On To The Next 53 . . .

First off, Jan and I want to thank everyone for the dozens of emails, Facebook posts, and blog comments congratulations on our 53rd Anniversary yesterday.

To celebrate we spent the afternoon down in Galveston, first driving along the Seawall several miles to the west, before coming back and stopping off at Murdoch’s Souvenirs right on the Gulf. Then after spending an hour or so just driving up and down the residential streets, checking out all the many beautiful homes, finally ending up at the Seawall Saltgrass Steakhouse for dinner about 4:30.

My Beautiful, Sexy Cougar.

Galveston Saltgrass 53rd Anniversary Dinner Jan

Unfortunately, a neighboring diner got a shot of both of us. Sorry.

Galveston Saltgrass 53rd Anniversary Dinner

As far as Murdoch’s, it started out in the late 1800’s as a bathhouse. They rented bathing suits and provided showers for tourist visiting the beach. At its peak, it had 542 shower / changing rooms, 251 for women and 291 for men.

Destroyed in the Great 1900 Hurricane, it was rebuilt after that hurricane, and other storms in 1909 and 1915.

After the 1910 rebuild, two things happened. Mr. William J. Guyette Sr opened a gift shop in the bathhouse, and then Gaido’s Seafood Restaurant opened there the next year.

Gaido’s still exists further down the Seawall, and is considered one of the best restaurants in Galveston.

Murdochs 3




The bathhouse lasted until 1961 when it was finally destroyed by Hurricane Carla. Since the days of bathhouses were pretty much over, it was rebuilt as two separate buildings that housed gift shops, both named Murdoch’s.

In 2005 the two separate buildings were joined by a walkway / breezeway that allows you sit out and enjoy the ocean view.

Murdochs 4

On September 13, 2008, Hurricane Ike destroyed Murdoch’s once again.

Murdochs 1

Murdochs 2

But not to be overcome, a little over a year later, Murdoch’s reopened with an exact copy of the old one.

Murdochs 6

Because the state will not allow anyone to sink new pilings into the beach, and some of the pre-storm ones were destroyed by Ike, they actually reused pilings from the original 1890’s bathhouse.

We’ve been visiting Murdoch’s for over 30 years, and it’s nice to see it’s still around.

We always enjoy driving around to check out all the many remodeled homes, some of them very striking,

Galveston Home 1

and some of them really standing out.

Galveston Home 2

But of course, some of them still need a little TLC.

Or a lot as the case may be.

Galvestion House 1

A really great time, and getting a start on the next 53.

I checked the South Dakota Absentee Voting website and found that our Absentee Ballot requests had been received yesterday, and our actual ballots lso went back in the mail yesterday.

I had expected to be back under the rig drilling and tapping the flange mounts for the Helicoil installation. But despite receiving several Amazon orders in yesterday, the one I really needed, the 24’ drill bit extension, did not come in, but did finally show up today.

So it looks like I’ll be back at work under the rig on Thursday.

Thought For The Day:

“Isn’t it great to live in a society where the penalty for lying to a congressman can be up to 30 years in jail, but the penalty for a congressman lying to you is another two years in office.”  Peter Schmuck

September 29, 2010

Remember the Alamo. . .

Brandi had a doctor’s appointment up in the Memorial City area, so Jan and Debbie rode up with her to take care of Landon, and of course, do some shopping at Memorial City Mall.

While Jim vegged out at the motel, I did some errands, and then finished up some computer stuff with a client.

Brandi, Jan, and Debbie got back home about 2:30, and I showed up a little later. We all got some Landon time until about 5 pm.

Obligatory photo of Landon getting burped.

Landon getting burped

At 5 pm we drove down to the motel, picked up Jim, and then came back up the road to Floyd’s Cajun Seafood, our favorite local Cajun place. I love their seafood gumbo and boudin, and Jan says their chicken fried chicken with sweet potato fries is fantastic. And as usual, the meal was great. We’ve been eating here for years and have never had a bad meal.

The ‘Floyd’ in Floyd’s is Floyd Landry, one of the Landry boys that started the Landry’s Seafood Restaurant chain. They sold the chain years ago and then went out and started their own new restaurants. Floyd owns two here in the Clear Lake area and one in Beaumont, TX.

And now back to our day trip to San Antonio and the Alamo. We picked up Jim and Debbie at the motel about 7 pm and hit the road. But, on the way, we stopped at the Buc-ee’s at the Luling exit on I-10.

Buc-ee’s goes all out on their stores. They just enlarged this one again, adding to the store inside, and doubling the size of the bathrooms. Outside, they made the parking lot much bigger, and can now accommodate many more buses and RV’s.

Inside, the store has very large gift shop, in-house candy factory, coffee/cappuccino bar, a bakery, a deli, and a small grocery store. On one side they have an outdoor area that sells firewood, and deer and animal feed. Jan loves their kolaches, and I always get a coffee for the road.

Bucees 1

Their gas station has 32 pumps, and, everyone had diesel. Their store in Madisonville, TX has 40 pumps.

Bucees 2

We got to the Alamo a little after 11 and were able to park only a block away. Luckily it wasn’t a big tourist day.

You always see this view of the Alamo, but if you’ve never been there, it’s hard to imagine that it’s right in downtown San Antonio.

Alamo 1

Here’s what’s right across the street.

Alamo 2

And here’s a wide view.  Note that there are no tall buildings near the Alamo. By law, no building can be built that ever casts a shadow on the Alamo.

The tower on the right is the Tower of the Americas, built for Hemisfair 68, the first world’s fair in the southwest US. It has a revolving restaurant at the top that Jan and I ate at several years ago.

Alamo 3

This is the back side of the ‘chapel’, the front of which is the familiar façade that everyone knows as the “Alamo”.

The Alamo was originally a Spanish Catholic mission, but the chapel was actually just a small part of  the mission grounds.

Alamo 4

Alamo 5

The well in the center of this photo dates from the mission era, but the large oak tree is only about 140 years old, planted about 35 years after the battle, which took place in February and March of 1836.

Alamo Well

Alamo Tree

Leaving the hallowed ground of the Alamo, we walked across the street to San Antonio’s other famous landmark, the Riverwalk.

Formed originally as a flood control project by the WPA in the 1930’s by concreting and damming the San Antonio River, the Riverwalk has been extended several times to access new hotels and tourist area such as Hemisfair 68.

The city of San Antonio was actually named for the river, and not the other way around. The river was named after Saint Anthony, the patron saint of the area.

Riverwalk 1

This is the display in a window of one of the many high-end shops along, and adjacent to the Riverwalk. It’s all made of glass.

Riverwalk Glass

Most of these trees predate the Riverwalk, but were kept for their beauty as it was built around them.

Riverwalk 2

We took a barge tour of the river, which lasts about 45 minutes and gives a lot of history of the Riverwalk and the area. The many vistas are really scenic, with new sights around every bend of the river.

Riverwalk Barge

Riverwalk 3

Riverwalk 4

Riverwalk 5

After our barge ride, we ate a late lunch at the Hard Rock café right on the Riverwalk, although we ate inside to be a little cooler.

Riverwalk Hard Rock Cafe

We were back on the road to Houston a little after 3 and got back home about 7:30 pm, with a stop at Buc-ee’s on the way, of course.

It was a long day, but we had a great time, so it was worth it.

More tomorrow…

Thought for the Day:

The past, while much studied, is little read

September 29, 2012

Dragon Boy . . .

Well, someone’s all ready for Halloween.

Landon’s having so much fun Brandi will be lucky to get him out of it between now and Halloween.

Landon Dragon 3

Landon Dragon 4

Today was another of those dreary, overcast, do-nothing days that we like so much. Jan and I spent most of it catching up on some old TV shows on our DVR, some of them dating back to our gate guarding time. I watched very little TV during that period, spending most of my time either outside on the gate, or inside sleeping. And I was surprised how little I actually missed it.

As we were leaving Texas Roadhouse after dinner we saw this beautiful 1949 Hudson in the parking lot. Unfortunately this nighttime photo doesn’t really do it justice. But it really is a beautiful car.

1949 Hudson

Thought for the Day:

“Moderation is a good thing. If you don’t overdo it.” – Hagar the Viking

September 29, 2014

Taking a Walk . . .

Scotty, our Gate Guard Services support tech, showed up today with water, diesel, and . . . the dreaded memo. The one that ‘officially’ notifies us of the new uniform of the day, I.e. hot, ugly, uncomfortable blue shirt, and boring, dark blue pants.

We had to tell them how many and what size shirts we want , and then sign it acknowledging we’d seen the memo. Bummer.

But supposedly there may be some sort of mini-revolt going on about this at Corporate with a lot of gate guards complaining. So we’ll see what happens.

Last night as one of the rig hands came back in after his week off, we were talking about his rig, and fracking. He works on the rig about 1/2 mile down the road from us, and I was wondering about when they were going to skid it to the 2nd hole.

He said they were supposed to do it a few days ago while he was off. I said I didn’t think that they’d moved it, since no big cranes had come in. He then told me proudly that his rig didn’t need cranes. It walked to the next hole all by itself.

Wow! I knew there were rigs that could do this, but I thought they were pretty new and not in much use yet. So it looks like I was mistaken.

I did find this video of another rig showing how it actually walks. It can go forward and backwards, sidestep, and turn in place. And it does this carrying a full rack of drill pipe and weighing 2.5 million pounds. That’s 1250 tons.

WOW again!

He also confirmed what I’d been told about them not wanting to frack too close to active drill sites, so between his rig and ours, that may delay fracking here. Hopefully, maybe, until we’re gone for the year.

Later this afternoon a big excavator showed up and started tearing down our windbreak.

Big Backhoe 1

Big Backhoe 2

I was looking forward to having that high wall of dirt to help shield us some from the north winds we’ll start getting in November. Cold north winds.

All I can say is that this guy must have a really good union, because he’d work for about 10 minutes and then take a 10 minute break, leaning back in the cab, and putting his feet up, as you can see here.

Big Backhoe Feet Up

Of course I could be kind and say his hydraulic pump was overheating and he had to stop and let it cool off.

I could say that, but it’s not really in my nature.

Thought for the Day:

Ancestry.com is like Facebook for dead people. (thanks, Stahlie)

September 29, 2015

Another Repair Job . . .

Still in progress.

About 11:30 I headed in to Carthage to the Ace Hardware to get some larger screws for another repair attempt on my lighted door handle.

Rig Door Handle

When the repair place in Prescott removed it last June to replace the wiring leading to the light inside after it damaged by our blowout, they stripped out several of the 5 screws that hold it on. This of course put extra stress on the remaining ones and they started coming loose too.

The ones that are holding the handle on now are #12 Bevel Head Sheet Metal Screws, so I thought I’d try #14’s to see if they would work.

Of course, from the Ace Hardware parking lot I could see the Whataburger, so a stop there to bring back lunch was in order on my way home.

Later, after lunch and I was on the gate, I tried out the larger screws . . . with mixed results. I did have to drill out the holes in the handle slightly for the larger screws, but this was no problem.

But the problem was that only one new screw tightened down. The rest still just spun. So now a little further inspection was in order. Using a flashlight and a right angle probe, it looked like the backing for the handle is a block of wood. This is what the screws fastened into behind the fiberglass siding. And it looks like the wood block has split vertically, which is why the screws aren’t holding.

So at this point I’m in a quandary. I can’t use larger screws because the heads would be too large to recess into the handle. I can’t use see how I can use any type of molly or wing bolt because there’s no room for it to expand, and I think that trying to use some sort of plastic or lead anchor would just cause the wood to split more.

I’m still mulling this over, but one idea I’m thinking about is to squirt as much Plastic Wood into the holes as I can, let it dry thoroughly, then drill a starter hole and try screwing into that.

Or similarly, try to fill the holes with one of those JB Weld Steel products, then drill and tap it, and then use machine bolts instead of sheet metal screws.

In other words, it’s problem still in work.

Anyone have any ideas? Let me know.


Thought for the Day:

I like pigs. Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals. – Sir Winston Churchill

September 29, 2016

Washed Up . . .

Normally on a travel day I’m up at around 6:30, but since we have only have a 70 mile, two hour drive over to the Lake Conroe Thousand Trails, and we didn’t need to leave until the 11am checkout time here at the park, I slept in . . . all the way until 8:30.

About 10:30 I pulled the rig forward enough to allow us to hitch up, and we pulled out of the Timber Ridge RV Park a little before 11, and headed southish on Hwy 6, down to Navasota, where we turned east on SR 105. 105 would have taken us right into Conroe, but we turned north on FM149 to cross over the top of Lake Conroe and then down around to the RV Park.

We got checked in and drove over to the ‘G’ section to find a spot. As we turned down a row we’ve stayed on before and a took a small curve, Jan said, “There’s one, and, OH, there’s Janice and Dave Evans right next door.” And it was.

While I was getting us unhitched, parked and set up, Jan and Janice were planning our evening dining pleasure, which turned out to be El Bosque, our favorite local Mexican place, one that we’ve eaten at for years, even following them when they moved to a new location a couple of years ago.

But that wasn’t until 4:30 or so, so by 2pm it was time for a nice nap, so I headed back to the bedroom for my nap, while Jan stayed out on the sofa for hers. A bout 4:30 Jan and I walked next door to meet up with Janice and Dave and headed out for El Bosque for dinner.

Jan got the Pollo ala Parrilla,

El Bosque Pollo ala Parilla

while Janice and I both got the Beef Fajitas Poblanas.

El Bosque Fajita Polbanos 3

I don’t remember what Dave got, but it sure looked good, with Beef, Chicken, Shrimp,and a lot of other stuff.

And as usual with RV’ers, we spent a lot of time catching on everyone’s travels, talking long after we were finished eating.

Coming home we made a Dollar Tree stop. It’s amazing how you can go in there and buy a big bag of stuff, and it comes to only $7.32.

Wrapping up, we once again have washer problems. Jan did a wash load yesterday morning with no problems, but when she did a second load in the afternoon, it started washing and then stopped, with the timer not advancing. And even when you manually advanced the knob, it just washed. The only position that did anything else was the OFF position.

The first thing I thought of was of course the timer itself. And although like the water pump I replaced earlier this year, the timers are no longer available, I stripped a spare out of Nick’s old Splendide when he bought Miss Terry a new one.

So this afternoon, pre-nap, I put a call into Westland Sales out in Washington state. They’re the go-to people for all things Splendide, and have been a big help to me in the past. And so it was this time.

When I described the problem, the tech guy immediately said “you’ve got a pump problem, and they’re not available any more.” I told him I knew that because I had replace my old one with a new one from a different make of washer back in February.

He said, “Well you’ve got the same problem again.:” Well THAT wasn’t very helpful.

He said that at the end of the wash cycle, the pump is supposed to start up and drain the water out. This is the signal to the washer to start letting water back in for the rinse cycle.

But if the pump doesn’t pump, then the washer stays in the wash cycle waiting for the water to empty out.

So once again, I’ve got a pump problem. And since it’s not leaking, that means it hasn’t come loose, and I don’t hear the pump running, which means it’s probably not clogged with a lost sock or something. But, just in case I did ask Jan if she was missing a sock or anything, and she said No, that they all matched up.

So I’m left with either the new pump has gone bad, or it’s not getting power for some reason, like a loose wire or a bad relay.

This is how I kludged a new pump into the washer. This is the new pump after I had it plumbed in.

New Washer Pump Install 7

Then I mounted it on the crossbrace running diagonally across the bottom of the washer.

New Washer Pump Install 8

And this is what it looked like after was tied down and hooked up.

New Washer Pump Mounting 2

So yeah, it looks a little kludgey (well, a lot kludgey), but it’s worked great for over 6 months and saved me over $1000 dollars from buying a new one.]

BTW here is a graphic of the online prices for a new Splendide.

Splendide Prices

Let’s see. Should I buy a new one from PPL, or should I buy it from Camping World for only $172 more. Decisions, decisions.

So even though the problem could be something as simple as a loose wire. I’ve still got to drain the washer, pull it out of its cabinet, and then turn it upside down in the middle of the kitchen to take a look at the problem.

And then hope we don’t get another gate in the middle of all this.

Thought for the Day:

“Cats are definitely smarter than dogs. You won’t see eight cats pulling a sled through foot deep snow.

September 29, 2017

Catfish and Gators . . .

About 2:30 I went outside to start on the rewiring of my toad  taillight system.

Somewhere along the line during our trip back to Houston after our breakdown in Louisiana last month, I think a road gator popped up between the rig and the toad and shredded the wiring harness between the two.

In case you’re wondering what a road gator is, it’s not this.

Road Gator Real

This is a gator in the road.

No, this is a road gator.

Road Gator

It’s a large piece of tire tread spun off a large truck tire, just waiting to leap up and rip into something, kind of like this.

Road Gator Damage

I also heard of rigs getting air, brake and fuel lines torn out and fuel tanks punctured. So I guess I got off lucky.

First I cut off the old wire and then spliced the new 5 pin connector into the harness, the four light wires, a 12 volt charge wire, and a secondary chassis ground.

The charge wire runs from the rig engine batteries to the truck’s battery, keeping it charged during our trips. This is needed because the Brake Buddy braking system works off the truck battery, and if we’re doing a lot of stop and go driving, sometimes we would arrive at our RV Park to find a dead battery in the truck. But no longer.

So first I cut off the old 4 pin plug and then spliced in the new 5 pin plug and cable.

Toad Tailight Repair 1

Next I worked the wire loom along the cabling and then tied it in place using tywraps.

Toad Tailight Repair 2

Finishing up, I wrapped it around the tow bar connection which is where it stows away when the truck is not being toad.

Toad Tailight Repair 3

Tomorrow I plan on doing the rig end of the cable.

About 4:30 we headed over to Coldspring to meet up again with Debi and Ed Hurlburt at the Paradise Grill.

Paradise Grill Debi and Ed

We were there for their Friday Night Special, All You Can Eat Fried Catfish. And it was well worth the trip.

We all had the Catfish, Jan’s regular and mine crispy.

Paradise Grill Catfish

Both were delicious.

And we wrapped it all up with a piece of their made-in-house pie, Chocolate for Jan and Bread Pudding for me. All very good, and we had enough to bring home.

Paradise Grill Chocolate Pie

Paradise Grill Bread Pudding

And it sounds like we’ll be coming back here for their Turkey and Dressing on Sunday morning before we head back over to Lake Conroe.

The Word of the Day is:  holus-bolus

Thought for the Day:

“Nearly all men can stand adversity…to test a man’s character, give him power.” – Abraham Lincoln

September 29, 2018

Morays and Memberships . . .

Following up on yesterday’s anniversary celebration, Jan and I had dinner last night at the Aquarium Restaurant on the Kemah Boardwalk.

We’ve eaten a number of times over the years, but not since we started RV’ing in 2008.

Kemah Aquarium

The place is built around a 50,000 gallon seawater aquarium filled with everything from sharks to moray eels.

Kemah Aquarium 2

Kemah Aquarium Moray Eel

We started off with a dozen Oysters On The Half-Shell. We’re both always careful to count them so the other one doesn’t get an extra one. And of course we have to have a lot of horseradish to mix in with our red sauce.

Kemah Aquarium Oysters

Next up was one of our favorite Wedge Salads.

Kemah Aquarium Wedge Salad

Good, but not as good as other places that use the Blue Cheese crumbles. This one just used what seemed to be Ranch Dressing, and not as good.

For the entrée, we split the Broiled Captain’s Platter, which had a little bit of everything.

Kemah Aquarium Broiled Captain's Platter

The place wasn’t busy on a rainy Friday night, so we took our time and just enjoyed the ambiance. We also spent some time talking about our upcoming trips, and what we still needed to get done beforehand.

Kemah Aquarium Jan and Greg

We also spend some time talking about our future, and have decided to go for another 51 years together.

So far, so good.

Today, I spent the morning out in the drizzling rain, taking care of a number of pre-trip chores like adding air to the rig tires, cleaning up around the rig, and getting some yard stuff ready to take over to the storage room while we’re gone.

I also got two of the old rig batteries loaded into the truck to drop off at Lowe’s this afternoon so I could be my $20 chore charge back.

We finally headed out about 2pm with our first stop at Denny’s for lunch/breakfast. and then on over to the nearby Lowe’s to drop off the batteries.

Then heading up to Webster, we made a stop at the Rudy’s BBQ so I could pick up a bottle of their coarse ground pepper, before looping back around on the feeder at Bay Area Blvd to stop off and get a Costco membership. Our new Costco is set to open Oct. 19th, but the membership store is located in a nearby Baybrook Mall storefront.

We brought Costco membership years ago when we were out in Yuma, but let if drop because there weren’t any locations near us here in Houston. But now with one so close we’ll give it a try again.

Coming back toward home, we made a stop at the Santa Fe O’Reilly’s Auto Parts to get new bulbs for the rig’s rear turn signals and the license plate lights for the truck. And after a quick PO stop, we were home for the night by 6pm.

Tomorrow, we’re heading up to the Magnolia area to take in the Texas Renaissance Festival. Family Brandi, Lowell, and Landon, and Friend’s Chantelle, Eric, and Maddox will probably be meeting up also.

It will probably be kind of wet since there’s a 80% change of rain, but we won’t melt.

We’re just not that sweet.

Thought for the Day:

Lettin’ the cat outta the bag is a whole lot easier than puttin’ it back in.

September 29, 2019

Thanks To Everyone . . .

Thanks to everyone for all the kind words and congratulations on our 52nd Anniversary. We really appreciate it.

We headed up to Katy about 10am to meet up with Brandi, Lowell, and Master Landon to celebrate Brand’s much delayed Birthday get-together. She’s been traveling so much recently that it’s sometime hard to match our schedules up.

We had planned to have brunch at the nearby Black Walnut Café but when we got there we found a line out the door, so we moved on. And ended up at a nearby Mexican place, El Asador. Which turned out to be really, really good.

They had eaten right after they closed on their new house last year, but hadn’t made it back since.

Jan had the Beef Taco Salad with Queso, unusual in that it wasn’t in a taco shell, and it used a Spring Mix salad mix , but it was delicious.

El Asador Taco Beef Taco Salad

I had the same salad, but the Beef Fajita version, but with Ranch along with the Queso.

El Asador Beef Fajita Taco Salad

Really, really good.

El Asador Brandi Lowell Landon

And so was getting together with everyone.

This evening we got to check out two more of the new TV shows.

Carol’s Second Act is the latest from Patricia Heaton of Everyone Loves Raymond and The Middle fame. She plays a woman who retired after teaching for many years, and then decides t o become a doctor. The show starts with her first day as a new resident, with this pilot episode spent largely establishing the many characters.

A slow start, but it has a lot of potential.

We really liked the other one, The Unicorn, starring Walter Goggins of Justified and The Shield fame. He plays a widower with two young daughters who’s wife died from cancer a year ago.

His friends are now trying to get him back in the dating world. And he’s a hot commodity, known as that rarest of rare animals, a Unicorn, because of his widower status. And when his family talks him into signing up on a dating app, he’s overwhelmed handling his new popularity, as well trying to stay on top of his daughters growing up too fast.

Check it out.

Thought For The Day:

Marriage: An Endless Sleepover With Your Favorite Weirdo.



2 Responses to On To The Next 53 . . .

  1. Barry Gilkey says:

    You have us beat by 3 years. We hit 50 in Feb.
    May you have many more. We will be chasing you.
    Barry and Lynette.

  2. Elizabeth says:

    I think it is so nice you and Jan do a lot of eating out, visiting places in memory lane, etc!!  Kind of like a vacation most days of the week isn’t it?

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