There’s Always A Way . . .

I was talking the other day about the new NBC Peacock streaming service which looked interesting, with some old TV shows we might be interesting in binge-watching. But in looking further into the service, I found it was not available on either our Samsung Smart TV or our Amazon Fire Stick. and it’s also not available on the Roku unit, one of the most popular streaming devices.

Well, as it turns out, we’re all in the middle of a turf war between big corporate media giants, fighting over show rights.

But there’s always a way. And a little Googling showed me how to do it. Using a technique called side-loading, it just requires downloading a new app, which then lets you download a specially-prepared Peacock apk file, which can then be installed.

And so now I have the Peacock app on our Firestick.

Right now we just using the free version, but after we check it out for a bit, we might upgrade to the $4.99 per month Premium version.

Apparently August 1st was a busy day in our past RV travels. So today you’ve got 6 blast from the past blogs, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2016, 2017, and 2019.

 

In 2009 we were in Saybrook, CT working our way north toward Newfoundland.


August 1, 2009

Old Saybrook…

Today is our last full day in Connecticut.

After lunch at Pat’s Kountry Kitchen, voted ‘Best Family Style Restaurant in Connecticut”,

Pats Kountry Kitchen

we headed out to drive around the Old Saybrook seaport area.  It’s a very picturesque area, much of it dating from the 1700’s.

There’s a lot of history here as the Old Boston Post Road runs right through the town.  This would have been the route many of the Founding Fathers used to travel between New York and Boston.

I mentioned before how picturesque this area is.  But I don’t have any pictures to show for it.  We drove what’s know as the Scenic Loop, but there’s no place to stop and take pictures. The road is a narrow two lane road with no place to pull over and no stopping allowed.

So you’ll just have to imagine the shot of the swans feeding in the lake,  the lighthouses on the point,  the lovely view of the marina, etc.

Aren’t they just beautiful?

We had originally planned to head north to the Springfield/Chicopee, MA area to visit a high school friend of Jan’s.  Jan graduated from Chicopee Falls Comprehensive High School so she’s looking forward to visiting old friends and old haunts.

But her friend, Joan, has had a death in the family, so we will head over to Cape Cod for a few days and then up to see Joan next weekend.

The Cape Cod area is an old haunt for both of us as we lived in West Falmouth, MA in 1971 while I was working for the Dept. of Defense at Otis Air Force Base on Cape Cod.

The park we’re staying at here in the Clinton, CT area is called Riverdale Farm Campground.  It’s a nice place, but the sites are kind of small and we’re really jammed in together.

Riverdale Farm Campground 1

Riverdale Farm Campground 2

We have a 140 mile trip tomorrow, which should take us about 3 hours.  But it might be longer due to the traffic we will encounter.

We’ll see.

 

In 2010 we were heading to Elkhart, IN for a month before heading back to Houston.


August 1, 2010

On To Elkhart…

We left Mercer County Fairgrounds at the crack of 10:50 this morning, first for a short trip into town to have a final lunch at La Carreta, and then heading on to Elkhart.

Here we are parked right down the street.

LaCarreta

About 20 miles down the road we entered Indiana, and almost immediately encountered a number of Amish buggies along the road.

When we were here last October all the buggies we saw had the enclosed cabins like in this photo below.

Amish Buggy 2

I guess now that it’s summer they put the top down and they look like this.

Amish Buggy 3

And of course, how can you tell if you’re in Amish country?

Amish Crossing

A little further down the road we passed through Decatur, IN, the birthplace of ‘Beauty’, our RV. Last year we took a factory tour of the plant, and also visited the Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg Museum in Auburn, IN.

You can see more about our trip here.  Auburn Cord Museum.

We arrive at the Elkhart Campground about 2 pm and got set up. We’ll be here for a month before heading back to Houston for the birth of 2nd grandchild, Landon Morrison.

The park is much fuller than it was last October when we were here.

Elkhart 3

Elkhart 4

Tomorrow we’ll continue to get settled in and I’ll start on some maintenance stuff that I’ve been waiting to do until we got here.

More tomorrow…


Thought For The Day:

I generally avoid temptation unless I can’t resist it. – Mae West

 

In 2011 we were passing through North Dakota heading toward a big family reunion in Vandalia, IL with Jan’s sister Debbie and her family.


August 1, 2011

More Big Sky Country . . .

Jan and I were both up about 7:30 this morning. I think we were looking forward to getting back on the road and seeing new things and new places

While we were having our coffee and bagels, our daughter Brandi called to say hi and talk about our upcoming family reunion in about 10 days.

A little after 9 I called the RV park in Dickinson, ND to be sure they’d have a spot for us for Tuesday and Wednesday night. And when I asked the lady if she would have room for us, I got my first “You Betcha”.

And going through North Dakota, Minnesota, and Wisconsin over the next week or so, it probably won’t be our last one, either.

We pulled out of our site about 9:45 and then stopped just long enough to hook up the toad, and then we were on our way by 10 am, heading northeast on I-94 to Miles City, MT, about 150 miles away.

We had a lot of pretty country along the way, with rolling hills, interspersed with level plains, and a lot of lakes and rivers. Not exactly what you think of in Montana.

Miles City 1

Miles City 2

Miles City 3

We made one rest stop at about the half way point, and then pulled into the Big Sky Campground about 1 pm.

This is probably the perfect one-night stay campground for us. Long pull-thrus where we don’t have to unhook the toad, pretty level sites. (to me, a site is pretty level if I can get the coach level. I’ve been in some that were so out-of-tilt that I couldn’t level.)

Big Sky RV 1

We even have our own small mountain view.

Big Sky RV 2

And best of all, it’s cheap. $18 a night for 30 amp and water. On one night stays like this we normally don’t even hook up sewer, and in this case we saved $5 over a full hookup site.

Hey, $5 is $5!

Jan fixed a wonderful meal from our leftover Bubba’s BBQ, along with wild rice and baked beans, and even better, fresh chocolate chip cookies for dessert.

I love it when Jan gets domestic!


Thought for the Day:

In 2001 heart disease claimed 669,697 lives; cancer claimed 553,251.

Adverse drug reactions, medical errors, unnecessary medical procedures etc., killed 783,936 people making the American Medical Profession the #1 cause of death in the United States.

If 44,789 people died because they didn’t have insurance (according to the AMA) and 783,936 died because they did, the odds are you’re better off without insurance.

 

On this date in 2016 we were leaving Breaux Bridge, LA heading to Bay St. Louis, MS, with our ultimate destination, Athens, AL. And you’ll find out why I’m not particularly fond of the Atchafalaya River Bridge.


August 1, 2016

Bridge Over Swampy Waters . . .

I had already hitched up last night so this morning all we had to do was stow the satellite dish, raise the levelers, unplug shore power and go.

Every time we stop at Poche’s, we always wish we were staying longer.

Poche's Sunset

Most of the sites are concrete pad back-ins, but they do have two long pull-thru transient sites, which is where we always stay.. Very nice park, especially for $20 a night Passport America.

We pulled out right at I-10 heading for the Hollywood Casino in Bay St. Louis, about 165 miles away.

But before we could get there, we had to cross my nemesis, the Atchafalaya River Bridge, 18.2 miles long, through the Atchafalaya (Cha Fa La Ya, forget the AT) Swamp. When we first drove onto the bridge, Jan asked me if it still bothered me. I said no, but it’s not something I’ll forget.

In 1994, I was on my way to Birmingham to visit my mother, a trip I made every month from 1992, when my father died, until 2005, when I finally got her moved down to Houston.

It was lightly raining and I had just gotten on the bridge when an old Lincoln Continental started passing me doing about a 1/2 mph faster than I was, just creeping past. He had a line of traffic right on his tail, as did I. So I couldn’t really  slow down much either.

Then just as he barely got past, he cut over right in front of me, so close I could no longer see his taillights. And then he slowed down. So I instinctively took my foot off the gas, never touching the brake. But that didn’t help. Apparently just as I let off the pedal, I crossed one of those metal expansion joints with a bump. And then all hell broke loose.

As well as my tire’s grip on the pavement.

My Ford Ranger did a quick 360, and then added a 180 for good measure. Then my instincts kicked in and I managed to get my truck up against the rail, trying to scrub off speed by grinding off the driver’s side of the truck so I wouldn’t bounce back out into the other lane.

Of course a 360 and a 180 meant was I was now going backwards, and watching people dodge the large pieces of my truck as they fell off. At this point I was somewhat hopeful that the excitement was almost over.

But I was wrong!  Very wrong!

Apparently  a wayward piece of my rear bumper snagged on one of the separations between the sections of the concrete bridge railing, slinging me back around into another set of 360° spins.

How many, you might ask?

Well, I lost count after 4. Mostly because the left side of my head slammed up against the metal shoulder harness bracket that Ford thoughtfully  mounted just at head height, without any padding.

In the middle of all this, I was still trying to get control of the spins, but without much luck. Turning the steering wheel didn’t seem to have much, or any, effect. But finally I ended along the railing again, this time going the right direction, and finally came to a stop. I managed to get the door open and climbed out just as several motorists ran over to see if I was OK.

The first thing I noticed was that I no longer had a truck. It was more a pile of parts traveling in close proximity to each other, but now bent in a semi-circle.

The rear bumper and tailgate were gone, and the driver’s side rear tire was shredded due to the fact that the wheel well bulge was mashed flat against the tire. But as bad as that was, the front was worse.

The entire front bumper and trim panels were gone. And I now knew why my efforts to correct the spins were for naught. I had nothing left to correct with.

The driver’s side tire, wheel, shock, tie rods, etc., were all gone. Just a big empty hole where it all used to be. And the passenger side wasn’t much better. Although the tire and wheel were still there, it wasn’t really connected to anything, but just hanging there at an angle.

By this time this adrenaline rush had kicked in, so I sat down on the railing ledge, before I fell down. As I waiting for everyone to show up, I took stock of myself.

I had a splitting headache and a real egg-sized goose egg on the side of my head. But other than that and some bruises on my chest from the shoulder harness, I seemed to be OK. My next though was ‘concussion’, but I wasn’t showing any signs, at least yet.

BTW did you know you can check yourself for a concussion, at least one on the side of  your head?

Close both eyes and then open one eye and then close it and open the other. If you see a difference in the brightness between the two eyes, there’s a good chance you have a concussion.

And the paramedic reluctantly agreed with my diagnosis, although he still wanted to take me to the hospital. I told I would still be in the area for a while, and if I felt worse I’d have it checked out.

My idea was that after I got the remains of the truck towed in, and settled all the paperwork, I’d get a ride to the Lafayette airport, rent a car, and continue on to Birmingham to my mother’s.

Finally getting to the airport, I called Jan, told her what happened, got her to stop crying, and told her to meet at the airport Sunday  afternoon (this was Friday afternoon).

Then while they were getting my car ready, I went to the restroom to freshen up. I had some band aids in my bag that I figured I put on the bump. It must have been pretty obvious since the car rental lady kept looking at me, and twice ask me if I was sure I was alright. And I noticed as I was crossing the concourse that other people were kind of staring too.

Getting inside the restroom, I went to the mirror to take a look.

Now you would think that somebody – the bystanders, the police officer, the paramedic, or the tow truck driver who I rode with – that somebody would have told me that the entire side on my head, my shirt collar and sleeve, and the back of my shirt, were all caked in very red dried blood.

I looked like an extra from Night of the Living Dead.

Grabbing a bunch of paper towels, I got all the blood off the side of my head and put a couple of bandages on the lump. I couldn’t do much about my shirt, so I just got a windbreaker from my bag and put it on to cover my shirt.

The rest of my  to trip to Birmingham and back were uneventful. Thank goodness.

When Jan met me at the airport on Sunday we drove back over to the storage yard so I could get some things out of the truck.

Jan took one look at the pile of pieces and started crying again.

I almost did too.

I really liked that truck.

So that’s my saga of the Atchafalaya River Bridge.

But our trip today was much more uneventful. Even going through Baton Rouge was a breeze.

We got into the RV Park at the Hollywood Casino about 1pm, and after at lot of rigmarole, finally got parked and set up.

Since this blog ran so long, I’ll save the rest for tomorrow.

Tomorrow we’ve got a 145 mile trip to the Gulf Shores State Park in Gulf Shores, AL where we’ll be for the next week.

Really looking forward to it


Thought for the Day:

“I never said most of the things I said” – Yogi Berra

 

In 2017 we were back in Alabama again visiting friends and relatives.


August 1, 2017

More ‘Q’ . . .

Recapping yesterday.

We were out the door about 9:30 and heading about 100 miles south to Birmingham, with our first stop about 11:30 at the Golden Rule BBQ in Irondale.

We’ve been eating here for more than 50 years, but we’re still youngsters as far as the restaurant goes, since it opened in 1891, it’s been around for more than 125 years, the oldest continuously-operating restaurant in Alabama.

Golden Rule BBQ

It started out as a roadside stand selling BBQ to people on the way to Atlanta . . . by horse and buggy! And when automobiles came along, they did auto repairs on the side.

The roadside stand was replaced by an actual restaurant building in the late 30’s, and then the present building was erected in the 50’s when they widened the highway,.

We both had a sliced pork sandwich, mine with a cup of their famous Brunswick Stew, and Jan’s with fries.

Golden Rule BBQ Sliced Pork

I  also got mine with half ‘Outside Cut’ or ‘Bark’. That’s the darker area of the meat on the sandwich. That gives it a bite, a crunch, with the char really adding to the taste.

From 1993, after my father died the year earlier, I drove up from Houston to Birmingham every month for 12 years, to look in on my mother, getting her groceries, taking care of any repairs, etc.

And I always had lunch at Golden Rule while I was out shopping.

After lunch we drove around for a while, checking all the places we knew that aren’t there any more. One thing we did do was to drive by my parent’s house in Mountain Brook.

Sharpsburg Dr House

My parents owned this place from 1972 until 2005, and it’s really a shame what the new owner(s) had done to the landscaping in the front yard.

Originally there were big tall oak and pine trees there, with a large flower garden underneath. Really beautiful in the spring. But now it’s just blah.

It’s about 3,000 sq. ft., with 5 bedrooms and 3 baths. The neat thing about the place is the garage on the bottom floor. Each side runs the entire length of the house, meaning that you could actually park 10 or 12 cars in there.

One thing I bet the new owners don’t know is that my father’s ashes were scattered in the rose garden that used to be there.

Out next stop was the McDonald’s behind what used to be Eastwood Mall.

Eastwood Mall McDonald's

At the time, in the early 70’s, this was the busiest McDonald’s in the country, believe it or not. They were one of the 3 test locations for the introduction of the 1/4 Pounder Hamburger, the first location to have Ronald McDonald Birthday Parties, and the first one to have a playground, in this case, outside on the left of the building.

For about 18 months in the 72-73 time frame while we were in college, Jan and I were the grill team here. I worked the grill and Jan did the buns. We got there at 11am after our classes and worked the lunch rush straight through until 1:30 or 2:00pm. Then we hung up our aprons and left. No mopping up, no cleaning. Just make a lot of hamburgers really, really fast, and then go home.

But just like my parent’s house, all the beautiful oaks and the garden/playground are gone. As is the original building, actually. Just stark and bare.

Later we drove out to the Center Point area where we lived two different times and also went to school. Then heading over to the nearby Trussville area and made a stop at a Books-A-Million so Jan could check on a couple of books.

While I was checking out the magazine section, I came across these two magazines telling you how you can start your own home business.

Books A Million HIgh Times

Books A Million HIgh Times 2

At least if you live in the right state.

Of course that may or may not matter to you.

A little later we drove over to our friend’s Bill and Carol Alverson to get together for dinner. So after catching up for a while, Bill drove us over to the nearby Jim N Nick’s BBQ.

So yes, we had BBQ twice yesterday. It doesn’t get much better than that.

The last time we ate at a Jim N Nick’s was in the Memphis area in 2015, and this one was just as good.

Jan had a Pig in a Bun Sandwich with Coleslaw, and a side of Mac N Cheese.

Jim & Nick's Pig on a Bun

I had the 2 meat Combo, with Ribs and Pulled Pork, along with BBQ Beans and Collard Greens.

Jim & Nick's 2 meat Combo

Very, very good.

Afterwards we went back to their house and spent the next several hours catching up. Back in the 70’s, Bill and I were both Broadcast Engineers at WBIQ TV and WENN radio here in Birmingham, so it was great to talk over old times.

Bill and Carol Alverson

And Jan and Carol had a great time comparing booklists of their reading likes.

Finally about 10pm we said our goodbyes and made the two hour trip back to Athens, finishing up a very nice day.

Now back to today.

After our long trip yesterday, we goofed off this morning, not doing much of anything.

I did bring my Garmin 1490LMT GPS in from the truck and tried to update it. And tried. And tried.

It got about halfway through the 2+ GB download and then died. When I tried to restart it, the program said that Garmin was having server problems. So I kept trying for the next several hours until it finally started back up again and I got the update completed.

About 4:15 we drove over to my Aunt Virginia’s house to take her out to dinner.  I’ve always called her ‘Ninny’, since when I was really little I couldn’t say Virginia, so I shortened it to Ninny.

Jan and Ninny at Rosie's

We headed over Rosie’s Cantina in Huntsville, another of our favorites, as well as Ninny’s.

Jan and Ninny both had the Pollo Loco Grilled Chicken Breast,

Rosie's Cantina Pollo Loco

while I had the Spicy Beef and Cheese Stuffed Chile Relleno.

Rosie's Cantina Chile Relleno

Both delicious as always.

Not sure what’s on tap for tomorrow, but we’ll figure something out, I sure.



Thought for the Day:

If free speech is taken away, dumb and silent we are led, like sheep to the slaughter – George Washington 

 

And finishing up, in 2019 it was just me and the cat while Jan was Landon-sitting up at Brandi’s in Katy. And another repair, of course.


August 1, 2019

Drip, Drip, Drip . . .

Not much of a blog today, because I spent most of the day at Lowe’s and Home Depot.

When I got up about 7am and walk out of the bedroom, my feet went squish squish on the carpet. The area at the bottom of the bed was soaked. So after I fed a very demanding cat, I got my flashlight and went to look for the problem. And since this had happened before back in 2015, that’s where I started.

And it was the same fitting that was leaking last time.

Shower Leak 4

Last time I disconnected the fitting and wrapped it with Teflon tape and tightened it down. And the leak was gone. But 4 years later, it was back.

But when I tried to tighten it some more I could feel the connector was cracked inside, and it started leaking a little more. At this point I slipped on some pants and went outside to turn off the park water. Coming back in, I opened the bathroom faucet to bleed off the water pressure.

During one trip to Lowe’s and two to Home Depot, trying different ideas to make a new connection without using the PEX tubing/connectors that required a special tool and crimps.

Finally I found some flexible vinyl tubing of the right size, capable of 225psi @ 150° so it should handle the water pressure and temps of the shower. So then I used 2 of these PEX connectors,

PEX Elbow Connector

the tubing, and a couple of clamps to make up a new flexible connection, rather than the old rigid one.

Shower Leak Repair

Hooking it up, I turned on the RV water pump for a couple of minutes. And I did have a small leak on the upper connector, but after tightening it a couple of more turns that took care of that.

I will leave the shore water off for a couple of days, using the rig water pump so it starts leaking in the middle of the night, I won’t have to get dressed to go outside and turn it off.


Thought for the Day:

Rules of Marketing:  A very satisfied customer will tell 14 people, but a dissatisfied customer will tell 80.


  

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