Daily Archives: October 17, 2020

Coiled Up, Cleaned, and Ready . . .

First off, I want to thank everyone for the many kind comments and commiserations about Landon’s yearbook cover artwork and his contest loss. They were much appreciated.

Underneath the rig this afternoon, I ran the tap through the offending bolt hole and then easily installed a new Heilcoil and had no problem getting it below the flange surface. Then after I popped the tang out, I was able to screw in a test bolt with no problem.

Next up was to use the nylon end brush in my drill to clean off any small stuck pieces of the old gasket. Then I used a piece of 400 grit emery paper to polish it up, leaving me with this.

Oil Cooler Flange 20201017

Then on the patio at my worktable, I did the same thing to the adapter head, leaving me with this.

Oil Filter Adapter 20201017

Hopefully tomorrow afternoon, I’ll be ready to apply a thin coating of Permatex Ultra Black Sealer to the gasket and the adapter and install onto the flange over my head. Then I’ll install the oil filter and top off the oil level.

If all that goes well, it will be time to crank it up and see if anything leaks during a high-idle (1050 rpm) test, probably for about an hour. That’s assuming nothing untoward happens.

In fact, just in case, I’m going to have Jan crank it up while I’m underneath the engine on the phone with Jan. Who will have her hand on the key ready to turn it off if I yell, or maybe scream.

If all goes well, then we’re plan our test drive for next weekend, probably on Sunday, heading down Hwy 6, back north of I-45 with a first stop at the Katy Buc-ee’s to check things out. If all is still OK, we’ll head on out to do a loop around at Columbus and then back to Buc-ee’s once again.

We’re going to try to schedule a stop-over there for a dinner get-together with Brandi, et. al., before heading back down I-45. We’ll do a last stop at the La Marque Buc-ee’s to top off our diesel tank and back to our home park.

This will give us a 260 mile test drive which should be a good enough test. At least we’ve never been to get this far in the past without leakage.

Then it will be time to schedule our much-delayed Alabama trip, maybe around the middle of November.

Thought For The Day:

I wish to modify my RNA or DNA but thanks for asking.



Home In Texas

October 17, 2010

Mexican and More Mexican . . .

First off, here’s Mister really enjoying his fuzzy blankie.

Mister on his blanky

Later, about 11:30 am, we met our son, Chris, his wife, Linda, & our granddaughter, Piper at Chuy’s for lunch. Chuy’s is one of our favorite Mexican places and it’s nice to have one so close by now.

About 1 pm I drove over to a client’s for some computer work. While I was there, our daughter, Brandi called and said Landon’s Baptism is set for Nov. 7th at their church in Katy. We’re really looking forward to it.

I headed back to the rig about 6:15, getting back just in time for this great sunset.

Galveston Bay Sunset

Among other great sunsets we’ve seen, is this one this past September in Elkhart, IN.

Elkhart Sunset 1

and this one in Gila Bend, AZ, less than two weeks after we first hit the road in February 2008.

Gila Bend Sunset

I got home a little before 7, just in time to get Jan and head back out to meet out long-time friends, Bob and Maria at La Brisa about 7:15.

As usual, we had a great time talking and didn’t leave the restaurant until about 9. I think they were getting ready to close up.

Tomorrow I’ve got a bunch of errands to run and also pick up some computer stuff at Fry’s Electronics, my favorite computer store.

More tomorrow…

Thought for the Day:

”I sat through most of my college classes ruminating on whether it was the course material that made the professors so mind-numbingly dull, or whether they were dull to start with, and just gravitated to such course material”



Still Working In Elkhart

October 17, 2011

Mexican and Muffins . . .

After a relaxing morning of coffee and muffins, Jan and I just enjoyed the brief burst of sunny weather we woke up to today, because tomorrow we’re back to rain and more wind. Wheeee!

After lunch I headed back over to the RV/MH Hall of Fame to work on their computer system some more. And by the time I left about 4:30 I was finally starting to get a handle on the things that still need to be done..

After getting home we all headed over to El Maguey for a great Mexican meal and a lot of good conversation, getting back to the rig in time for our favorite Monday night TV programs.

And now for another installment of . . .

Things Every RV’er should have:

As a follow-up to yesterday’s post about testing your power connections using an AC Receptacle Tester, todays post will tell you how to not only test your power, but protect your rig at the same time.

To do that you need one of these. a Progressive EMS (Electrical Management System).

They have permanently mounted units like this one,


and portable, hang-on-the-pedestal models like this one.


Available in both 30 and 50 amp models, these units monitor your incoming shore power three different ways.

First, after you plug into the pedestal and flip the breaker on, the unit cycles through a number of tests on the incoming power, including voltage, frequency, and all possible mis-connections, i.e. open ground, open neutral, etc., before it applies power to the coach.

Second, it monitors the power all the time to be sure that the voltage levels stay over 108 volts, and under 132 volts. Voltage levels outside this range can damage your rig and your appliances.

Third, it acts as a surge suppressor to protect your rig from voltage surges and nearby lightning strikes, just the surge suppressor power strips you plug your computers and other electronics into.

I bought my Progressive EMS from Daryl Lawrence of Lawrence RV Accessories, a month after we started our full-timing life. And in the last four years I’ve lost track of the times that the unit alerted me to problems with the power at the pedestal.

Once, on Cape Cod in 2009 the EMS gave its life in a shower of sparks to protect our rig from over 400 volts. And even though it was a weekend, Progressive overnighted me a new board to get my EMS going again. Now that’s service!


Thought for the Day:

Pournelle’s Iron Law of Bureaucracy is that in any bureaucracy, the people devoted to the benefit of the bureaucracy itself always get in control, so that those dedicated to the goals the bureaucracy is supposed to accomplish have less and less influence, and sometimes are eliminated entirely.


Gate Guarding Redux

October 17, 2013

Groundhog Gate . . .

or The Ceremonial Changing of the Hoodie

Although our days have been very nice, in the high 70’s and low 80’s, our nights are getting a bit nippy, sometimes with a vengeance. Last week we were still having nights in the mid/high 70’s until the recent cold front came through.

A few nights ago the Weather Channel said the overnight low was supposed to be 62 degrees, but at 4am, it was still 77. So I’m thinking, Boy, did they screw up this forecast. But a few minutes after 4 a little north wind started up. Then the temp started falling like the bottom dropped out of the thermometer.

And by 4:30 it was 63 degrees! 14 degrees in 30 minutes. Maybe I shouldn’t have insulted their forecasting skills after all. I don’t think I’ve ever experienced a drop like that.

Anyway, when Jan comes out to relieve me a little before 7am, it’s still pretty chilly, about 60 degrees, and for some reason, we only have one hooded jacket, so every morning before I go in to go to bed, we exchange the hoodie jacket outside.

In retrospect, this story was a long way to go to get nowhere.

As far as Groundhog Gate, as usual Jan has been counting the days until we head back to Houston, probably since before we even got here. So a couple of weeks ago she gleefully told me we only six weeks until we leave the gate. But after thinking for a moment I told here I didn’t think that was right, that it was more like 7 or 8 weeks. She said, No, she was sure that it was only six weeks, but she would go inside and check. Then a few minutes later, I hear some VERY unladylike language emanating from the rig. She had discovered I was right.

Then the other day she was watching a TV ad that mentioned it was only three weeks ’til Halloween, and I hear another “NNOOOOOOOOOO!”. Turned out she forgot she was watching a DVR’d show. Oops.

I told her later that this was a Groundhog Gate, where the day never changes. Trucks come in, trucks come out. It’s hot, it’s cold, it’s rainy, it’s windy. It’s just the same day, over and over and over again.

Or at least it seems like it some times.

Yesterday I finally completed a mammoth 22 hour, 1.7 GB download. And it only took me two tries. The first time it got to about 20% before it froze, but made it all the way though the second time. What I was doing was downloading the latest 2014 map update for the Garmin 1490 GPS that we use in our truck. And at 1.7 GB it’s probably the largest file I’ve ever downloaded.

They have a program called Garmin Express that, after you plug in your GPS to the computer, tells you what updates you need and sets you up to download them. The only real problem is that the Garmin Express software does not let you pause or resume the download, or pick up where you left off if you get knocked off line. So you just have to start it up and hope for the best. But it’s done for this year at least.

Thought for the Day:

There’s a saying that you can make something foolproof, but you can’t make it damn-foolproof.



More Redux

October 17, 2014

A Big Drop . . .

Today was grocery day so I left the rig (RV and oil) a little after 10 for B/CS about 25 miles away. But before I even got to the paved road, I had to stop and take some pictures.

Llamas at Gate

I think I’d mentioned before about there being llamas along our road, but this was the first time they’d been near the fence. When I stopped the truck and got out to take a picture, a couple of them walked over to the fence, but I didn’t get any closer since I didn’t know the owner. And because they spit.

They seem to make themselves right at home among the cows. All told, there seem to be 20-30 out in the field.

Wal-Mart only took about 45 minutes since my list was pretty short, mostly because of all the Gate Food we’ve been getting from Ama’s, which as I hoped, has been delivering to the frack site that’s going to be working for another week or so.

One thing new on my list was doggie treats. If there’s a animal nearby, Jan’s going to try and feed it. Birds, deer, squirrels, and now apparently, dogs. Old Dog and New Dog will be coming around a lot more once they realize there’s treats involved.

And apparently Old Dog now thinks we belong to him. I mentioned a few days ago how Old Dog tried to run New Dog off one morning, even though New Dog is much bigger. Well, Jan said the other morning both of them showed up together, and immediately Old Dog laid down about 3 feet in front of Jan to keep New Dog away.

I think we have a new owner.

Getting back to my Wal-Mart trip, before I left there, I stopped in the McDonald’s for Ice Caramel Mochas and some pies before heading over to the Sonic out in the parking lot for Corn Dogs (Me), a Chili Cheese Coney (Jan) and Chedr Peppers (both) to bring back for lunch.

Due to one of our frack rigs moving out, the traffic was a lot lighter today, with 202 vehicles coming in, to yesterday’s 290, and 324 the day before that.

Universal Leaving

We do have a workover rig coming in there tomorrow morning, so that usually means they had a problem with the frack that they need to fix. But that shouldn’t increase our traffic too much.


Thought for the Day:

Amazon Delivery Drones:

Hovering Piñata’s,

or Skeet Shooting for Presents



Time Off

October 17, 2015

A Brief Reprieve . . .

When I got up about 11 this morning, Jan was sitting in the rig watching TV.

What’s wrong with this picture?

Turns out that the company man had come by about 10, after all the equipment had rolled out, and said that we had a few days off until the workover rig comes in sometime next week. In addition, he gave us a key to lock the gate if we leave for a while.


So we had a nice, quiet morning, just talking and relaxing for the first time in a good while.

Very nice!

Later, Jan and I headed out about 4:45 to have dinner once again at what’s turned out to be our favorite local place, Longhorn Grill. But first we drove down to check out the pad after everyone had pretty much pulled out this morning after the completion of Completion. But as it turned out, everything wasn’t cleared out, I guess waiting for the arrival of the workover rig.

Pad 1

Pad 2

Heading back past the rig, we crossed paths with the landowner, Mr. A. He was just doing his evening rounds, checking out things since the pullout. Told him we were heading out for dinner. We also stopped in for a few minutes with the other gate guards to see if we could bring them anything back from town.

And as our two previous visits, Longhorn was just as good as before. Jan had her 10oz. Sirloin, while I had my usual 14oz. Ribeye.

Longhorn Ribeye 2

And of course, we both had a salad with their great homemade dressings.

Longhorn Salad 3

Jan and I both agree that their salads are so good, they rank right up there with the ones from Outback Steakhouse, which are our other top favorite.

To wrap things up on a high note, we split a piece of their also-homemade Strawberry Cheesecake. And this time I managed to get a picture of it.

Longhorn Cheesecake2

Compare the size of this normal single serving with those thin slivers you get at other places. YUM !

And even better, with the size of the steaks, we had a lot to take home with us, along with some of their homemade yeast rolls. This means steak sandwiches in a few days.

Coming home, we stopped off at the local HEB to pick up a few things, and maybe find a couple of items that the Wal-Mart here doesn’t carry. (Hint. HEB doesn’t either.)

Another good thing about not working for the next few days is that tonight and tomorrow night it’s supposed to be in the mid 40’s here, so it’s nice to be inside

On another note, since yesterday there’s been 131 attempts to break in to this blog. There will be nothing for an hour so, and then 15 minutes of almost constant attempts. Persistent little devils.

But they really don’t stand a chance hacking my password. Mine is 8 characters of upper case, lower case, and numbers. This gives a combination of 62 possibilities per character, i.e 26 upper case, 26 lower case, and 10 numbers.

Multiplying this out at 62 x 62x 62x 62x 62x 62x 62x 62 means they have a 1 in 218,340,105,584,896 chance to guess my password. That’s 218 Trillion with a ‘T’.

That means it would take 6,931,432 years to try every combination.

Of course they could hit the right one tomorrow, but it’s not likely..


Thought for the Day:

“It’s only fair; we were stuck with them in the last war.” – Winston Churchill, upon hearing that Italy had declared war on England as Germany’s ally



No Gate Guarding Call Yet

October 17, 2016

Still Nothing Yet . . .

I waited until about 2pm without hearing from anyone before I put in a call myself. But only got voicemail.

So if I don’t hear from anyone by noon tomorrow, I start back calling some of the other numbers that I talk to earlier.

Catching Up on Small Stuff

I spent most of today finishing up my taxes on TurboTax and finally submitting them on E-File at 9:42 today.

According to the USPS Priority Mail tracking, the county auditor of Lake County, South Dakota received Jan and my Absentee Ballot Request Forms today, so hopefully we’ll get our actual ballots back later this week, or the first part of next.

When I mentioned that the S.M.A.R.T. software on my ASUS laptop was telling me to replace the HD soon because it was failing, several readers ask me where they could get this software, since they didn’t find it listed on Amazon.

And the reason for that is that the S.M.A.R.T. software is actually built into the HD firmware and is constantly monitoring the hardware. Now it’s not perfect because catastrophic failures are still possible. An example of this was a while back when the HD in my desktop machine suddenly died. The drive motor just froze up with no symptoms or warning.

It’s kind of like a tire pressure monitoring system on your RV. It will monitor and warn you about a slow leak, but a sudden blowout probably won’t show up before it goes “BOOM’.

Also be aware that since the S.M.A.R.T. operates at the DOS level so you’ll only get a warning when booting up and shutting down.

Several readers have ask for an update on the Zero G RV and Marine Hose that I started using a while back. It’s a flexible drinking-water safe hose that won’t kink. But though it’s  flexible, it’s not expandable like the ones you see on TV. Instead it feels like canvas, like a fire hose.

Zero G RV Hose

And being flexible, it’s easy to just wad it up and stow it away. And no wrestling with a stiff hose when you’re trying to pack up when it’s 40 degrees outside.

Zero G Hose Couplings

The heavy duty cast aluminum couplings are nice too, and so far the hose shows absolutely no wear since we bought it in June.

Well recommended.

So tomorrow we’ll just keep circling in our holding pattern, waiting to hear from someone.

Thought for the Day:

“Too many people spend money they earned, to buy things they don’t want, to impress people that they don’t like.” –  Will Rogers



Sault Ste. Marie and Bushplanes

October 17, 2018

Bushplanes and A Wild Moose Chase . . .

Today was another fun, but long day, and a late night too. So I’m reposting some more of our visit to the Sault Ste. Marie area in July 2013.

We left for the Canadian side of the Soo Locks about 1pm. And after showing our passports at the border, we first headed down to the Bushplane Museum.

First up was this Canadair CL-215 firefighting amphibious water bomber, one of the premiere planes of the type.

Bushplan CL-215

It fills its tanks by landing at high speed on a lake or river, opening the tank fill doors,

Bushplan CL-215a

and then waiting until water starts gushing out of this overflow outlet. In 8 hours they can may as many as a hundred bombing runs.

Bushplan CL-215b


Whenever I see one of these old Bell 47’s all I can think of is “Whirlybirds”, an old TV show.

Bushplan Bell 47


Next up is this replica Fokker Tri-Motor, built for the movie, Amelia, about Amelia Earhart. Although I never flew in one of these, I did fly in a Ford Tri-Motor a number of times when we were living in South America in the early 60’s.

Bushplan Fokker Tri-Motor


Here’s a neat little homebuilt amphibian, an Esperanza 4.

Bushplan Esperanza 4


And this is pretty much the “end all and be all” of bushplanes, the de Havilland Beaver. First designed in the 1940’s, over 1600 were built until production ended in 1967, with more than 1200 still flying. A real workhorse.

Bushplan Beaver


And RC-3 Seabee

Bushplan RC-3 Seabee


And for some reason, they also had several old cars there. This the fabled Stanley Steamer, a car that I had never actually seen in person before.

Bushplan Stanley Steamer

Doesn’t look like you’d have to change the sparkplugs on this one.

Bushplan Stanley Steamer 2


The next two are a couple of Fords. The only problem with the car displays is that there was absolutely no info on them anywhere, I even ask some of the guides and no one knew the make or year of any of them. Bummer.

Bushplan Ford Sedan

Bushplan Ford Runabout

After seeing a couple of good films on bushplanes and aerial firefighting, we left the museum and headed north up PH17, looking for moose.

Yep, we were on another Wild Moose Chase.

Jan had been told there were a lot of moose about 20 miles north of town in the Mile Hill area. So off we went. But although we found the area with a lot of “Watch For Moose” signs, no moose.

Sometimes I feel like Coronado searching for the Seven Cities of Gold. They’re always right over the next hill.

On our way north we had passed a Boston Pizza, one of our favorites, and by the time we came back past, it was 4:30 and we couldn’t resist stopping for dinner. And as usual, we ordered the large Meater, to give us plenty of leftovers.

On a related note, what is it with the northern Midwest and cold drinks. First, pretty much every place we eaten since Bend, OR never has any sweetener on the table. And after they bring you your drink, they don’t even offer. You have to ask for it.

What’s up with that?

And I’m sorry, but ordering a glass of ice water or iced tea does not mean three lonely ice cubes floating on top of a glass of tepid liquid. It’s usually pretty cold up here. Why do they have to ration ice cubes?

Leaving Boston Pizza and heading home, we stopped off at a Tim Horton’s to pick up some muffins for our next travel days, and also got Iced Hazelnut Cappuccinos to go.

Except for having to wait in line behind a bunch of semi’s, we didn’t have any trouble getting back across the border. I guess Jan’s past hasn’t caught up with her yet.

As I mentioned yesterday, tomorrow we’re going to drive down to St. Ignace and take the ferry over to Mackinac Island, and then the horse-drawn carriage tour around the island.

After we were home for a while, Brandi sent over a bunch of Landon school pics for this year. A real cutie. Can’t wait to see him in about 3 weeks.

Landon School Picture 2013a

Landon School Picture 2013b

Landon School Picture 2013d

Love the hat and bowtie.

Later, just as the sun was going down, I got this shot of a big freighter going by.

Night Time Boat Passing

Don’t know what ship this is, but there are thirteen 1000 footers here on the Lakes, the largest of which at 1,013 feet, is the Paul R. Tregurtha. The American Century we saw going through the Soo Locks the other day is also one of those 1,000 footers.

Thought for the Day:

“Sometimes one pays most for the things one gets for nothing.” – Albert Einstein



Another Day, Another Cruise

October 17, 2019

Choices, Choices, Choices . . .

Jan and I spent most of the day, on and off, talking about our proposed Alaskan Cruise-Tour next September. Or maybe I should call it a Tour-Cruise, since it starts in Fairbanks and ends up on Vancouver, B.C.

We have been trying to figure out many extra days we want to spend in Fairbanks before the cruise actually starts. We kept going back and forth on whether we wanted 4, 5, or 6 extra days. So I made an executive decision that we’ll just do 7 days extra,.

We had originally planned on staying at the Pike’s Landing Lodge, but since the cruise actually starts with a 1 one night stay at Holland America’s hotel, The Westmark, we decided to just stay there the entire so we wouldn’t have to move twice.

We had already planned to get an Inside room, based on our last Holland America Alaskan cruise back in 1998. We had a outside Partial Seaview room which meant we could look out and see the feet of the people walking on the Promenade Deck and the sky behind them. Plus we were almost never in the room during the day anyway.

But on this cruise we’ve got our choice of two different Inside rooms, one Regular and one Large. The only difference is the size, with the Regular one at 151 sq ft and the Large at 233 sq ft.

Noordam Inside Room Photo

Noordam Inside Room

And since the price increase is only $65/person, we’re going with the bigger one.

The next decision was about our meals. On our 1998 cruise, we only had two choices, Early Seating at 5:45pm and the Late Seating at 8pm, and a pre-assigned table.

But we really liked the Open Time/Open Seating for meals on our Viking Cruise. Of course, within a couple of days we had met up with a great bunch of people and ended up sitting with the same people at the same table anyway. But it was our choice of friends and our choice of table.

Cruising The Rhine Taste Of Germany Group

But now we have a 3rd choice, Open Time/Open Seating just like Viking. It’s the same menu, just in a different dining room.

So that’s what we chose.

Thought For The Day:

Coffee Does So Much For Us And Asks For Nothing in Return.




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