Maybe The Seagulls Know Something . . .

We’ve got two tropical storms/hurricanes roaming around in the Gulf, but only one, Marco, looks to have some possible effect on us. Of course that depends on whose tracking you want to believe.

But whatever, it looks like it won’t become our problem until sometime between Tuesday night and Wednesday night, with winds between 30 and 40 mph. So I doubt we’ll do anything special except maybe let the awnings in. And even that might change.

Jan and I headed out about 1pm, first for lunch at our nearby Spring Creek BBQ. And as usual Jan had the Baby Back Ribs, with Beans and  Beans, and we shared a basket of their Fried Okra.

Spring Creek BBQ Ribs

while I had my usual Baby Back Ribs and Cracked Black Pepper Sausage, also with Beans and Beans.

Spring Creek Ribs and Sausage

Then it was on to the WalMart right next door. And with the hurricane(s) coming in, I was surprised that there didn’t seem to be a lot of panicked buying. They didn’t seem to really be out of anything, I.e. plenty of bread, milk, meat . . . and beer.

Actually the beer usually goes first. You don’t want to go through a hurricane completely sober.

The only thing out of the ordinary at WalMart were the birds. Now normally there are a lot of grackles and blackbirds hanging around, hiding under cars to get out of the sun, and fighting over scraps of food. But today was different.

The parking lot was swarming with seagulls. I mean it looked like something out of an Alfred Hitchcock movie. They were everywhere, squawking and diving in a large flock.

My first thought is that the gulls know something is happening out in the Gulf and they decided to come inland for a while. So maybe I need I might need to rethink my preparations, or lack thereof.

At first I thought this next story was from one of those satire websites, but apparently it’s true.

It seems that Governor Mills of Maine has ordered that front line restaurant servers who choose to wear face shields must wear them upside down and fastened at the neck so that their breath  goes up instead of down.

The Mills Administration has updated prevention checklists for several types of businesses under stage three of the state’s reopening plan.

Affected businesses include restaurants, movie theaters, gyms, museums and campgrounds.

For example, front-of-house staff in restaurants who choose to wear face shields must now wear them upside down so that they are attached at the collar instead of the forehead, so that their breath is directed up, not down.

Maine Cone of Shame

I guess that the governor thinks that people’s breath just goes up and stays up there, hovering around the ceiling, and never comes down.

On dogs we called this the Cone of Shame. But in this case I think that Governor Mills should  be the one ashamed.


August 23, 2012

Rollin’ on the River . . .

We pulled out of the Ramblin’ Fever RV Park a little after 8am this morning, after having the same problem starting the rig that we had yesterday.

Once again the engine took longer to start up than normal, and then died a couple of minutes later. And like yesterday, it started back up and ran fine the rest of the day. When it does quit I get no warning lights or check engine lights.

At this point I’m beginning to think that the culprit might be the Diesel Kleen that I added to the tank when I filled up last Monday. It’s supposed to clean out your fuel system, and my thought right now is that it has dumped some loosened-up junk in my fuel filters.

I’ll try to confirm this by replacing the generator fuel filter after we get to Celina. If that fixes the generator problem, then I’ll change out the filter on the rig. Otherwise, it’s back to square one.

We got into the Tom Sawyer RV Park on the Mississippi River in West Memphis, AR, just across the river from Memphis, TN. We’ve stayed here twice before, and always enjoy parking right on the Mississippi River.

Tom Sawyer 6

There’s a constant stream of barges and ships coming by morning, noon, and night.

Tom Sawyer Barge

I’d heard on the news recently about how parts of the Mississippi were shut down to commercial traffic due to low water levels, and our view here certainly shows it. We’ve never been able to see that part of the river bottom on the far bank before.

Tom Sawyer Low River

After settling in, we headed out about 4:30 to have dinner at the one BBQ place everyone we talked to named as the best place in Memphis – Charles Vergos’ Rendezvous.

Located in an alley, yes, an alley, in downtown Memphis, it’s been there since 1948, and turns out what Jan and I both agree are the best ribs we’ve ever eaten.

Charles Vergos Rendezvous

I’m not normally a fan of the dry rub ribs. They always seem too dry to me, but these were fantastic! They apparently put the ribs under the broiler before they serve them so there is a crispy crust on them that makes them crunchy and delicious.

They’re almost good enough to stay over another day to eat there again. But then Nick would get all whiney if we didn’t show up in Celina on Sunday.


Thought for the Day:

Hell hath no fury like a bureaucrat scorned. – Milton Friedman


August 23, 2013

Our New Home?

After a quiet morning, probably one of our last for a while, I checked my Amazon shipping email and found that my new canopy had been delivered so I drove over to the office to pick it up, and also see if there was any update on our new gate.

I was really glad I drove over because I found that the canopy weighs about 50 pounds.

Coleman Canopy

Coleman 13 x 13 Canopy

I also picked up our hats and vests, so I guess we’re semi-official now

GGS Hat & Vest

Found out that there will be three new gate guards going into the new site, two on Monday, and one on Tuesday. Based on what Jamie said yesterday sounds like we may be the ones on Tuesday. But of course that could change. We’ll see.

Later, about 3:15, Jan and I headed into San Antonio for dinner, but we took a detour over through Whitsett and up US281A to see if I could find where our new gate might be located based on the rough details I had been given.

And about 3 miles up the road I think we found it. The sign says it’s an Aurora Oil Co. lease which supposedly ours is.

Whitsett Gate 1

Doubt we’ll be going into this front gate. At least without some work. Our rig just wouldn’t fit there. Supposedly we’re going to be parked near a railroad track, and according to the map, there are some tracks about 1/2 mile off the road. But, again, we’ll see.

Our dinner destination in San Antonio was the Magic Time Machine. It’s one of our favorite places, and we’ve been eating here for about 30 years.

Magic Time Machine 1b

The unique thing about MTM is that waiters and waitresses are all dressed up as storybook, comic book, and movie characters.

In past visits, we’ve had Wonder Woman

Magic Time Machine 4

and the Joker taking care of us.

Magic Time Machine 5

Tonight our waiters were Pinocchio and the Lone Ranger. We also saw Batgirl, Supergirl, Jack Sparrow, Peter Pan, The Mad Hatteress, Pocahontas, Minnie Mouse, and a number of others.

One thing I really like that they do is that every table gets two waiters/waitresses, like Pinocchio and Lone Ranger above. This way you’re not waiting for an iced tea refill because your only waiter is tied up at another table. Someone’s always available to take care of you.

Another thing unique here is that the Salad Bar is actually a Salad Car. In this case, a 1952 MG TC. Neat!

Magic Time Machine 2

Oh, and in addition to the entertainment, they cook a great steak too!

Heading home we stopped off at a Lowe’s to pick up an Enduracool Towel. These towels are a passive evaporative cooler that does a great job of keeping you cool on hot days. A perfect addition to help keep us cool on our gate. This Youtube Video will give you more info on the Enduracool Towel.

But it turned out that they were out, and the closest place that had them in stock was Kerrville. So it was off to Amazon.

And Amazon had for $10, $5 cheaper than Lowe’s. And free two day shipping with Amazon Prime.

Large Enduracool Towel

Enduacool Towel

Finishing up, several readers wanted to see Jan’s Oil Rig decal. So here it is  It’s about 6 inches high and originally the ‘Oil Life” text was directly underneath the derrick, but I cut it off with scissors and moved it down so it would fit better.

Oil Rig Sticker

Tomorrow, still waiting.


Thought for the Day:

“It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood.” — Karl Popper N.B.


August 23, 2014

Birthday Boy . . .

Jan and I left the rig about 1pm to meet Brandi, Lowell, Landon, Sonja, and Lendel (Lowell’s parents) and Sherry (Lowell’s sister) at Brandi’s before we all headed over to Smith Ranch – Katy where Landon’s 4th birthday party is being held.

As the kids showed up, the first thing that caught everyone’s eye was the enormous inflatable waterslide.

Smith Ranch Slide 0

For some of the smaller kids, like Landon, it was a tough climb. But that didn’t seem to slow anyone down.

Smith Ranch Slide 1

Almost there.

Smith Ranch Slide 4


Smith Ranch Slide 5

Smith Ranch Slide 2

Now let’s do it again.

Smith Ranch Slide 8

This little girl in yellow was the star of the show. She was fearless.

She would claw her way to the top of the slide, stand at the edge, leap into the air, bounce on her bottom, and fly halfway down the slide before she hit the ramp. Then she’d do it again.

Smith Ranch Slide 9

The party itself was held under a nice pavilion with ceiling fans to help keep things cool. Kind of.

It was 100 degrees today.

Smith Ranch 1

Smith Ranch 2

Here’s Landon with Brandi’s BFF, Shawna.

Smith Ranch 6

And here he is showing off his Power Ranger’s Cupcake Cake.

Smith Ranch 3

Then it was time for the presents.

Smith Ranch 4

Everyone had a great time, and the Smith Ranch young ladies took very good care of us. This is an excellent place to have a party.

And, as I said yesterday, when it’s over, you just get in your car and go home. No cleanup.

About 5:30 we all (minus Sherry who headed home earlier) met up at Little V’s Vietnamese Bistro to introduce Sonja and Lendel to the great food there, and now they love the place as much as we do. And we got to eat there twice this week.

After we’d been there for a while, I looked up to see a cute blonde waitress behind the counter. She was wearing a white blouse, black slacks, and had her hair in a ponytail. When I looked up a couple of minutes later, she was now wearing black-rim glasses.

But when she brought our pork spring rolls to our table, she wasn’t wearing them. OK, maybe they’re reading glasses. Right after that, I watched her walk back into the kitchen. Then I looked up and she was standing there asking if I wanted a refill on my iced tea. And she was wearing the glasses again.


Then her identical twin sister came back out of the kitchen, sans glasses.

Now it made sense.

When we got ready to head back to the rig, Brandi insisted we take her Lexus, so we  had a nice, cool trip home. Thanks, Brandi.

Tomorrow afternoon, we’ll be going back to Brandi’s to spend the afternoon with Landon, and his other grandparent’s, Sonja and Lendel.

We’re really looking forward to it.


Thought for the Day:

A man is not idle because he is absorbed in thought. There is a visible labor and there is an invisible labor. – Victor Hugo


August 23, 2015

Cold Air . . .

I was up about 10am this morning to prep things before getting up on the rig roof and swapping out the old and new Air Conditioners.

My first task was to remove the 4 bolts from the inside flange and pull it all out. The outside unit was now free.

AC Install 1

AC Install 2

Then it was up on the roof to actually swap out the AC units. I don’t really trust the 16 year old ladder on the back of our rig so I always back it up with my own.

AC Install 0

This is the old unit before I unbolted the cover.

AC Install 3

Once the cover was off, I turned the unit on its side to remove the wires for power, and the thermostat.

AC Install 4

Once the wiring was removed, I slid the old unit off to the side on a piece of cardboard. This left just the opening in the roof ready to place the new unit in its place.

AC Install 5

I then slid the new unit over the hole and lined it up.

AC Install 6

That finishes up my work on the roof. Now it’s all inside the rig.

Being the impatient sort that I am, after I fastened the unit down with the new flange and four bolts, I temporarily hooked up the control box, turned the breaker back on, and turned the AC on.

AC Install 7

And had nice cold air. So I know it works.

And after a little bit more work, this was the finished project.

AC Install finish

“I love it when a plan comes together.”

A little before 4pm Jan and I headed for La Grange and the Wal-Mart  to stock up on gate guard supplies. But our first stop was Peter’s BBQ in Ellinger for dinner one last time. Good BBQ.

Tomorrow we’ll head out about 9am for a 260 mile run up to Henderson, TX. We’ll spend the night there, and then head out to our new gate about 18 miles away.


Thought for the Day:

“If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in 5 years there’d be a shortage of sand.” – Milton Friedman

August 23, 2016

Blue Moon Gate . . .

We give all our gates a name, and since we’re right down the road from the Blue Moon BBQ, we’re now officially at the Blue Moon Gate.

Jan and I were up at 6:30 this morning, to get be ready when Jamie got here with our sewer trailer.

Of course Jamie didn’t get here until about 8, but that gave us time for coffee and breakfast bread, so it all worked out. Jamie parked the trailer at the end of the pad, actually off the end, to allow more room to park the generator trailer behind it.

Hawkwood Parking Site 8

Getting a closer look at the mat shows why it can support semi trucks.

Hawkwood Parking Site 2 Mats 3

Speaking of trucks, they started rolling in early, enough so that our big pad got a lot more crowded.

Hawkwood Parking Site 3

As the day progressed they made a lot of progress laying down the metal plates that they build the rig on.

Then when the time comes, they oil them up and use two big cranes to drag the entire derrick over to the next hole.

Hawkwood Parking Site 4

Hawkwood Parking Site 5

And since they’re doing three holes here, we get to see them do it twice. And maybe even better, when they did this on a Marathon/H&P rig we were following in 2012, we got a couple of days off. So we hope that holds true here too.

Before Jamie left this morning, heading over to see Dick and Judy Mott, we decided that he would come back early (6:30 am early) tomorrow morning to move our generator trailer into place, and then we would follow with the coach. By doing it this early we were hoping to avoid blocking the trucks coming in and going out.

But about 2pm, there was a knock at the door and they wanted us to move now. When I said we normally don’t log trucks in and out during rigging up and rigging down, and that we planned to move tomorrow morning, the guy laughed and said he didn’t care about logging. He just wanted us out of his yard because he needed to stack stuff where our rig was parked. Maybe they’re running out of room because they’re already stocking up on drill pipe, and they don’t even have the rig up yet.

Hawkwood Parking Site 6

So I got on the phone to Jamie to see if he could come back over this afternoon to get us moved. Luckily he wasn’t too far away, and said he’d be here in about an hour.

While he hooked up to our generator trailer, I started our onboard generator to keep the AC’s going while we got moved over to the pad.

It took a little jockeying, but we finally got on the pad and parked. We parked as close as we could to the trailers, allowing just enough room to open the slide. This gave us the maximum amount of space on the mat to set up on.

Hawkwood Parking Site 7

Right now it looks like they may be ready for us to start logging sometime Thursday, maybe. If so, we plan on going into Bryan/College Station for dinner and some supplies from Wal-Mart.

Hopefully it will work out.

Thought for the Day:

Think space is empty. This shows all the satellites in orbit around the Earth. And there’s more going up every day.

Think Space is Empty