said the nurse was incorrect, and that they could submit them with no problems.

Everything looked good for both of us, at least until they get our lab tests back in a couple of days. She was really happy with my blood pressure, which came in at 122/71. Which is almost exactly what my smart watch tells me.

Yay Me And Jan!

And the prescriptions showed up in our CPD’s account before we even left the office.

Finishing up we made a Dollar Tree stop for some things that Jan was looking for, and then a quick visit to the office to install some panel bulbs that had come in.

Then it was on over to our reward for our good doctor visits, Grimaldi’s Pizzeria.

And after our salads, we got our usual 18” The Don pizza. It comes with Italian Sausage, Pepperoni, and Meatballs, to which we add Mushrooms, Bacon, and Jalapenos.

And we get the 18” one so we have half of it to take home with us.

Our server this time was Emily, a very nice young lady who took great care of us. Hopefully, we’ll see her again.

Hi, Emily!

As we were leaving after our delicious meal, I saw these 40# bags of coal stacked out front, as in their coal-fired pizza ovens.

I thought it was interesting that this is Santa Claus-brand Coal. So I guess Santa has some left over after Christmas each year. You can only fit so much in each stocking, I guess.

Later this evening, I logged into our CostPlus accounts and got our prescriptions on the way. And even with the $7 shipping fee, it was still cheaper than Kroger’s.

The only problem is that it seems that two of Jan’s scripts didn’t come through, so I’ll call the doctor’s office tomorrow and get it straightened out.

Thought For The Day:

All men like to think they’re marrying nymphomaniacs. The problem is, often after a few years, the nympho leaves and the maniac stays.

Your Retro-Preview Highlights –

2010 – Our Tour of the Warner Bros. Studios in Los Angeles

2015 – Our Second Visit to the Out of Africa Wildlife Park in Arizona

Now On To Today’s Retro-Blogs.™

April 15, 2010

Warner Bros. and Baja…

We left for Hollywood and our Warner Bros.Studio Tour about 9 am, about 3 hours before our tour was to start.  And I’m glad we did.

I figured it would take us about an hour and 15 minutes to get there and that would give us plenty of time to walk around and then eat lunch before our 12:00 noon tour.

But we hit a lot of traffic after we left the freeway, so it took us almost two hours to get there, get parked, and get checked in. That left us an hour to find a place to eat.

One of the problems with the traffic turned out to be the fact that Hollywood Blvd. was shut down on the block in front of Grauman’s Chinese Theater. At first, we thought they were filming a movie due to all the production trucks It turned out to be a promotion for the upcoming Long Beach Grand Prix.


Looking around we decided to try Baja Fresh Mexican Grill right across the street. We’d seen the restaurants around but never tried one, so this seemed like a good chance. According to their ads, everything is fresh. They say they don’t even have a can opener.

Lunch was very good. Jan had a two-taco plate and I had a bowl of chicken tortilla soup and a pork nacho burrito.

Walking back across the street to Grauman’s we looked over the footprints in the courtyard. Here’s one for Roy Rogers and Trigger.


We were supposed to leave on our tour at noon, but didn’t get picked up until about 12:30. The bus drove us over to the Warner Bros. studio to actually begin our tour.

The first thing we saw was the iconic Warner Bros. water tower.


It’s no longer a real water tower. It’s really just a sign now.

The first part of the tour took us through some of the many backlot sets.

Backlot 3

And here is a backlot used in the TV show ER.

It shows the EL train trestle and the ambulance entrance to the hospital.

Backlot 2

Unfortunately, with much of the really neat stuff, we were not allowed to take pictures.

We visited the set of one of our favorite shows, “Two and a Half Men”, which is on hiatus. It was interesting to see how different the sets look when you’re sitting in the audience instead of watching on TV.

Next, we watched an outdoor shot being filmed for a new TV show called “Pretty Little Liars” This is a pilot show developed from a series of young adult books.

Then we visited a car museum showing cars from movies and TV shows filmed at Warner Bros.

Here the Sunbeam Tiger used in the recent “Get Smart” movie

Get Smart

Here’s one version of the Batmobile.

Batmobile 1

And here’s another.

Batmobile 2

And here’s a scene showing the car from “Harry Potter”.

Harry Potter

Next, we saw the General Lee from the “Dukes of Hazzard” TV show. During the show’s run, they went through 257 of these.

General Lee

In the General Lee pic above, notice the green screen in the upper right. They used this to show us how they can insert something into a scene that’s not really there.

They photographed us in front of the screen and then put a movie scene in with us.


The last thing we saw was the complete “Central Perk” coffee house set from “Friends”, using all the original furniture and props.


We really enjoyed this behind-the-scenes type of tour. We had done one of the special effects tours at Disney World last year that showed all the stunts and tricks, so it was nice to see something different.

By 4 pm we were on our way home. Heading out this late I was worried about going-home traffic, but it wasn’t too bad. We were home by 5:30 and in from the night.

April 15, 2011

Prescott and the Dells . . .

(Sounds like a 60’s singing group, doesn’t it.)

BTW it’s ‘Prescut’, not Pres Scott.

Anyway, today was a road-trip day, so we got on the road about 10 am for the 50-mile trip to the Prescott and Prescott Valley area.

Getting there, we first headed out to the Granite Dells area.

Granite Dells 1

Granite Dells 2

Granite Dells 3

Granite Dells 4

Granite Dells 5

Granite Dells 6

The Dells are a 1.4 billion (that’s Billion with B) year-old formation that was upthrust from the volcanic magma underneath. It was a mixture of softer rock, along with the harder granite, all bubbling together. Over the past hundreds of millions of years, the softer rock has eroded away, leaving only the ‘bubbles’ of granite.

The granite rocks here also have an unusually high amount of uranium, so any houses in the area must be regularly checked for radon.

After leaving the Granite Dells area, and taking a drive through the local VA Hospital, looking at some of the old buildings left over from when it was Fort Whipple, an Army base, we drove through the downtown area, taking in the sights and checking out some of the many Victorian-styled houses in the downtown historic district.

This one was the home of Barry Goldwater’s parents.

Prescott House 1

By then it was lunchtime, so we headed back out to a Fuddruckers in the Prescott Valley area. Our burgers were great as usual, and although, we didn’t try them, they now have burgers made with Buffalo, Elk, Ostrich, and Wild Boar.

After lunch, we took in some of the many shops in the downtown area around the courthouse known as Whiskey Row. Whiskey Row got its name because in the late 1800’s it was home to over 40 saloons. It was also a notorious red-light district until the middle 1950’s. Sounds like a place where a guy could have a really good time.

Jan did find a very nice bead and stone Indian-styled necklace at one of the shops that we got a really good deal on since it was the end of the season.

Before leaving the downtown area, we drove around for a while, looking at more of these really beautiful homes.

Prescott House 2

Prescott House 3

I was wondering why you would find so many of these Victorian-styled houses out here in Arizona. It turns out that the area was originally settled by folks from the Northern and Mid-Western states, who brought their favorite architecture with them.

Prescott was the first capital of the Arizona Territory, starting in 1864. It was also the 3rd capital, but that’s another story.

Finally heading for home, we stopped off at the Sam’s Club in Prescott Valley, and then checked out the RV facilities at the local Elk’s Lodge. You can never tell when we might want to stay here.

Our last stop in the area was a very large Ace Hardware that we saw on our way into town.

Getting back into Camp Verde about 6:15, we made a DQ stop for a little frozen refreshment, before heading home about 7:30.

A long, but very fun day.

Tomorrow it’s another road trip. This time up to Flagstaff. Coming home, we’ll probably come back the longer, scenic route through Sedona.

April 15, 2012

Out In The Middle Of Nowhere!

Well, we’re parked at our first gate out in the middle of nowhere.

No Internet.

No cell phone.

Fun, fun, fun.

Will post a full blog tomorrow.

April 15, 2013

OK, Now I’m Confused . . .

Jan’s been wanting to have breakfast some morning, and today was the day. We decided to give Over Easy a try. A new entry in the “breakfast and lunch only” field, along with places like The Egg & I, Jimmy’s Egg, Le Peep, and others,

Over Easy

and it turns out to be a pretty good entry, at that.

Jan went old-school with scrambled eggs, bacon, and hash browns, but went a little wild with brioche toast, which she said was delicious.

Brioch French Toast

I, on the other hand, went with the Caramelized Banana and Pecan Brioche French Toast, and WOW, was it good. Hopefully, we’ll go back.

Now that’s just pitiful!

Mister in Small Box

I’ve mentioned before how much Mister likes boxes, especially Amazon boxes like this one. He likes to curl up in them, and he likes to snack on them. But sometimes it’s a futile attempt.

He did try with this one, though, a valiant effort, but he just won’t fit. He’d sit in it, get out, turn around, look at it, then try it again from the other direction. Finally, he just gave up and started chewing on it.

Whatever works, I guess.

It seems like every time I talk to Thousand Trails, I get more confused. I called today to first book the rest of our time here at Countryside and then book our two-week stay at Tahoe Valley RV Park in South Lake Tahoe from 5/16 to 5/30.

I had been told last week that I could stay two weeks here at Countryside at $3 a night and then I would have to be out of the park for a week before I could come back in.

As it turned out, being ‘out of the park’, just meant paying the $140 a week Passport America for one week, and then I could come back in for $3 a night until we leave the first of May.

Even though this was supposedly all set up, it still took about 15 minutes to get it finalized, and they still got me booked into the wrong park to start with.

Then I tried to book the two weeks at Tahoe Valley and ran into another problem. Although I could see Tahoe Valley in my TT park list online, I couldn’t access it or book it myself.

When this happened when I tried to book our stay here at Countryside, I was once again told that we could use any park that was on our list, but if I couldn’t do it online, just call TT and they would take care of it.

But when I tried today, I was told that I couldn’t stay at that park. When I said I had repeatedly been told by them that if I could see a park I could stay there, the lady went off for about 10 minutes, before coming back and saying, well, I COULD stay there, but only in a tent. WTH?

When I asked her what good was the list if it wasn’t correct, and how we could plan our travels under those circumstances, she didn’t really have an answer.

Finally, I gave up, and figured I’d try again tomorrow and hopefully get someone else who could be more helpful.

A little later I started going through the online list, trying to determine what parks I could and could not visit.

I played around for a while, checking out different areas of the Thousand Trails site. And then all of a sudden I could access the Tahoe Village Park. And the other ‘forbidden’ parks too.

But I thought I’d made a mistake when I started trying other things, going in and out of the program, and then suddenly it didn’t work anymore. And I hadn’t taken time to go ahead and book Tahoe Village while I could. But I keep on trying things and discovered the secret.

When you log into TT, you first see your profile page with your name, address, etc. A little further down the page, you find a drop-down box saying Select From Your Preserves. And note it says “Your” preserves.

When you select a regular TT park, you are taken to another page telling you about that particular park. Then up on the top left is a box that says Make A Reservation where you can do just that.

But if you first select a ‘forbidden’ park from the initial profile page, it doesn’t go anywhere. It merely refreshes the page and puts you right back where you started.

However on that same profile page, up on the left side, under the heading Quick Links, there is a Book A Reservation link at the very top. If you go here, you can select one of the ‘forbidden’ parks and book it. And I did.

And it’s not a Tent site either.

With that done, I went down to the office to pick up our Amazon package, and also be sure that when we change sites next Sunday, we go right back next door to #441 from #440. I’m glad I did because the computer had us moving to 507.

That taken care of,  I dropped off some mail, including the taxes, at the PO.

On the way home I stopped off to fill up the truck and discovered that overnight, unleaded had jumped 10 cents a gallon. It was $3.49 yesterday and $3.59 everywhere today.

But diesel stayed the same. ???

6000 Miles to Go:

2013 Trip Map

This map diagrams our travels for pretty much the rest of the year. Leaving here at Apache Junction on May 1st, this 6000 miles gets us back to Houston on August 16th, just in time for Landon’s 3rd birthday.

After that, we may gate guard for a few months before coming back to Houston right before Thanksgiving where we’ll spend the winter.

For dinner, we ended up at our favorite local Chinese Buffet, #1 Eastern Super Buffet. And it’s our favorite for a good reason. A really, really good reason, especially for the Hot & Sour Soup and the ribs.

Getting back to the rig, Jan and I headed out for our 1 mile+ walk before calling it a night.

April 15, 2014

Blood Moon Rising . . .

I spent some time outside last night getting some pictures of the Blood Moon Eclipse,

But the photos didn’t come out as well as I had hoped, for two reasons. First off, I couldn’t find either my monopod or my tripod. I suspect they got packed away when I was going through the bins. And second, it was 40 degrees outside which made it hard to hold the camera steady. And I can’t really operate it with gloves on.

Blood Moon 1

Blood Moon 2

About halfway through the eclipse, the red started coming out.

Blood Moon 3

Here it’s almost done. I couldn’t get a good photo of the full eclipse because there wasn’t enough light for my camera to focus on.

Blood Moon 4

I’m glad the weather cooperated in seeing this. And even better, there are 3 more coming in the next 18 months – Oct. 8, 2014, April 4, 2015, and Sept. 28, 2015.

To see all four and collect the entire set.

A little after 5pm Jan and I headed over to Vernon’s Kuntry Katfish for supper. We first ate here a couple of weeks ago when we were here at the Lake Conroe Thousand Trails for the first time. This time Jan had the Grilled Catfish Filets, and I had the Fried Catfish and Shrimp. The catfish is as good as the Sealand Seafood Restaurant over in La Grange, but I think the shrimp here is frozen, not fresh. It had that very slight mushy texture that’s usually a giveaway.

Vernon's Katfish Platter

We also got an order of their Fried Green Tomatoes. Again really good.

Afterward we drove across the road to the Wal-Mart to get the ingredients for the dishes we’re taking to Brandi’s Easter dinner this coming Sunday. By popular request, Jan’s fixing her Squash Casserole, and of course, her Sausage Balls. Those are the first things everyone asks. Is Jan bringing her Sausage Balls?

The recipes for both of these can be found under the Jan’s Favorite Recipes tab.

April 15, 2015

On Safari . . .

Since we were starting out early on our African safari today, we decided to have breakfast here at the park’s Homestyle Grill before heading out. Except for the funky biscuits, the food here is delicious, and very well done.

We headed out from the park about 9:15, but on our way, we had to make a detour and render unto Caesar by making a stop at the PO in Camp Verde to put the tax stuff in the mail. Ugh!

Then it was on to Out of Africa, getting there about 10am, leaving us plenty of time to catch a tram to the other side of the park for our 11am Unimog Adventure.

Out Of Africa Entrance

You’d think they could at least buy a vowel, or a consonant, at least.

The Unimog Tour is an upgrade from the standard Safari tour using an MB vehicle like this one, but ours had a longer passenger area.


Erin, our guide, took us through the park, stopping off to feed many of the predators, usually just tidbits of meat using long tongs, of course.

Erin and the Hyenas

Erin and the Hyenas 2

Erin Feeding First Tiger

Erin Feeding Tiger

Erin Feeding Tiger 1

Erin Feeding Tiger 2


But rather than meat, the Ringed Tail Lemurs got grapes.

Erin Feeding the Lemurs

Next driving around to the other side, we passed Jericho, the 5000 pound Southern White rhino. The last time we were here in 2011 they had a 41 year Southern White rhino named Boom-Boom, but he died a couple of years ago.

Jericho the Rhino

Finally, we drove through double gates out into the Serengeti area that mimics the plains of Africa. Many of the animals here are out in the open and can, and do walk right up to the bus.

Asian Water Buffalo



OOA Watusi

OOA Camel 1

OOA Giraffe 1

OOA Giraffe 2

Finishing up our tour, we got a cold drink, and just sat and people-watched for a while before walking over to the Tiger Splash area a little early to get a good seat.

Tiger Splash 0

The Tiger Splash was our favorite attraction last time, and this visit was no different. It’s really amazing to see the handlers inside the enclosure, swimming, playing, and wrestling with these two big cats.

Tiger Splash 1

Tiger Splash 2

Tiger Splash 3

Tiger Splash 4

Tiger Splash 7

Tiger Splash 5

Tiger Splash 9

Tiger Splash 8

Tiger Splash 6

You can even play ‘Tiger Tug of War”.

To paraphrase Star Wars, “Let the Tiger win.”

One thing different about the Tiger Splash this time, is that afterward, for $5, you can feed a tiger yourself.

At least with a long stick, and a fence between you and the tiger. Probably a good thing.

Jan Tiger Feed 1

Jan Tiger Feed 2

Jan really enjoyed this part.

One of the reasons we picked today to visit is that Wednesday is one of the park’s predator-feeding days. And being Wednesday, it’s Turkey Day.

No dressing, just turkeys.

Whole or half ones, thrown over the fence.

Predator Feed 2

See, turkeys can fly!

Predator Feed 1

As the park guys drive slowly around the predator areas, you can follow them on foot or in a tram and watch the big animals get fed.

Another one of our favorites.

Finishing our visit a little after 4pm, we, of course, hit the gift shop. I thought about getting this enormous white tiger for Landon,

Gift Shop Tiger

but it was $595.00. And that didn’t even include the snake.

I was wondering how they shipped it, but a little closer reading revealed the trick. The tiger has a strong air bladder inside, when collapsed, allows the tiger to fit inside an 18” x 18” shipping box. And when it’s delivered, you use the included air pump to ‘pump it up’. Touching it, you would swear it’s completely solid. Neat!

Leaving the park about 4:30, we decided to end a great day with a great meal, and so dinner at La Fonda fit the bill.

Just as great as last time.

Tomorrow will be another stay-at-home day, if only to rest up from all the walking we did today.

April 15, 2016

A Daddy’s Girl . . .

Nothing much this morning except coffee and web stuff. It was kind of overcast and fairly cool all day, but no rain. But it’s coming.

About 4:30 Jan and I headed into Conroe for dinner at Golden Corral and a few errands. It’s been a few months since we’ve eaten at this one, and it’s always been a good one.

It was nice to find that they’ve added some new specials, including Sriracha Chicken Tenders and Garlic Parmesan Sirloin Steak. And the Hot Mango Habanero Chicken Wings were really good too. The Sriracha Tenders were especially good.

We’ve been to some really bad Corral’s around the country, so we’re very happy to have a good one in our area.

After dinner, we circled around to the PO to drop off the taxes (yeah, I know they’re not really due until Monday, but why wait) and some other letters. Then it was right across the street to the Goodwill store to drop off the clothes we had recently purged from our closets. Jan has a lot more room now. Me, not as much.

Then it was on to the nearby Sam’s Club to drop off a prescription and pick up a few things. But first I had to get a replacement Sam’s card. I guess the last time we were here, I didn’t get my card back. Customer Service checked to see if it had been turned in, but no luck. So they just made me a new one.

Our son Chris called a little after 7pm, wanting to know if we still loved him. Said he’d called around 10:30 this morning and it had gone straight to voicemail, and we hadn’t called him back.

But checking my phone I showed no call and no voice mail from him this morning. So I guess it’s Verizon that doesn’t love him. and not us.

He said Miss Piper is still loving her new apartment, and her job as an ER Tech at UTMB Hospital, so everything’s good on that front.

The park water was off most of the morning. Don’t know if it was scheduled or not, but we always keep our fresh water tank pretty full, so it wasn’t a problem. Just turned on the pump and lived with it. But it came back on later in the afternoon.

Speaking of water, it looks like we’ve got a lot of it coming our way in the next week or so, with thunderstorms forecast for just about every day for the next two weeks. It’s going to be a bumpy night . . , and day.

Karma’s still getting bigger. Of course, she’ll never be Mister-size, but she’s certainly not a scrawny little kitten anymore.

Karma 2_thumb[1]

She’s turned out to be a real Daddy’s Girl. She’ll jump up on my leg and then climb up on my shoulder and just snuggle down. But Jan only gets to hold her when I’m not around.

Tomorrow, probably more of the same.


April 15, 2017

Beauty No More . . .

While Jan spent the morning reading, I worked on a new website for a client, and played around with our new Jetpack MiFi.

After lunch, later in the afternoon, I went outside to cut out the crimped section of my genset’s exhaust pipe.

The pipe was twisted toward the front of the rig, which could only have happened as the rig backed up and the pipe hung up on something. But then something caused it to be bent back to the rear, crimping the pipe.

Genset Tailpipe Cutting 1

I used my jigsaw with a metal blade to cut the pipe off above the crimp, the only problem being that the blade was a little too short to cut straight through so I had to rotate the saw around the pipe until I was done.

Genset Tailpipe Cutting 2

Then I took the crimped piece back to the picnic table and cut off the crimp.

Genset Tailpipe Cutting 3

Monday I’ll take the pipe down to Home Depot to find a coupling and maybe an extension piece to be sure the replacement extends out past the side of the coach like it’s supposed to vent the exhaust fumes.

When we bought our coach around the end of 2007 and picked it up on January 6, 2008, Jan immediately named it ‘Beauty’. And when I set up our first Cradlepoint AirCard router I named our WiFi SSID ‘Beauty’ and it’s been that way ever since.

Until now.

Our new WiFi SSID is now ‘Verizon-MiFi7730L-7901”. I think I can change it but I’ve already connected my Galaxy S5 phone, my desktop computer, my laptop computer, 4 Kindles, an Amazon Echo, an Amazon Dot, and a Galaxy Tab 4. So I’ll wait a while to change the SSID to ‘Beauty’  because I’ll have to do this all over again.

Jan is going to take over my old S5 to replace her LG Revere flip phone, with just changing the S5 to her old phone number all that’s needed.

Depending on the time of day, I  get somewhere between 10 and 25 Mbps. After getting used to pages coming up on 3G, they now seem almost instantaneous.

Very nice.

April 15, 2018

A Great Trip, But The Homecoming, Not So Much . . .

We both slept late this morning, probably because it was so cold, and the bed was so warm with our heated mattress pad. And even after we got up it was slow going, but finally, about noon we started getting ready for our afternoon drive.

I guess we weren’t as out of practice as we thought after our 5-month sojourn here at Petticoat Junction because we were pulling out about 5 minutes after 1.  But we didn’t get far. Not even out of the park.

I noticed that my Delorme Street Atlas program was not getting a signal from the GPS antenna. Now my normal remedy for this is to unplug the USB connector and then plug it back in, but when I did this I got the dreaded BSOD (Blue Screen Of Death).


This is what shows up when Windows runs into an error that it absolutely can’t handle, throws up its hands, and says “I’m out of here.”

So I pulled over to the side and spent about 10 minutes rebooting several times, all with the same result. So finally I just set up my Silverleaf Engine Monitor Display and did it without the GPS program.

Normally I have a display like this on the laptop that sits to my right.

Silverleaf 2

It gives me both audio and video route information, as well as expanded info on the rig and the engine. But now I’ll just have the computer display.

We finally left the park about 1:20 and got out on Hwy 6 south for about 10 miles until we crossed under I-45 and onto the feeder and headed back north. We did miss the first turn to get on the feeder, but apparently, a lot of people do because it comes up so fast on a blind curve. But they have a handy-dandy U-turn right down the road for people just like us.

We then had a 12-mile run at Interstate speeds up the FM517 exit at Dickinson. From here we had planned to turn left and take 517 all the way up to Alvin and then back down Hwy 6 to Santa Fe and the park.

But we had done 30 miles with absolutely no problems so we decided to just turn onto FM646 and make a straight run home.

Getting parked back in our site I quickly discovered that we had no power at the pedestal. And it seemed like the problem might be in the breaker. When you turned it on, it didn’t make that sharp ‘clunk’ that you expect, but just a dull ‘snap’.

Now normally when a breaker really goes bad, it has a spongy feel, but this one didn’t. But it just felt ‘funny’.

I texted the park owner about 3:15 who said he would be there shortly. But his definition of ‘shortly’ must be different than mine because he didn’t show up until about 6:30, 3 hours later.

He seemed pretty skeptical that a breaker that worked fine this morning would just die. But after measuring the voltage at the receptacle 2 or 3 times and taking the cover off, he finally admitted it was a bad breaker. And luckily he had a spare, so we did have to wait until tomorrow for him to pick one up. So about 7pm we finally had power.

Lucky for us was the fact that the temp never made it about 65° today so we were comfortable waiting without needing to run the generator for the AC’s.

Finishing up, our test drive, the purpose of all this today, went off without a hitch, with the rig running fine. So we’re all set for our Illinois/Alabama trip in June. The only other prep thing is to have the RV Mobile Lube guy come out in May to change out all the filters and fluids on the rig and generator and we’ll be good to go.

April 15, 2019

It’s In Ripper-Vision . . .

Strangely enough, I spent most of today at work ordering baby furniture. My client and his wife are fostering a two-week-old baby, so I’m apparently in charge of the Amazon Prime ordering.

I did get my tax forms in the mail today. Nothing like waiting until the last minute. I hate to give money to anyone before I have to, especially the government.

Following up on our LegalZoom wills, Jan and I will stop by my client’s tomorrow afternoon to get him and the office manager to witness our wills. Also, if after you do your will, download it, and then find a problem, you have 30 days to make any further updates or changes at no charge.

Right now I’m printing 3 copies of our wills and affidavits for tomorrow, and I’m really surprised that I’m able to do that. On our trip up to Kingsland last weekend my HP 4650 Inkjet printer took a header off the computer desk. Scared the barf of Karma (literally) because she was sleeping between our chairs about a foot away.

I had pulled it out to the side so I could access the printer’s document feeder and forgot to push it back into place. So I was really surprised when, after I popped the document feeder lid back in place and powered it up, it printed and scanned fine.

HP builds them tough, I guess.

As if I didn’t have enough to do right now, this weekend the front disc brakes on our Dodge Dakota started complaining, so I stopped off at O’Reilly’s on Saturday to order a set of ceramic pads, that I picked up on the way home from work today.

Ideally I’d wait until A.C. (After Cruise), but right now I’m still on the warning area of the worn-down pads and don’t want to start scarring the rotors. So it looks like Thursday will be the day.

But since my jack stands seem to have moved up to Kingsland with Chris, I’ll pick up a couple tomorrow at WalMart. Only $8.83 each, so not bad.

Ever since our rig’s blowout in May 2015, our windshield has leaked around the top outside corners. And it had nothing to do with the actual blowout.

When the repair place was replacing the dented diesel fuel tank, they lifted the front of the rig up about  4 feet using one of those vertical lift jacks. And when they let it back down they torqued the frame enough to crack the passenger-side glass. And it’s leaked ever since. But we didn’t discover it until months later when we were back in Texas and had our first heavy rain.

I had it looked at several times to have it resealed but it never fixed the problem. So after trying to caulk it a couple of times with no real luck, I got out the big guns.

Gorilla Tape Waterproof Patch and Seal Tape

Like Eternabond Tape, it has a peel-off release liner that covers a super-strength adhesive that once stuck in place, stays in place. And the outer black layer is waterproof and UV-resistant.

Rig Windshield Gorilla Taping

So I cut strips to fit, peeled off the liner, and stuck it in place. Looks pretty good too. You have to be up close to see the difference. Now I’m really looking forward to the next big rain.

I booked what is probably our last post-cruise London tour this morning. Any others we will probably wait until we’re in the area. Long-time friend and blog reader, Jim Hamm recommended that we check out one of the many Jack the Ripper tours.

Most of them seem to be in the morning or afternoon, but who wants to take a spooky Ripper tour in the daylight? So we picked one that starts at 7:30 at night.

Jack the Ripper Tour with RipperVision

And this one comes with Ripper-Vision.


Apparently ‘Ripper-Vision’ is some sort of projector system that shows what the buildings and areas actually looked like at the time of the murders.

This still leaves us one completely free day in London, and, of course, the morning and afternoon of the Ripper Tour.

April 15, 2020

The Poop is in the Mail . . .

Well, as of this morning, our September 2020 Alaskan cruise has been canceled. Holland America says no more Alaska cruises for the rest of the year, so we have a couple of decisions to make.

We can, and will rebook the the same cruise for next year, but maybe for May 2021, rather than September 2021. On the plus side of this, we will get a 125% credit toward our replacement cruise, which we may use to upgrade our room from an Inside one to an Ocean View one. Or maybe some upgraded excursions. We’ll just have to see.

But our big decision is whether or not we’ll still head on up to Fairbanks anyway. We had planned to fly up a week before our cruise started so we spent extra time there, checking out our old haunts and favorite joints from our 5-month stay during the summer of 2008.

So one thought is that we go ahead and use our very cheap, but non-refundable plane tickets to spend our already-booked time in Fairbanks, and then book a new flight from Fairbanks to Vancouver, B.C. At that point we’ll spend a few days checking out Vancouver before flying home on our very cheap, but non-refundable plane tickets back to Houston.

That way we wouldn’t lose our tickets. But when I talked to Chantelle Nugent, our family friend/travel agent, she said that under the circumstances we may be able to rebook them for our new cruise for free, or maybe a small charge.

A possible problem with doing the Fairbanks-only trip, is that we don’t know what will actually be open when we’re there. With all the cruises canceled, there may not be a lot of the tourist stuff open. Many of the attractions and hotels are actually owned by the cruise lines, and the lines have already said that they will all be closed too. So we’ll just have to see how it goes.

I got an email from our family physician yesterday saying that they had received a limited number of CoVid-19 Antibody Tests, and to call them if I was interested.

So now I have an appointment for Monday morning to get checked to see if I had the WuFlu back in February like I thought. They said the test only takes 15-20 minutes, so I should know before I leave. The cost with Medicare is $50, so if I’m positive, we’ll get Jan tested to see if she had it too, but was asymptomatic.

Jan and I sent off our Cologuard colon cancer tests this morning. Though it’s certainly better than a full-blown colonoscopy, it was a lot more involved than the one we did a few years ago. But at least it’s done for another couple of years.

So the poop’s in the mail.

People have started receiving their Stimulus Checks, with the first bunch going out through the IRS, based on tax refunds, in the last few days. Supposedly if you’re receiving Social Security and have direct deposit, you will receive yours in the next bunch.

Or if you’re really lucky you might be like this guy who, hoping his Stimulus Check had come in, checked his ATM and found it had.

Eight Million Stimulus Check

But along with his check. he apparently got a whole lot of other people’s too. Unfortunately, when he checked with the bank the next morning, it had disappeared.


April 15, 2021

From Start To Finish . . .

Looking forward to our get-together, Jan and I were on our way up to the Spring Cypress area to the El Palenque Mexican Restaurant where we were meeting up with long-time friends Janice and Dave Evans, and Debi and Ed Hurlburt for lunch at noon.

Our Garmin GPS said it would take us about an hour, but with Houston traffic, you never know. Normally I would check Waze to see if we needed to take the Hardy Toll road bypass around downtown Houston, but today I decided to live dangerously and just wing it. And it all worked out.

This time.

It was really good to see everyone, especially Janice and Dave, since it’s been a couple of years since we’ve seen them. And of course, it’s always good to see Debi and Ed too.

Everyone had something different I think, with Jan having their Rancho Grande, a grilled chicken breast with grilled shrimp all smothered in cheese.

El Palenque Rancho Grande

And if you’ve got to be ‘smothered’, cheese is the way to go. Plus Jan said it was really good.

I decided to try the Garden Fajitas, with beef, chicken, shrimp, bacon, mushrooms, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, and zucchini, also smothered in cheese.

El Palenque Garden Fajitas

Really, really delicious, and after I’d eaten all I could hold, I had even more left over for, well, leftovers.

We all had a great time catching up, so as usual lunch was over two hours long, but it seemed like a lot less since the company was so good.

El Palenque Bunch 20210415

So good, in fact, that we made a date for another get-together about a month from now. Already looking forward to it.

That’s Dave and Janice on the left, and Ed, my Jan, and Debi on the right.

As we were leaving the parking lot, we discovered that it seems that Batman has upgraded his Batmobile.

El Palenque Batman Bus

I wonder if he now just has Robin drive him from crime to crime, or maybe Alfred, I guess.

Coming home was also a smooth trip, with only a couple of slowdowns. and after a HEB and a Cowboy Coffee stop, we were home a little before 4pm.

A very nice day from start to finish.

April 15, 2023

It’s A Go!

Lunch today was up in Webster at Texas Huddle once again. With Juana taking her usual great care of us, we got our usual.

Which she always remembers exactly what we get.

For Jan, that’s her Keto (Bunless) Mushroom Bacon Cheese Burger and a Side Salad.

Texas Huddle Side Salad and Keto Burger 20230415

I got the Five Wings (All Drums)  done with their Flaming Raspberry sauce along with Celery and their really good homemade Jalapeno Ranch for a dipping sauce.

Texas Huddle Wings 20230415

Then it was on back down to our area for our weekly WalMart visit.

Well, this past Friday, SpaceX finally received a 5-Year FAA Launch License for Starship down in Boca Chica, TX.

They had to jump through a lot of hoops, mostly environmental, it seems. That’s because SpaceX’s Starbase is built in the middle of a couple of Wildlife areas. And in fact, several environmental groups are still trying to get a judge to cancel the license.

A bunch of us were discussing this on another forum I visit, I posted that Starbase was really no different than Cape Kennedy (Canaveral). Here’s what I posted.

Starting in the early 60’s, Cape Canaveral was built in the middle of several big ‘wildlife’ areas. Of course back then they were called ‘swamps’ and were the perfect places to launch big containers of fuel into the sky that were probably going to blow up, at least in the early days. Probably wouldn’t be able to build there today.

Elon Musk said he figures this first flight has about a 50% chance of success.

“I’m not saying it will get to orbit, but I am guaranteeing excitement,” Musk said in an interview at the Morgan Stanley Conference on March 7, adding: “Won’t be boring!”

The Starship Launch Window starts Monday 17th, running from 7am to 9:30am, with possible launches through the 24th.

The video link below will be live-streaming the launch whenever it happens.

There is also scheduled the first Orbital Launch of the Falcon Heavy (that’s the one with two boosters that come back and land) on Tuesday the 18th from Cape Kennedy, with the Launch Window starting at 7:29pm EDT.





Grand Opera Recap . . .

Our Bernadette Peters’ evening started with dinner at the Saltgrass Steakhouse down in Galveston, and our luck started early. Parking is always a problem there, and though the lot was full, there was a handicap slot right in front.

We got there a few minutes before time for our 6pm reservation where we had asked for a window seat. But when the seater took us to our table, she walked right past a window table waiting to be cleared, taking us around to the side, so we told her we’d like that window table as soon as it was cleared.

So she took us back to the hostess stand, she apologized and said she had missed the request on our reservation, and that we could have that table as soon as they finished clearing it.

Then, just before they were ready to seat us, another couple who was being led to their table on the other side, just sat down at ‘our’ table, letting the seater go on ahead before she turned around and discovered she was alone.

That was just rude.

Back at the hostess stand, the young lady profusely apologized, and I told her that I understood that she couldn’t ask the couple to get up.

She told us she had two more window tables coming open in just a couple of minutes and we would get the first one available. And a few minutes later we were seated.

And we had a great ocean view.

Our meal was as delicious as always, and even better we got a 10% discount by showing our Show tickets.

We got to The 1894 Grand Opera a little before 7:30, and were once again lucky enough to a parking space just diagonally across from the Opera building and were seated a few minutes later. Luckily we didn’t have to stand in the very long line of people trying to buy alcohol, longer than the one of people trying to get in the door.

Somehow, even though I didn’t find out about it until a couple of weeks after the tickets went on sale, I was able to get us two seats on the aisle just 5 rows from the stage. Really great seats.

And this place is just beautiful inside.

And it really does date from 1894

And this was the setup on stage with the piano player, a bass player, and a drummer.

A very famous drummer as it turned out later.

The performance was about 90 minutes with no intermission.

Pretty much all her songs were from Broadway and Movie musicals.

After watching her perform, it’s hard to believe that she’s 76 years old.

Especially after watching her climb up and down from the piano.

But the song that got the most response was Send In The Clowns, which I didn’t know was from the Broadway musical “A Little Night Music”, written by Stephen Sondheim.

And it’s the late Stephen Sondheim who is accompanying Bernadette on this version of ‘Clowns’.

One thing that was interesting was when she introduced the guys accompanying her. When she got to the drummer, she said “he might be even more famous than me. At least many of you probably heard of him before you heard of me.”

And those of you who do remember him, probably remember him like this.

Yes, her drummer is Cubby O’Brien, one of the original Mouseketeers. And since then he’s played with Lawrence Welk, The Carpenters, Spike Jones, Ann Margret, and The Carol Burnett Show.

And of course, Bernadette Peters.

Tomorrow we’ve got an early morning, with our annual physicals with our doctor, starting at 8am.

Thought For The Day:

Never sing in the shower. Singing leads to dancing, dancing leads to slipping, and slipping leads to paramedics seeing you naked. So remember don’t sing.

And Now On To Today’s Retro-Blogs.™

April 14, 2010

Esther’s Taco House and Hollywood Blvd

Today was our first day to make the drive into LA.

We left about 10 am to head to Placentia CA and Esther’s Taco House. Placentia is on the other side of LA from here so it’s about a 100 mile trip, but it’s pretty much Interstate the whole way so it wasn’t too bad.

Before we left the Lancaster area we stopped off at a local Post Office to drop off the taxes, then it was on to Esther’s.


We got there about noon and sat down to a great meal of Chile Rellenos and Enchiladas. We first ate here two years ago, but we’d heard about the place for years from our friends, George and Gina Ellis. And they were right. It’s great. Esther’s has been around in various locations since 1957, and although Esther died in 1994, the two locations are still in the family.

Esthers Meal

After a great lunch, we headed back toward Lancaster, but on the way we took a detour over to Hollywood.

We drove down Hollywood Blvd., past Grauman’s Chinese Theater and the Walk of Fame, and then up Laurel Canyon Dr., crossing over Mulholland Dr., then down the hill to Studio City to catch the Ventura Fwy. back to I-5 and then on to the Antelope Valley Fwy and home.

But before we got on the Ventura Fwy, we stopped at the Starbucks in a Von’s Supermarket in Studio City, for a bathroom stop and a refill with two Venti Cinnamon Dolce Lattes.

Luckily we got out ahead of the going-home traffic and got home about 4 pm.

Tomorrow we’re going back to Hollywood to take the Warner Bros. Studio Tour.

April 14, 2011

Rib-eyes and Taxes . . .

This morning started off with coffee for breakfast and then the last of the leftover Stromboli’s pizza for lunch.

I spent most of the morning getting stuff together for my taxes. I thought it was due tomorrow, but found out it’s not due until Monday the 18th, because Friday is a Washington, D. C. holiday called Compensated Emancipation Day. It’s the day President Lincoln freed the approximately 3100 slaves in Washington, D.C. by basically buying them from their owners.

Maybe if they’d offered to do that with the southern slaves there wouldn’t have been a Civil War.

Just thinking . . .

Actually, it’s even more confusing because the real holiday is April 16th, but because it’s a Saturday they moved it to Friday. Which of course moves Tax Day to Monday.

Got it now?

Ok, good. Now explain to me why a city holiday in Washington, D.C. means the entire country files their taxes 3 days later.

I know when I worked for NASA, if the city of Houston had a holiday, we didn’t get off for it.

Of course, any reason to keep my money from the government for a few extra days is fine with me.

They’re just going to spend it anyway.

About 1 pm I went down to the Thousand Trails Gate House to re-up for the next six days. We plan on leaving here on the 20th and heading over to Show Low, AZ for a while.

After I got back, I worked on the taxes for a while longer, until about 5 pm we decided to once again have dinner at the Sizzler.

After dinner, we talked about making a day trip tomorrow over to the Prescott area for a little sight-seeing.

More about that tomorrow.

April 14, 2012

Another Day, Another . . .

I was up early this morning, just knowing that we would get a call any minute.


So after a quiet morning, we decide to have lunch at Pepe Boudreaux’s again. Jan had the Tuna Stuffed Avocado Salad, and I had the Chicken Fried Steak. Very good.

Getting back to the rig I took care of a few more maintenance chores before a nap attack struck home. But the nap only lasted for about 45 minutes, when suddenly, about 4:15, it got quiet, very, very quiet. The power had gone off.

Jan said other people were coming out of their rig, so I figured it was not a rig problem. We opened the windows and turned the fans on, and because it was pretty overcast, the heat didn’t get too bad.

But it was cooler outside, so about 5:30 we got our camp chairs out of the truck and set up along with returning gate guards, Jim and Marcie, and Sam and Carol, and also Bob and Nancy, who had just come off a gate and are getting ready to head home. As it turned out, the power came back on a little after 6pm, but we were having so much fun, we all stayed outside and talked.

With all this gate guard knowledge available, we were eager to pick their brains. We spent several enjoyable hours talking about gate guarding, and RV’ing in general, before it finally got dark, and the wind really picked up.

One of the things they all warned about was watching out for tarantulas, scorpions, and snakes. Just what Jan wanted to hear, especially after seeing this sign at a nearby rest area.

Watch For Snakes

The way things are going, I figure we’ll get the phone call for a gate tomorrow when we’re supposed to have heavy rains and high winds. The perfect time to move and set up on a new site.

April 14, 2013

Made It Safely . . .

This beautiful young lady is Zoe Marivel Nadeau, 8# 10oz., and Landon’s new 2nd cousin. Welcome to the family.

Zoe Marivel Nadeau

After a nice, relaxing morning, it was time to hit the road, or at least the street. As in the street right in front of the rig.

Because we’ll be spending the next week here under a different plan, we have to move to a different site. In this case, we moved from here

CountrySide 1

to here. About 25 feet away.

CountrySide 2

And then next Sunday we’ll do it again, which will take us up to May 1st when we plan on moving up the road to Las Vegas for a couple of weeks.

I spent part of the afternoon trying to map out our travels after we leave Las Vegas. As it stands now, we plan on a couple of weeks at the Encore Park in South Lake Tahoe, and then a couple of weeks at the Thousand Trails Park in Bend, OR.

We’ve never been to the Tahoe area so something new will be nice, and we really enjoy the Bend area, so that will be nice too.

After Bend, we’ll start working our way east up to Jackson Hole/Grand Tetons, through Yellowstone, and then on to Cody, WY for a few days to see our friends Al and Adrienne.

After that, it will be Billings, MT to visit a friend, Gillette, WY for the Escapade, and then South Dakota to renew our Drivers Licenses.

After that, we’ll see.

About 4:15 Jan and I headed over Famous Dave’s BBQ once again, the 2nd time in 3 days.

You can’t have too much Famous Dave’s.

After a great meal, and then getting back home, we decided not to walk tonight because the wind that had sprung up this afternoon had stirred up a lot of dust and it was bothering Jan’s sinuses.

We’ll see how tomorrow goes.

April 14, 2014

Down Home . . .

About 9 am Jan and I headed down to the Clear Lake area once again for meals, errands, and family, though not necessarily in that order.

Our first stop was at a hardware store down in Dickinson where I needed a few #14  3/4” sheet metal screws. The lift spring mount on one of my bay doors has worn out the holes so I’m just going to put some larger screws in it.

Then it was on down the road a little to Monterey’s Little Mexico for some Chicken Tortilla Soup and Beef Fajita Nachos. We also got to see Julia, our long-time waitress who’s been taking care of us for years. In fact pretty much the whole crew has worked there for a long time, so long that even Joey, the young man who takes care of our chips and salsa, knows we want two red salsas and no green. It’s almost like going home.

Leaving there, and taking advantage of the fact we were in the area, we made a stop at Buc-ee’s once again for a few of their delicious Cranberry Nut muffins. Then it was on back up to the Webster area for some errands. One of mine was a client stop to check in for a while.

After we were both finished up, we headed over to Chris’ for a bit. He and Linda were out shopping, so we catnapped until everyone came home. Then about 4:30, Jan and I, along with Chris, Linda, and Miss Piper headed over to Cheddar’s for dinner. It’s one place we always try to go early so we don’t have to wait for a table. The food was as good as usual, but we had the most fun just talking, especially telling Miss Piper some stories about her father and her Aunt Brandi when they were kids.

Chris also gave us a copy of this old photo of he and Miss Piper when she was 12 or so.

Chris and Piper- Old

Always was a real Cutie!


One of the things we talked about was our Easter get-together at Brandi’s this coming Sunday. With all our family, and all of Brandi’s BBF Shawna’s family, we’ll probably have 25-30 people. Everyone is bringing something so we’ll have a real feast. Really looking forward to it.

One thing unusual about today was the weather, and the front coming through. After being really warm (it was 75 degrees at midnight) all night, It was still 72 at 9am. But by noon, it was 46 degrees!

And it’s going down to 35 degrees tonight. Where did Spring go?

April 14, 2015

Back to the Drawing Board . . .

Today was another nice stay-at-home day, the creamy filling between the sandwich of yesterday’s Verde Canyon Railroad and tomorrow’s planned visit to the Out of Africa Wildlife Park.

A couple of days ago I did another temporary mounting of my magnetic shades to see how they would hold up in the present configuration, i.e. two pieces held in place by four magnets across the top and two down the outsides.

But it looks like it’s back to the drawing board. We’ve had a lot of gusty winds yesterday and today because of the oncoming cold front, and it looks like four magnets won’t be enough. So I now plan on putting three more magnets on each half. Luckily I bought a lot of extra magnets. And I’m also thinking about joining the two halves with a thin, flexible rod, so it all acts as one piece.

As I said before, it’s a work in progress.

About 3 I headed out on some errands, with my first stop at a locksmith to have some rig keys duplicated, then it was on to the Post Office to mail off a birthday card. Then it was a stop by Home Depot and Wal-Mart for a few things before getting back home about 4:30.

For dinner tonight Jan made up Stuffed Baked Potatoes using the last of the Rudy’s BBQ that we bought and froze before we left Houston at the beginning of March. With the BBQ along with cheese, butter, sour cream, and some Rudy’s BBQ Sauce. it was a great meal.

As I said, we’re doing the Out of Africa park tomorrow, and because of the tight scheduling, we’re going to have to get an early start. We’re taking the Unimog Adventure at 11pm, which means we’ll need to be there at 10 or before. And since we want to eat breakfast first, that means out the door at about 8:30.

We would have liked to take the 1pm Unimog ride, but then we’d miss the Tiger Splash and Tiger Feeding (we get to feed the tiger), which is one of the best parts.

The cold front coming thru is going to make tomorrow really nice with a high in the low 70’s, but plenty of sun.

Really looking forward to it.

April 14, 2016

He’s Only FIVE !

Another nice, pretty do-nothing day, with coffee, cereal, and conversation filling the bill. I worked on website stuff, tying up some loose ends and smoothing out some rough spots.

Several readers have suggested that, along with Jan’s Favorite Recipes, I should also set up Greg’s Favorite Apps, so I’ve been going through my Galaxy S5 and Tab 4 compiling a list. Hopefully, I’ll have it ready to go in a couple of days.

I’ll let you know.

He’s FIVE !

Brandi sent over a copy of a letter today, a letter that Landon wrote to his teacher to apologize for staying outside too long after recess.

Landon's Letter_thumb[1]

I’ve transcribed it for you below.

Dear Mrs. Leethem,

I think kindergarten should have longer reses because we should be rewarded for good bhavior. The sun gives us vidumin D, the longer we play the more lrning goes on.

From Landon Morrison

Note that even words he misspelled, he was sounding them out. And he came up with all of this by himself, including the whole ‘vidumin D’ thing.

Once again, he wrote this all by himself with no help from anyone.

Did I mention he is only FIVE!

For dinner tonight Jan tried out a new recipe, a Cheesy Beef & Potato Casserole she found on Pinterest. Really, really good, and another entry in the ‘Definitely Have Again’ file,. You can check it out at the link above.

This trip it’s been really quiet here at Lake Conroe, with still a lot of open spaces. It’ll probably stay that way until the end of next month, with Memorial Day. We’ve decided that next month we’re going to break up our routine, and after our next two weeks at Colorado River, instead of coming back here, we’ll spend two weeks at the Lake Medina Thousand Trails.

It’s been a little over 3 years since we’ve been there, and it’s apparently changed a lot. When we were there in 2013, the lake bed looked like this.

Lake Medina 2013_thumb[1]

A lake bed so dry that you could drive out on it, and some people were even tent camping out there.

But now it looks like this.

Lake Medina 2016_thumb[1]

We’re really looking forward to this change of scenery.

Of course, Jan is also looking forward to seeing all of her old friends.

Deer Whisperer 1_thumb[1]

She was so popular that the deer would see our truck coming into the park, and then follow us all the way back to our site.

Tomorrow? Probably more of the same.

April 14, 2017

How That Happened I Have No Idea . . .

After a quiet morning at home a little before 4pm Jan and I headed up Boulder Hwy a little ways to have the dinner buffet at Boulder Station Casino, pretty much our favorite in the area.

We got there about 10 minutes til 4, which is when the dinner started. There wasn’t much of a line, so when we got up to the cashier, we told her that we wanted to pay for dinner and not lunch.

But unlike Golden Corral, who doesn’t like you to come in the last few minutes of lunch to get the more expensive dinner, Boulder Station doesn’t care, and said as long as we’re there before 4, we pay the lunch price.

So we only paid $7.99 each (including drinks) for our meal. So nice.

One thing we didn’t see this was the numerous dining scams that we’ve seen in the past.

For example, we saw an elderly man come through the center exit line on his mobility scooter, whereupon he picked up a plate and proceeded down the various food lines, putting food on his plate and eating as he scooted along. When he got to the end he turned around and made another pass.

In another case, a single male dinner got up and left, taking the card off its stand, letting the waitress know that he was finished. Within just a few seconds another man came by, looked around, sat down, put the card back on the stand, and went to get him a plate of food.

Then another time we sat next to a table of six where they rotated 12 to 17 people through 1 or 2 at a time, finally feeding 18 to 20 people for the cost of six.

Since we got our meal so cheap, Jan decided to give them another $20 in the slots. She twice ran it up to $50, but kept at it until she had given them the entire $20.

Really thoughtful of her.

Leaving the casino, I decided to drive over to the nearby Verizon store to see about upgrading my phone plan and possibly my 3 year old Samsung Galaxy S5.

As far as our plan, the guy took one look at it and started laughing. “How long have you had this plan?”

“Well, so long ago that our first cell phone, was a Motorola Bag Phone.”

Motorola Bag Phone

Then he said that, at 1992 we were the oldest customer he’d come across.

So an hour later I walked out with a new much cheaper plan, a 4G Jetpack 7730L MiFi to replace my 3G AirCard, and a ‘to be here Friday’ when they released Samsung Galaxy S8+.

Samsung Galaxy S8

The phone won’t be released until this coming Friday, so I have to be there at 10am to get mine. I told him that we were leaving on Saturday, so I definitely had to have it then.

Getting home I used Speedtest.net to check the speed on the new 4G Jetpack, getting a download of almost 18 Mbps, and 8 Mbps up.

Really nice, and much better than 1+ Mbps on my 3G AirCard.

I was doing some maintenance on our rig’s generator this afternoon, and when I ran it out on its hydraulic slide, I found this.

Generaor Exhaust Pipe

Don’t know how or when it happened. We haven’t needed to use the genset for a number of months since we haven’t needed the AC’s when we’ve traveled. But with the exhaust crimped like that it wouldn’t have run very long. Kinda like getting a banana in your tailpipe.

It’s going to be impossible to straighten out the pipe so what I’ll do is to cut off the crimp and then use a coupling to join the pieces back together.

Brandi sent over this phone of Landon after he got fitted for his new hockey stick, with lessons starting next week.

Landon with Hockey Stick

His uncle Chris said, “He’s ready. He’s already missing teeth.”

I think the kids just want to do this so they can hit each other with sticks.

April 14, 2019

Where There’s A Will . . .

I finished up my LegalZoom will this morning and then did one for Jan. And it really couldn’t have been much easier. Of course, ours wasn’t really very complicated to start with.

The LegalZoom system just leads you through filling out the information, kind of like TurboTax does, asking for more data depending oh how you answer the previous questions.

And as they advertised, it only took about 15 minutes. And Jan’s was even quicker, since the system lets you create a ‘mirror’ will that just reverses the names of the spouses, leaving everything else, beneficiaries, etc., the same.

Jan’s and my wills leave everything to each other, and then equally to our kids, with no special bequeaths. Just let them fight over it, since at that point we won’t really care.

Both of them are named as co-executors, again so they can figure out how to divide up the spoils. And since we sold the house, there’s no real property to worry about either.

My will, with digital download option, was $69, and $59 for Jan’s, with a $10 discount for two wills. If you don’t want to print them out yourself, for $9.95 they will send you ‘professionally printed’ copies for you to just sign. Not exactly sure what they mean by  ‘professionally printed’. Probably just some person taking it out of the laser printer and sticking it in an envelope.

As far as signing the documents, you can either have your signatures notarized, usually at your bank,  or witnessed by two adults who are not part of the will.

I did use their Live Chat feature to ask about residency, since Jan and I are actually South Dakota residents, but the wills will almost certainly be probated in Texas. And I was told that for simple wills like ours, it didn’t make any difference, and to just put down Texas as our ‘residence’ since we spend pretty much all our time here.

Apparently, every will is looked over by a human, since it was about 45 minutes after I paid before I got an email saying my documents were ready. And logging back in they gave me this list of 5 PDF files

LegalZoom Document List

to download and get signed. But actually, only two of them need to be witnessed and signed – the Self-Proving Affidavit and the Will itself.

The Self-Proving Affidavit is used to validate a will for probate to prevent the witnesses from having to show up at the Probate hearing to testify that the will is genuine.

LegalZoom did also offer to add a Durable Power of Attorney  and a Medical Power of Attorney to my package . . . for only $35 each. So $140 for both of us. That’s more than the two wills cost, and these are just add-ons.

But if you don’t want to pay that much, you can go here, PowerOfAttorney.com, and download your own valid forms . . .  for free.

Durable Power of Attorney Form
Medical Power of Attorney Form

A little Googling showed that a simple will in Texas, done by a lawyer, can cost $300 to $1000, and that’s for each of us. So $128 with LegalZoom is a real bargain.

Tomorrow it’s back to work, trying to wrap any last-minute items on my checklist, while I try to anticipate any new ones that might pop up while I’m gone.

Wish me luck.

April 14, 2020

It’s Finally Done . . .

After getting the all-clear from Rob, our park owner, about the location of the shed, I went outside and used 2” wood screws to fasten the shed’s plastic flooring to the 3/4” plywood base, using the metal bars to reinforce the flooring.


This should hold it in place through any normal winds around here. If we do have something like another Harvey coming through, my pants and suspenders solution is to use ratchet straps over the roof tied down to additional screw-in anchors.

Now to fill it up.

Wrapping up, do you have a Nest cam at your home, and maybe wonder where all your data is going? This article talks about how Google is lowering the default video quality of your Nest cam to help reduce the load on the Internet with so many people at home.

But what surprised me was the amount of data a Nest camera uses at the highest settings. It’s a stunning 400GB a month. So they’re lowering it down to 300GB per month, though you can bump it back up if you want.

But really, 400GB a month? Yes, some data plans have a 1TB cap, but one Nest cam uses almost half of your cap. And with two cams, Yikes!

April 14, 2021

El Palenque Get-together . . .

Though we had one night in the 50’s last week, I was thinking about taking our two big heaters over to the storage room since the nighttime temps have been in the 70’s since then.

But then I looked at the forecast and saw we’ve got 4 nights in a row in the low 50’s coming up this weekend. So I’ll hold off on that, I guess.

Tomorrow Jan and I are heading up to the Spring area to meet up with long-time friends, Debi and Ed Hurlburt, and Janice and Dave Evans, at the El Palenque restaurant up there.

Really looking forward to seeing everyone again.

I decided to do a test run of our new Sous Vide Immersion cooker this evening, not to actually cook anything, but just to see if it works, and if I can control it from the phone app.

Originally I had planned to use our slow cooker with the Sous Vide unit, but I found that the rim of the slow cooker is too thick for the large clip on the side of the immersion cooker. So for the test, I just stood the cooker up in the center of the slow cooker to check it out.

Sous Vide Test Drive

I filled the cooker with tap water and turned on the Sous Vide cooker. It showed the water temp as 73°, so I set the wanted temp to 140° and timed it.

It only took about 12 minutes to raise the temperature from 73 to 140 degrees, at which time the timer started counting down from the 11 hours that I had set it for.

The only thing I was missing were the ping pong balls.

The phone app showed me the same information as the unit itself, as well as letting me change the settings, and even receive notifications when it was done.

Sous Vide Phone App

The Custom Preset section gives me suggested cooking times and temps for many different foods. A neat touch.

Sous Vide Phone App Custom Presets

I let it run for about 30 minutes and it kept the water temp at exactly 140° the entire time with the built-in pump keeping the water circulating as well.

Since the slow cooker won’t work for actually cooking, I’ll have to check out our InstaPot pressure cooker to see how it will work, but right now it’s in the storage room so that will have to wait a bit. Otherwise, I’ll have to buy a large boiler for that purpose.

We did get some hot dogs and some sausages the other day to give our new George Foreman Grill a tryout this weekend, depending on the weather, of course.

April 14, 2022

Mazatlán and More . . .

Jan and I were out the door a little before 11, on our way to the Spring area to meet up with Debi and Ed Hurlburt at El Palenque, one of our local favorites, for another in our monthly get-togethers. We always have a great time with them, and today was no exception.

Jan got her usual Mazatlán dinner with Chicken, Shrimp, and More.

El Palenque Jan 20220414

Her favorite, and always delicious.

I got something a little different this time, the Chicken Tortilla Soup, also with a little of everything.

El Palenque Greg 20220414

We had so much fun talking that suddenly we looked up and 2-1/2 hours had passed.

El Palenque 20220414

A great time, and we’re already scheduled to do it again next month.

And even better, we were a little ahead of the traffic coming home, and were here by 4pm.

Just in time for a nap.