Re-Tired . . .

When we got home from Galveston on Monday evening, I noticed that my right rear tire on the truck had a tiny bit of cord showing in one small spot. So I told Jan that I’d take it by NTB this weekend to get a new tire.

Well, the tire had other ideas.

Just a couple of minutes I got on I-45 heading into my client’s this morning, the tire came apart. In fact it looked like the tread itself just peeled off like you see on semi tire recaps. Luckily for me, I thought, when I got pulled over onto the narrow shoulder, I was just opposite the aforementioned NTB tire store, which was just across the feeder from me.

Thing this would be easy, I put in a call to NTB to ask if they could send over a tire guy to put on my spare. But I was quickly told that due to insurance regs, they couldn’t do that. They were only allowed to work on vehicles on their lot.

Bummer!

So why didn’t I just change it myself, you might ask? Well, two reasons.

One, I was wearing my only pair of nice slacks, left over from our Anniversary day, and Two, the large fiberboard mats I normally keep in the back of the truck just for times like this, were underneath the rig for my ongoing oil leak repair. The problem is not actually changing the tire, it’s getting down on your hands and knees to struggle with getting the spare lowered down from underneath the truck bed.

So I resigned myself to calling Good Sam Roadside Assistance for a tire change. And apparently you no longer get to actually talk to anyone. When you call their automated system sends you a link to an app where you do it all yourself.

Now that’s real customer service.

But about 20 minutes later, before I had heard anything back from Good Sam, two guys pulled in behind me in a pickup truck and asked if I needed help. When I said, “Yes”, they went right to work.

One of them use my tool to start lowering the spare while the other one bought out their floor jack and lug wrench. He started by loosening the lugs and then moved jack under the truck and started raising up. This, just in time for the first guy to now be able to pull the spare out from under the truck.

Then in about another 15 minutes, they had the old tire off, the spare on, and the carcass in the back of the truck.

I45 Trie Change

Like well-oiled NASCAR pit crew.

They seemed very happy with the $20 each I gave them, and said they seemed to be awfully well-prepared for this, with the floor jack, big lug wrench, and their coordinated changeout. That’s when they sheepishly admitted that this is how they make their living.

They cruise the interstate helping people out. They never ask for money, but just depend on people’s good nature and gratitude. When pressed, they said that almost everyone gives them something, and they’ve even had people insist following to an ATM. And others have mailed checks. They said they make enough to make it worthwhile.

They carry several 5 gallon cans of gas and tools for simple pairs, and they often ferry people to their destinations.

Nice guys.

And I got to work only about an hour late.

  

Jan’s sister Debbie and her husband Jim are down visiting from Illinois


September 30, 2010

Penzey’s and Katz’s . . .

We picked up Jim and Debbie at the motel about 10 am and headed downtown to The Heights area to visit Penzey’s Spices.

Penzey’s has pretty much every spice and seasoning you can think of, and some you probably didn’t know even existed. Jan and Debbie had a blast running around looking at and showing things to each other. Jan also had a shopping list from our daughter-in-law Linda, who also loves the place.

Eighty dollars later we were out the door and very well spiced. It was a little early for lunch so we drove around The Heights area for a while looking at all the neat old houses.

Finally, we headed down to the Montrose area to eat lunch at Katz’s Deli, a New York Jewish-style deli right here in Houston. We’ve eaten here several times and have always enjoyed it. They have the best Rueben you’ve ever wrapped your mouth around. And that can be difficult because the sandwich is about 4 inches high. And delicious, too.

Katz’s Deli has been famous in New York since 1888, and about 10 years a family member decided to bring the New York deli experience to Houston. And it’s been a booming success ever since.

A funny tidbit is that the Katz’s Deli in New York was the site of the famous scene in the movie When Harry Met Sally where Meg Ryan proves to Billy Crystal that women can successfully “fake it”, and Estelle Reiner says “I’ll have what she’s having.”

Leaving Katz’s we took the long way home to show Jim and Debbie the Astrodome area and other parts of Houston. Coming back to this area we took a detour through the Kemah Boardwalk before getting back to the rig about 3:30 pm.

Then about 5 we drove up to Webster to have dinner at Genghis Grill, a Mongolian BBQ place that we’ve eaten at many times.

When you’re seated, you’re given a stainless-steel bowl and directed to the food line.

Your first selection is your meat, or meats. They have beef, chicken, pork, sausage, pepperoni, ham, shrimp, scallops, tofu, etc. Take your pick.

Genghis Meat

Next, you pick your choice of spices, from hot to spicy to savory.Genghis Spices

Then it’s on to the Veggie area. This photo shows only about a third of what’s available. You just keep piling everything in your bowl.

Genghis Veggies

Finally, you have your pick of sauces, some sweet, some tart, and some very, very spicy. Your sauce selections go in a separate small bowl.

Genghis Sauces

Then you hand your food bowl and your sauce bowl into the guy at the grill, and tell him what kind of rice or pasta you want. He gives you a number and you head back to your table. A few minutes later your meal shows up.

You can either have a single bowl, or for $3 more, you can go back as often as you want. But one bowl has always filled us up.

Heading back we dropped Jim and Debbie off at the motel and got back to the rig about 7:15.

Tomorrow we’re going to take a boat cruise on Clear Lake and then take Jim and Debbie to Outrigger’s for lunch.

 


Thought for the Day:

“I don’t like country music, but I don’t mean to denigrate those who do. And, for the people who like country music, denigrate means ‘put down’.” — Bob Newhart


Gate Guarding in North Zulch in east Texas


September 30, 2014

Ganging Up . . .

Well, this afternoon they finished massaging our dirt wall, the one I was hoping would help keep the north winds off us this November.  Before it was high enough that we could only see the very top of the red fluid trailers.

412 Dirt Wall

Plus it was also high enough to block the bright light from one of the big floodlight towers, but that’s no more also. Ah, well, it’s the life of a gate guard.

Probably 95% of the people who come through the gate are really nice, really friendly. But there’s always a few that are just grouchy. For them, inside every dark cloud, there’s just another, darker cloud.

And what they’re usually mad about is that they have to sign in at two gates to get here instead of just one. And the reason is that there are two separate landowners, two separate oil leases, and two separate companies along this road.

So they have to login at the first gate up the road, come another 1/2 mile or so, and then log in here. Normally, by the time they stop at the gate, I’ve already got their tag number (except those people from OK or LA who don’t have front tags), and then all I need is their first and last name, the company they work for, and what site they’re going to. In addition, I will also note how many other people are in the vehicle with a +1, +3, etc.

This usually takes about 15 – 20 seconds, but the grouches turn the whole process into a minute or two, because they won’t shut up long enough to give me the info I need. So I just stand there and stare at them until they finally wind down, and then I get my info and send them on their way.

Now, in more and more cases, I recognize their tag number and know I have their info in my computer database, (except for those OK and LA folks) and then all I need to know is what site they’re going to. That might take 5 seconds, unless they stop to chat.

At this point everyone who comes through our gate goes into the database. Right now I have 489 vehicles and 142 companies listed which makes it pretty easy to get people through the gate quickly, which it seems they appreciate.

Well, except for the grouches.

With them I take it really, really slow, and take extra special care that I’ve logged them in absolutely perfectly. Got to dot every ‘i’ and cross every ‘t’ with them.

The other thing I’ve noticed about gate traffic is that they gang up on you. I can set here for 30 minutes and see nobody, and then all of a sudden I’ve got 6 vehicles coming in and three trying to leave, and a traffic jam right here at the gate.

The only thing I can figure is that there’s a big staging area out on the highway somewhere, where everyone gathers, and when they’ve got a big bunch of vehicles lined up, someone waves the green flag and off they go.

That’s the only thing that makes sense.

I got really excited about 4pm when our first catering truck showed up. Rupp’s BBQ, with a big BBQ grill trailer behind. I wasn’t nearly as excited when they left at 7pm with nary a word, or a meal.

Oh, well, this is what we had for dinner anyway. A big plate of Rudy’s BBQ and all the BBQ accessories.

Rudy's Dinner

Almost certainly better than Rupp’s. Not like we’ll ever know, apparently. In fact, I Googled Rupp’s BBQ and found absolutely no info for them in this area. Just places like Wisconsin and Michigan. Doubt they drove that far.

Brandi sent over a photo of Landon at his latest T-Ball game.

Landon at T-Ball

Looks like he’s really getting into it.

Jan and I are still trying to line up a relief guard to give us a day off. We’ve talked to several people who might do it, but no one’s given us a date yet.

Hopefully soon.

Last up, sometimes Mister comes out with me when I come on shift at 11pm. Then after he checks things out, just curls up and goes to sleep.

Mister at Night

Must be nice. But somebody has to work to buy his Meow Mix

__________________________________________________________________

Thought for the Day:

If at first you don’t succeed, put it out for beta test.



More Gate Guarding near Carthage, TX


September 30, 2015

Bits and Pieces . . .

I say Bits and Pieces because nothing much happened today, so this blog is a little of this and a little of that.

First off, I want to thank everyone for the many great suggestions about fixing my rig door handle. Several people suggested I just drill through the wall and use machine bolts and decorative nuts on the inside. This one I had thought of, and it wouldn’t be a problem for the top two bolts. But the bottom three would come out right in the console where all the switches, wiring, and battery disconnects are. So I’m somewhat hesitant  to try that, except as a last resort.

I think the best one, which came from 3 or 4 readers, follows up on my Plastic Wood or JB Weld idea, but uses Gorilla Glue instead. Another reader suggested I fill in the hole with toothpicks soaked in Gorilla Glue, to provide some extra support, and I think this is the way I’ll go. I’ve done something like this before, repairing door hinge screw holes, using Elmer’s Carpenter Glue and dowel rods, but it didn’t occur to me to use the idea here. That’s what I have smart readers for.

I did check my several-years old bottle of Gorilla Glue and found it hard as a rock, so a new bottle (and toothpicks) are on my list for Friday’s Wal-Mart run.

Thanks again, guys.

  

What the #$^*&* is up with Starbucks? Or at least with the Starbucks phone app?

Last night I got a text message from Verizon saying that I had hit 75% of my data allowance for this month. Now, since I only have 4GB of data on my phone, this happens sometime. But usually I don’t go much over 2GB.

My plan starts over on the 8th of the month, so I just figured I’d hold off on any large updates like Angry Birds, or a couple of other games until then. But then this morning I got another text message saying I had now used 90% of my 4GB.

WTH

So I went into Settings/Data Usage on my phone to check things out.  And the culprit was immediately obvious since it was at the top of the list. While things like Gmail, Kindle, and Dropbox were .09 GB, .14 GB, and .12 GB, respectively, my Starbucks app had used 1.6 GB, almost half my monthly total, in the last two days, and it was still doing more in the background.

So the Starbucks app is gone. I only used it occasionally to find a nearby Starbucks anyway, but OK Google will do that just fine.

A lot of you have been snapping up the KJL Cree LED 900 lumens Flashlight I told you about, and I mean a lot. As I said, one reader bought 10. Thanks.

Flashlight 900 lumens

It’s a great Coyote Silencer.

I’ve mentioned before that I regularly hear coyotes yipping and yelping in the area, and about 3am this morning, they were at it again. But this time, rather than sounding a pretty good distance away, they sounded like they were right next door.

Coyote Pond

About 50 yards away, just over a small rise, there’s a good sized pond, one of several around here. And it sounded like the coyotes were right there. So after listening to them going at it for about 30 seconds, I swept my light back and forth in that direction, looking for glowing eyes. No eyes, but it was like I had flipped a switch.

The coyotes went dead silent and I never heard another yip or yelp the rest of the morning. Who knew?

 

I finally got around to replacing the battery in my Galaxy S5 phone this afternoon. It wasn’t holding a charge all day like it used to, so I included a new one in my last Amazon order. But then I kind of forgot about it.

But today I noticed it was getting hot in my hand when I talked for very long, and even hotter when I plugged it into the charger. So not wanting my head to burst into flames at some point, I thought this would be a good time to change it out.

As I expected, it took longer to get the Otterbox case off than to actually replace the battery, but that’s a good thing. If it’s hard for me to get into the phone, then it’s hard for anything else like dust or water to get in too.

So now, hopefully, I’m good for another 18 months or so.

 

And lastly, the magic elixir strikes again.

We’ve got one of those Holmes bullet-shaped turbo fans that we use in the rig and on the gate, but the speed control button on the base had gotten very difficult to use. You had to really push on it to get it to work, and then sometime it would skip speeds, or just shut off. So this was a job for Strike Hold.

Strike Hold

I first saw this stuff at an FMCA rally up in Goshen, IN a couple of years ago, and was really astonished to see the vendor dip his hand holding a running electric drill into a vat of the stuff, along with a lit light bulb.

It was originally developed for cleaning and lubricating guns for the military, but it’s also great doing the same for any electrical connectors, too. I’ve used it to resurrect a lot of electronic stuff, including charging port on Jan’s Kindle Paperwhite, and the power connector on my ASUS laptop.

It cleans off rust and corrosion, and leaves a dry lubricating film on metal parts, protecting against moisture.

And as I had hoped, I sprayed it on the switch button, let it soak in for a while, and the problem was fixed.

Try it. It’s good for what ails you. Or your electrical stuff, anyway.

_______________________________________________________

Thought for the Day:

“When you have to kill a man, it costs nothing to be polite.” – Winston Churchill

  

At The Thousand Trails park in Conroe, TX


September 30, 2016

A Rest Up Day . . .

I got my first real full night’s sleep last night and I’m about back to normal.

One thing the Rest Up Day consisted of, was no washer repairs. I decided to take the day off from that as well. But tomorrow it’s back at it.

About 2pm I drove down to the Ranger’s Office to settle up and get our car pass and the gate code, and then it was on to Wal-Mart to drop off a couple of prescriptions resulting from Jan’s recent ER visit., and pick up a couple of things.

Back at the rig, I spent the afternoon working on a new website for a client, setting up the Shopping Cart on PayPal. and trying out some different design ideas. I’ll be previewing it here as soon as it’s done and online. It’s a really neat product.

Besides the washer repair, it looks like I’ve got another thing on my plate. The other day when Jan was following me in the truck, she noticed that my right turn signal wasn’t working on the rig. The last time I checked them, which was about five weeks ago, on our way to our gate, they were working fine.

So, figuring it was just a bulb I removed the lens cover and pulled the bulb, which turned out to be a standard #1156. But the bulb looked good, and checking with my meter showed it was good.

So hopefully it’s just a dirty socket that a squirt of Strike-Hold will fix. I know the signal is getting back there, because the turn signals on the truck work fine, and both are fed from the same line.

Strangely enough, if this had been a bad bulb, it would have been the very first bad one since we bought the coach in December 2007. I have replaced a couple of the side marker lights, but never headlights or signal lights, front or rear. Of course they’ll all go out now.

A number of you have been asking for updated Karma pics so here’s a couple.

From being pretty much scrawny runt, she’s bulked to a full size kitty. I guess we feed her better than the mouse/grasshopper diet she was on when she was feral.

Here’s one with her ‘laser’ eyes,

Karma with Laser Eyes

and here’s another one.

Karma with No Laser Eyes

She’s actually bigger than she looks in these photos, but I haven’t had a chance to weigh her since we had her spayed back in May. Then she weighed 7# 9oz, but she’s a good bit more than that now, possibly twice as much.

One final thing, when you leave a comment, be sure and leave your real email address. I don’t do anything with them, and they don’t show up on the blog. But I usually try to reply to you both on the blog and via email, so it helps.

This means you, Orlyn. The email address you left didn’t work.


Thought for the Day:

“To lose 
one parent may be 
regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness.” —Oscar Wilde



An Anniversary Surprise


September 30, 2017

Cruising Down The River . . .

For our 50th Anniversary I gave Jan two gifts, one small one that you’ve already seen – the thermal mug that  displays a cat when hot liquid is poured in,

Cat Mug 1

Cat Mug 2

and then the big one.

In 1997 on our 30th anniversary, I gave Jan an Holland American Alaskan Cruise/Tour, something that she had been wanting for a while. As an Air Force brat she had lived in both Fairbanks and Anchorage back in the late 1950’s and always wanted to go back. And we did make that trip in May of 1998.

So this time I gave her another cruise that she’s always wanted to take – a Viking River Cruise in Europe.

VRC2

CC_Longships_Wurzburg_Marienberg_1680x716_tcm21-76533

So we spent today looking over various websites. Turns that there’s more than half a dozen different companies that do European River Cruises besides Viking.

However we did narrow things down to either a Rhine River Cruise or a Danube River Cruise. These two rivers cover what most people think of when they think of river cruises , the fairytale castles high on the hill, the large cathedrals and monasteries, and the scenic rivers winding through age-old forests.

We’re probably going to go about a year from now, in September or October. And besides picking a cruise line, a river, and a date, we also want to schedule a side trip either before or after our cruise. Jan has also always wanted to see Versailles, so we’ll make time for that with a couple of days in Paris. And hopefully, we’ll also have time for a visit to the Louvre, on my wish list.

I did finish up the wiring of the remote control system for my exterior lights. So now I can turn on the outside lights when we pull up to the rig after dark. And I also wired in the front interior lights inside the rig. So one click of the remote turns on both outside and inside lights.

While I was finishing up on the remote stuff, a young lady walked by and we started talking. Turns she and her husband are real RV newbies, only on the road for about a week and a half. They’re from Wisconsin, and have come down to Texas to work, she as an Occupational Therapist, and her husband as a Social Worker.

Our short conversation turned in to a couple of hours, as Ed Hurlburt came by walking one of their dogs. Then later Debi came out with the other dog, wondering what happened to Ed. So I called Jan outside, and then a little later, Dawn’s husband showed up, wondering what had happened to her.

Ed, Debi, Jan and I spent time giving Dawn as much RVing info as she could absorb, and then some. Hopefully it will help.

Tomorrow we’ll be moving back to the Lake Conroe Thousand Trails for the next two weeks, but since it’s only about a 45 minute trip we won’t leave until about 1pm. So Jan and I, along with Debi and Ed Hurlburt, are all heading back over to Coldspring and the Paradise Grill to have the Turkey and Dressing Sunday Special about 11.

The Word of the Day is:  Jollification


Thought for the Day:

Very Funny!

At The Texas Renaissance Fair


September 30, 2018

Winged Warriors and Chicken Ladies . . .

Jan and I were out the rig door this morning about 8:45, heading for the Texas Renaissance Festival up in Plantersville, about 100 miles north of here.

We were supposed to meet up with Brandi, Lowell, and Landon, but they decided to try again another weekend.

We did make a Valero stop here in Santa Fe for gas and then got to the Festival about 10:45. We learned last year to pay the extra buck for Preferred Parking, which includes a golf cart ride to and from your vehicle to the front gate..

Much more important for the trip back to your car at the end of the day, believe me.

Since we hadn’t had breakfast . . . or coffee this morning, pretty much our first stop inside the gate was to get something to eat.

Jan went with a new treat for her, Avocado Toast.

TexasRenFest 2018 Avocado Toast

A new treat, and now her new favorite.

I started with my Renfest fav, Sausage on a Stick,while Jan got her protein fix with Chicken on a Stick.

TexasRenFest 2018 Chicken and Sausage

While we finished eating, we watched the Clan Tinker Circus troop. Made up of the Tinker brothers and sisters, they do magic tricks, and other acrobatic feats.

They picked this poor lady volunteer out of the audience to juggle knives around her,

TexasRenFest 2018 Clan Tinker 1

and later did a neat fire trick.

TexasRenFest 2018 Clan Tinker 2

We pretty walked the place from one end to the other, with Jan checking out the many shops, but only buying some new lotions and creams from her favorite shop.

Later we split a Funnel Cake from the Black Forest Inn area.

TexasRenFest 2018 Funnel Cake

The perfect amount of sweetie goodness.

We also checked out our favorite Birds of Prey area with this King Vulture.

TexasRenFest 2018 King Vulture

Not sure if he’s trained to do this, he was sunning himself, or he died a few years ago, and then they had him stuffed and put a small motor in his head. But whatever, he just stands there like this and let’s his picture be taken.

I did notice though that he kept checking out any small kids around him, and drooling.

One of the fun things about the RenFest is people-watching. You never know who, or what, you’ll see.

Anybody from Lady Godiva,

TexasRenFest Lady Godiva

to the Chicken Girl,

TexasRenFest 2018 Chicken Lady

to a Winged Warrior Princess.

TexasRenFest 2016 12

We really lucked up on the weather today. Yesterday it was forecast for 90% chance of rain, but that percentage started dropping this morning, and finally went away. This left us with beautiful weather all day and not a drop of rain.

So much for The Weather Channel forecasts.

By the time we had finished seeing everything we wanted to see, we found ourselves at the far end of the park, a VERY long way from the exit. So we hired a rickshaw to carry us to the front gate, giving all the peons our ‘royal’ wave as our driver (puller?) yelled at people to get out of the way because important people were coming through.

We finally headed out about 3:15, getting home about 5. And not a drop of rain.

Tomorrow it’s back to work for one day until we head out for Florida on Wednesday. I’ve still got some things to finished up on Tuesday, but not a lot.


Thought for the Day:

I know from personal experience that a mad hornet is much faster than an old Ford tractor.




September 30, 2019

SpaceShips, Old and New . . .

Today it was back into the fray trying to figure out why our new Win10 machine won’t connect to one machine on our three machine network. And of course, it’s the one I need to connect to, the UPS Shipping machine.

I’ve posted some inquiries on several of the Tech Forums,  but I’ve heard nothing back yet. But I’ll keep trying.

I do have a couple of other ideas that I’ll try on Wednesday.

I put in a call to local Cummins Dealer up on the North Loop this afternoon, and ended up leaving a voicemail for the Service Manager about my oil leak problem. But I haven’t heard back yet.

I still plan to mount the oil filter back in place and lower the rig to see if I can reach the adapter by hand and see if I can pull, push, or twist something to release the adapter. But that will have to wait until Thursday. Or next weekend.

I came across a couple of new photos of the SpaceX’s Starship Mk1 down in Boca Chica, TX

Now that’s a spaceship

SpaceX Starship Mk1

 

SpaceX Starship Mk1-2

Makes you think of those space ships from the 1950’s

Destination Moon

I did come across this trailer for a new version of H.G. Well’s ‘War of the Worlds”. Unlike the previous movie versions, this three part series is set in England in the 1890’s, just like the original book.

It really looks good, and should be out on BBC later this fall.

https://video.dailymail.co.uk/video/mol/2019/09/30/5279054067497808297/1024x576_MP4_5279054067497808297.mp4

And if you let the trailer run, it moves on to the movie theater trailer for the 1953 version of WOTW starring Gene Barry. Check it out.


Thought For The Day:

“The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it. Resist it, and your soul grows sick with longing for the things it has forbidden to itself, with desire for what its monstrous laws have made monstrous and unlawful.” – Oscar Wilde



  


2 Responses to Re-Tired . . .

  1. Rob says:

    Guys making a living helping folks on the freeway, who’d of thought?

    That short video of modern dating was really funny!

  2. Bob Plaskon says:

    Greg, I hope your not going to issue a 1099 at years end! Bob

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