Monthly Archives: August 2018

All Aboard!

After all the struggles of two old fat guy getting the new 88# AC into the through-the-wall over our heads, we discovered we had a dud.

Like many new appliances, this AC had one of those built-in GFCI modules on the end of the power cord, and ours is bad. The Reset and Test buttons are loose and the power light on the module is dead.

So the company is sending us a new one, which we should get sometime next week. But unfortunately they’re not sending out two young, burly guys to remove the old one and install the new one. We asked.

So we get a second shot at heart attack territory.

Since that was about it for work today. I thought I repost some more train stuff from our visit to the Strasburg/Lancaster, Pennsylvania area in July 2009.

The Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania

Railroad Museum of PA

The indoor part of the Railroad Museum resembles a large railroad station, with multiple tracks full of trains.

Museum 1

This is the John Bull.  It’s a replica of the first locomotive to run on a railroad in America.


In 1831 the first railroad was built between Philadelphia and New York and the John Bull was the engine.  It’s hard to think now of how this revolutionized travel in the US.

It cut the travel time from Philadelphia to New York from 2 days by coach to 5 HOURS!.  It’s hard to do that by car now.

I saw this same locomotive last week in the Smithsonian, but wasn’t able to get close enough to read the display due to the crowds.  I was surprised to learn here that the one I had seen in the Smithsonian was the REAL John Bull, from 1831.

It ran a regular route until 1866, then traveled around the US on exhibitions until it was donated to the Smithsonian in 1884.

This beautiful example of a 2-6-0 Mogul locomotive carried silver ore on the Virginian & Truckee railroad in Nevada from 1875 to 1944.

2-6-0 Mogul

The ‘2-6-0’  type of nomenclature describes the layout of a locomotive’s wheels, and only applies to steam type locomotives.

The Mogul above has 2 small wheels up front,  6 drive wheels in the middle, and no small wheels in the rear. Thus, it is a 2-6-0.

This locomotive #7002, dates from 1902 and was the first one in regular service to exceed 100 mph.

Loco 7002

Note that this one is a 4-4-2, although you can just barely see the 2 wheels under the tender at the far right of the photo.

Arguably the largest locomotive ever built was the ‘Big Boy’ built for the Union Pacific to pull large coal trains up and down the Rockies out West.

Big Boy 4-8-8-4

Note that this one is a 4-8-8-4.  That’s a lot of wheels.

Below is a type of locomotive I’d never heard of.

Fireless Loco

This one is unusual in that it doesn’t have a boiler or generate its own steam.  It’s basically just a big thermos bottle.  It’s filled up with live steam from a stationary boiler and then operated, usually in the rail yard, until it needed to be refilled.

Outside it was even better.

Rail Yard

It was a rail yard full of more trains.  And it has a real operating roundtable, used to move locomotives in and out of the yard.

Round Table

Even more locomotives…


And a rail crane used to lift derailed engines and cars back on the track.

Rail Crane


I’ve always been fascinated by the big steam engines and this was a great chance to see them up close.

Thought for the Day:

Potatoes make French Fries, Chips, and Vodka. It’s like the other vegetables aren’t even trying.


PaCons or Pee Cans?

Once I had some coffee in me I raised the bed and then the engine cover so I could clean the area around the rig’s engine oil filter.

A couple of weeks ago I bought a small 1 gallon sprayer from WalMart, a great deal at only $5.00.

Flo Master Sprayer

So today I filled it with water and added a double squirt of Dawn and  a couple of scoops of Awesome Orange and shook it up.

Then I sprayed down the oil filter area and let it soak in for a while. In the meantime I called Cummins Tech Support to see what they had to say. What they told me reinforced what I already thought about the engine oil filter.

The Tech said one of three things probably happened. Either the filter was installed without the gasket, or the filter was installed with the new gasket without taking the old one off, or the filter was installed using the old gasket and not the new one.

Finishing up with Cummins, I used my mini-Fire hose nozzle to rinse off the area.

HISC Spray Nozzle

I’ve had this for several years and it is like have a small pressure washer on the hose end. I got it a while back at an RV rally, but it’s cheaper on Amazon.

I  went through about 4 iterations of spray/soak/rinse, going from this

Rig Engine Cleaning 1

to this.

Rig Engine Cleaning 2

Much cleaner.

We’re busy this weekend, but since I’m off on Monday, I’m going to top off the engine oil and run the diesel at high idle for a while, maybe an hour, and see if I get any leakage around the filter. Either way I’ll call RV Mobile Lube to take a look at the problem, since they changed the oil and filter back in May, and we never had a leak before that.

Later, about 12:30, Jan and I headed up to Clear Lake for an afternoon of errands, with lunch thrown in. Our first stop was my client’s to drop off the adapter I built up for the AC install.

Then it was down El Camino to have lunch at our favorite East Star Chinese Buffet. Always great! Then it was on over to Sam’s Club for some things, but mainly for a visit to the optometrist there.

It’s about time for new  glasses for both of us, plus it’s coming up on time to renew our South Dakota driver’s licenses. We can do it by mail, but since we’re not there to look into the DMV’s little vision thing for the eye test, we have to have an optometrist/ophthalmologist fill out a form certifying that we can see to drive.

We already knew Jan had cataracts, but it turns out that I now have them too. Or maybe not ‘them’, but ‘it’. I now have a noticeable one in my left eye, and an almost unnoticeable one in my right eye.

Jan has had hers for several years, but they were waiting for hers to get big enough for them to want to take them out. And it looks like this year may be the time.

So now we’re both seeing the ophthalmologist in November.

Coming home, we detoured over to Kemah so Jan could pick a couple of essential oil vials that Bodhi Oils made up for her as a migraine remedy. Next it was a quick Lowe’s stop and then on to the nearby HEB.

Jan had some things on her list she was looking for, but I found something for me too. I wander through the coffee area and found this.

HEB Lola Savannah Texas Pecan Coffee 3

What caught my eye was the actual chunks of pecan in the clear bag.

HEB Lola Savannah Texas Pecan Coffee

Something else that caught my eye was, though it was $9.99 for the bag, it was a full 16 oz. bag, and you don’t see that very often now days.

Turns out that Lola Savannah is a local Houston company who specializes in custom blends using mostly natural ingredients. Like the Texas pecans in this coffee.

I’ll let you know about it.

Thought for the Day:

I didn’t say it was your fault, I just said I was blaming you.


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