Daily Archives: August 22, 2020

Volcanos and Piñatas . . .

Jan and I headed up to Katy a little before 4pm to meet up with Brandi, Lowell, Landon, and Landon’s BFF, Sophie.

Rainforest Cafe Landon and Sophie

Landon and Sophie are both 10 years old and their birthdays are within a few days of each other, so they often have their parties together, as they did last year.

But this year we’re just having family dinner at the Rainforest Café in Katy Mills Mall, one of Landon’s favorite places.

On the way up, though it was clear when we left the rig, by the time we got on the Sam Houston Tollway, it was pouring down rain. And it pretty much stayed that way until we finally got on I-10 heading out toward Katy. Luckily I had allowed enough extra time so we weren’t late for our 5:30 reservation.

Like a lot of places, Rainforest Café seems to have cut back on their menu somewhat, but everything is always good.

Jan got her favorite Shrimp Tacos,

Rainforest Cafe Shrimp Tacos 2

while I tried something new,  the Korean Spicy Chicken StirFry.

Rainforest Cafe Korean StirFry

And of course for dessert, we all shared their famous Volcano Lava Cake, complete with sparklers.

Rainforest Cafe Volcano Cake 2

This seems to be their most popular dish, since they brought out about a dozen of them while we were there, always making a big production of it, as they did for Landon and Sophie.

Really, really good.

Afterwards we had planned to walk around the mall a bit, but found with their reduced hours, the stores all closed at 7pm, which was about when we got out of the restaurant. So Jan and I said our goodbyes, got our hugs, and headed home, encountering much nicer weather on the way.

Now all we have to worry about is 1 or 2 hurricanes.


In 2013 Jan and I were on our way down to Whitsett, TX for our second try at Gate Guarding.

August 22, 2013

60,000 and Counting . . .

We had planned to leave out from here in Houston about 9am this morning, but I guess we were itching to get on the road because we found ourselves ready to go a little after 8. Pulling out of our site we stopped in the park office lot just long enough to hitch up the truck and we were on the way. Like our last several days of travel we had the generator running so we could run the coach AC’s, since it’s supposed to be in the mid 90’s all along our route.

A few minutes later we were heading west on the Beltway 8 Tollway, and then onto I-10W. Our first stop was about 150 miles later at the Buc-ee’s off the Luling exit. We pretty much always stop here going or coming. This morning we got coffee and a couple of kolaches for brunch since we didn’t’ have any thing before we left Houston. About 50 miles later we were turning off I-10 onto Loop 410 S in San Antonio, and then a few miles later we were on I-37S. And along in here we hit another milestone.

Since we picked up our RV at the dealers on January 6th, 2008, we’ve traveled 60,000 miles. In the last 6 years we’ve been from Key West, FL to Fairbanks, AK. And from San Diego to Newfoundland, and a lot of places in between. We been in every state, except for some reason, Nebraska, Kansas, and Oklahoma. But we’ll get them some day.

About 20 miles later, we stopped at a new Pilot Travel Center that’s opened since we were here a year ago. And again, I’m really enjoying my Pilot / Flying J RV Plus Card. I get 6 cents a gallon off the Cash price, and no card dollar limits at the pump. Just fill and go. I even used it when I went inside to get a couple of gallons of diesel coolant to take with me.

The billing date, at least on my account, ends on the 15th of the month, and payment is due by the 30th. Since it doesn’t cost anything to get the card, it ought to be in every RV’ers wallet.

After topping off our diesel, and adding a bottle of Diesel Kleen to the tank, another 20 miles down the road, we stopped at the Wal-Mart in Pleasanton to top off the pantry with groceries

Finally we pulled into the Gate Guard Services lot off exit 83 about 3:45 and checked in at the office. They were expecting us and there was an open site in the RV parking area waiting for us. 50amp full hookups, and it’s free while we’re waiting for a gate, or coming off a gate, for that matter.

Getting us parked and connected to shore power, I tracked down Jamie, our supervisor, in the shop building and got the scoop on what should be our new gate. One oil company just bought some oil leases from another oil company, and we will be replacing some gate guards employed by another gate guard company. Luckily it’s only about 6 miles from here, so we won’t be out in the boonies and should have no problems with cell and data service.  Yay!

About 5pm we headed down to the Three Rivers area to have dinner at Pepe Broudreaux’s, one of our favorite local places. Jan ordered the Shrimp Diablo, a spicy shrimp and pasta dish, and I had my usual Blackened Chicken Breast stuffed with crawfish, bacon, and cheese. Delicious as usual, and big enough portions so we had leftovers for later.

Coming home, and passing back through Three Rivers, we saw a trailer parked in a vacant lot selling stickers and decals for your windows. Jan had been wanting a oil well sticker so we stopped to see what he had. Turns out he had pretty much what ever you want. He has a laptop and a large format stencil cutting machine, and a catalog of thousands of images stored on the hard drive. He also has a digital camera and a scanner so he can make a stencil from your artwork too. Jan found the perfect picture and he cut it out to order. He has dozens of colors and backgrounds of stencil materials so you can get pretty much any color you want. Neat.

Jamie said our gate might start Monday, but probably Tuesday, so we’ve got a few days to prepare, and also play around in San Antonio a little.


Thought for the Day:

“Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.” – Frederick Douglass


And in  2014 we were staying at the Colorado River Thousand Trails in Columbus, TX

August 22, 2014

BBQ and Bison . . .

Jan and I started out this morning with Peru FTO Cecovasa coffee, made from beans roasted by our good friend, Bob Sutton. Bob’s really into the whole coffee thing. Me, I either like it, or I don’t.

And I like this.

Jan and I headed out into the furnace (101°) about 4:30 to Peter’s BBQ for the Friday Night Buffet. Located about 10 miles up US71, it’s one of our must-eat places when we’re in the area, especially on Friday night.  For $11 you get all the Brisket, Ribs, Sausage, or Chicken you want from the BBQ area. Then you go out to the dining room for the sides.

And by sides, I mean Fried Catfish, Fried Shrimp, Fried Chicken, Roast Pork, and even Hushpuppies. Then there’s all of the conventional sides.

Peters BBQ Sides 1a

Peters BBQ Sides 2a

And when you’ve filled up on all this, there’s Banana Pudding, Peach Cobbler, and Ice Cream.

Did I mention it’s only $11?

While we were driving up to Peter’s, it started sprinkling a little, and then died out right before we arrived. But once we got inside, it just started pouring down, enough so that it killed the satellite TV signal in the dining room. But in typical perverse Texas fashion, the sun shone brightly the entire time.

Leaving Peter’s BBQ, we headed further up US71 to the Wal-Mart in La Grange. The one in Columbus is closer, but is one of the older, smaller ones. But the one in La Grange, while not a full SuperCenter, is kind of a mini-Super. It’s not as big, and only had one entrance, but it does have a full Grocery department, which is what we were looking for.

Well that, and Landon’s birthday present.

Heading home we got a view of the Frebo Ranch bison herd, or at least a part of it. We’ve seen more at various times.

Colorado River Bison 2a

Finally getting home a little before 7pm, we found it had really cooled off . . . all the way down to 96 degrees! Yah!

Tomorrow is Landon’s birthday party. Last year Brandi and Lowell held it at their home. So, having learned their lesson, this year they’re having at Smith Ranch – Katy.

With waterslides, bouncy houses, horseback rides, and a petting zoo, it ought to be enough to keep everyone busy, and send everyone home pooped.

And, even better, when it’s all over, Brandi and Lowell just walk away and go home to a nice, clean house.



Thought for the Day:

This planet has – or rather had – a problem, which was this: most of the people living on it were unhappy for pretty much all of the time. Many solutions were suggested for this problem, but most of these were largely concerned with the movements of small green pieces of paper, which is odd because on the whole it wasn’t the small green pieces of paper that were unhappy. ~ Douglas Adams

August 22, 2015

Two Minutes . . .

is all it took.

Today was Landon’s 5th birthday party, so after a quick stop for breakfast at the Columbus Whataburger, we headed into Katy to meet up at Brandi’s before heading over to Smith Ranch north of Katy. Smith Ranch is an entertainment center in a rural sitting, hosting birthday parties, weddings, and other special events. In fact it’s the same place Landon had his birthday party last year, and he wanted to go back again this year.

Smith Ranch 1

What the kids really like is the huge water slide they have there, and the kids make really good use of it. Of course sometimes it’s hard to get out of the way of the next slider and you just get bowled over.

Smith Ranch 3

But it’s still fun

Smith Ranch 4

And why slide when you can just leap?

Smith Ranch 5

Of course the highlight of the party was the piñata.

Smith Ranch 6

And yes, that’s a mustache-shaped piñata. For some reason Landon decided he wanted a mustache-themed party, so that’s what he got. A mustache piñata, a mustache cake, and mustache balloons and tablecloths.

Smith Ranch 7

Unfortunately there was a problem with the piñata. It was just too tough. Everybody wailed away at it, but it wouldn’t break. But what did break was the stick.

Smith Ranch 9

Finally after some help by one of the big kids, the goodies were released and the kids scrambled. I told Brandi that next year don’t get a piñata made out of plywood.

It started raining hard toward the end of the party, so Landon took his presents back to the house to open.

Landon Opening Presents

Once that was done, we all adjourned to Little V’s Vietnamese Bistro  about 3:30 for an early dinner. It was Chris, Linda, and Miss Piper’s first time and they really enjoyed as much as we do.

Then came my surprise. While we were at the party, our son Chris, and our son-in-law Lowell told me they were going to follow us back to the rig and help get the new AC on the roof.

And it couldn’t have been more simple. And yes, it only took a couple of minutes.

They pulled the picnic table up against the rig,

AC on Roof 1

And with me on the roof holding a big piece of cardboard to slide it on, Chris and Lowell just picked up the AC and handed it up to me.

AC on Roof 2

AC on Roof 3

AC on Roof 4

AC on Roof 5

Easy Peezy.

Tomorrow I’ll go up and swap the units out. I don’t expect to take more than a hour or two.

Thanks guys. We really appreciate it.

* * * * *

In late-breaking news, we have a gate. We leave Monday morning for a gate between Henderson, TX and Carthage, TX , about 260 miles away. We’re back with Jamie and Gate Guard Services again, and back in East Texas.

We’re supposed to be on the job Tuesday morning at 8am, so that means we’ve got a lot to do before we leave here on Monday.


Thought for the Day:

If you can’t figure out which way to hang the toilet paper roll, you don’t have a cat.

August 22, 2016

On Site, But Not On Our Pad . . .

Jan and I were up at 5:45am to be ready to pull out of our Indian Woods Campground site by 6:45.

Normally Jan drives the truck behind me when we come in to a new site, but after scouting out the site yesterday afternoon and seeing we would have plenty of room to unhitch and get turned around, we got hitched up and pulled out about 7am.

Pulling onto the pad about 45 minutes, we found Jamie waiting for us with our Generator/Water trailer. While Jan talked to Jamie I got us unhitched  and then pulled the coach around and parked off to the side of the gate.

Hawkwood Site 2

Jamie then parked the generator trailer behind us and got our shore power and water hooked up. Then we waited, waited for anyone to show up to tell us where to actually park.

Jamie didn’t think we’d be able to stay inside the gate where we were now parked since we were pretty close to the three wells. So we looked outside the gate for other ideas, and found two possible sites.

The first one wasn’t really very good, and would require a lot of work to get it ready. Right along the fence line, it was basically a water-filled ditch, and was only wide enough to park the rig and the two support trailers all in a line, as well as our canopy and pickup.

Hawkwood Parking Site 1

The next, better place, was on the left side, right before you come into the gate. It was big enough, but the ground was very soft from the rain.

Not something I’d want to drive the coach out on. But with 6 inches of gravel, it might be a possibility.

Hawkwood Parking Site 2

But we’d have to wait and see. But finally someone showed up, someone who as it turned out was pretty ticked off that we had a motor coach, and not as he said, ‘a small camper’ that would fit on the side of the road. But when we showed him the foot of water filling the ditch, he mellowed somewhat.

Jamie finally gave up and left, saying he’d be back tomorrow morning with our sewer trailer, lights, and the rest of our setup stuff.

Then a couple of hours later a pipeline guy showed up to look at the problem, and quickly came up with a solution. He was going to lay down roadway mats, made up of double stacked timber planks. And that’s exactly what he did.

Hawkwood Parking Site 2 Mats

It only them about 30 minutes to get this laid and packed down. I guess if it will hold the shovel, it will hold the our rig.

Hawkwood Parking Site 2 Mats 2

Tomorrow they’re supposed to bring in a load of rock to build a ramp up onto the pad and then we’ll see.

It rained on and off all day, but it seemed to drain off pretty quickly. And with us at the top of the hill, we should stay relatively dry.

We hope.

It’s beginning to look like this is not a workover, but a full blown drill job of three holes. Looks like they’ve already got the cranes here to drag the drill rig between the holes, and then this afternoon a flatbed came in carrying what looked like the big metal plates that they build the rig on so they can drag it.

But we’ll know more tomorrow, I guess.


Thought for the Day:

For Sale: Parachute. Only used once, never opened, small stain. – Anonymous


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