Daily Archives: September 5, 2020

Boats and Trains . . .

Brandi, Lowell, Landon, and Landon’s BFF, Sophie, are spending Labor Day Weekend up at The Woodlands, north of Houston, something they’ve done several other years. Which is one of the reasons that Jan has been doggie-sitting at their home in Katy.


Luckily for me, they’ll be home tomorrow so I’ll get my Jan back.

Back in early July Hawaii mandated a very strict outdoor mask requirement on top of the inside one they’d had in place since April. And this was the result.


COVID-19 numbers surge after mask mandate in Hawaii

Kind of like what happened when LA county tried it.

LA County Mask Cases

Am I the only one that notices a pattern here?

And now there’s this.

UN Forced to Admit Gates-funded Vaccine is Causing Polio Outbreak in Africa

After spending some $16 billion over 30 years to eradicate polio, international health bodies have ‘accidentally’ reintroduced the disease to in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and also Iran, as the central Asia region was hit by a virulent strain of polio spawned by a pharmaceutical vaccine. Also, in 2019, the government of Ethiopia ordered the destruction of 57,000 vials of type 2 oral polio vaccine (mOPV2) following a similar outbreak of vaccine-induced polio.

Everyone who wants to be first in line to receive a rushed-to-market WuFlu vaccine, raise your  hand.

Anyone? Anyone?


Newfoundland Bound

September 5, 2009

A Rough Night at Sea…

After finally falling asleep about 1 am,  we woke about 7:30.  It was a rough night.  People coughing all night, people snoring, people talking in their sleep, etc. We’d actually have been a lot more comfortable in the truck.

About 8 am we headed down to Deck 5 for breakfast at the Cafeteria,  stopping off to go outside on Deck 6,  for a great view of the ocean.


After breakfast,  we went to one of the many lounges to spend the morning.  Jan settled in to read and I found an outlet to plug in my laptop.

Our ferry,  the “Joseph and Clara Smallwood” is 587 feet long and can hold 1200 passengers and 350 cars,  RV’s,  and semi’s.   We’re 200 miles out in the North Atlantic,  and I have both WiFi Internet and cellphone service.  This ship is really something.

But being built back in the 1990’s, i.e. ‘pre-laptop’,  there are not enough electrical outlets in the lounges for everyone.

They were also showing movies on big screen TV’s.  We watched ‘Night at the Museum’,  “Shrek II”, and others.

Around noon we headed back to the cafeteria for a lunch of soup and sandwiches.  And then after lunch we moved all our stuff down to Deck 5 so we would be closer to our truck on Deck 3 when the time came.

We docked about 2:30 pm and were called to our vehicles about 2:45.  We were told not to start our vehicles until it came our time to move,  and then we started up and moved out…not.

Actually,  I turned the key and only got a ‘click, click, click’.  Dead battery.

I still don’t know what the problem was.  None of my lights were left on.  Anyway,  I wasn’t the only one.  Two other vehicles needed a jump start, also.

Finally,  we were off the ship and on our way.

We decided to head south down the peninsular to drive what is known as the Irish Loop,  though we only did a half-loop since we wanted to get back to St John’s to get a hotel room before dark.

And now some pretty pictures of our drive.







And I’m glad we did come back a little early, because we had to try three hotels before we found a room.

While we were hunting hotels, we saw Montana’s Steakhouse and thought we’d give it a try later.  And we did.  And it was good.


Up in Elkhart, IN

September 5, 2010

Fall is in the Air . . .

Fall is here, at least in northern Indiana. Yesterday’s high was 63 and then down to 50 last night. Today it made it up to about 68 with a low tonight of 58.

Of course, if it’s too cool for you here, you could try Yuma. It was 114 on Friday, and 109 yesterday.

But it’s a dry heat.  Of course, so is an oven.

About 11 this morning Jan and I headed over to Bob Evans for breakfast. As usual on a Sunday morning, there was a wait, but only about 5 minutes. Bob Evans has moved into their Fall menu so they’ve got their flavored cappuccino’s again. Really good.

After breakfast we drove over to the National New York Central Railroad Museum here in Elkhart.

They have a dining car set up and all ready to go for the restaurant they hope to open soon.

Dining Car

And here’s a display of signal lanterns ranging from the 1860’s to the present.

Signal Lights

Maybe the most amazing thing they have there is this 8 foot long toothpick model of a Pennsylvania K-4 Pacific locomotive.

Toothpick Train 1

It has over 420,000 toothpicks, 40 pounds of glue, and took 7 years to build. The brakes, wheels, tie rods, and windows actually move.

Toothpick Train 2

The builder, Terry Woodling, has built several other toothpick models, including a DC-3 with a 5 foot wingspan, a Huey helicopter, a touring motorcycle, and a Learjet with an 8 foot fuselage.

Toothpick Train 3

They also have a model railroad layout that’s under construction.

RR Layout Wall of Trains

Outside in the freight yard they have a number of old engines and railcars. The oldest locomotive is this L3A 4-8-2 Mohawk built in 1940, one of 25 in the series.

L3A 4-8-2

It ran until 1957 when the New York Central completed its transformation from steam to diesel.

They also had one the first diesels on the NYC, an EMD E8. Built in 1953, it’s 70 feet long and weighs over 330,000 pounds.

E8 Diesel

This wooden boxcar probably dates from the 1920 – 1930’s, but according to the reporting marks, it was rebuilt in 1965, probably as a maintenance car, and then retired in 1975.

Wooden Box Car

This tank car is somewhat newer, being built in 1952, rebuilt in 1977. and then retired in 1985. It’s really in good shape.

Tank Car

This caboose was built in 1963, and was in use until the 1980’s when most cabooses were retired from service due to their function being handled by more modern technology.


Across the tracks from the museum is the Elkhart train station. Built in 1900, it replaced one built in the 1880’s. It’s still in use today as a regular stop on the daily train from New York to Chicago and back.

Elkhart Station

A lot of the museum is still under construction and we look forward to visiting again next year to see how things are coming.

Leaving the museum and heading home, we stopped off at Ace Hardware to pick up some new bolts for my cargo bay doors, and then stopping at Martin’s for some cat food.

About 5:30 Jan and I drove over to Cracker Barrel for supper and then back to the rig for the night.

We’ve only got two more days here in Elkhart before we leave on Wednesday.

More tomorrow…

Thought For The Day:

You don’t have be brilliant. Sometimes just not being stupid is enough.

Elkhart Again

September 5, 2011

Labor Day . . .

We woke up this morning to beautiful Fall weather, and about 50 degrees. I don’t think it finally hit 60 until later in the afternoon. Nice!

After coffee and bagels, I worked on organizing stuff in the coach for a while, and then about 12:30 Jan and I headed over to Wal-Mart to pick up some groceries and other stuff.

Getting home about 2 and getting things put away, I set up Skype on my computer and waited for Lowell to call.

About 3pm Brandi SkypeCalled us and we spent about 15 minutes watching Landon play with his toys and run around the living room.

Video call snapshot 311

Video call snapshot 316

One thing we noticed when we saw him at the reunion a few weeks ago is that he’s not bald anymore. He’s actually got a lot of hair, but since it’s kind of white-blonde, it’s hard to see in photos. His mother Brandi’s hair was the same way when she was young too.

Video call snapshot 322

Video call snapshot 332

We’re really looking forward to seeing him again when we’re back in Houston right before Thanksgiving.

Earlier in the day Brandi and Lowell emailed us these shots of Landon at a nearby park.

Landon on Park Railing

I think he’s saying he’s No. 1 in this photo.

Landon and Lowell on Railing

And here he is having his first Tookie’s hamburger. Tookie’s was/is a famous burger place in Seabrook, TX that had been around since the early 70’s. It was heavily damaged in Hurricane Rita in 2008 and never reopened, until just a couple of weeks ago. Took’em long enough.

Landon at Tookies

Brandi said no matter when you go, there’s always a wait.

A little before 6 we headed out for dinner with Nick and Terry, Al Hesselbart, and Jan and I. Al was leading us to a restaurant he likes, but when we got there it was closed for Labor Day. So after a quick conference, we ended up at our favorite local Mexican place, El Maguey, and it was as good as always.

And as usual, we sat around and talked for so long that it was almost 8:30 before we got home.


Thought for the Day:

“All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.” – Arthur Schopenhauer

Gate Guarding in North Zulch, TX

September 5, 2014

Found’em . . .

Well, today was a little quieter on the gate than yesterday, with only 119 vehicles coming through, against yesterday’s 130.  Of course, that really means 238 vehicles, counting coming in and going out. But they’ve been bringing in house trailers for the new well, so we’ll be having people staying over pretty soon.

Another gate guard company is looking for a couple for a gate near Bristol, TX, about 30 miles southeast of Dallas. It pays $200 a day, which sounds great until you get to the kicker.

It’s a 600 vehicle a day gate!

So let’s see. $50 more a day than our $150, and you get to quadruple your work load. Sounds like a great deal to me. I wonder why they’re having trouble finding anyone?

In other news, I found my set of longer cables for the satellite dome, so Jan has TV again. The cables were right where I left them, but not where I remember leaving them. That seems to happen a lot lately. But the real culprit is the fact that before we left Houston I went through and reorganized all the basement bins in a logical fashion.

But apparently, what was logical then is not quite so logical now. That’s what I get for tidying things up.

Unlike a lot of gate guard couples, Jan and I don’t work 12 hour shifts. We find it much easier to split it up.

Jan works from 7am to 2pm, and brings out something for breakfast that we eat together. I’m scheduled come back at 2pm, but usually it’s earlier and I bring out coffee.

So I work from 2pm to 6pm, and Jan brings out supper that we eat together. Jan then works from 6pm to 11pm, and I work from 11pm to 7am.

Wash, Rinse, Repeat.

So Jan works a 7 hour shift and a 5 hour shift, and I work an 8 and a 4. Works for us.

Today was a sad day. Dinner finished off the last of the Sonny’s BBQ we got in Pensacola, FL while we were staying at Gulf Shores, AL about a month ago. We went there twice and always bought extra to freeze.

But on a bright note, there’s a Rudy’s over in College Station, not too far away.


Thought for the Day:

I base my fashion taste on what doesn’t itch. — Gilda Radner

Gate Guarding near Carthage, TX

September 5, 2015

Summer’s Last Gasp?

Well, it was another quiet day in the oil patch, our part of it, at least. We had 7 vehicles come in and later leave. Most of it was the Swire water guys finishing with setting up the pumps and water lines feeding from the frack ponds.

But there were a couple of guys out in the back laying out and discing up the area where they’ll put the used mud. And that was about it. And we expect even less tomorrow, and if we’re lucky, maybe nothing on Monday.

So we’ll probably go out to dinner again Monday night, since it’ll probably be our last chance for a while.

Our days and nights have heated recently with temps in the mid-90’s in the daytime, and mid-70’s at night, while just a week ago it was low 90’s and mid-60’s.

But starting next Thursday, Fall may be here. According to the Weather Channel, we’re looking at a week of low to mid 80’s and high 50’s to low 60’s at night. At least that’s the forecast. We’ll see how it pans out.

One thing nice about this site is that the rig blocks us from those cold north winds that will sweep through. Much better than the last two years.

After our iced coffee this morning, I took a look at my ‘no 12 volts in the bathroom’ problem we came home to last night. As I suspected, I found a blown 20 amp ATC fuse like this in the panel at the bottom of the bed.


I’ve never had to open this 12 volt panel before, since I’ve never had a 12 volt problem before, so I was surprised to find it use the larger ATC fuses, since everywhere else in the coach uses the smaller ATM fuses. The problem with this is that I don’t have any spare ATC fuses, just the ATM size. I checked the rest of the panel to see if there was one I could borrow, but no luck.

I did borrow one temporarily though, to be sure that it did fix the problem, and it did. Except for the light in the shower. It uses one of these LED bulbs and it wouldn’t come on.


I pulled the bulb out and checked the voltage at the socket and had 12 volts, so the bulb was the problem. But why?

That bulb gets left on as a night light, so it was on when we left for supper. The only thing I can figure is that the bulb shorted long enough to blow the fuse, and then opened. I say ‘opened’ because it had to short to blow the fuse, but it had to then open, otherwise it would have blown the new fuse when I plugged it in. I’ve got another of those bulbs, so I’ll have to get it out.

I’ll probably go into Carthage tomorrow to get some new fuses and also bring back lunch.

Brandi, Lowell, and Landon always spend Labor Weekend at the Woodlands Resort and Landon has a blast. Apparently he can even hula-hoop.

Landon at the Woodlands 1

Landon at the Woodlands 2


Thought for the Day:

‘If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and man.’ – Mark Twain.

Batching It Again

September 5, 2017

Leaving The Seat Up . . .

I had planned to sleep in this morning, I really did. But Karma had other ideas.

Turns out that just because Jan’s not here, doesn’t mean that Miss Karma doesn’t still plan on being fed at 7:30am like Jan does every morning. So her patience finally ran out about 9:30, and she jumped up on the bed and started BITING me.

One of the first things I did this morning (after feeding Karma) was try to get Jan out of Jury Duty. It seems like every year or so one of us gets a jury summons from Harris County. And we haven’t lived here since 2008.

The only thing I was able to do was to ask from disqualification due to not residing in Harris County. But I’ve done this before, and it never sticks. So I’ll probably have to just do it again next time.

I started to order something from Amazon this afternoon and have it delivered to my client’s office for working on his system. With 2 Day Prime delivery I figured it would be there on Thursday so I could use it Friday. And Amazon said it would be delivered on Thursday, but on September 14th, not September 7th.

So I guess they’re still having problems with delivery to this area. We’ll see.

Looks like our forecasted cooler weather is coming through tomorrow right on schedule. Today’s high here in Conroe was 91 with tonight’s low of 68°. But then tomorrow’s high is only 84 and tomorrow night we’re looking at 58°.

Then day temps in the 80’s for at least the next week.

So Fall is here early?

A couple of microwave updates.

Concerning the tabletop Frigondas unit that both cooks and freezes, one reader says his already does this. It’s easy, he said. He just turns the the wall plug around and run the microwave in reverse. Works every time, he said.

Ya’ll give it try and let me know how it works. My microwave just completely fixed itself and I don’t want to annoy it anymore.

I mentioned the other day how I had worked on it and fixed a persistent problem, but the light stayed on all the time. But since it worked now, I was going to just leave well enough alone.

Well, that worked out great, because I noticed this morning that now the light is going off and on just like it’s supposed to.

There seems to be a theory among wives that as soon as we slide that wedding band on her finger, our I.Q. drops 50 points and we are no longer able to feed and clothe our selves, by ourselves. Instead we can now only function under our wife’s detailed guidance and instruction.

Now in one way or the other, I’ve been taking care of myself since I went off to military school when I was 15. And from then until I met Jan almost 4 years later, I managed to feed, bathe, and dress myself, by myself, without anyone’s assistance.

I’ve washed my own clothes, ironed my own clothes (yes, I can iron) and even bought my own clothes. But by Jan’s reckoning, I’m completely unable to take care of myself for the 3 days that she will be gone. So I got detailed instructions on every bit of food in the refrigerator, how to prepare it, and how many seconds to set the microwave for. And even down to where the salt and pepper are in the cabinet.

It’s amazing I can even breathe on my own. Of course with Jan gone, I can now leave the seat up . . . on purpose.

Thought for the Day:

Civilizations collapse slowly, then all at once.