Giving Up, For Now . . .

On the brake lights, anyway.

Several people have agreed with me that my brake lights probably won’t work unless unless the engine’s running and the brakes are aired up. So I’m putting the brake lights and the backup lights on hold until I can crank up the engine.

And to do that I need to get the oil filter adapter head remounted. So today I ordered two new gaskets, and 4 new bolts from Diesel Parts Direct, and a Helicoil installation kit from Amazon.

The kit will be here tomorrow, and hopefully the other parts will be here by the end of the week, so I can work on all this over the weekend.

But we’ll see.

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Back In the USA


September 14, 2009

Cora, Cora, Cora…

Today we head back to the States.

But first we just had to eat at Cora again for breakfast before we left. And once again it was great. Their plates are almost works of art.

CoraCoraCora 1

Supposedly they are hoping to bring these to the US. I think they would be a big hit. Where else can you get a great meal that looks like a work of art.

We headed out about 11 am for the 185 mile trip to Houlton, ME, which is about 3 miles from the US/Canada border.

It took us about 15 minutes or so, to get though Customs, most of it waiting our turn in line. But the questioning by the Border Agent was a little more thorough than we had last year going to and from Alaska.

The other nice thing about the trip was that we gained an hour as we are now back on Eastern Daylight Time.

We pulled into My Brother’s Place RV Park, into the same site we parked in two weeks ago on our way into Canada. Deja Vu.

After getting set up, Jan and I headed out to get our hair cut and grab a bite to eat.


Thought For The Day:

It has been said that the United States has become a government with a country, rather than a country with a government.

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An Armful of Landon


September 14, 2010

We want Fall back . . .

We had really gotten used to the beginnings of Fall while we were in Elkhart.

You remember Fall, you know, highs in the 70’s, low’s in the 40’s.

Well, not down here in Houston. When we got here yesterday it was 97 degrees. Today it was 93 degrees with a humidity “Feels Like” of 100 degrees.

And the low tonight is 75.

You know you’re back in Texas when the water from the cold water faucet is hot!

But there are some redeeming factors.

Here is our site here at Galveston Bay RV Park.

GB Site 73

And here is the view out our front window from site 73. This is Dickinson Bayou which leads into Galveston Bay.

Galveston Bay RV

This is the slightly different view from site 80, where we’ve parked the previous two years. Jan likes this view better because the small island attracts a lot of birds and wildlife  If and when our old site becomes available, we’ll probably move down the street.

Site 80 Big

Jan always puts out a bird feeder to keep the local avians from starving. We’ve gone thru as much as 50# of bird seed a week.

Site 80 Birds

These are Monk’s Parakeets. There are large flocks of them in this area, although they are not native to here, but originally come from South America. They’re very hardy, and colonies are found as far north as Connecticut, and as far west as Washington state. The colonies are generally thought to have originated from escaped pets over the years.

Monk Parakeets

But here’s the main reason for being here. This was my first chance to hold baby Landon. It’s really hard to imagine how small he is. The last time I held a grandchild this small was 17 years ago, with our granddaughter Piper.

Papa And Landon

About 11 am our son Chris came over to drop off a dead laptop for me to work on, and after talking for a while we headed out for lunch at Berryhill Baja Grill. They have great sandwiches, tacos, and tortilla soup, and we always enjoy it.

Coming home we stopped off at Kroger’s for some groceries, and then we were in for the day.

We’ll probably spend the next few days just jelling before we jump back in the swing of things.


Thought For The Day:

“Every morning, I get up and look through the ‘Forbes’ list of the richest people in America. If I’m not there, I go to work.”

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Gate Guarding near Whitsett, TX


September 14, 2013

Mommy, Somebody Broke the Moon . . .

That’s what Landon said the other night about this.

Broke Moon

And we also have this.

Landon at Daycare 1

Well, it’s been a busy several days. We’ve approaching 300 vehicles a day, three times what we had last year at our drill sites. And we’re both pretty sure we don’t want to do a fracking site again, though the fact that they ran low on water and had to start trucking it in may be the problem. Of course along with the normal sand trucks. Don’t know yet if this is usual or not.

The weather is trying to cool off, at least. The last couple of days the high was 86-87, but then today it was 95, but at least the trend is there. Last night it was actually kind of chilly at 68. Thought about going into the rig and getting a jacket, but was too tired to get up when I didn’t have to. Ha!

I came out a little early last night and Jan and I took down our old new canopy and put up our new new one.

Coleman Canopy

As usual Amazon really came through on replacing this defective one. They just sent me the replacement and then I have 30 days to get the old one back to them, at their expense. This new one is much more stable since it has all its struts. Nice

Jeff, our company man send over a few front loader scoops of pea gravel to put under our canopy site and our truck parking area. So we went from this

2013-09-12 15.46.34

to this.

2013-09-12 15.46.58

My truck was actually stuck in the mud the other day and I had to wait until it dried out before I could get it out. This is much better. And the area under our canopy was nothing but a full-on mud hole. We’ll see how it goes at the next rain.

Jeff also has us on a one week schedule for diesel, water, and sewer. So now we don’t even have to call anyone, or worry if we’re going to run out, or overflow.

Under heading – Missing in Action, one of our vehicle sensor apparently wandered off the other night.

Vehicle Alarm

At least that’s what I assume, because it’s no good to anyone without the receiver, which I have at the canopy. I noticed during the night that it quit working, but figured it had just fallen over. And the other one is still there and working on the other side of the road. I’ve put out the word with the company people, so hopefully it will find its way home sometime soon.

That’s about it for today. It’s about time to go out and relieve Jan.

Later.

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Thought for the day:

If you know how many guns you have, you probably don’t have enough!!!

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Another Day On The Gate In East Texas


September 14, 2014

Delightful . . .

Today was delightful, especially compared to yesterday. It finally struggled up to 80°, and partly cloudy with just enough breeze to keep things comfortable. Much, much better than yesterday.

It looks like the rig is finally up to speed on drilling. It’s not making as many of those strange noises, and they’ve now got drill pipe hanging from the side of the derrick, instead of bringing it up one stick at a time.

Rig-20140914

We had 83 vehicles come in today, which over the 18 hours the gate is really active, (I often have only two or three vehicles between midnight and 6am) means we get one every 15 minutes or so. But what really happens is that we’ll have nobody for 30 minutes, and then 3 in a row.

The landowner and some of his family came by in an ATV today. We met him last week and he seems like a really nice guy. In fact all the landowners we’ve worked with the last 3 years have  been nice, although I’ve heard some horror stories.

I did think it was funny how he was asking me questions about what was going on where. Like we would know. We’re usually the LAST to know, even when it concerns us. He didn’t even know the cattle guard had been replaced, though he said the last couple of guards had complained about it. Guess it takes a tanker almost falling through to get some action.

Later on, the owner’s grandson came through in a pickup with his two dogs in the back, taking them for a swim at the big pond in the back. He has a yellow Lab and a Rottweiler that probably outweighed me. Big dog!

But thankful the only thing he seemed interested in was licking me to death and slobbering all over me.

For dinner we had BBQ sandwiches and sides from the Rudy’s I brought back last Wednesday. Really good, as usual, and Jan said we have one more meal from it. That means we’ll get 4 meals from $38 of Rudy’s BBQ. Not bad.

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Thought for the Day:

“Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle.” – Abraham Lincoln

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A New Idiot Box


September 14, 2016

And Back It Goes . . .

I was on the road and heading for B/CS by 11:30 to pick up our new TV at Wal-Mart. Their website said that they had the one I wanted in stock, so I was expecting a quick trip.

Well, maybe not so much.

The Samsung I was wanted was not mounted on the display, nor did they have a box out there either. When I ask about it, the lady said they didn’t have that one. And when I showed them that their computer said they had them in stock, she said, “Oh, that thing lies all the time.”

But then another lady came over and looked, and then said, “I think I know where it is.” And about 10 minutes later, here she comes out with one.

When I checked out, I did something I normally don’t do. I bought the 3 year extended warranty. I’ve never been a big fan of these, but for $29, I thought I’d give it a try.

My next stop was the Chick-fil-A right out in front of the Wal-Mart parking lot to pick up lunch. When I first came into the lot it was about noon, and the drive-thru line wrapped around Chick-fil-A parking lot, out into Wal-Mart’s lot, up the entrance road, and then out onto the right lane on Briarcrest, the main road. So they were actually blocking the lane that turns into Wal-Mart’s lot.

Since there were about 10 cars out on the street, I was kind of surprised that the police were letting this happen. But then I saw two police cars in the line, so it made more sense.

And this is not the first time I’ve seen lines like this at Chick-fil-A’s. And the only other place I’ve seen it like this is In-And-Out Burgers.

But by the time I got there the line wasn’t quite as long, but then I went inside anyway. Seems like inside is always faster.

Jan got the Chicken Strips while I got the Deluxe Spicy Chicken Sandwich with Bacon. We both got Waffle Fries and the Kale/Broccolini Salad, along with Lemonade to drink.

Getting back to the rig about 1:15 and chowing down, we both quickly decided no more Waffle Fries. I had mentioned before about how Whataburger fries end up cold and chewy after the 30 minute drive back to the rig, so we were hoping the Waffle Fries being thicker would travel better.

Not so much.

But everything else was delicious.

After lunch it took me about an hour to set up the new TV, mostly due to the installation of the feet. I was hoping that it would come with the center pedestal, but that wasn’t the case. So I’ll have to figure out a way to make the feet work.

One thing that quickly struck me was how much lighter and smaller the new TV is, even though they’re the same screen size.

Our old RCA 32” weighs 26.6 pounds, while the new one weighs only 8.5 pounds, a big difference. And side by side, you can see why.

New TV Comparison 1

The old one has a 3” bezel around the top and sides, and about 6” on the bottom, while the new one only has about 1/2” on all four sides. The upshot of this is that it gives you the optical illusion that the new screen is actually smaller than the old one. Even though you can actually measure it to see they’re both the same.

Kind of like this.

Optical Illusion

Since Jan says it bothers her, and it looks like I can get the 40” version to fit, back it goes tomorrow for a bigger one.

It’s supposedly moving day for the rig. They’ve pulled the pipe loader down, but so far it doesn’t look like they’re moving yet. But soon, probably.


Thought for the Day:

The worst time to have a heart 
attack is probably during a game of charades.

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September 14, 2017

Boring, Or Not?

Jan and I left the rig about 1:30, heading out for lunch and groceries. But our first stop was at the park Ranger Station to try and extend our stay another 3 days, until the 20th of September rather than the 17th. And to also pay them for our stay here, the $5 a day, and the $3 a day for 50 amp. When I tried to do this last week the computer wouldn’t take the extension. It said the park was full.

But when they tried to ‘test’ extend someone else’s stay, it worked fine. So it was just me. And when they got the main office to try, they couldn’t do it either. And no one knew why it wouldn’t work.

But I suggested a workaround that did. So now we will check out on the 17th, but then  right back in again for the next 3 days. Of course the rig will never move, but the paperwork will work out. And that’s what’s important, right?

I think this probably has something to do with the fact that when we finally do leave here on the 20th, we will have been here for 34 days straight. Certainly a new record for us.

Our lunch destination was the Chuy’s Mexican down near the Woodlands, a location we’ve never been to before, although we’ve eaten at several other of their places around town.

We actually go to Chuy’s for their salads, mainly their Mexi-Cobb salad, which is what I got this time.

Chuy's Salad

Really good, especially with their Creamy Jalapeno dressing.

Jan decided to try their Chicken Fajita Salad for a change, which she said was good, but she’s going back with the Mexi-Cobb next time.

Chuy's Fajita Chicken Salad

We both really like their sauces and queso. With the chips, they bring out the usual Pico de Gallo, but also a bowl of their Creamy Jalapeno dressing, but as a dip. Then we also ordered a small Guacamole for Jan, and a Queso for me.

Chuy's Sauces

Again, really good.

Then, after a great meal, we headed back up to Conroe to the Wal-Mart for groceries and gas at the Sam’s next door, finally getting back to the rig a little before 5pm.

Recently there has been a debate among some of our blog commenters about whether or not my blogs about computer stuff, the ‘never ending math’ about where to stay, or even ‘defragging a coffee pot’, are boring. Some thought so, but others came to my defense.

So maybe I need to talk about the origins of this blog. It started in January 2009 at the beginning of our 2nd year on the road. In 2008, our first year, we  traveled all the way up to Fairbanks, AK where we spent five months workcamping, before heading back toward home on September 20th.

By the first part of November, we were in Gatlinburg, TN, before getting back to Houston the Sunday before Thanksgiving.

The blog started as a way to share our travels with family and friends as we traveled, but over time the blog has gathered a much wider following. In fact we had a little over 400,000 visitors last year, covering every continent except for Antarctica. (BTW if you know anyone on a science expedition to Antarctica, please ask them to visit our blog.)

I do this blog every day, and in 9 years I doubt I have missed more than a couple of dozen days. But as anyone who has tried this can tell you, doing a blog every night is not easy, as the many abandoned blogs around the Internet will tell you.

So I have to write about things that interest ME. It’s really the only way I can do this blog day after day. I’m not really a ‘creative’ writer, instead my forte has always been in ‘technical’ writing, doing manuals, courses, and how-to’s, for NASA, the DOD, manufacturers, and colleges. So I can write what I know and what I see. That’s about it.

Now when we’re traveling, seeing the sights around the country, blog writing is pretty easy. But when we’re wintering over here in Houston, or even gate guarding, it can get a little dicey. Because many days we don’t leave the rig, just reading, relaxing, computing, and enjoying life.

But of course this doesn’t leave a lot of hot topics to blog about, so you pretty much get my life, boring as it is. What we did, what we saw, where we ate, and what I’m working on, that’s about it.

Some readers refer to this as ‘reading my diary’. kind of a voyeuristic pleasure. Or maybe like peeking in your neighbor’s window.Anyway, maybe you can look at it this way.

You know how sometimes your favorite magazine has a ‘theme’ issue, and it’s a theme that you could care less about, or maybe even hate. But then the next month it’s a theme you’re crazy about.

Pretend it’s like that. Come back tomorrow and maybe you’ll like it better.



Thought for the Day:

Saudi Arabia actually imports sand.

The sand in the Arabian desert look like tiny crystal balls under a microscope. Pretty to look at, but useless for making concrete  because it’s so smooth. Concrete requires a rough, jagged sand so it all bonds together tightly and makes a strong block.

So every bit of sand in every skyscraper in Saudi Arabia, Dubai, etc., is imported, in some cases from as far away as the US.

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September 14, 2018

That Was Quick . . .

I got an email this afternoon from Lowe’s saying that my new batteries had come in. Surprising because they weren’t scheduled to arrive until the end of next week.

To recap: Our house batteries are 4 years old and on the way downhill. I had looked at getting another set of 4 6 volt Interstate’s to replace the ones I have. Wired in series-parallel, this would give me about 450 amp hours for about $625. But then we don’t really boondock any more, and probably won’t in the foreseeable future.

So I ordered these two heavy duty 12 volt tractor batteries from Lowe’s.

Deka 12 v battery 2

Wired in parallel, this will give me 12 volts @ 2280 amp hours, and saving me about 140 # in weight.

And the cost is only about $250.

Bigger, better, and cheaper. Nice!

And again, I know these aren’t deep-cycle batteries, but we won’t be using them that way.

One thing I’ll have to do is make up some new cables to get the new batteries hooked up. And a while back I found the best place to do this is at a West Marine location.

They have the big 00 (2/0) gauge wire, the heavy-duty copper connectors, and the bench-mounted swaging tool

Swaging Tool

to crimp the connectors on with.

And even better, and cheaper, it’s do-it-yourself.

But just be sure they still do this, I’ll make a stop by there tomorrow to check it out after we pick up the new batteries, though I’ll have to do some measuring before I’m ready to make up the cables.

Under the heading, “How high’s the water, Momma?”, I still haven’t been able to get back to my Onan generator problem. Because it’s rained heavily each day for the last two weeks without letup. But things are looking up for next week, so we’ll see.

I did think it was really funny this morning as Jan and I were watching some North Carolina weather girl (woman/person?) gushing about all the rain they’d had in her area, saying that they’d had over 4 inches in the last 24 hours, and that another 2 or 3 inches were expected in the next day or so.

Laughing, I looked over at our LaCrosse Weather Station display which said that we’d had 5.1 inches just since midnight here at the rig with more expected during the day.

It’s all relative, I guess.

The rain is also delaying our plans to take our rig out on a test drive this weekend. Since we’ve been parked after we returned from our Illinois/Alabama trip in July, I want to take the rig out for a drive, and probably top off the diesel before we leave for Florida on Oct. 3rd. But I’d rather not do it when it’s pouring down rain, so with rain scheduled all weekend, but clearing next week, Tuesday looks like our next best bet.



Thought for the Day:

Women will never be equal to men until they can walk down the street with a bald head and a beer gut, and still think they are sexy.

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One Response to Giving Up, For Now . . .

  1. Jerry Hayes says:

    Greg, from a long time heavy duty diesel mechanic, all diesels with air brakes use an air over electric brake light switch. If you have access to a air compressor, use it to tap into your onboard air system. On some valves you can just turn the key on and put a jumper wire across the terminals on the valve.

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