Daily Archives: July 14, 2020

A Three’fer and a Repeat . . .

This morning I called Mike’s Auto Repair in Santa Fe to make an appointment to drop off the truck tomorrow after work to get my A/C fixed, and also an oil/filter change while it’s there.

Then I went online to the Enterprise Rental website to reserve a car to that we will pick up tomorrow afternoon on our way to drop off the truck.

Then about 1pm Jan and I headed out, first for lunch and then for some grocery shopping. And since we enjoyed Salata so much this past Saturday, we decided try it again. And it was just as good as the last time.

Salata Bowl and Soup 2

I added some more fruit, some more veggies, and dropped the Chipotle Chicken and it was delicious. And the Chipotle White Bean was as good as last time, also. Then it was off, first to WalMart and then HEB.

I noticed that about half the shoppers in the store had their masks pulled down enough to expose their nose so they could breathe. And while I was waiting for Jan while she was looking for something, I checked a mask kiosk to see what they had.

One thing I was curious about was the masks that seem to have some sort of valve on the front. I figured that maybe it had some sort of flap to let air in, but none back out. So at least you would be able to pull in fresh air.

But the half dozen different ones I looked at. ranging in price from $5.99 to $14.99, did not have any sort of valve at all. The valve part on the outside was really just a cover for the hole in the masks. So air could freely pass in and out, as well as the virus it would seem. So why not just punch a couple of holes in the mask you already have.

Or maybe it’s just to hide the fact that your mask is not really doing anything at all, but keeps people from yelling at you.

But whatever works, I guess.

CDC figures show that 2019-2020 Seasonal Flu has killed 166 children under the age of 15. But the WuFlu has only killed 30 children in the same timeframe.

So what’s the problem with reopening the schools this fall?


We had several things going on on this date in past years, so today you get 3 blogs, not just 1.

Another in our Where We Were 11 Years Ago Today series.

July 14, 2009

Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, and more trains…

Continued from yesterday…

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 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.

Today was our last full day in Pennsylvania so we headed into Philadelphia to see some sights.

We started off with another duck tour with Ride The Ducks.  Here we are hitting the Delaware River on our trip.

Philly Duck 1

We saw Betsy Ross’ house, the site where William Penn first landed in Pennsylvania, and more.

After our tour, we had a Philly Cheesesteak from a street vendor before visiting Independence Hall,

Independance Hall

And the Liberty Bell.

Liberty Bell

Finally, we headed home, stopping by Wal-mart on the way.

For dinner we did the smorgasbord at Miller’s again.

And then home to get ready to leave for NY tomorrow.


Another in our Where We Were 9 Years Ago Today series.

July 14, 2011

Cat Tails and Good Pizza . . .

After coffee this morning, I got back to work finishing up my transfer switch bypass. Last night after I got the new receptacles, I made up this harness so I’d be ready to go today.

Receptacle Hookup

After going outside and disconnecting shore power just to be safe, all I had to do was connect the splices to the loose ends of the generator output wires and then tape them up. And for once things went smoothly and I was done in about 15 minutes.

Finishing up, Jan and I left about 12:15 to head into Spokane for the rest of the day.

Our first stop was Shakey’s Pizza for their lunch buffet. We really like their food and always stop by when there’s one in the area. The last time we ate at one was in Lancaster, CA last year.

And there’s another reason we really like them. Jan and I went there on our first date in Orlando, FL in July of 1967, about 43 years ago. So a lot of good things come from Shakey’s.


Shakey’s has a great buffet, consisting of pizza, spaghetti, fried chicken, battered, fried potato slices, salad bar, and dessert pizza. Really, really good.

Leaving Shakey’s we drove up the road about 5 miles to the Cat Tails Zoological Park. We had noticed the place when we came through town this past Monday and wanted to check it out.

Cat Tails Sign

Turns out that Cat Tails is Big Cat rescue zoo that began in 1991, starting with 4 cats, and has been growing ever since.

Cat Tails

They have a number of beautiful Royal White Bengal Tigers.

Royal White Bengal Tiger 1

Royal White Bengal Tiger 2

Royal White Bengal Tiger 3

Royal White Bengal Tiger 4

They also have number of these signs around. So we have a choice: Run and LOOK like food, or stand still and BE food.

Not much of a choice, if you ask me.

Don't Run Sign

This is a mountain lion, a puma, panther, catamount, or a cougar. Take your pick.

Mountain Lion

These are Serval cats. A little bigger than a domestic house cat, they can run 45 mph and jump 12 feet in the air and catch birds in mid-air.

Serval Cat 3

I never knew that leopards had green eyes. The info sign says a leopard can jump 20 feet straight up and 35 feet straight out from a sitting position.  WOW!


They have a number of both male and female lions, but I could only get a good photo of this female.


They also have two tigers and a lioness that have been raised together since they were cubs, and all three are in the same cage.

Lions and Tigers

And of course, a lot of tigers.

Tiger 1

Tiger 2

Tiger 3

This is 14 month old Amura, being taken for a walk and moved to a new cage.

Walking Your Cat

Still a youngster who likes to play with her ball, she also likes to splash in her pond,

Amura 1

and even take a bath.

Amura 2

Being raised as a single cub, the zoo decided Amura needs a companion. So they got Sage, 4 month old Great Pyrenees, from the local Humane Society.

Amura and Sage

Amura and Sage 2

They were kept together for almost a year until Amura got too big, and the zoo was worried that Amura might not know her own strength.

But they regularly put them together in adjacent cages so they can play. It was easy to see how excited they got when they saw each other.

Amura and Sage 3

Amura and Sage 4

We really enjoyed Cat Tails and thought it was a great bargain. At only $8.00 it’s much cheaper than some other similar attractions, and we really had a great time.

Well recommended if you’re in the area.

Leaving the zoo we headed into downtown Spokane as Jan wanted to drive through the South Hill District and check out some of the old homes in the area.

After that we headed back north for a for a few stops before heading home. First up was a Bed, Bath & Beyond for Jan to get some soaps.

Next was Lowe’s to take back the wrong receptacles from my switch bypass project, and also buy some heavier cutters. I had trouble cutting the #8 gauge wire from

Then it was back to Wal-Mart for more ‘stuff’. Apparently we left some ‘stuff’ there the other day, so Jan wanted to go back and get it all.

We got back home about 6:30, to find that unlike last night, when we got back to find a note on our RV saying the park water would be off until this morning, but found it was working fine, tonight we got back to find no note, but the water was off anyway.

No problem as we have plenty in our tank.

We’ll leave here tomorrow about 8 am, heading for Columbia Falls, MT and Glacier National Park. It’ll be about 225 miles and since we’ll also lose an hour moving into Mountain Daylight Time, we want to get an early start.

We also want to top off our diesel before we leave Newport, and that also takes a while.


Another in our Where We Were 5 Years Ago Today series.

July 14, 2015

One More Thing . . .

Today was a partial goof-off day for us, at least up until we headed out about 2pm. Sonja had to work today, so we weren’t meeting up until 4pm for dinner.

Our first stop was a place in downtown Pauls Valley that we’ve passed a number of times and were curious about, The Toy & Action Figure Museum. Located in a fairly plain storefront, I’m not sure what we were expecting to find inside, but it certainly wasn’t what we found.

Toy & Action Figure Museum 1

Entering the lobby was a pleasant surprise, bright and cheerful, with a nice layout of souvenirs for sale.

Toy & Action Figure Museum 2

But after paying our $8 (for both of us) admission, we walked through the arch and it became one of those OMG moments

Toy & Action Figure Museum 3

It was almost more than we could take in. Everywhere you look there was toys and more toys, lining the walls, hanging from the ceiling, and standing against the walls.

The first diorama details an imaginary adult toy collector’s bedroom.

Toy & Action Figure Museum 4

According to the description, he must live with his parents to be able to afford all this.

Toy & Action Figure Museum 5

Kevin Stark, the museum’s owner says that they tear down this exhibit once a year, rearranging things as they add new items and remove others. It takes about a week.

Two more neat displays detail all the DC and Marvel characters ever published. It’s hard to believe there are so many.

Toy & Action Figure Museum 6

Toy & Action Figure Museum 7

Another neat display is this one of superhero underwear.

Toy & Action Figure Museum 8

My first thought was that Sheldon would be really jealous, but then I figured he probably already has the entire set. They used to be sold at Target, but now they’re collector’s items and worth some money. Don’t know if that’s for used or new ones.

They have displays of pretty much every genre doll and action figure around, even the Simpson’s

Toy & Action Figure Museum 9

And of course where would you find the Batman display, but in the BatCave. The displays are arranged in a timeline starting with the Adam West TV version and progressing through the several movie incarnations.

Toy & Action Figure Museum 11

They also have a number of large dioramas with the action figure’s action figure, G.I. Joe.

Toy & Action Figure Museum 12

But one of the kid’s favorite areas is this playroom with plenty of toys, and even better, superhero costumes of all sizes that they can dress up in and have their picture taken.

Toy & Action Figure Museum 10

Really neat.

We ended up spending more than an hour here, making the circuit through the place three times, and each time I saw stuff I hadn’t seen before. And for everything I’ve shown here, there’s probably 10 times more to see.

But finally tearing myself away, our next stop was the AT&SF (Atchison, Topeka, & Santa Fe depot, and old 1951.

ATSF No 1951

Built in 1907 by Baldwin, this 2-8-0 locomotive made its first run on the Santa Fe less than one month after Oklahoma became a state, traveling over 1.2 million miles, finally being retired in 1954 after 47 years in service, losing out to old age and diesels.

The AT&SF depot, the 2nd one in town, was built in 1905 after the 1st one was outgrown.

Pauls Valley ATSF Depot 1

It was refurbished in the 1990’s and now houses a museum full of both train and Pauls Valley memorabilia.

Pauls Valley ATSF Depot 2

The lady that showed me around the depot said she’d had two buses of young kids this morning and it showed. I think she was just looking for some adult conversation, because when I mentioned that I had left Jan in the truck and needed to go, she kept showing me more stuff, always preceding it with “Just one more thing.”

But I finally got away in time for us to meet Sonja and Lendel at Punkin’s BBQ and Catfish, another local favorite.

While Jan ordered the Catfish,

Punkin's BBQ 2

I figured with a place called Punkin’s BBQ AND Catfish, I had to try some of both, and they had just the Combo for it.

Punkin's BBQ 1

But I didn’t quite expect it to be this extensive. It all really delicious, and big enough so I had plenty to take home. Both really good.

Tomorrow we leave here and move about 250 miles to the Springhill COE park south of Fort Smith, AR where we’ll stay for several days.

Thought for the Day:

A journey of a thousand miles usually begins with a broken fan belt and a leaky tire.

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