Daily Archives: July 15, 2020

Buycotts and Car Rentals . . .

I came home a little early this afternoon so I could pick up Jan and then we headed over to the Enterprise Car Rental place in Dickinson to pick up our Ford Fusion. Then we came back over to Santa Fe to drop off our truck at Mike’s Auto Repair so he can find and fix our A/C’s Freon leak.

I had allowed some extra time to pick up our car since it always seems to take a long time to actually be on my way. But it turns out that the WuFlu really speeds things up.

There’s a sign blocking the entrance saying to Wait Outside For Assistance. And after about 30 seconds a young lady came out with a computer tablet, asked my name, had me initial in four places, sign in one place, walked me around the car which she had already started, handed me the computer key, and I was pulling out. All in less than 5 minutes.

It turns out that apparently the Enterprise staff doesn’t like to be outside in the 97° temps any longer than they have to.

Then after dropping the truck off at Mike’s we headed on up to Alvin to have dinner at Monterey’s Mexican Restaurant, one of our long-time favorites. Just as delicious as always.

While Jan and I were at WalMart yesterday, we did our part for the Goya ‘Buycott’, though it was not easy because the shelves were pretty bare. But we got some Black Beans, some Red Kidney Beans, some Chipotle Chilies, and a couple of other things.

One guy in Virginia set up a GoFundMe account with a goal of $10,000 to buy Goya products to donate to food banks and pantries. He raised $190,000 in just a couple of days.

You may or may not have heard about Comet NEOWISE which is now visible is the northern hemisphere skies. The closest approach is supposed to be next week on July 22nd. But here’s a couple of photos of the comet, both in locations we’ve been to, both really spectacular.

This first one is pretty obvious.

Comet NEOWISE 468

However you may not recognize this one, but it’s taken over the Rim Rocks above Billings, Montana.

Comet NEOWISE over Billings

Hopefully Jan and I will be able to see it here in the Houston area before it leaves the area. But if we miss it this time, it’ll be back around in another 6,800 years.

Watch for it.


Another Three’fer Blog Post from 2010, 2011, and 2012

July 15, 2010

Old Homes and Old Haunts…

We headed out about 10:30 am over toward Mountain Brook and Irondale. Mountain Brook because my mother used to live there, and Irondale, because as I told our friend Bill Alverson last night, “You can’t have too much Alabama BBQ”. So we wanted to eat lunch at Golden Rule BBQ there in Irondale.

I’ve eaten at Golden Rule for about as long as I can remember. I drove up to Birmingham every month from 1992 to 2004 to visit my mother, and I used to eat here every month.

After a great lunch of jumbo pork sandwiches, fries, and lemon icebox pie for dessert, we drove over to Mountain Brook to check out my mother’s old house.


My parents bought this house in 1972 and my sister sold it while my mother was in the hospital in 2004. It really doesn’t look that big, but it was almost 4000 sq.ft. with a basement that was the same size.

My father’s ashes were scattered in the rose garden that used to be in front of the house.

I’m not sure why the new owners removed all the shrubs and landscaping. When my mother lived here there were shrubs lining both sides of the driveway going down the hill. There was also large plants along the front of the house, and a large rose garden out among the trees in the front. They also cut down a number of the tall pine trees.

The place really looks pretty bleak, and not near as good as when my mother lived there.

Next we drove thru Mountain Brook Village and English Village, up over the mountain and then down into downtown Birmingham. Taking a right on 1st Ave. N., we headed out toward Center Point where we lived and went to college in the early 70’s.

We actually lived in Center Point twice. The first time from Sept 1970 to Apr 1971. We lived in the Colonial Manor Apartments and I was an electronics/video tech at Signal Engineering & Sales.

Here’s a photo of the the apartments. What’s interesting is there used to be another row of apartments right on the other side of the fence in the foreground. Now there’s just a big hole in the ground where the fountain used to be. Don’t know for certain, but I suspect it burned down, and they just tore it down rather than rebuilt it.

Colonial Manor Apartments


Our apartment was the one on the top left.


In Sept 1973 we were back in Birmingham and living in the Valley Brook Apartments in Center Point and attending Jefferson State Junior College. I was working as a Broadcast/Video Engineer for the Alabama Educational Television Network.


We lived in the unit to the rear in this picture.


We drove over to Jeff State and found it hard to recognize the campus. The biggest reason was all the trees. The area, as to be expected, is much more heavily forested than 40 odd years ago.


Leaving Jeff State, we headed back to the rig down in Helena. We got back about 3 pm and decided it was a good time for nap.

About 5 pm we headed off to Alabaster, AL to the Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant there. We started to encounter rain as we left the rig, but it slack off as we got to Alabaster.

We did find this sign on the way. Guess they want to be sure where the truck route is.


Coming home about 7 pm, the bottom really dropped out on the rain. It was pouring down by the time we got home.

Tomorrow we’ll head north to Athens, AL for a few days to visit my family there, before heading up to Louisville and The Rally.

More tomorrow…

Quote of the day:

It is hard to believe that a man is telling the truth when you know that you would lie if you were in his place. – H. L. Mencken

July 15, 2011

Black Angus and Jagz . . .

This morning started VERY early, 6 am early, as it were. But we wanted to stop and get diesel on the way out of town, and we were going to lose an hour moving into Mountain Daylight time, so we wanted to try and leave by 8.

In yesterday’s blog I mentioned that when we got home last night our water was off. Thinking that this was connected to the water problem day before yesterday when a water main broke in the park, I didn’t think anything about it, and we just used the pump and our internal fresh water tank.

But when I went outside this morning to disconnect the hoses and start putting things away, I found our water faucet had been turned off.

Thinking it was a prank by kids or something, I turned it back on . . . and immediately got soaked from the knees down. Apparently what happened is that our water filter ruptured sometime yesterday and started spraying water everywhere. And I guess someone came along, saw it, and turned it off.

Busted Water Filter

The filter seems to have ruptured right at the bottom of the cylinder.

After getting everything packed up, I pulled out of the park a few minutes before 8 am with Jan following me in the toad.

10 miles later we stopped at an Exxon station on the way into Newport to top off our diesel tank. I put in a little over 75 gallons at $3.99 a gallon. Last time I filled up in Long Beach, WA, it was $4.29, so I thought this was a good deal.

Little did I know.

While we were fueling up, Jan watched the pump while I hitched the toad to the back of the rig, and about 8:40 we were back on the road, a few minutes later crossing the Pend Oreille River into Idaho.

90 miles later, we crossed into Montana, and suddenly it was 11:30 instead of 10:30, as we entered the Mountain Time Zone.

And now in Montana, my great buy on diesel came back to haunt me. We passed several stations showing $3.69, and even one at $3.66 a gallon. Bummer!

And if I’d known, I had plenty of diesel to make it that far. Oh, well. It’s only money. (sob!)

We did have some great scenery here along US-2. Much of the time we had rivers or lakes beside the highway, and a lot of mountains in the distance.

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The road was good, with no real climbs or descents to worry about, and not a lot of curves either. Although mostly two lane, the road surface was smooth, with plenty of places to pull over for breaks.

All in all, a nice trip and a nice day of driving.

After passing through Kalispell, we pulled into the Columbia Falls RV Park about 2:30, and were quickly led to our site. This is a beautiful park, with full 50 amp hookups, WiFi, and a great 60 channel cable TV system. And of course, the great view too.

Columbia Falls RV Park

And my new satellite antenna worked great, getting a signal in less than 5 minutes. As well, I have 5 bars of 3G on my phone, too.

After relaxing for a while, we headed out about 4 to check out the area and have dinner.

We were both in the mood for a good steak, and ended up at Jagz, a really nice restaurant we passed coming in between Kalispell and Columbia Falls.

After a really, really good meal, with Jan having a 12 oz. Strip, and I had a 20 oz. Ribeye, both Black Angus Beef, we got back to the rig about 6:30, stopping off at the office to buy a new water filter.

A little after 8 pm, our friends Al and Adrienne Cox called to talk over our visit with them in Cody, WY next week. We haven’t seen them since this past March in Tucson so it will be good to catch up.

Thought for the Day:

“Do something you like. Forget about the pay, for Christ’s sakes. Regulate your style of living to fit your income. Just have fun in your job, that’s the main thing.” ~ General Chuck Yeager

July 15, 2012

Or Maybe Not . . .

Well, now we’re confused. Of course it wouldn’t be the first time.

When we started up at this gate about a week ago, we were told it would run 7 – 8 weeks, which was perfect for us since it meant we wouldn’t have to move again before we planned on leaving Texas for parts north around the 20th of August.

But then late last week we heard the rig would here only 30 days. Bummer! That would mean we would have to move again before we planned to leave, or else knock off early and lose a couple of thousand dollars in gate guard pay.

OUCH!  You know how much that would hurt me.

But then a couple of days later we heard it was going to be a 40 day drill. Well, that wouldn’t be too bad. We could probably make that work.

So now we don’t know what to figure on. I guess we’ll know more as time goes on.

One thing different on this site is how close the crew trailer is to us. At our last site it was about 75 yards away.

Marathon Crew Trailer


But at this site they’re snuggled right up close and personal next to us.

Peggy Gate Crew Trailer

The only real problem is parking for everyone. The last few guys in have to park on the grass, and a couple got stuck during the rains last week. Other than that, no problems, no loud parties, since having any alcohol on site is a termination offense.

This morning we were running low on bottled water so about 11:30am I made a run to the Exxon station on I-37 about 5 miles away. And while I was there I picked up some fried chicken and baked potato wedges. We’ve gotten their chicken several times before and it’s always been delicious, and this time was no exception. Very good.

Then later this afternoon while outside on the gate, I started getting the distinct odor of sewage. Since I had dumped our tanks this morning, I was afraid there was something wrong with our system, but after walking around back, I discovered it was pouring out of one of the crew trailer’s two systems and filling up a nearby ditch.


I immediately called the Company Safety Man to let him know about the problem.

The sewage from the trailer first goes into the small green container (called “the honeypot”). There a macerator pump pushes the sewage up into the big green tank.


The sewage was pouring from the honeypot so I figure either the pump failed or the float valve that controls the pump got stuck.

Either way, some guys from Stellar (the company that supplies the trailer and supports it) showed up with a new honeypot and took care of the problem. All that remains now is to get one of the vacuum truck guys to suck up what’s left in the ditch when they come by tomorrow.

The drill rig up the hill from us started pulling out yesterday.


Gary and Susan, the gate guards for that rig, left the day before for their well-deserved time off before the rig catches up with them. It’s strange to look over that way and just see darkness after being brightly lit for so long.

One thing kind of different with this rig location is how busier we are here than the previous site, about 4 – 5 pages a day rather than the 2 – 3 pages before. This means we’re logging in 60 – 80 vehicles a day rather than the 30 – 40 a day before. Still not a lot of work.

I ask one of the guys coming through the gate about it and he laughed and said it was because we were so close to civilization now. Before, we were 20 miles out in the boonies, but now we’re just 5 miles off the Interstate. Reps and support guys can cruise through the site, check on their workers, and be back on the road.  Then they can write it up in their daily logs how busy they were.. And it’s even better for them with two rigs here. So now we know.

Thought for the Day:

So how do a fool and his money get together in the first place?

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