Never Forget . . .

SEPT 11 2001 NYC

Towers Of Light

I was back on the phone this afternoon talking to Spartan about my brake lights. And then I called American Coach with the same question.

And now I have two different answers. Spartan says the brake lights should work with just the ignition on, and without the engine running and the air brakes working.

But American Coach says No, the brake lights won’t work without the engine running and air pressure built up.

So I guess I’ll have to ring it out manually. I know that both the brake lights and the turn signals work from the rear PDC (Power Distribution Center). so next I’ll try to trace the wires from the front panel back to the PDC.

Several people have asked me about the test switch that I’m using to test the rear lights at the PDC. It’s really pretty simple.

It’s just a toggle switch with spade lugs on the leads.

PDC Test Switch

That way I can pull the relays and control the lights directly.

Rig PDC 2

So back to it tomorrow.


On To Halifax

September 11, 2009

Titanic and Atlantic…

Today was our day to tour the Halfax, Nova Scotia area.

We had planned to get an early start,  but then Jan woke up with a migraine.  So she took her Imitrex and went back to bed for a while

Later,  after the Imitrex had worked its magic,  we went to breakfast about 10:30 am at the Finer Diner and then drove to Maritime Museum of the Atlantic.

One of the things we wanted to see was the Titanic exhibit that they have.  They also have an exhibit on S.S. Atlantic,  a ship that went down off Nova Scotia in 1873.  The 635 people who died when the Atlantic went down made it the largest loss of life until the Titanic in 1912.

They also had an interesting exhibit about the explosion of a ship in Halifax harbor that killed over 2000 people,  very reminiscent of the Texas City explosion in 1947.  In this case, it was a shipment of ammunition for use in WWI that blew up,  rather than fertilizer,  like in Texas City.

Finally leaving the museum about 2:30 pm,  we were attracted by the smells coming from the Dragon King Chinese Buffet restaurant across the street and decided to give it a try.

And it was really good.  Especially the Hot & Sour soup.

Leaving the restaurant,  we drove around downtown Halifax for a while before taking the scenic drive down toward Peggy’s Cove.  And it was certainly worth the trip.

On our way down the coast we passed St. Margaret’s Bay,  a very picturesque dock area.

You can click on these pics to see a larger version

St Margaret Bay 1

St Margaret Bay 2

St Margaret Bay 3

Arriving at Peggy’s Cove, we found a charming little village on the Atlantic Coast, filled with quaint little multi-colored houses.

Peggys Cove

The rocky coast is something we don’t see in Texas,  but it’s always a scenic view.

Peggys Cove 1

Peggys Cove 2

And of course, the obligatory lighthouse.

Peggys Cove Lighthouse

With the sun setting, we headed back to the coach, stopping off at a hardware store, and driving thru a nearby gas station, scouting it out to see if we can get in and out easily in the coach.

Because fuel is so expensive here (about $3.60 a gallon vs. $2.50 in the US), I was hoping to be able to get back to the US before filling up the coach with diesel, but it will be too close for comfort. So we will probably fuel up tomorrow on our way out of Halifax.

One thing we found interesting in the area was this McDonalds complete with lighthouse.


Arriving back at the coach, we sat outside for a while and let Mister roam around for a bit and then it was in for the night.

Thought For The Day:

I know if I needed a lawyer, I’d certainly want a Dick.

Hire A Dick


Going Back To Jackson

September 11, 2010

Dancing On A Pony Keg . . .

We left Tom Sawyer RV Park about 11:45 to make the 220 mile run to the Moose Lodge in Jackson, MS.

Since we were leaving so late, we had a lunch of leftovers before we left. And while we were eating our daughter Brandi called with the latest Landon update.

Only two more days until we get to see him, me for the first time.

It started sprinkling a little while before we left, and then got progressively harder as the day went on. By the time we were about 30 miles outside Jackson it was really coming down, and the wind had picked up.

We got into the Moose Lodge about 4:15 pm and got set up. I just hooked up power, and didn’t worry about water or sewage. And lucky for me, the rain was gone by the time we got to the Lodge.


About 30 minutes later, we drove down the road about half a mile to Sonny’s BBQ, one of our favorite BBQ places. One thing I like about Sonny’s is that they have sliced pork, instead of just pulled pork. By my thinking, sliced pork is much better on a sandwich than pulled pork.

Getting back to the rig, I got the satellite dish set up and we were in for the night.

Tomorrow we’ve got another 220 mile run down to Breaux Bridge, LA for one night, and then it’s on to Houston for the next 4-5 months.

More tomorrow…

Thought For The Day:

A politician can’t give you anything he hasn’t stolen from you first.

One, Two, or Three Fracks?

September 11, 2014

Another Nice Drop . . .

Today’s vehicle count dropped off even more, from yesterday’s 148 to a nice 126. But it may be the calm before the storm.

We had heard they were soon going to be fracking a well further on in past our gate, but then the gate guard up the road said they were going to be fracking three wells at one time. I didn’t say anything at the time, but you always hear rumors about things like this. And when you look at them closely, they don’t make sense.

For example, last year when we worked a frack gate down south of San Antonio, our peak days were about 300 vehicles, and that was pretty exhausting. Remember that the 300 number is just the vehicles coming in. You have pretty much the same number going out, but not quite. Let’s call it 500 total in and outs. So three frack jobs would mean 1500 ins and outs a day. That means that in a 24 hour day, one vehicle a minute would have to past through our gate. But that’s physically impossible.

The road leading through and past our gate is pretty much a one and half lane road. Two pickups can squeeze by each other if they’re careful, but a semi and anything else just won’t fit. For this reason, there are several pull outs along the way so vehicles can pull over to let someone pass.

Plus our gate and cattle guard is only wide enough for one vehicle. And some of the semi’s hauling a big load have to be careful about squeezing through the gate.

Very quickly you would have a solid gridlock of vehicles clogging up the road. So logistically that’s just not going to happen. Then today a company guy came through, and to Jan’s question, confirmed that there are three frack jobs coming up.

But ONE AT A TIME. Now that makes more sense.

Our drill rig finally started drilling about 4am this morning. Kind of.

But I’m not sure they’re doing it right. I have never heard a rig make these kind of sounds. There’s clanking, clanging, squealing, and screeching. And then there’s this.

Smoking Rig

I’m not sure what happened, but all of a sudden this big cloud appeared tonight for awhile. It wasn’t smoke, and didn’t smell like anything, and it didn’t look like steam. So maybe it was dust. I don’t know.

But it’s certainly entertaining.


Thought for the Day:

Predicting the weather is like trying to predict if the wife will be happy three days from now.

Back To School On The Gate

September 11, 2016

School Days . . .

Between a new low vehicle count of only 29, and a high of only 85 degrees, it was a really nice day.

I’ve decided to go back to school. And I’ve been accepted to Harvard. Well, HarvardX anyway, which is Harvard’s online presence.

Over the last few years I’ve seen articles and ads about Khan Academy and edX, Both offer free online courses on hundreds of subjects, pretty much on anything you can think of.

Khan Academy seems to concentrate on general subjects, like Chemistry, Biology, or Electrical Engineering, using their own class materials. They even have math classes for K – 8th grade, that are used by many homeschoolers. And another focus is on test prep for SAT, MCAT, GMAT, and more.

But edX offers actual specific classes from major universities around the country, like MIT, Harvard, UT, and many others. And again, they’re all free. The only possible charge is if you want an actual Verified Certificate or Diploma, which runs about $100.

edX offers two main types of courses, scheduled and self-paced. Scheduled is just like any college course, with a definite start date, and assignments due at a definite time. Self-paced are just that. You can start anytime and work at your own pace. In fact edX lists over 300 self-paced courses.

I thought I’d start off with Introduction to Computer Science, a course given, as I said by Harvard. I figure it would be interesting to get a more recent overview of the subject, since the last time I took a Intro Computer class was 1973, when Jan and I were both back in college.

Jan had to take the Intro class as part of her Medical Records degree curriculum and was worried about it. I had an open period at the same time so I signed up too. We did our programming assignments on an IBM 1170 at the school using punch cards.

My previous Intro class had been in 1966 at Vanderbilt University on a IBM 360 that took up a whole floor of the Science Building, again using punch cards and Fortran IV. But my first actual programming was on a Geniac analog computer that I got for Christmas in 1958 when I was 10.

If you’re anywhere near my age (i.e. ancient) you probably remember ads in magazines like this one

Geniac 2

The actual computer looked like this – a Masonite board with six Masonite wheels, and a lot of jumper wires, as well as batteries, light bulbs, and a buzzer.

Geniac 1

You wired it up using the jumper wires, and then you could solve simple math problems, guess you age problems, and many others. For me the best thing was that it taught you to logically break a problem down in small pieces and then construct a program to solve it.

At 10 I was already into shortwave radio, collecting SWL cards from all around the world, and studying for my ham radio license, so the Geniac was just another step.

Anyway, after the Intro course, I want to check out some of the newer languages that have come along in the last few years, like C++, C#, and Linux. I programmed in Unix at NASA,, but Linux is a newer version. Then after that, probably Java and Ruby.

Who knows?

For dinner tonight we had our leftover Blue Moon BBQ from yesterday. Since Jan had also fixed us a dessert we found we had leftover leftovers, so we have another meal for tomorrow too.

Tomorrow I’ll put in another call to Wilson about my DBPro cell phone amplifier, and see if I can get it working.

Thought for the Day:

What should you do when 
you see an endangered animal 
eating an endangered plant? – George Carlin