Daily Archives: October 10, 2020

Easy! Or Too Easy?

We’re coming into Jan’s favorite time of the year – HalloThanksMas.

So Jan has Halloween shirts, Thanksgiving shirts, and Christmas shirts. But now she’s got one ordered that covers all of her holidays, plus one of her favorite animals.

HalloThanksMas TShirt

But she’s also got this one coming that’s a little more definitive.

Amazon Halloween Shirt

I was outside and under the rig about 1pm, and for a change everything went quickly. Since I cut 6” off my drill extension I had no problem manipulating the drill and bit into position. I was a little concerned about how to keep the bit lined up with the old hole, but it seemed to align itself with no problems. I did wear my safety goggles since aluminum bits were raining down, but I was lying off to the side anyway.

It only took about 10 minutes to drill all four holes, but I did notice that the two that were already stripped out drilled out much easier.

Then I started tapping the new threads in, using the 12” tap handle extension that I also got for this job. And I was very happy that I had gotten one with build-in ratcheting. Made it a lot easier both cutting in and backing out. I just kept turning it until it bottomed out and stopped. I did spray both the hole and the tap with cutting oil.

So was it Easy? Or too easy? With all the trouble I’ve had getting to this point, it’s kind of worrisome that this part end up being so easy.

I would have continued on by screwing in the Helicoils, the next step, but I noticed that I had little pieces of aluminum flashing sticking out around each hole left over from the tapping. So, before I installed the Helicoils, I wanted to chamfer, or bevel, down the lip of the hole.

But I didn’t have a polishing stone to do that, so I called it an afternoon. So after getting cleaned up, Jan and I were off to have a late lunch at our local favorite, Los Ramirez Mexican Restaurant.

As we got parked I noticed this Art Car in the parking lot, a really neat paint job.

Los Ramirez Art Car


Jan got her usual Pechuga Rellana, a grilled chicken breast on top of a bed of grilled shrimp and broccoli, with half an avocado.

Los Ramirez Pechuga 1-05-20

And I got my fav, the Beef Fajita Taco Salad. Now it starts out like this.

Los Ramirez Beef Fajita Taco Salad 5

But wait, there’s more!

Jan doesn’t care for the lettuce/tomato garnish that comes on her dish, so she gives it to me, and then I top it all off with a big dollop of their Green Sauce, ending up like this.

Los Ramirez Beef Fajita Taco Salad 5a

And of course, a heavy sprinkling of my Carolina Reaper pepper flakes.


Finishing up I went right across the street to the O’Reilly’s Auto Parts to get a chamfer stone for tomorrow’s work session. I only wanted one, but I ended with a set of 10,  which was all they had. But it was only $7.99, so not too bad.

Mounted Stone Set

I’ll use the big one on the middle left.

Coming home we made a quick pass by the Santa Fe P.O. to see if our South Dakota Absentee Ballots had showed up yet.

We’re still waiting.




Still in Elkhart, IN

October 10, 2009

Brrrr !!!!

Today the rain is finally gone and the sun is out.

But it’s cold. And tonight it’s supposed to go down to freezing tonight.

Brrrrr !!!

Today was just a late lunch at our new favorite Mexican place, El Camino Real.

Jan had a combo plate and I had the Pork Chili Verde. Really hot, just like I like it.

After that it was Walmart / Sam’s Club more ‘stuff’ time. Then it was back to the coach.

After putting stuff away, it seemed a good time for a nap.

Later for supper, we had Famous Dave’s BBQ leftovers.

Just another day in Paradise…



October 10, 2010

Back to Chili’s again. . .

As has been usual lately we started out the morning having coffee and just lazing around the coach, enjoying the great weather.

Brandi sent over this photo of Lowell getting some daddy time.

Landon and Lowell 5

Then about 4 pm we headed up to Webster to meet Brandi, Lowell, and Landon at Alpine Brauhaus, a German restaurant we always enjoyed, but it’s moved since the last time we ate there.

And apparently they changed their hours. They now close at 4 pm on Sunday.


We then decided to head across the parking lot to Chili’s, a chain we used to eat at 2 or 3 times a month, but then about 2 years they dropped our favorite dish, and now we haven’t been there in over a year.

Jan and I loved their Grilled Chicken Caribbean Salad with Honey-Lime Dressing, but after eating it for years, they suddenly discontinued it.

Bummer again!

So we were very happy to find that they brought it back, almost. It’s a little different. It’s now called just the Caribbean Salad, but you can get it with grilled chicken or grilled shrimp. They’ve also added Dried Cherries and dropped the Pico de Gallo.

But it’s still good, so we’ll be going back a lot more often now.

We also got some good Landon photos while we were there.

Here’s Landon sleeping peacefully.

Landon at Chilis 5

And here’s Jan annoying him with a frog.  Well, I guess he is smiling.

Landon at Chilis 2

BTW the red spot on his forehead is a birthmark, of a type that usually fades away in 18-24 months.

I left Chili’s before everyone else to do some work at a client’s office while Jan drove Brandi’s car back to the rig.

She’s picking up Brandi early to drive her to a doctor’s appointment, since I need the truck to visit another client tomorrow morning.

I got back to the rig about 8:30 and did some website work for a couple of clients.

Tomorrow will be another busy day.

More tomorrow…

Thought of the Day:

If timidity made you safe, Bambi would be king of the jungle.


Last Day at Smith’s Campground in Loudonville,  OH

October 10, 2011

With a Name like Smucker’s . . .

Today’s our last day at Smith’s Campground here in Loudonville and we’re really going to miss it. Amy and her family have really made us welcome.

After lunch at 11, Amy, Kim, and Scott Smith came by to get a tour of our rigs and chat a while. Then about 12:45 we all headed over to Kidron, OH.

Along the way we passed this really neat fall pumpkin patch, just the perfect accent for our trip through the Ohio countryside.

Pumpkin Patch

Our destination in the small town of Kidron was Lehman’s Hardware. Originally selling products used by the Amish, it has became known as THE source for non-electric appliances.

Lehmans Hardware 1

While originally over 90% of their business was Amish, now, since Lehman’s has become a tourist spot,  it’s less than 10%.

Lehmans Hardware 2

And recently another source of business has been supplying props for movies such as World of the Worlds, and two of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies.

One interesting thing was how expensive old-looking new stuff can be. A stove like this gas model, a modern stove dressed up in an old cabinet is over $7000.00.

Old Stove

Lehmans Hardware 3

They even have a whole room with nothing but different types of oil lamps and fuel.

Lehmans Hardware 4

After about an hour wandering up and down every aisle, we headed up the road about 8 miles to Orrville, OH and the Smucker’s store and factory.

Smuckers Store 1

Unfortunately they don’t have a factory tour of any type, but they do have a neat store.

Smuckers Store 2

I had assumed that Smucker’s was owned by some other big corporation, but I was surprised to learn that Smucker’s is a really big corporation that owns a lot of other companies.

Companies like the following: JIF, Pillsbury, Martha White Flour, White Lily Flour, Robin Hood Flour, Crisco, Knott’s Berry Farm, Borden, Carnation, Hungry Jack, and Dunkin’ Donuts Coffee (but not the coffee shops), are just some of their brands.

Leaving Smucker’s we headed back toward home, but stopped off at Jake’s Steakhouse for dinner.


It was recommended by a lady at the Smucker’s store and we thought we would give it a try.

And it turned out to be really good. Great steaks, and a really good Soup and Salad Bar. All really delicious. And we were very well taken care of by our waitress, Mouse.

And yes, Mouse is her real name. When we asked, she said when she was born, she just squeaked instead of cried, and her doctor called her a little mouse. So, her parents, both hippies, decided to name her Mouse.

And showing the fruit doesn’t fall far from the tree, Mouse named her daughter, Ocean, apparently because Mouse’s husband was a surfer, and Mouse herself, used to be a Shrimp Boat Captain in Tarpon Springs, FL.

You learn the strangest things talking to your waitress.

Tomorrow we head out for Elkhart. As Jan says, “Yea!”.


Thought for the Day:

“What country can preserve its liberties if its rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance?” – THOMAS JEFFERSON


October 10, 2013

Not Much . . .

has been happening on the gate the last few days. It’s been really quiet. We’re only getting about 50-60 vehicles a day through here, and the weather’s been very nice too.

Our days are pretty much in the high 80’s / low 90’s and hopefully will stay there for a while. And while we have had nights down into the high 40’s, recently they’ve been in the 60’s which is nice.

On the Landon front, he’s started playing soccer and Brandi and Lowell just got his first scouting report.

Landon's Soccer Report

Seems like they’re pretty proud.

Also, Landon got his haircut the other day and has now decided he’s too big to sit in the Firetruck chair and now wants to sit in the ‘big boy’ chair.

Landon's Haircut

That’s about it for now from the suburbs of beautiful Whitsett, TX.



October 10, 2014

Twenty Questions . . .

We were busy today, but not quite yesterday busy. We only had 166 vs. yesterday’s 199 vehicles coming in, so not too bad. But of course a good percentage go back out too, so it does keep you on your feet a lot.

After getting a lot of confusing info from everyone about what’s what on all our pad sites, I took some time this afternoon to drive around back there to see for myself.

For some reason they keeping adding names to sites, and changing names too. I found we have 6 different pad sites with 10 different names, apparently depending on who’s working the site at that time. Seems like sometimes they just make up their own names for a site, but forget to tell us.

The rig across from us has had 4 different names since we’ve been here. The rig name/number has stayed the same, but the pad name keeps changing. I think this is because each new drill hole has a different name, but this wasn’t the way they did it the last time we worked a drill rig. Before it was always the pad name plus 1H, 2H, etc., I.e. Mercury #1H, or Mercury #3H.

I came back out and drew up a map to help Jan and I keep things straight, as a lot of these trucks come with very vague directions to where they’re supposed to go. And with some, it’s kind of a game of Twenty Questions, apparently to see if I can guess where they need to go.

So after getting their name, company, and tag number, it goes like this.

Me: “OK, Bobby, where you going this morning?”

Bobby: “Ahhhhhh, let’s see.”  Now he starts pawing through his papers like it’s just occurred to him that he needs to know this.

Bobby: “Ahhh, Mid-Texas?” Note the question mark.

Me: “Nope, try again.”

After 10 or 15 seconds of noisy paper pawing, I finally suggest, “How about MD TEXAS?”

Bobby: “Yeah, that’s it.”

OK, we’ve narrowed it down to one of 6 pads

Me: “OK, Bobby, you got anything else for me?”

Bobby: “Ahhhhh, Still-Water?”

Me: “OK, we’ve got it down to 4 sites now. What else ya got?”

More loud paper fumbling,

Bobby: “They’re fracking?”

OK, now we’re down to 2 sites.

Me: You got a company name?”

Bobby: “Go Frac?”

Bingo. We have a winner.

And if he’d just pulled in and said, “I got sand for Go Frac.” he’d have been on his way 5 minutes ago.


Thought for the Day:

I consider it completely unimportant who in the party will vote, or how; but what is extraordinarily important is this—who will count the votes, and how. – Josef Stalin, 1923



October 10, 2015

Dang Lazy Mule . . .

Or Our Budding Bandido.

I could get used to this. Yesterday and the day before, we had 72 vehicles coming in the gate. Today we had 55. And with the temp finally making it to 83° with sunny skies, it was just about perfect.

We were told yesterday that all the cleanup and completion work here should take about two months. So if that holds true, and it may not, then that would mean we would be here until we’re ready to leave the 22nd of November.

We hope.

We’ve also heard that when things get going here, they might be working a 12 hour day.

We hope.

But then when I ask one of the company men this afternoon if they would be taking the day off on the Monday Columbus Day holiday, he laughed and said, “Hell, we’re lucky we get Thanksgiving and Christmas off.”

So I’m not putting a big bet on a 12 hour day.

This is probably the best gate we’ve had. Close to town, good cell/Internet service, nice surroundings, friendly owner, and not an over-abundance of traffic. Wish they were all like this.

I mentioned recently about my WordPress login page now requiring me to ‘Prove my Humanity’ by adding two numbers together and then entering the total on the screen along with my login name and password. I figured this was to cut down on automated scripts trying to hack your password and get into the site.

Why I don’t know. Of course there’s no credit card data or anything like that. I guess they could do some sort of malware injection through one of the blog posts, but Godaddy monitors that kind of thing pretty closely. And if they did manage to hack into the site, I could immediately regain control by calling Godaddy and giving them my secret password.

But it’s highly unlikely that they could guess my password anyway, as it’s 10 characters of gobbledygook, letters, numbers, upper case, lower case, and symbols. So good luck with that.

But with all that, it’s not slowing down hacking attempts either. I mean you’re talking about an automated script, written to hack in to WordPress sites. So how hard is to program your script to add the two numbers together and type it in the little box along with your name and password attempt.

It’s a computer. It can add two numbers. That’s what computers do. Compute.

And you can see from a few days ago, how well it’s working.

Failed Logins

The attempts started a couple of minutes after 9am and continued until a little after 10:30.

Each one of these attempts means three failed logins, and then that IP address is locked out for 4 hours. Here are the lockout settings I’m using.

Failed Logins Settings

Then after a second 4 hour lockout, that IP address is locked out for 48 hours. So these attempts are coming from a lot of different IP addresses, and mostly from Eastern Europe. Go figure.

Landon, Lowell, and Brandi went down to Friendswood to visit Chris, Linda, and Miss Piper today, and Landon, our budding Bandido, got what I imagine was his first motorcycle ride from his Uncle Chris.

Bandido Landon 1

And of course every biker needs his blue dragon along for support.

Bandido Landon 2

Bandido Landon 3

Looks like he really enjoyed it too.

I guess anticipating the possibility of a 12 hour shift, I now have a 12 hour Mule. Or maybe it’s just lazy. But whatever the problem, the second Mighty Mule Driveway Alarm system I installed to catch vehicles leaving the pad, just won’t work at night.

It works fine in the daytime, especially now that I moved it closer the other day, but sometime during the night, it just quits.

It’s hard tell exactly when it quits, because we don’t get a lot of traffic at night. But at some point I just notice it’s not working. But the other one coming in to us just keeps chugging alone.

Tomorrow I’m going to try moving it closer again to see if that helps. Otherwise, I’ll try swapping the transmitters. If nothing works, I’ll call the company.

Dang Mule.

On a final note, I had a number of blog readers, including Jan, wondering about the ‘Jewish vampire’ reference in yesterday’s blog.

I seem to remember it from one of those comedy vampire movies back in the late 70’s – early 80’s. In my mind I see Richard Benjamin confronting a vampire, and triumphantly holding out a cross to ward the vampire off. The vampire laughs, calls him a ‘putz’ in a Jewish accent, and begins to hit him with the cross. Benjamin, realizes his mistake, and starts frantically reaching in his shirt, before finally pulling out a ‘Star of David’ just in time to save the damsel in distress.


Thought for the Day:

“Trust your neighbor, but brand your cattle.” – old cowboy proverb



October 10, 2016

Lemon Grass and Dragon Sauce . . .

This morning I started checking out other gate guard companies to see about getting another gate, hopefully before we have to move over to the Colorado River Thousand Trails this Thursday

I also filled out and printed out our absentee ballot forms so we can send them off tomorrow.

About 2pm Jan and I headed out for lunch and some shopping, with our first stop at Asian BBQ and Grill in Conroe. As seems to happen when we go to our favorite places, we generally get our favorite dishes. And this afternoon was no different.

We started out with a couple of their Shrimp Spring Rolls, with the Spicy Hot Peanut Sauce

Asian BBQ Spring Rolls

They put a big dab of Chili Sauce into the Peanut Sauce and then top it with freshly crushed peanuts. Really Good!

Jan got her Lemon Grass Chicken Bowl with rice noodles, bean sprouts, carrots, and cucumbers,

Asian BBQ Lemon Grass Chicken 2

while I got the Grilled Pork Bowl with a Shrimp Skewer,

Asian BBQ Lemon Grass Chicken

which has the same veggies as Jan’s dish.

And of course you can’t eat at Asian BBQ without getting a big bowl of their Dragon Sauce.

Asian BBQ Dragon Sauce

While we were there I talked to the owner about doing a website for him. We had talked before we went on the gate, so I wanted to follow up with him again. And this time I mocked up a sample page for him, using some of the photos I’ve take for the blog over past visits.


I think it looks pretty good for about 30 minutes work. I’m going to check back in with him on Wednesday.

He’s also interested in me setting up an online takeout ordering system for him. It’s not something I’ve done before, but of course I told him it wouldn’t be a problem. And a little

Next up was a quick stop by Sam’s Club to get a new battery for the truck. The old one is about 5 years old, and it’s starting to fade. I’ll put it in tomorrow and then take the old one back to get my $18 core charge back.

Last, was a groceries stop at the Super Kroger’s over in Willis, as well as a Cinnamon Dolce Latte from their Starbucks for on the way home.

Tomorrow I’ll start actually making calls to gate guard companies, specifically Guard 1 and SiteWatch, both of whom offered us gates after Jamie of Gate Guard Services called us.with our Blue Moon Gate.

Wrapping up, both of my recent repairs seems to be holding. The water pump repair on our Splendide Washer/Dryer combo is still working with no problems, and hopefully will continue that way.

And although we’ve only used it a few times since I remounted the control panel, our microwave is also still working. But I’m not sure we’ve given it a long enough test yet. We did make two bags of popcorn last night, which was required two 3.5 minute cooking periods. In the past we might have seen a problem with the second one. So we’ll just have to wait and see.

Thought for the Day:

I think I am, therefore, I am. I think. — George Carlin



October 10, 2017

The King Is Dead . . .

Long Live The King.

It was nice to sleep in and not have to travel down to Clear Lake, but then there’s tomorrow.

The weather really cooled off today, with a high of  77 and going down to 56 tonight. And 79/59 tomorrow. Very Nice.

I was reading an article this morning about a new hot pepper, hotter even than fabled Carolina Reaper.

It’s called Dragon’s Breath, and it was developed by a guy in England not to eat, but to be used as topical anesthetic for people who are allergic to regular anesthetics.

Dragon's Breathe Pepper

And at almost 2.5 million Scoville units, it’s almost a million units more than the Carolina Reaper.

Once the Ghost Pepper became the first pepper to cross the 1 million unit line, the newer peppers, I.e. 7 Pot, the Scorpions, the Reaper, etc., all crept up a couple of hundred thousand units at a time.

Until the Dragon’s Breath, that is.

But before I could even finish researching the new king, the Dragon’s Breath, a new hotter king came along, the Pepper X.

Pepper X

And the old king was deposed with another large jump, all the way up to almost 3.25 million Scoville units.

These peppers are in a range that they can kill people, and have. Ruptured esophagi, anaphylactic shock, suffocation, etc. But if you want to try some of these peppers, at your own risk of course, check out the The iBurn Store here in Houston

Although I’ve got some Trinidad Moruga Scorpion pepper flakes, recently the 3rd hottest, and just used them the other day at the Asian BBQ & Grill, I’ve never tried the Carolina Reaper, and I probably won’t. And that goes for the Dragon’s Breath and Pepper X as well.

A man’s got to know his limitations.

Apparently I don’t know my limitations. I now have a whole shaker of Carolina Reaper flakes. 10/10/2020

The Word of the Day is: Tendentious

Thought for the Day:

I’m a secondhand vegetarian. Cows eat grass. I eat cows.



October 10, 2019

More Oil Filter Info . . .

Today was a nice stay-at-home day. In fact the only time I left the rig was to walk the garbage down to the dumpster.

The only thing new was that I did raise the bed to take a look at my oil filter mount from up above. I ty-wrapped my phone to a long dowel rod and stuck it down by the filter to try and get a look at the filter adapter base.

And although tit’s kind of hard to see under the crud, it sure looks like there’s a separation seam between the two parts.

Oil Filter from Side 1

Tomorrow night we’re attend the Alvin Opry up in, where else, Alvin. We’ll probably have dinner at our usual Monterey’s for a bowl of their great Chicken Tortilla Soup.

Also meeting up with our friend, Maria Sutton. Really looking forward to it.

Thought For The Day:

In 1939, the U.S. Department of the Interior predicted that American oil supplies would last for only another 13 years.

In 1949, the secretary of the interior said the end of U.S. oil supplies was in sight.

Having learned nothing from its earlier erroneous energy claims, in 1974, the U.S. Geological Survey said that the U.S. had only a 10-year supply of natural gas.

However, the U.S. Energy Information Administration estimated that as of Jan. 1, 2017, there were about 2,459 trillion cubic feet of dry natural gas in the United States.

That’s enough to last us for nearly a century.

The United States is now the largest producer of natural gas worldwide.

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