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

Thick or Thin . . .

Lunch today was at Dickinson Seafood once again, with us both getting the Blackened Catfish with Blackened Shrimp, Double Grilled Veggies, and a Salad.

Dickinson Seafood Catfish & Shrimp 20230205

However, seeing it on the menu, I decided to check out a cup of their Shrimp Gumbo, thinking that it would be as good as their Catfish.

Unfortunately, I was wrong.

There are two different types of gumbo: thick and thin.

The thick has the consistency of gravy, while the thin is like a consommé, kind of translucent.

The thin is what I grew up with and like. The thick is what I got.

Dickinson Seafood Gumbo 20230205

And though the favor was good, it goes into the ‘Won’t Have Again’ column.

Finishing up our meal, we drove over to the nearby HEB for our weekly stuff, and then home by about 3pm.


I’ve wondered about this for a while, and now it seems confirmed.

I noticed a year or so ago that when I would check out using the Self-Service lanes, the system almost never asks me for my PIN number, though it also does at the regular lanes.

And now we may know why.

WalMart’s Self Checkout has cameras.

Ash also alleges that “they also take a picture of your face and the card that they’re using. And they hold it and stored as a file.”

This is what I figured, that they were associating my picture with my credit card. But when I asked one of the ladies doing the checkout, they had no idea what I was talking about.

Yeah, right.

Jan got hooked on a new Peacock series while she was up at Brandi’s, Poker Face, about a young woman who has an amazing gift. She can tell if a person was lying 100% of the time.

But when we tried to watch it last night, and then again tonight, our Firestick keeps locking up, forcing me to reboot it. I first tried deleting the Cache and the Data, and then actually uninstalled the Peacock app and then reinstalled it.

Again with no luck. But I’ll keep working on it.

Thought for the Day:

If Thought Bubbles Appeared Above My Head, I’d Be Screwed

February 5, 2011

The Toilet Wars are over . . .

and I won!

The new base adapter kit from Dometic finally let me mount the toilet correctly.

To review . . . I bought a new toilet while we were in Las Vegas last March because I was tired of replacing the seals in the old one. But I also bought myself a lot of new problems.

Thinking I would simplify things, I bought the same Sealand Traveler 500 toilet that was already in the coach. But in the intervening 10 years they had changed the base plate from a 4 bolt mount to the same 2 bolt one used in home toilets.

I put in a call to Sealand to see if they had anything to help me with the problem. Not only did they not have anything to help, they didn’t seem to understand what the problem even was.

So I tried various schemes over the last year with only a modicum of success…usually temporary.

So a couple of weeks ago, in an act of quiet desperation, I called Sealand again.

And lo and behold, they’d finally figured out they had a problem. And now they had an adapter kit to fix it.

And it worked great. The war is over.

We met Brandi, Lowell, and Landon at King Food at 11:30am for lunch before heading over to their house so Jan could Landon sit while Brandi and Lowell go out to a movie and then to the Taste of Texas Restaurant up on I-10 and Beltway 8.

Leaving Jan at Brandi’s, I first when by Sam’s Club, and then dropped our winter comforter off at the cleaners. After that I headed back to the rig to install the toilet adapter kit. I did make one trip out to Home Depot to get some new bolts since the old ones were a little corroded.

When I came back I found Mister and Emma jostling for position on the heated kitty bed. It looks like Emma is trying to push Mister away with her paw, but actually she’s sound asleep.

Mister and Emma 3

Finishing up the toilet repair, I left the rig about 5:30 and headed back up Brandi’s. While I was there I did get some great Landon pics, but I left the camera there, so they’ll be for later.

Brandi and Lowell got back about 6:30 and then Jan and I headed down to Texas City to Ryan’s for supper. Jan wanted fried chicken and they have some of the best around.

We got back to the rig about 8:30 pm and settled in for the night, after another long, but fun, day.

The weather supposed to be nice for the next several days, so I hope I can get the rest of my chores done around the rig.

February 5, 2012

Barcenas and La Posta . . .

Jan and I decided to have the Sunday morning breakfast buffet at La Brisa this morning, and as we were leaving the coach, she was wondering if she should feed the birds before we left, or wait until we came back.

Well the birds decided for her. As soon as she stepped out of the coach, flocks of birds headed toward us, squawking all the way, and settled in the palm trees surrounding our site, just waiting for the birdseed lady (Jan) to get to work.

We also had our Great Blue Heron friend right off shore keeping an eye on things.

Great Blue Heron 4

After our usual great La Brisa breakfast, I brought Jan home and then turned around and headed up to Webster to spend the afternoon working at a client’s office, setting up some things that’s hard to do when everyone is there working.

Finally about 4:30 I headed back down to the rig to pick up Jan so we could head right back up to meet Brandi, Lowell, and Landon at the Barcenas Mexican Restaurant right near their house.

Brandi had gotten back from Denver earlier in the afternoon, glad to be out of the snow and ice and 8 degree temps, and back to just rainy Houston.

Landon was his usual energetic self, keeping us all highly entertained.

Jan started out feeding him the chips and Queso, but apparently Landon thought she was spending too much time talking and not enough time feeding him,

Landon Barcenas 35

so he just started feeding himself.

Landon Barcenas 4

Landon Barcenas 5

Then after we finished eating, Jan and Landon had a rousing game of “Where’s Landon?”

Barcena Where's Landon 1

Barcena Where's Landon 2

After a fun get-together, and a quick stop at CVS, Jan and I headed home. On the way back Jan and I got ot talking about the legendary La Posta de Mesilla in the Old Mesilla area of Las Cruces.

On the National Register of Historic Buildings, the La Posta Compound dates back to the 1840’s when it was a freight station. Then after the Civil War it was an important stop on the Butterfield Stagecoach Line. And later, it was the home of the Corn Exchange Hotel, one of the finest in the Southwest. The La Posta de Mesilla Restaurant opened in 1939 and the same family has been serving delicious food there ever since.

Jan and I are really looking forward to eating there ourselves when we’re through there in a couple of weeks or so.

February 5, 2013

Out of Breath . . .

Today started early (very early!) with a 7am departure from the rig up to Friendswood for Jan’s doctor visit for this year. It took about 90 minutes, but she got a clean bill of health for this year. So she’s good to go.

Since she had to fast this morning before her tests, we headed down the road to Kelley’s Country Cookin for a really good breakfast.

And coffee, lots of coffee.

Then it was about 5 miles down the road to try once again to replace a client’s computer power supply. Readers will remember last Saturday I went to the client’s house with what turned out to be used, dead power supply in a new box.

So after correcting the situation with EPO, the store that sold it to me, I was back to try again. And this time the new supply worked fine and after a few minutes the client was up and running again.

Our next stop was Brock’s Car Care near our house to talk about getting some work done on our truck tomorrow. We’re going to rent a car this afternoon and then drop the truck so they can get started on it the first thing tomorrow.

Next up was a client in Clear Lake and then one in Pasadena (Hi, Tricia!), and then finally, home.

But our stay only lasted an hour and then it was back on the road, and a stop for dinner at Monterey’s Little Mexico for some good Mexican.

By 5pm we were up in League City to Enterprise Leasing to rent a Toyota Corolla, or at least that’s what I reserved and was paying for. But something I’ve learned over the years is that if you renting a cheap, small car at a small town office, you usually get upgraded because they’re out of small cars.

In this case we ended up with a big, honkin’ Dodge RAM Crew Cab truck. Sweet!

Then I drove the rental up to Brock’s with Jan following in our truck, where we swapped stuff out and left it to be worked on.

Then after a quick stop at Kroger’s and Chase Bank, we ran by Brandi’s to check the mail, Sam’s Club for prescriptions, and finally home.

(Catching my breath) Glad today is over.

February 5, 2014

Good to Go . . .

Jan and I were up early this morning, leaving the rig about 8 AM and heading up to Friendswood, where our doctor put us up on the rack, gave us a full checkout, drained some fluids, and topped off our prescriptions. As a result she said we’re good to go for another 12 months or 12,000 miles of RV’ing, whichever comes first.

On a related subject, so far for me, Medicare is an expensive rip-off. Before I went on it this past October, I was self-pay for my yearly checkups, and they normally cost me about $200, including all the tests. This year, under Medicare, my checkup was $125, a savings of a whole $75. Great!

Except that’s ignoring the $105 a month that Medicare is costing me out of my Social Security. So it cost me $1260 a year to save $75. Wheee!

When I mentioned something about this to the office clerk, she reassured me that once I met the $147 deductible, another visit would only cost me $23. Oh boy!

Since I’ve never had to go to the doctor twice in one year, I was not really impressed by this cost savings.

Of course, I’ll probably sing a different tune if something serious happens. But until then, I’ll just bitch, whine, and complain.

I’m good at that.

By the time we were both finished, it was after 11 AM, so we decided to reward ourselves with lunch at Twin Peaks. Or maybe Jan decided to reward me.

The first thing we did was to apologize to our regular waitress, Lauren, for being unfaithful to her by eating at Bombshell’s, a competitor breastaurant, last week. She laughed and said that she and her boyfriend had eaten there this past weekend, and they didn’t think anymore of it than we did.

After our usual good food and great service, Lauren reminded us (me) as we were leaving, that this coming Saturday the 8th is the beginning of Lingerie Week at Twin Peaks.

Twin Peaks Lingerie Week

What can I say? I guess we’ll just have to eat here again next week.

Maybe even more than once.

Leaving Twin Peaks, and after a quick client visit, we stopped off at Barnes & Noble to check out the magazine section. We thought about getting a couple of coffees at the resident Starbuck’s, but decided that for just about the same price of two coffees there, we could get two coffees and four of the delicious Cranberry Nut muffins to go at the Buc-ee’s on the way home. They’re great heated up for breakfast.

Around 3:30, our son Chris and his wife Linda, stopped by for a few minutes. While he was here, Chris helped me put the two front chairs back in place after the Great Reflooring. And Linda got to see the beautiful job Chris had done on the floor.

Thanks, again, Chris

Tomorrow will probably a mixture of work-around-the-rig and client stuff.

February 5, 2015

Not Much . . .

is pretty much what Jan and I did most of the day. It was foggy, dreary, and spitting rain the whole time, not very conducive to doing much of anything. Especially not outside.

I made some phone calls, one to Thousand Trails reserving some dates over the next few months as we travel out west and later back east. As it stands right now, we’ll spend from March through the middle of May out west, before heading back to Illinois by the end of May for a family reunion.

Then Jan and I will spend the next couple of months in Indiana, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, before we finally start back toward Texas the first part of August.

Later in the afternoon, I went over my service history with RV Mobile Lube. It’s about time to get our rig serviced again, and I’ve always used them to do it. They come right to the RV park, change all the fluids and filters, and lube the chassis and driveline. They will also service the generator, check/change your coolant, and service your transmission.

I will probably just get the engine and the coolant service, since my generator doesn’t need it yet, and since I’ve had two past transmission fluid changes with TranSynd, I don’t need my Allison transmission serviced for another 50,000 miles.

One thing new I wasn’t happy to see when we got back to the Galveston Bay RV Park was this.

GBRV Corner Rock

They’ve decided to line the corners of the new sites with large boulders. Just the thing to turn a tight corner into a multi-thousand dollar repair bill. If they’re so worried about a rig cutting across the grass, they should have just put in a diagonal of concrete or gravel there.

A little before 5pm, Jan and I headed right down the road to meet Chris, Linda, and Piper at the Herb Café, a nice small restaurant with a great menu. Jan and I have eaten here several times before and it’s always been good. And it was tonight too.

Not only is every thing fresh and made inhouse, but they grow their own herbs and seasonings in their garden next door. Really good.

Tomorrow: Fiberglass

February 5, 2016

Sometimes it’s the 10% . . .

Chris and his wife Linda showed up about 10am to pick up his invalid bike.

On his way back from Burnet yesterday, he’d discovered the rear tire on his bike was coming apart so he left it here to come back today and pick it up. He rented a U-Haul motorcycle trailer to take it back with them, which made really easy to get it loaded and tied down.

Chris Motorcycle 1_thumb[4]

Once it was all ready, Jan and I followed them into town to have breakfast at Schobel’s Restaurant in Columbus before they headed home. But by then it was so close to lunch, that I was the only one who had breakfast, with everyone else having lunch instead. But we had a good time talking, anyway.

After seeing Chris and Linda off, and coming back from our breakfast/lunch, we made a detour out on US90E to Schneider Welding to see if I could drop off my screen door hinge. He said he could do it, but not today. I said that was just fine as long as I get it back by next Friday, before we leave for Lake Conroe on Sunday.

Getting back home, it was time to tackle my clogged up toilet problem. As I mentioned yesterday, after thinking it over, I was 90% certain that a clogged roof vent pipe was causing my problem.

Well . . . No.

It turned out to be the other 10%. I eliminated the vent pipe situation last night by turning off the shore water, opening the black valve, and then inside, just barely opening the toilet bowl ball. The level dropped an inch or so, but then stopped, even after I opened the toilet valve all the way.

So this morning I was going to use a long fiberglass rod to try and clear the clog. With the water still off, I stepped on the floor pedal to open the toilet ball and started poking down into the toilet.

And on about the 2nd poke I hit something hard that clinked. But the level did drop a little more. So I poked some more and suddenly it all broke free and every thing drained.

But what was the ‘clink’? Grabbing a flashlight I could see the problem.

The pipe drops about 18” into the tank (further than I thought) and it was clear. But above it was a section of white PVC-looking pipe that made up the base of the toilet pedestal itself. This was inserted in the black pipe leading to the tank. And a section of this white pipe had cracked and was sticking out into the center of the pipe.

Due to the discoloration, it looks like it’s been there for a good while, maybe since the coach was new. Tapping it with the rod, it was hard and not flexible at all. The only thing I can figure is that over time stuff had been building up on that piece until it finally clogged completely. And if I try to break it off or remove it, I would take a chance of having it fall into the tank. Not a good thing.

So I’ll just leave it alone for now and check it with a flashlight every now and then. Like I said yesterday, we’ve never had a clog before in the 8+ years we’ve owned the coach, so maybe it will go another 8 years. We’ll see.

About 4:45 we picked up our friend Randy Lazarine and all headed into Columbus to have dinner at Los Cabos Mexican Grill

Readers of our blog from December 2014 may remember my adventures with Randy’s new-to-him Monaco Diplomat. He had bought it from PPL here in Houston a few days earlier, and ended up parked right next to us here at the Colorado River Thousand Trails. He saw me outside working on my rig, and asked for some help with his rig’s electrical system.

After he’d been parked here several days,  both his coach and engine batteries had run down. You can follow the story of what I found wrong with his coach, and how I fixed it. How it ever got off the dealer lot that way is a mystery.




Check out the story above.

As far as the latest Karma the Kat update, she’s apparently decided she’s definitely a ‘rig’ cat now. We had started out worrying that she might try to escape since she was so used to being outside. But we’ve since noticed that if she’s anywhere up front in the rig and we open the door, she heads for the bedroom as fast as she can go.

She’s not taking any chances.

Wrapping up, I want to congratulate my uncle Tom Calvin on his Lifetime Achievement Award as the winningest high school football coach in Alabama history.

Tom Calvin Coaching

Tom Calvin: Honoring a lifetime of achievement

After playing for the University of Alabama for three years in the late 40’s, he played fullback for the Pittsburgh Steelers for 4 years before being injured. He then coached high school football for the next 33 years, amassing a record of 201-130-11.

And his wife Lenette holds her own in the sports department as well, She’s an Olympic-level gymnastic coach, even working with famed Olympic coach Béla Károlyi at several Olympics, and at his facility in Houston.

Congratulations to both.

February 5, 2017

And Just in Time Too, Two . . .

The heavy rain last night and this morning made the rig move yesterday very worthwhile.

When I checked this afternoon before I left for work, I found that the holes and ruts that I had been mired in yesterday were now filled with water.

So it looks like we got out while the ‘getting’ was good.

We heard this evening that they expect the frack here to go another 10 days or so IF they have no problems. Yeah, right!

So that will work out just about perfect for us since our last work day will be the 14th and we leave for Colorado River on the 15th.

The hackers are back. At least in force once again.

I mentioned before I that I get regular attempts to hack into this blog by trying to log in as the administrator. There’s no credit card numbers, or anything like that to steal, so the only possible thing they could want would be to put an infected link of some sort on the blog. So that when a reader clicked on it, it might be able to infect their computer.

But so far they haven’t had any luck. I have a 20 character garbage password, I.e. lkn5TFub979fg&%$%$R, as well as one of those Captcha things where you have to enter the distorted letters and numbers.

Plus after two failed attempts, that IP address is locked out for 48 hours. But they keep on trying. And yesterday was the heaviest in a long time.

Normally I get 30 – 50 attempts a day. I know this because I get an email alert for each one. But yesterday morning between 1am and 2:30am I received almost 700 attempts, a new record.

Almost of the IP addresses come from Russia and Eastern Europe, with a few from Africa and Spain. Although the Africa and Spain ones could just be spoofed, and really from Russia as well.

The whole vehicle alarm thing continues to confound. After working fine since yesterday, tonight a little after 8pm, all 3 alarms just stopped working, both Mighty Mules and the Sitewatch one. Then about 11:30pm, they all 3 started working again, like you flipped a switch.

So now I’ve started designing my own system, at least on paper. It’ll be pretty mechanical with only the control box needing to be powered. So I’ll see how it goes.

February 5, 2018

At Least One Thing Good . . .

Work today was kind of a madhouse. Jennifer, the office manager, was out, possibly with the flu, but hopefully not.

I haven’t seen her since last Wednesday, and based on the flu’s incubation period (1 to 4 days, 2 days average) I (and by extension, Jan) should be OK

Bu with Jennifer out, between phone orders, walk-ins, and processing web orders, we were overrun, even with me getting roped in. And it may get worse in the next few days as the sales ad cards start getting delivered.

We did get some sample ad cards via Priority Mail from the direct mail company today, and they looked great. They took my original design of a 6” x 6” layout and stretched out to about 6” x 11”, much more of an eye-catcher in the mailbox.

As I mentioned before, Jan and I have started laying out our next RV adventure. We plan on leaving here on June 23rd, with our first stop at Poche’s Fish N Camp in Breaux Bridge, LA. Then we’ll spend the next few days working our way north up to Vandalia, IL for another big family reunion at her sister Debbie’s and her extended family, arriving on the 26th.

We always stay at the Timber Trails RV Park in nearby Mulberry Grove, and since we’re bumping up against the 4th of July holidays, I put in a call to get our reservation in early, leaving a message.

When the lady called back a couple of days later she was laughing, saying that the park didn’t even open until April 1st and that they were down in Florida for the winter.

But she said to call her back on April 1st and I’d be first in line. So I told Alexa to remind me then.

Then come July 1st, we’ll head south, down to Athens, AL to check in on all my surviving relatives, before heading back to Houston on the 6th or so.

Then later in the summer, July or so, we plan on heading down to Florida to catch up with a couple of Jan’s old friends in the Titusville area and West Palm Beach.

It’ll be good to get back on the road.

At least one thing good came out of yesterday’s outrageously-priced Jiffy Lube oil change. Believe it or not, it fixed my oil pressure gauge problem.

The possibility of this happening is actually why I got the oil change yesterday in the first place. When I was Googling my original problem, I saw a couple of references to people having the same problem curing it by replacing the oil filter.

Apparently the oil flows out of the filter and directly by the pressure sensor, so maybe if the filter material was collapsing, or the internal filter bypass was messed up, that might make the sensor kind of wonky.

The last time I had the oil changed was in Rapid City last spring about 6000 miles ago. And the Jiffy Lube guy said it was a FRAM filter they replaced so it wasn’t a cheap filter causing the problem.

But at least it’s now fixed.

February 5, 2019

It’s Twenty Years Old . . .

How Long Can It Last?

Jan and I headed a little after 1pm for lunch at our favorite King Food. But as we were passing by, we made a detour into Rudy’s BBQ for a take-home bottle of their BBQ sauce, as well as a jar of their coarse ground pepper,

Rudy's Black Pepper

as well as one of their coarse salt.

At King Food, Jan got her usual Chicken with Hot Garlic Sauce with Jalapenos,

King Food Chcken Garlic 3

while I went with just a big bowl of their Hot and Sour Soup.

King Food Big Bowl Hot & Sour

Always a treat.

BTW a few years ago King Food was selected as one of the Top 100 Chinese Restaurants in the US.

Then it was on up the Interstate for a quick stop at Lowe’s for some screws, and then it was on to the nearby WalMart for more stuff. It seems we never have quite enough stuff.

Then it was on home with a stop for a couple lottery tickets.

A number of years ago the temperature controller on our rig’s Dometic NDR 1292 refrigerator quit controlling. Luckily it stuck wide open, so for a while I just watched the internal temp and cycled the fridge on and off.

But this was a problem when we were away for a few days. So a while back I hooked it up to one of these WiFi switches,

PECHAM WiFi Switches

so that I can control the fridge remotely. And I also can control it via Alexa, as well putting it on a timer. But it was still hard to allow for outside temperature changes which affected the fridge internal temps.

So why didn’t I just fix it? Well, the consensus was that it was the controller board. A VERY expensive controller board. And really more money than I wanted to put into an, at the time, decade and a half old refrigerator. I mean, how long can it last?

Now, except for this, our Dometic has been a workhorse, and unlike many other Dometic and Norcold RV refrigerators, our 1292 has never had a recall on it. But I keep waiting for it to fail so I can replace it with a Samsung or LG residential fridge.

I mean, it’s twenty years old.

How long can it last?

At this point  though, I’m beginning to believe it might just outlast Jan and I.

But I would like to find a cheap(er) fix for the temperature problems. So recently I came across this.

WiFi Thermostat

Digital WiFi Thermostat

A thin probe connects the unit to the inside of the fridge, which then will turn the fridge on and off based on the temperature setting I select. In addition, I can also control it manually via Alexa, or an Android app.

Hopefully that will take care of this problem.

February 5, 2020

Before Its Time . . .

This was a Peloton before there was a Peloton.

Bally LifeCycle

In January 1987 I left the NASA contractor where I working on the Space Shuttle and moved over to Krug Life Sciences where I was working on the first iteration of the Space Station, then called Space Station Freedom.

I was the computer/video interface guy in a small group tasked with designing exercise equipment for the astronauts to use in space. After brainstorming for a few weeks, tossing around ideas for things what would work in Zero-G.

I mean, weight-lifting was out, as well as pushups. Even running on a treadmill wouldn’t be a worthwhile effort. Finally we settled on the idea of an exercise bike of some sort. The effort needed wouldn’t change under Zero-G conditions, and the astronaut wouldn’t float away if he was strapped to the seat.

In addition, we were also told to find a way to make the exercise ‘entertaining’. Getting started, our first job was to get an exercise bike to work with.

At the time Bally was the manufacturer of one of the top-of-the-line computer-controlled exercise bike, the Bally Lifecycle. So we called and appealed to their patriotic inclinations. Well, that and the promise of being able to advertise it ‘As Used On The Space Station’. And with some subtle threats, ‘possible IRS audits, etc.’ I was able to get a complete set of schematics and manuals on the bike.

As far as the ‘entertainment’ part of this, we decided to try and interface a video disc player to the unit that would play back biking videos, touring places like Hawaii, Yellowstone, and Yosemite. After a lot of work we came up with a way that the astronauts could take different routes and the video disc would sync up with their turns, so they could take a different route every time they exercised. And they could also speed up, slow down, or stop. All of this viewed on a monitor mounted over the bike’s handlebars.

And it was all controlled by a Commodore 64 that I had removed from the case, disconnected the keyboard, and mounted the circuit board inside the bike. The program was stored on a game cartridge so that when you turned the C64 on, it booted up directly into the program.

The only unknown at that point was to fly the video disc player on the Vomit Comet to be sure it would work in Zero-G. But while we were waiting for our slot to come up on an upcoming flight, Krug lost their contract on this project, and I move on to another contract.

The bike and our mods went back to Bally and disappeared. But then about 10 years, our concept was resurrected by Bally and others, utilizing the new DVD players that had just come out. We were just ahead of our time, and the technology.

Maybe tomorrow I’ll tell you the rest of this story. About a hammer, a brutal murder, a psychotic doctor, and 40 years in prison.

February 5, 2021

A No-Go?

It’s looking more and more like our upcoming Alaskan Cruise is going to be a no-go. Yesterday Canada announced that they would allow no cruises to dock at any Canadian port, I.e. Vancouver, where our cruise is supposed to end, until February 2022. Now the first thought would be just use Seattle instead. But there’s a problem with that too.

All foreign-flagged ships, pretty much all cruise ships, must dock at at least one foreign port when transiting American waters, I.e. Vancouver again. So now we’ll just have to wait and see what happens next.

Back in the day, before Dometic bought them, Fan-Tastic Vent Fans pretty much had a lifetime guarantee. I know several times I called about parts and they sent them to me gratis. But that changed when Dometic took over.

Any way the fan motor in our bathroom vent fan has been slowing dying, and finally croaked the other day. So when I called Dometic about a new motor/fan combo, I was quoted a price of $75. But I found the same one on Amazon for half that.

Fantastic Vent Motor and Fan

Dometic Fan Blade and Motor

It will have to be installed from up top, but it should go pretty quickly.

Tomorrow afternoon Jan and I are going to meet Brandi. Lowell, and Landon at the Babin’s Seafood up in Katy. We’ve never eaten at a Babin’s, another in Tilman Fertitta’s stable of restaurants, and we’re looking forward to trying it.

February 5, 2022

Our New Addiction . . .

As I had hoped, while our Dodge Dakota didn’t want to run at 28°, it started up and ran just fine this morning at 42°, so we were on our way to lunch at Los Ramirez Mexican by about 1pm.

We’ve eaten here long enough and are well enough known to the servers, that they already know what we’re going to order, though they do double check just in case.

Jan always gets the Pechuga Rellena, with a large chicken breast, shrimp and broccoli, all covered in cheese.

Los Ramirez Pechuga 1-05-20

My favorite is the Beef Fajita Taco Salad with the guac on the side for Jan.

Los Ramirez Beef Fajita Taco Salad

All delicious, as always.

Then after a stop at our store room to pick up another space heater that we got after last February’s big freeze. We ordered a couple of these.

Kismile Space Heater

Kismile Space Heater

When the temps never get out of the high 20’s, like it has been the last day or so, our two regular heaters have trouble keeping up. So we’ll add a 3rd one to help out when we need it.

Then after a WalMart Stop, we were home by about 3:30.

A very nice day.

We’re really glad that some of our favorite streaming shows are coming back.

Resident Alien started back up a couple of weeks ago, with Mrs. Maisel coming back to Amazon on February 18th. Then February 28th Murdoch Mysteries finally comes back to Acorn TV here in the US.  And after being away since April 2019, the much-delayed 3rd season of The Orville comes to Hulu on March 10th.

Looking forward to all the new episodes.

A month or so ago Jan stumbled across a YouTube channel called MyLittleHomestead. It’s about a family with 4 kids who are building a homestead in Arizona. They repurpose things in very innovative ways, and construct most buildings, etc., by hand with earthbags, stucco, and concrete. They’ve be posting videos about their life for over ten years with more than 328 videos online, and it’s fun to watch the kids grow up. It’s become our new addiction. They also have a website at https://mylittlehomestead.com/

Check it out for yourself. You’ll be hooked too.

Family Eats . . .

First off, Jan and I both want to thank everyone for the many kind emails and comments about how you’re enjoying reading the Retro Blogs every day. It’s a lot of fun for us too, reliving our RV Adventure of the last 14 years.

Thanks, everyone.

I was on my way to Katy to pick up Jan this morning by about 11, getting there a little after noon. Brandi and a neighbor were out training Brandi’s dogs, Jack and Baxter, to walk on a leash.

Walking Jack and Baxter

Baxter, on the right, got the hang of it pretty quickly, but high-strung Jack took a little more patience. And by the end of their 1 mile walk, had settled down. Or maybe he was just tired, since as soon as they were home, he plopped down on the floor and didn’t move for a while.

They’ll see how it goes next time.

Afterwards, Landon and I talked 3D Printing for a bit, while Jan and Brandi went out to do some shopping.

Then they called when they were almost done, so Lowell and I loaded up Jan’s stuff and headed up Mason Rd. to meet them at their new favorite place (and ours, now) Ray’s Mexican Restaurant.

Brandi and Lowell split the Beef Fajitas for Two.

Ray's Mexican Beef Fajitas

We all commented on how much beef there was on the platter.

Jan got one of her favorites, the Relleno Poblano, a poblano pepper stuffed with ground beef and then battered, fried, and then smothered in cheese and red sauce.

Ray's Mexican Rellano Plobano

I got the Tampiqueña, basically a Fajita Steak with a Cheese Enchilada and Charro Beans.

Ray's Mexican Tampiquena

Everything, starting with the warm chips and salsa to the entrees was delicious. And the service was great too,

We’ll be back.

Finally, saying our goodbyes and getting our hugs in, Jan and I headed home, getting back to the rig a little before 4pm

Karma and I both really glad to have her home.

Thought for the Day:

Apparently using the word ‘forecast’ for weather predictions was chosen by a British meteorologist in 1860 because he didn’t like the then-preferred term, ‘prophecy’.

Personally, based on the accuracy of most forecasts, weather prophecy is probably a better term.

February 4, 2010

Ups and Downs…

First the Ups…

1.  My yearly medical exam went fine yesterday and the doctor said I’m good for another 60 years or so, or maybe she said 6 years. I’m not sure.

2.  Even with the bad weather, I’m still managing to get some things done around the coach.

3.  The weather is supposed to be good this weekend so hopefully I can get the rest of the stuff done.

4.  We picked up our truck from the repair place

Now the Downs…

1.  Driving our truck and rent car back to drop it off at the rental agency, our truck started losing oil pressure, sometimes dropping down to zero. Not a good thing. So it was back to the shop with the truck. Since they only did new shocks, rear brakes, and a tune-up, I don’t think it’s anything they did., Just bad luck. We’ll see.

2.  It’s supposed to get real cod again here next week, maybe even snow. So more nasty weather while we’re trying to get ready to leave.

Hopefully tomorrow will be better…

February 4, 2011

Monterey’s and Mattress Pads . . .

5 Days and HOLDING . . .

Note the HOLDING. Originally we were going to leave here next Wednesday the 9th, but the new job came thru, and it’s going to be hard to get it done by then. So we’ll probably leave Saturday the 12th, but we’re not sure yet. We’re paid up here at the park until the 13th so we’ll definitely leave by then.  We’ll see.

Jan’s still under the weather, but slowly getting better. Her cold is really hanging on,

I fixed coffee and then made some calls to clients to set up some appointments for later in the week.

About noon I headed out to Fry’s up in Webster to pick up a scanner for a client and grab a bowl of Chicken Tortilla Soup at Monterey’s Little Mexico. Just the thing for this cold weather. Jan wasn’t really hungry, so she fixed something at the rig.

Getting home Jan and I stripped the bed linens so we could install our new heated mattress pad and swap out the spread for a lighter one. We have a heavy one for winter and a light one for summer. And, yeah, it’s not summer yet, and it’s not warm, but we always leave the heavy one here since it takes up a lot of room.

Our old Sunbeam heated mattress pad was on its last legs and I was tried of repairing it. But a new one was $130 at Walmart.

Touch of Class Heated Mattress Pad2But when I was in Sam’s Club picking up our prescriptions the other day, I saw this one for $40. Checking online showed me Amazon was selling it for $80. A great buy.

And the online reviews were pretty good, so we’ll see how it goes.

By later in the afternoon it was warm enough to hook the water line back up, both to do laundry and fill the water tank back up.

Then at about 9 pm the temperature was down to about 28 so I went outside and disconnected and drained the hose again.

It’s supposed to go down to 23 degrees tonight and then finally warm up into the 60’s for most of next week.

February 4, 2013

The Clock is ticking down . . .

and we’ve got just two weeks to go here at Galveston Bay RV Park.

After coffee this morning I started back on a few of the small things on my “Do Before We Leave” List

First up was to install the new 26” Denso Wipers on the rig. I did have to modify the mounts a little bit to make them fit right, but I think these will clean the windshield about better than the others. I guess we’ll see when it starts raining.

Next up I installed the AstroTurf Step Map that I bought a while back.

RV Step Mat

These do a really good job of keeping your shoes clean, and the first one lasted for 5 years, so another one was in order.

Changing out the mat consisted of just cutting the 3 zip ties that held the old on, and then zip tying the new one. Done.

After a few other things, Jan and I headed out about 1:45 for her Ophthalmologist’s appointment for this year. And after about 2 hours she was given a clean bill of health.

Heading home, we made a quick stop at HEB for a few things, including stocking up on a couple of bags of our favorite flavored coffee beans that are only available from them.

Before we left home earlier, we started a slow cooker of homemade Chicken Tortilla Soup and by the time we got home, it was pretty much ready to go. All I had to do was slice up some jalapenos and dump them in the pot.

Really good and we have enough for another meal.

Tomorrow Jan has her yearly Doctor’s appointment at 8am. I have mine next Monday and then we’ll be done for this year.

Later tomorrow I have a couple of client appointments to wrap some things up. I’m glad that my computer work is starting to wind down, so I’ll have more time to get rig stuff done.

February 4, 2014

Save Every Last Inch!

I had planned to print out 1272 address labels last night for a client’s mail out, but it was not to be. My 6 week old HP printer would not turn on. It was working fine before I packed it away for the re-flooring, but It was dead now.

So I had to get up early and head down to the client’s to try and print them out there. The only problem was that he doesn’t have a copy of the address label program on any of his computers. I took a copy of the program folder to see if I could get it running on his machine without installing it from scratch.

But as I figured that didn’t work, so before I went down to Fry’s to buy another copy, I thought I’d try online to see if I could buy and download a copy of the program right then. And I lucked out. I could download a free ‘trial’ version that would work 20 times before you had to buy it.

And 10 minutes later I had my 43 pages of labels done.

After wrapping things up there I headed home, with a stop off at Wal-Mart to exchange my dead printer for a live one. I had found the receipt and the serial number on it matched the printer, so I figured I was all set. But not quite.

When I got to the WM Customer Service desk, I told them the printer was dead, showed them the receipt, and waited for them to tell me to go get another one from the back. But it didn’t quite work out that way.

My receipt was torn and that barcode printed at the bottom of every receipt was missing. Although they could confirm that the serial numbers matched and they were able to call up the sale on the computer via the transaction number, they said they could not issue the exchange without scanning the barcode. The computer just wouldn’t let them. So they said there was nothing they could do.

So stubborn as I am, I started climbing the supervisor ladder, looking for the one that could make this happed. Finally after 6 rungs, I came to the Associate Assistant Manager (the 3rd highest guy, behind the Manager and the Assistant Manager). He listened to the problem, said no problem, and  told the Customer Service lady how to do it. Then he entered his code and used his special key, and I was done.

Persistence Pays. And remember, save ALL of your receipt. Every last inch.

Getting home, I entered the coach to the delicious smell of the big batch of Crockpot Chili that Jan had been brewing up all day. And it tasted even better than it smelled.

Tomorrow morning Jan and I have our yearly doctor’s appointments, starting at 8:45. Hopefully it won’t take too long.

February 4, 2015

Home . . . At Last

Jan and I were up at 7 this morning to get ready to finally head home. At least as much home as we have while full-timing.

Luckily for me, the rain had pretty stopped by the time I went outside to start disconnecting and putting stuff away, so that helped speed things up.

Then we headed out a little after 10am.

The only thing a little different this morning was the fact that it took the airbags so long to come up. Our coach has an automatic moisture purge system on it,  and after a period of cold, wet weather, the air system runs through a purge cycle before it comes up to full  pressure. So we just have to sit and wait until it’s done.

The trip, in on I-10, south on the Sam Houston Tollway, then south on I-45 to Dickinson. went smoothly, with even some blue skies along the way. At the Dickinson exit, we looped back up the Interstate and parked in the large parking lot next to Monterey’s Little Mexico. I’d been too long without a bowl of their Chicken Tortilla Soup, and Jan loves their Beef Fajita Nachos, so that was our lunch stop.

Finishing lunch, I unhooked the toad and Jan followed me up to the Buc-ee’s on SR96 where I topped off the rig tank for $2.29 a gallon. And if I’d wanted to go a little further, down to the new big Buc-ee’s in La Marque, I could have gotten it for $2.24.

We pulled into the Galveston Bay RV Resort about 2pm and drove right to our spot, site 103.

GBRV Site 103

And at that point things pretty much came to a screeching halt as far as Jan was concerned. We had planned to pull straight into the site, instead of backing in. As Jan said, why have a water front site if you can’t look at the water.

But because the pedestals on these new sites are all the way at the end, I would not have enough electrical cord to reach it. In past years we have parked straight in with no problems because the pedestal was about halfway along the site, and my cord would reach the pedestal underneath the rig with no problems. We noticed a couple of other Class A’s around that were using 50amp extension cords, but we weren’t quite ready to try that yet.

Jan said that we should drive around the park and look at some of the cheaper sites, since she didn’t want to pay $625 a month and not see water and birds. We found several of the cheaper, interior sites open, but Jan said why don’t we check out the section where we usually stay.

When I called GBRV last Thursday after finding out the new sites were open, I asked if anyone had moved from the old area to the new area, and was told no. But checking this afternoon, we found two sites in our old area vacant, 76 and 78. And we had stayed in 76 before. Getting back to the office, we found out that 76 was available, so we immediately took it, got the rig parked, and got set up.

So Jan got her wish, her water view out the windshield.

GBRV Site 76

And even better, it’s $100 a month cheaper than the other site.

Later, about 5pm, we met Chris and Linda at the Chili’s up in Webster. Unfortunately we didn’t get to see our granddaughter Piper, who was working at UTMB Hospital down in Galveston in the OB/GYN area. She spends part of her time as a Ward Clerk, and the rest actually assisting with deliveries and other patient care.

Right now she’s working full-time at the hospital, and also going to school, working toward her RN degree, with her ultimate goal of becoming a Nurse Practitioner.

It looks like we will be able to see Piper tomorrow night though so we’re looking forward to that.

February 4, 2016

A Problem Solved ??

or An Unexpected Road-trip.

Jan and I were just starting on our walk this morning when our son Chris called. He was coming back from Burnet and had stopped for lunch at the Whataburger up in La Grange and noticed the rear tire on his bike was starting to come apart.

He asked if he could leave his bike here at our site while we took him home to Friendswood. Then he’ll come back up here tomorrow with a trailer and take it back home.


Waiting for Chris to get here, we finished up our walk, making 1.1 miles. Getting back to the rig, we finished up our coffee and muffins just about the time Chris showed up.

And about 1pm we were on the road down to Clear Lake, getting to Chris’ a little before 3. Then with his wife Linda, we were off right down the road to Barcenas Mexican Restaurant, one of our favorite Mexican places in the Clear Lake area.

We’ve been eating here since they opened in 1998, and it’s one of our go-to places, especially since they’re only about a mile from our house. And in fact, when we were living in an apartment the year before we started RV’ing, we were right across the street and could just walk over. Well, run really, across a 4 lane divided road.

Everyone got something different, with Linda getting the Taco Salad, Chris’ Beef Fajita Nachos, Jan’s Tex-Mex Enchiladas, and my Fajitas con Enchiladas.

Barcenas Fajitas_thumb[1]

It had a large piece of Fajita steak, two cheese enchiladas, rice, beans, and Pico de Gallo. Barcenas is known for their fajitas, and it’s easy to see why, Very tender, and very delicious

Our trip down to Chris’ worked out great for another reason, since I had finished cleaning Piper’s computer so I was able to bring it with us. And it gave us a chance to take care of a couple of other errands.

There’s a car wash place down here called Ocean Car Wash that we’ve really liked for for years. They give the absolute best car wash we’ve ever gotten anywhere in the US. Their brushes will get any dirt, grime, or grunge off.

In fact, on our 2014 gate, when we got showered by a drilling mud explosion at the nearby drilling rig, it was the only car wash we tried that got it off the truck. And I don’t know what wax they used, but the truck literally glows white afterwards. So a car wash was first on our list.

Then it was right across the street to the Kroger’s for a few things, some of which was their coffee. We really like their Private Selection house brands of Toasted Hazelnut and Vanilla Biscotti, and wanted to pick some up since there’s not a Kroger’s near Columbus.

Now heading toward home we made quick stop for lattes at the Baybrook Starbuck’s, and I got a free one. I asked for Chesnutt Praline, and they were out, so we got Cinnamon Dolce’s. But since they were out, we got one of them free. Neat!

We were back on I-45 heading home by about 5pm, with a quick potty stop at the Brookshire Flying J, finally getting back to the rig about 7:15. We were coming home right in the middle of the Houston rush hour, but we only lost about 20 minutes along the way, so it wasn’t bad.

Wrapping up, I’m about 90% certain I know what’s causing my clogged black tank. As happens sometimes, I woke up in the middle of the night with a idea.

Putting together, all the symptoms, the fact it will drain slowly and then stop, which means it’s not a solid clog, and more importantly, the fact that when you do flush it, it bubbles and gurgles.

So I’m pretty sure I have a clogged vent pipe, causing a vacuum in the tank, keeping it from emptying completely.

We got back too late tonight to fool with it, but tomorrow I’m going to open the black valve and then flush the toilet. This should break the vacuum and let the tank drain.

Then tomorrow I’ll get up on the roof and use a long fiberglass rod I have to rod out the vent pipe.

The only thing to watch out for is that the water in the toilet bowl may kick back when we flush it the first time and erupt out. So I’ll partially cover the bowl with a garbage bag and put the lid down. Hopefully this will contain the problem.

I’ll let you know more tomorrow.

February 4, 2017  

And Just In Time Too . . .

Well, I’m sure you’ll all be glad to know that we finally got the rig moved forward this afternoon. So now I won’t be complaining about it anymore on the blog. Now I’ll have to find something else.

Moving the rig forward about 10 feet turned out to be pretty easy. Especially since I was able to get unstuck with no problems.

We didn’t do much to prepare. I just unhooked the water and sewer hoses since they run in front of the rear wheels, and Jan opened the front curtain. Didn’t take down the TV. Didn’t pull in the slide.

I cranked up and waited a couple of minutes for the coach to come up on the airbags while Jan stood outside and watched the position of the rear wheels.

I first put it reverse and rocked back a little, and then in drive and rocked forward a bit, wanting to break the tires loose from the muck. I did this several times until I was sure I had broken any suction from the mud.

Then putting it in drive again, I started slowly increasing the throttle with as light a touch as I could, not wanting to spin the tires. And slowly, very slowly, the tires lifted out of the rut and we moved forward a few feet.

Jan signaled me when the tires were completely out of the hole and I stopped. Pulling a couple of heavy-duty door mats out of a storage bay, I laid them out in front of both rear duals. Then watching for Jan’s signal again, I pulled forward again until the wheels were squarely on the mats.

You can see from the wet edge of the tire how sunk in we were, and if you look carefully you can see the edge of the mat sticking out from under the tire. So now, even if/when we have more rain, I should have no trouble getting a moving start to get on our way in a couple of weeks. Or less, actually.

We’ve actually had these mats from a previous time we were stuck in an RV site, that time at the fairgrounds in Sioux Falls, SD that I mentioned a few days ago. I bought them at a local hardware store to try and get myself unstuck. I tried to dig out in front of the rear wheels to get the mats underneath the tires so I could drive out, but no luck.

So that’s when I finally gave up and called Good Sam’s ERS who sent out a winch truck who was able to quickly pulled me out.

And yes, the rig is filthy, from our trip over here from Columbus last October when we had a 10 mile long muddy dirt road construction area along the way. I had hoped to have a chance to get out the pressure washer while we were in Kenedy, but it was either raining a lot, or I was working.

So I’ll wait until we get back to Colorado River to take care of the problem. I had hoped there might be a Blue Beacon Truck Wash along our way, but no such luck.

So far it’s been dead slow today and tonight. They’re switching over from the first two holes to second two, so all the incoming/outgoing sand trucks are on hold. Nice, but kind of boring, since I don’t have consistent Internet to occupy my time.

Jan finally has a working cell phone again. The old battery died and wouldn’t hold a charge. You could charge it 100%, unplug the charger, and then try to call it. And as soon as the call came through, the phone would shutdown and reboot.

I knew it was the battery since if you left it plugged into the charger, you could make and receive calls. But a cell phone that has to stay plugged in all the time is kind of useless. However locating a new battery proved difficult since her LG Revere flip phone was 5 or 6 years old.

I could get one from Batteries Plus, but it had to be special-ordered and was $40. Heck, the phone was free when I got it. So I’m not paying $40 for a battery for it.

I did find a genuine LG battery for only $4.80 plus free shipping on Amazon, but it was 2 to 3 week delivery. But finally I bit the bullet and ordered it, hoping it would get to us before we left the area. And it finally showed up yesterday. I quickly figured out why it took so long to get here. It was shipped from China via DHL Global Mail.

But it was worth the wait. After a full charge, Jan’s phone is working great now. But still glad I only spent $4.80 for it.

Looks like we got the rig unstuck just in time since it’s now pouring down rain here at the gate, though I don’t know about the RV park in Cuero.

But at least it’s done.

February 4, 2018

Never Again . . .

Catching up with yesterday, Jan and I left the rig about 5:30 for our evening out. The first stop was for dinner right up the road at Pho 20.

We both started out with our favorite House Crunch Salad with their delicious home-made Miso Dressing.

Pho 20 Crunch Salad

Then we split an order of Shrimp Spring Rolls,

Pho 20 Shrimp Spring Rolls

and I tried a bowl of their Won Ton Soup for the first time.

Pho 20 Won Ton Soup

And I’ll have it again. A very fragrant broth, with the wontons filled with a mixture of pork and shrimp. DELICIOUS!

Finishing up we headed up to Pearland and Billy’s Hall to see Tony Booth and many others at Tony’s Birthday Bash.

Billy's Hall

We did enjoy catching up with many of our old Alvin Opry friends that we haven’t seen in a number of years since the Alvin Opry  shut down.

We had a great time, but had to listen more than we observed, since this was our view of the stage a lot of the time. And if you ask them to sit down, more just took their place.

Billy's Hall View

But we did get to see Tony

Billy's Hall Tony

and several of our other favorite singers.

Hopefully we can do this again soon at another show.

Sunday started off quietly before we left the rig about 1:20 to meet our friends Jan and Dale Thompson at Stomp’s Burger Joint over on TX146.

My Jan got her usual Outlaw Burger with Cheddar/jack blend, picante sauce, diced & grilled jalapeños, onion, lettuce, tomato, and mayo.

Stomp's Outlaw Burger 2

Dale’s Jan went to the sweet side with the Jezzabelle Burger, with Cream cheese/ raspberry chipotle sauce, lettuce, and mayo.

Dale and I both got the Hog Wild Burger with a patty with bacon blended in, cheddar/jack blend, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle, and  mayo.

Stomp's Hog Wild and Onion Rings

Of course all these burgers come with a 8oz hand-formed Angus Beef patty.

And of course you can’t go to Stomp’s without getting an order of their fantastic Onion Rings.

We had a great time once again getting together with Jan and Dale, and will do it again soon.

Finally heading up to Webster, Jan got her hair done at the local SuperCuts with her favorite stylist. Then it was off toward the WalMart on El Dorado. But we passed a Jiffy Lube along the way that wasn’t busy so I decided to get my oil changed.

But never again at Jiffy Lube.  The last time I got my oil changed was in Rapid City, SD this past summer, and I think it was $$34.99 at a local oil change chain.

But I would had swallowed my gum if I’d been chewing gum when I went to pay up here.  It was $77 and change.

The oil change itself was $66.99, but to really rub my nose in it, that price DID NOT include the filter and the oil itself.

The filter was $5 and the high mileage oil was $6.99.

So I paid a couple of guys $67 to unscrew and screw back in the drain plug, and to pour oil in the top. I guess that’s why there were no price lists around on the walls.

I think the last time I used Jiffy Lube was about 3 years ago when it was around $35 so I expected it to be more this time, but not twice as much.


After we finished up at WalMart and were on the way home, we stopped off at Jason’s Deli for a salad for Jan’s lunch tomorrow.

February 4, 2019

Katz’s and iBurn . . .

I spent a good part of today at work trying to get the webserver configured to install the new SSL certificate for our credit card processing system. Last year I got a nasty surprise when the certificate expired without me getting any notice from Godaddy. But that wasn’t GoDaddy’s fault, because the previous IT guy had all notices sent to his personal email, not a company one. And since I didn’t have access to his personal email, I never knew about it.

But by the time I got it all set up and ready to go today, it was almost time to head home, and since after I install it, I need to shut down the shopping cart, shut down the server, and then reboot, letting all the tables and databases rebuild,  I’d rather be there watching over it when it’s happening. So it’s all put off until Wednesday.

I did receive my 1/2” extensions from Amazon for my oil filter removal/install.

half inch extensions

3 pc. 1/2” Extension Set

With a 3”, 5”, and a 10” one, I will have an 18” reach to get my filter wrench into position. I was also able to dig out my 1/2” ratchet handle from the bay underneath our slide. My normal socket/ratchet set is 3/8” and 1/4”, but I have the 1/2” for when I have to manually crank the slide in and out.

I’ve only had to do this twice over the years, once for a broken shear pin due to a loose floor tile under the kitchen cabinet jamming the slide, and the one due to a broken screw that was jamming the gears. So it’s easier to just leave it in the bay where I always know where it is.

Looks like Jan and I will be attending the Houston RV Show this Thursday. It starts Wednesday, and it’s a BOGO ticket day, but with the tickets only $12, and the fact it seems like all the vendors aren’t set up the first day, we thought we’d hold off a day.

While we’re up there, we’ll make a day off it with lunch at Katz’s Deli in the Montrose area, before coming back down by iBurn, our local all-things-hot store.This should get us to the RV Show about 1pm.

Really looking forward to it.

February 4, 2020

The Big Salad . . .

Some of you may get this.

About 1pm we headed out, with our first stop at the nearby self-service car wash. This was the first time I’ve had a chance to get the oil off the truck since our recent failed test drive up to the Buc-ee’s in Katy. And I’ve found that the full-service car wash often won’t accept an oil-covered vehicle because they don’t want to get oil on their brushes. And it only took me about 10 minutes to get the residue of the oil off.

Then it was off to the nearby Black Bear Diner for lunch. Jan, who seems to on a new dish roll lately, got their Crispy Chicken Cobb Salad, which along with their home-made Bacon Ranch Dressing, made Jan’s new favorite dish.

Black Bear Diner Crispy Chicken Salad

Of course next time she may have another new favorite. You never can tell.

In my case, when I find something good, I tend to stick with it. I mean I’ve been with Jan for almost 53 years, right?

Of course that means I once again got the Bacon Cheeseburger Salad, also with the Bacon Ranch dressing. You can’t have too much Bacon, right?

Black Bear Diner Bacon Cheeseburger Salad 2

I don’t know where they get their hamburger meat from, but this is probably the best tasting meat I’ve ever had. Of course, it’s even better since I got them not to cook it well-done.

The first couple of times I got this, the meat was so well-done it was down right crunchy. So now I always remind them to make it medium, and it’s delicious.

After that I dropped Jan off to get her hair done while I drove over to a nearby full-service car wash to get the truck cleaned up again, also well as doing a thorough vacuuming of the inside.

Then it was a WalMart stop, a Kroger’s stop, and then finally home.

Tomorrow will be my last day at work for a while, but I may not actually do a lot AT work. I’ve got to install both a Ring doorbell at my client’s home, as well as a new Sound Bar on their TV

In this case it’s the same one that I got last year.


TaoTronics Sound Bar

It can be hooked up either directly, or by Bluetooth or Optical. And it has a great sound.

Check it out!

February 4, 2021

We Can Hold It . . .

Jan and I headed up to Clear Lake about 1:30 this afternoon for another run at Eggcellence,  the new Breakfast/Brunch/Lunch place across from Baybrook Mall.

We first tried it about a week ago, and really liked it, especially Jan’s favorite, their Greek Omelet.

Eggcellence Greek Omelet

Then we made a stop at my client’s to drop off an Amazon return for this afternoon’s UPS pickup. And while we were there we waited around for about 15 minutes for an Amazon delivery.

Then getting back to the Santa Fe area we stopped by Joe’s Hwy 6 Automotive to get an estimate on new struts and shocks for the Jeep. But, though they were supposed to be open until 5, they were locked up tight. So we’ll try again another time.

Finally, our last stop was at Cowboy Coffee so we could sit out on the patio and listen to the windchimes with our Pumpkin lattes, Jan’s cold and mine hot.

Recently I’ve been collecting all the needed parts to to rebuild our Sealand 510H toilet . . . again.

I replaced the original one while we were in Las Vegas in 2010, our 3rd year on the road. And I’ve rebuild it a couple of time since. And it looked to be that time again.

But taking it all apart and rebuilding it takes pretty much all day, or at least it has in the past. And to complicate things, until a lot of parks, ours doesn’t have any bathrooms, just a laundry. So I had arrange for Jan to spend this weekend up at Brandi’s while I did the toilet.

Then this morning, Jan asked why I just didn’t buy a new toilet. And after thinking it over, and totaling up the $75 in parts I had ordered from Amazon, I started looking toilets online.

I found that I could pick one up from PPL here in Houston for $350, but I found an online place that had it for $278 and it would be here early next week. And after entering my zip code it showed $0.00 for shipping.


But when I went to checkout and pay,suddenly there was a $55 shipping charge.

Not Nice!

So then I decided to check out Amazon and found a 510+ for $298 with Free Prime Shipping, and it will be here this Monday.

Nice Again!

And since I’ll be able to pull out the old toilet and set the new one in place in about an hour, we can hold it that long.

I hope.

February 4, 2022

Well, Maybe Not So ‘Old Faithful’ . . .

After dropping down to about 28° last night, it finally crawled up to 33 by about noon. And it looks to be warming up a little over the next few days, at least up to the mid-40’s.

I mentioned yesterday about the alternator in our Jeep going out, so we used our ‘old faithful’ Dodge Dakota truck. But when I tried to go into work this morning, it wasn’t so ‘old faithful’. At least at 28°.

It would crank and start up, but it would only run for about 5-10 seconds before it shut down. So after about 5 tries, I gave up and went back inside to get warm.

But when I called into work, no one was there. Turns out that Jennifer, the office manager, who lives in our area, still hadn’t gone into the office because she was waiting for the roads to clear.

So I guess I wasn’t missed.

I got a call from my neurosurgeon’s office yesterday to schedule my 3 month checkup after my cervical spine fusion back in November. But this time it’s a 2-parter.

I go in this coming Tuesday afternoon for a series of X-rays. Then on Monday, Valentine’s Day, I go in for the consultation with Alexandria, my P.A. Don’t know why it’s different this time, but for my 2 month checkup, they did both at the same time.

One thing I’m looking forward to is that supposedly I can start taking Advil again, and my 20# lift limit will go away. Right now I can only take Tylenol, which has never worked for me.

One thing I want to discuss with her is about getting a lumbar laminectomy sometime in the near future. In other words, fixing the problems with my lower back.

Originally I was hoping that all my problems were caused by my cervical stenosis and bone spurs. But while my hands and arms are improving steadily, my legs have not improved much over the last few months. They still feel rubbery and weak, and I’m not comfortable walking very far without having my walking stick in hand.

Walking Stick

Note, it’s not a cane. It’s a walking stick. Just sayin’.

What I really worried about with the laminectomy is the recover time, I.e., how soon I can be up and about, drive again, etc.

Guess I’ll know more next Monday.

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