Daily Archives: October 13, 2020

We’re Still Waiting . . .

We’re now in our 3rd week of waiting for our Absentee Ballots to arrive from South Dakota. According to the state’s website they were mailed out 9/28/20.

Thinking about checking out nearby ditches and Dumpsters.

Jan and I headed out for lunch and shopping about 1pm. Lunch was at East Star China Buffet up in Webster, our 2nd favorite Chinese buffet.

Why would we eat at our 2nd favorite, you say? Well, Yummy, Yummy, our 1st favorite, has not yet reopened since the recent unpleasantness, and may not ever, I guess. We don’t know. We’re hoping that they’re waiting until the rest of the restrictions are removed before reopening.

It’s our 1st favorite because it’s closer, cheaper, and has some specific dishes we like.

But East Star is pretty good too.

Then we made a stop at the office to pick up our Amazon orders, and then by the nearby HEB grocery for a few things that only they stock. Next it was by the WalMart down in our area for a prescription and a few more things before getting home about 4:30.

Thought For The Day:

Can You Find The Hidden Cat In This Picture? It’s Driving The Internet Crazy.

Can You Find The Hidden Cat In This Picture




Still Up In Elkhart, IN

October 13, 2009

Hooooo! Hooooo!

We’ve had a gnawing hungry for hot wings, so finding out there was a Hooters over in Mishawaka, we headed out.

After a great lunch (with leftovers) of Three Mile Island (their 2nd hottest) chicken strips and wings,  we started looking for a Natural Foods store that was supposed to carry Aunt Gussie’s Sugar Free Cookies, which are Jan’s favorites.

Unfortunately, the store was out of business.

After that, we headed over to David’s Bridal to look for a pair of earrings Jan had to seen in a magazine. But no luck there either.

Readers have asked about my VMSpc computer interface. This is a gadget that plugs into the engine diagnostic plug underneath the dash of our coach and gives you direct access to all sorts of engine readings, many of which aren’t available on the dashboard panel.

Silverleaf 2

You can create your own gauges, make them any color, and place them anywhere on the screen. You can also set alarms for too-high and too-low values and also change colors.

At the bottom I also have my Street Atlas GPS Mapping Program’s displayed on my laptop screen.

And it you get a Check Engine light, it will tell you what the problem is.  A great product!

Jan and I are still going thru boxes, trying to eliminate stuff we don’t need.

Thought For The Day:

The surest way to reveal one’s character is not through adversity but by giving them power. ~ Abraham Lincoln

Wintering Over At Galveston Bay RV Park South of Houston, TX

October 13, 2010

Direct TV and Stolen Property . . .

We got an early start this morning, getting before 8am because the Direct TV guy was supposed to be here between 8 – 12 to install our new DVR system.

Of course I didn’t really expect him to be here at 8am, but if I slept late he’d be knocking on the door at 8am.

And lo and behold, at 8am the phone rang. And it was Direct TV and … he’d be here after 9, or maybe 10, or before noon, anyway.

Oh well.

About 9 I drove down to the office to pay up for another month and see if the guy in our old site, site 80, was going to leave any time soon.

Jan really wants to be back in our old site that we were in the last two years, but there’s someone in it. The office did say that he’s paid up through this Friday, so maybe he’ll be leaving then.

We can hope.

At 9:30 the Direct TV guy called and said he was running late and it would be after 10:30 before he got there.

And it was. He finally showed up at 11:30.

He got everything installed pretty quick with no problems.

But then … a problem.

He wanted to take my old receiver with him. He said his workorder showed the install was a swap. I told him this was my receiver and I had bought it from a pawn shop in Phoenix for $29 two years ago.

He said I would have to call Customer Service and get it worked out.

When I called and got put through to Access Control, I got a big surprise.

I was not the owner of the receiver, Some guy in Massachusetts was given the box by Direct TV and when the account was closed, the receiver was never turned in.

How it ended up in a pawn shop in Phoenix I don’t know. But basically I was in possession of stolen property.

So, needless to say, I let him take it.  No big deal.

But I didn’t tell them I had another one down in the basement !

By the time the guy left it was about 1:30, and it seemed like a good time for a nap.

Getting up about 3:30 pm we headed back over to Victory Lakes area, this time to try out the new Spring Creek BBQ that had opened last night.

We been watching the ‘Open Soon’ banner stretched across the entrance for a week or so now, and were getting impatient.

When I drove by it about 5 pm yesterday afternoon, it still had the Open Soon banner on the front and there was not a single car in the parking lot.

When we pulled into the Chili’s across the street at Victory Lakes about 6 pm, the banner was gone, the parking lot was full, and there was a crowd of people out front.

We assumed it was open.


We drove over there about 4pm today to eat and found them not open and the banner back on the front. There were cars in the back however, and we could smell BBQ cooking.

So I guess it’s close, but not yet.

So I our second choice was Ryan’s down in Texas City for some of their great fried chicken.

Sherry Morrison, Lowell’s sister and Landon’s aunt, posted this Landon photo on Facebook this morning.

Landon - Where is the Potty

And Brandi sent this one over this evening.

Master Landon, just laid back and hanging out.

Laid Back Landon 4

Thought for the Day:

 If the little things really bother you, maybe it’s because the big things are going well.



Again Up In Elkhart, IN

October 13, 2011

Keeping a Level Head . . .

or a level RV.

Woke up to a dreary overcast morning. So hot coffee really hit the spot.

After Jan fixed a great lunch, I  was off to the RV/MH Hall of Fame to work on their computer systems some more. It’s taking a lot longer than I thought because their Internet connection is only 768K and it takes a good while to get all the software installed and updated. And still more to do tomorrow.

Getting home about 5:30 we headed out to King Wha for a great Chinese meal. I think King Wha had become our new favorite Chinese place.

Now to leveling.

I’ve had really good luck using one of these.

RV EZ Level

It doesn’t matter which direction you have it turned, as long as you keep the arms parallel and perpendicular to your coach.

All you have to do is place it on the floor and press the center button. If one of the lights flashes red, your rig is low in that direction. So all you have to do adjust your levelers until all the lights are green.

Done. And after a few minutes, the leveler turns itself off automagically.

The only thing you have to be careful of is to not drop it. That can throw the calibration off, and you will have to recalibrate it. And to do that you have to have a level surface.


Thought for the Day:

A journey of a thousand miles usually begins with a broken fan belt and a leaky tire.



Gate Guarding in North Zulch In East Texas

October 13, 2014

Found It!

See, procrastination pays.

Well, eventually.

After two days of 192 and 199 vehicle counts, we had a big jump today up to 222 as both fracs came online. An extra 25-30 vehicles may not sound like a lot, but remember those vehicle usually come back out, which means about 20 vehicles an hour passing through, one every three minutes or so. Which doesn’t give you a lot of time to sit down, just enough to get them entered in the log, and get ready for the next one. But you don’t get bored and time passes pretty quickly.

But complicating things today was rain. Lots and lots of rain last night and all this morning. So much so that the pond behind us started to overflow its banks and out underneath the rig.

Overflowing Pond

Then after the rain finally stopped, the wind really picked up, enough that I had to install some extra tie-downs on the canopy, mostly because with the tarp we’re using for a cover now, there is no relief vent at the top to bleed off some of the pressure.

But the upside to all this is the cool front coming through, giving temps in the high 70’s and no rain for the next week or so. Perfect gate weather.

And on another upnote, we got Frac Food today, but we’re not sure from whom. I thought the side of the truck said Oma’s Mexican Grill. Jan thought it said Anna’s. The problem was caused by the fancy script on the logo on the truck. But we know it was Mexican. Since Jan already had dinner planned for tonight and tomorrow night, we’ll have it a couple of days from now. Mexican food ages well.

Our son Chris is on a bike trip out west with some of his firefighter buddies, camping along the way. I’m not sure where this was taken, but it looks like he’s enjoying himself

Chris on Bike Trip

Scotty, our GGS support guy showed up today to top off our diesel and water, and also to bring us more login sheets. With the increased traffic we’re going through them like crazy and were down to our last pad. Noticeably he did not bring us our new shirts that we’re supposed to have been wearing since last Friday. I didn’t bring it up either.

See, I even procrastinated until the very last paragraphs to tell you I found my basin wrench, and apparently it was right where I didn’t leave it.

I mentioned last week that I was going to replace the lavatory faucet in the rig, but I couldn’t find my basin wrench, and that I was going to buy another one so I could find the one I already had. And my scheme worked perfectly, as this evening I found the missing one without ever opening the new one. So back to Wal-Mart it goes.

To quote Col. Smith, “I love it when a plan comes together.”


Thought for the Day:

You can’t pull the poor out of poverty. You can only throw them a rope and then let them pull themselves out.



Gate Guarding near Carthage again in East Texas

October 13, 2015

On Further Consideration . . .

After I posted yesterday’s blog about my Mighty Mule problem, I decided to forget about talking to the company and just let Amazon handle things. So in about 90 seconds I had my refund scheduled (They said it will be 2-3 days til it shows up), and had my new Mule on the way, along with a few other things sitting in my cart waiting for my next order. Everything should be here Thursday.

Later on, several readers suggested I do the same thing. Great minds think alike.

I headed into Carthage a little after 11am, planning to drop off our garbage at the trash trailer at the new frack site right up the road on the way. But that didn’t work out too well because there was no trash trailer there. But then we didn’t have one here for the prep work, but only after the frack actually started. And they’re obviously still not ready to frack here.

New Frack Site Work

The gate guard at the other site asked me to bring her a loaf of bread when I asked if she needed anything. so it was off into town.

Normally this would have been just a lunch run, but I forgot to stock up on my Lipton’s Diet Citrus Green Tea last Friday when I was at Wal-Mart. Plus Jan needed more bottled water and I needed printer paper too. So I made a quick Wally stop before picking up lunch at Whataburger. We’ve been going there so often that the counter guy just about knows our order by heart. I even have it in my phone so I don’t forget and leave something off.


2  Apple Pies

Jan’s Whataburger Jr. Large Combo
With only:
Grilled Onions

My Whataburger Jr.
With only:
Raw Onions
Mayo on both buns

Large Drink

We get one large combo and then share the fries, and I get my own drink. I order the pies first, so I don’t forget them, and sometimes they have to cook them up fresh, so this gives them a head-start. We normally have the pies for breakfast the next morning after Jan heats them up again. I also stock up on the containers of Spicy Ketchup for our fries, and I get one of their Green Salsa ones to put on my burger. I really like that they have the little containers of this stuff and not the squeeze packets. Not matter where you squeeze them out, it’s going to be a mess.

I saw on Facebook yesterday that someone’s new favorite meal at Whataburger is their Chicken Fajita Tacos. I’m sorry, but that’s just wrong.

You don’t go to Red Lobster and order steak. You don’t go to Longhorn Steakhouse and order seafood. And you don’t go to Whataburger and order tacos. It’s Whata’burger’, not Whata’taco. And for good reason.

Let’s straighten up out there, people! LOL

One of the things I ordered from Amazon was another of those great KJL Cree LED 900 lumens Flashlights .

Flashlight 900 lumens

I only ordered one at the time, and now Jan wants her own.

One thing I noticed is that between all the ones sold through my blog, Amazon’s pricing algorithms detected a run on them. And as I’ve seen before, they jacked the price up $1, from $8.99 to $9.99.

I’ve noticed this with several other items I’ve mentioned in the blog, like the super-strong magnets, and the LED strip lights to replace the small fluorescent tubes in our rig.

So get in while you can before the price goes up again.

Thought for the Day:

“I haven’t committed a crime. What I did was fail to comply with the law.” – David Dinkins, New York City Mayor, answering accusations that he failed to pay his taxes.



Where To Gate Guard Next?

October 13, 2016

Texas or Oklahoma ?

Since we had breakfast yesterday at Denny’s, we didn’t do our normal travel day breakfast, at Cracker Barrel in Conroe, or Schobel’s in  Columbus, this morning, so I was able to sleep in until 8:30 this morning.

So after a somewhat leisurely morning, with coffee and breakfast sandwiches, we pulled out of our site a little before 11, got hitched up, and were on the road a little after 11am.

After a smooth trip (definition of a ‘smooth trip’ is that nothing fell off, came loose, or broke) we pulled into the Colorado River Thousand Trails about 1:30pm, got checked in, and set up in A25, a very nice site with a nearby tree.

Colorado River A25

Since we ran the generator the whole way, we also used our Amazon Alexa Echo to listen to the radio using iHeartRadio over our Verizon aircard as we traveled.


This morning before we left Lake Conroe, Jan noticed her LG Revere flip phone was dead. Now this actually happens fairly often as she doesn’t use it a lot and then forgets about it, allowing the battery to run down.

LG Revere

But when she plugged it in, instead of showing the ‘Battery Charging’ graphic, it said ‘Use a Genuine LG Battery’ and then shut off. After trying this a couple of times with the same result, I went for the big gun again.

Jan's Flip Phone and Battery

So popping off the back and pulling the battery, I sprayed both contacts with Strike-Hold and then put it all back together. And a few seconds later, it showed this.

Jan's Flip Phone and Battery2

Strike-Hold does it again.

After we got settled in, I put a call into Mike Crosby of SiteWatch to talk about Oklahoma gate guard jobs. Turns out he and his wife started with Gate Guard Services about 10 years ago, and we know a lot of the same people, and have worked in a lot of the same areas.

Although he’s in charge of Sitewatch’s OK area, he also knows a lot about the south Texas area, specifically the Karnes City/Kenedy area. He said almost all of their gates in both areas use guard shacks and iPads, and not RV’s and paper logs. The more we talked the more I was considering south Texas again rather than Oklahoma for several reasons

First off, the Oklahoma area is almost 500 miles away, while Karnes City/Kenedy area is only about 180. Plus Mike said it’s starting to get cold up there, but much less so down in south Texas.

I’m now waiting to hear back from their south Texas guy, so we’ll see how it goes.

Thought for the Day:

Marry an orphan: You’ll never have to spend boring holidays with the in-laws.




October 13, 2017

TT, PA, and More . . .

I spent a couple of hours today stuck between the dueling computers at Thousand Trails, Passport America, and Encore.

As I mentioned yesterday I was trying to use Passport America for our week-out here at Lake Conroe, from this Sunday the 15th to the 22nd. Then we’d come back in on the 22nd until the 5th of November. Then after that, Rinse, Lather, Repeat.

Or at least we’ll see.

But when I called Encore to book our PA stay here, Erica found that she wasn’t able to book us here, apparently due to the ‘G’ section being blocked out due to the power problems. Because of that the computer said that there were no open sites here to book us into, though she found she could book us in here under Encore.

She suggested that they should be able to book it here locally so I should try that. But when I got the Ranger’s Office on the phone, I found they couldn’t either, or didn’t know how to actually book a PA reservation.

First off they said, like Erica, that the park was full next week. So I suggested that they try to book someone in next week under TT and they found they could. But when I ask why they could book under TT but the park is full under PA, they then put me on hold, coming back in about 5 minutes saying they’d talked to Rebecca in the office and she said if they couldn’t book it under PA, then they couldn’t book it all and I was out of luck.

Knowing this wasn’t what Rebecca said yesterday when I talked with her and Randall Cox, the park manager, I made my own call to Rebecca. Turns out that’s not what she said, and they didn’t tell her the entire story. She said to tell them to just force the booking under PA, and if they still couldn’t, to call her back.

Well, they still couldn’t do it. So what they finally did was to book me in under one of the two one week extensions my TT membership has each year. And for only $35 for the week it’s a great deal.

The problem is my membership doesn’t have these extensions. I’ve confirmed this with TT a couple of times. But since $35 is better than the $178.50 cost under PA, I let it ride.

But later in the afternoon, when I went into the TT website to book us back in under TT on the 22nd, it all came back to bite me. Since the TT computer showed me effectively here in the park for three weeks straight, it wouldn’t let me back in for another two weeks starting on the 22nd. Oops!

So I got back on the phone to the TT main office to try and fix it. I ended up talking to a very nice young lady named Jonnette who very quickly fixed the problem, unbooking my one week TT extension, she switch it over to a PA reservation, and then booked us back in to Lake Conroe under TT on the 22nd.

All this only took Jonnette about 5 minutes. Wish I’d been able to talk with her to start with. And hopefully this will all go better next time if we decide to do this again.

The Word of the Day is:  Contumacious

Thought for the Day:

If you can’t fix it with a hammer, then you’ve got an electrical problem.



Visiting Friends Down In West Palm Beach, Florida

October 13, 2018

No Longer Virgins . . .

Charlee put us in her duplex condo, so after coffee and a relaxing morning, we headed back to the house. Later after Jan and Charlee spent some more time talking over recipes and cooking,  Charlee, Monica, Jan, and I drove over to the nearby Deli Inn Diner for breakfast/lunch.

Deli Inn

One of those ‘hole in the wall’ places that’s mostly frequented by locals, Deli Inn proved to be a real find . . . at least for us. Charlee et. al eat there all the time, so much so that everyone greets them by name.

Jan had her first Cuban Sandwich with Sweet Potato Fries. Made with ham, pork, cheese, mustard, and pickles, layered on bread which is then pressed and grilled.

Deli Inn Cuban Sandwich

Jan says she has a new favorite sandwich.

Being also a breakfast place, I had my two eggs over medium and bacon, with the addition of French Toast.

Deli Inn Eggs

Really good, especially the bacon and the French Toast.

Great coffee, too.

Then toward the end of our meal, there was a gathering of waitresses around our table, chanting, “Vir-gins, vir-gins, Deli Inn Vir-gins” several times before giving us a couple of their enormous home-made muffins. And then squirting us with squirt guns!

So Jan and I are no longer virgins, especially the Deli Inn kind.

After that delicious meal, Charlee took us on a tour of all the hotels, mansions and estates in West Palm Beach area, including The Breakers, Mar-A-Lago. and many others, as well as the beautiful, blue Atlantic Ocean

West Palm Beach Atlantic Ocean

When we were through here in 2009 we checked the price of the renown Sunday Brunch at The Breakers, and found it was about $80. Ouch! There is just no way either of us could eat $80 worth of food.

And in the intervening 10 years, it’s gotten worse, much worse. The Sunday Brunch is now $120. Bigger Ouch!

But it’s a real deal for your children 3 through 11. They’re only $50.

Back at their house, Charlee copied off a bunch of recipes for Jan, before we headed back to Mims about 2;30, getting home about 5:30.

Karma was certainly glad to see us.

Thought for the Day:

Deja Poo: That feeling that you’ve heard all this crap before.



Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht


October 13, 2019

Stille Nacht . . .

I mentioned in last night’s blog that I really enjoyed Dennis Ivey’s rendition of ‘Old Rugged Cross’ at the Alvin Opry, and I told Jan as we were driving home that it really hit me because ORC was one of the two songs I played and sang the very first time I ever performed in public.

It was Christmas time, 1963, I had just turned 15, and I had somehow been roped into narrating the Christmas Story play at our church in Athens, AL. As I told the story of the Manger, the Three Wise Men, the Angels, and the Shepherds, a bunch of young kids were acting out the story in front of me. One of the Shepherds even had a live sheep on a leash, who immediately crapped on the floor.

The Sheep, not the Shepherd.

Anyway, I had asked the Minister if I could also perform a couple of hymns afterwards. He just asked if I needed the organist and I said no.

At the end of the pageant, I pulled out my trusty Sears acoustic guitar from under the podium,and after a shaky start, (my $24.99 guitar never was very good at holding tune for very long) I first played and sang Stille Nacht in the original German, and then again as Silent Night in English. I was taking German in the 10th grade and we had to learn it for class.

Silent Night was originally written in German and first played in an Austrian church for Christmas Eve midnight mass on December 24th, 1818. it was written for the guitar because the church’s organ had been damaged by a recent flood.

So it made sense to do it on guitar in a church again.

I finished up with one of my two favorite hymns, ‘The Old Rugged Cross’ (the other one is ‘In The Garden’), kind of covering from the beginning of the Christmas Story to the very end of the story.

I got a lot of compliments afterwards, from parishioners who didn’t know I could play and sing, and especially from my surprised parents, who knew I could sing, but didn’t know I could play the guitar, since I had practiced in secret.

And it all worked out great, since I ended up getting a new Fender Stratocaster Sunburst for Christmas.

Fender Stratocaster Sunburst Guitar

I really wish I had kept it, because though I thought it was expensive at the time (about $300 if I remember correctly), it would be worth $10,000+ by now.


Thought For The Day:

“The further a society drifts from the truth, the more it will hate those who speak it.” – George Orwell.

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