Once More Into The Breech . . .

Tomorrow (and maybe Sunday) I’m making one last attempt to fix our rig’s oil leak.

Or at least to fix it myself.

I’m going to pull the oil filter once again, remove the 4 bolts from the adapter head, and then try to remove the head itself. I’m not sure how easy this is going to be since I used the Permatex Ultra Black sealer to put it all together.

But once I get it off, and I will, I’m going to remove the one flakey Heli-coil, replace it with a new one, and then put it all back together, this time with two gaskets and no sealer. And then we’ll see.

If if makes it through the high-idle test, then we’ll schedule a test drive. Otherwise I’ll be making an appointment at the repair place up in Channelview.

So will my truck smell like pie?

Pumpkin Spice Oil Change

Well, ii might.

Years ago I was following a pickup along a country road and I kept smelling French fries, but I couldn’t figure out where it was coming from. I mean this was farm land.

But then I noticed that the closer I got to the truck in front of me, the stronger the smell got. (And the hungrier I got, too)

And then it dawned on me that the truck was a diesel and was running on bio-diesel made from used French fry oil. And I’ve noticed a couple of more times over the years.

So maybe pumpkin pie exhaust is not so far-fetched.




November 6, 2009

Skeletons and Dragons and Owls…Oh My!

Well, we’re presently about 40 miles southeast of St. Louis, MO.  We’ll be here for a couple of days to check out the Gateway Arch and other sites in the area. We’re this far away from St. Louis because I had trouble finding an RV park that was still open.  Most of them closed November 1st.

Sunday or Monday, we’ll head about 190 miles further southwest to Branson, MO for several days to take in some of the shows and attractions.

We spent the last 5 days visiting my sister-in-law Debbie and her husband Jim in Vandalia, IL.  Just like last year, we were able to leave the coach parked at Burl and Shirley’s farm, right next to the barn.


We had a great time catching up with our nieces, Tana and Christina, our nephew Jason, and his wife Laura, and our grand-nieces, Gwen, Avery Jane, and the newest addition, Ella.

Here’s Gwen and Avery Jane helping Aunt Debbie water the garden.

Gwen and Avery Jane Watering

And check out these Halloween costumes.  Aunt Debbie made Gwen a great looking owl costume.


And here’s Miss Avery Jane and Ella as a scary Dragon and a skeleton.

Avery Jane and Ella Costumes Avery Jane Costume

Vandalia is a very neat little town with some strange features.  I mean, how many towns do you know that have their own dragon.


And it breathes fire…if you put in a quarter.

Dragon 1

Unfortunately we didn’t have any quarters.

We finally headed out about 11:30 am and made the 140 mile trip to the Stanton, MO KOA in about 3 hours. It was a easy trip because it was pretty much Interstate all the way.

More tomorrow…




November 6, 2011

Last Day in Indiana . . .

Well, except for the small decorative moose clock in the bathroom, all the clocks in the rig now automagically set themselves to the atomic clock in Colorado, so last night’s change from Daylight Savings Time went very smoothly. Besides the moose clock, all that was left was the clock in the toad.

Of course it’s really all for naught since tomorrow we move back into Central Time Zone, and except for our cell phones, I haven’t found any house clocks with GPS so they know when they’ve moved into a new time zone.

I hope someone’s working on that.

I spent some time today getting us ready to travel tomorrow. Since we’ll be boondocking at least one night I added some water to the fresh tank, and topped off the air in my driver’s inside rear dual. It has a slight leak, and after a couple of weeks always needs some air.

It’s been about a month since I last checked the batteries so I topped them off and then stored some things in the bays.

Tomorrow morning all I should have to do is bring in the satellite dish and unhook the utilities and we’re good to go.

A little before 4pm Jan and I headed into the Cincinnati area to have dinner again at Logan’s Roadhouse, the closest decent steak place. Texas Roadhouse is better, but the nearest one here is a lot further away.

We got back to the park a little before 6, and I parked behind the rig this time and went ahead and hooked up the toad and brake system so we’ll be ready to go tomorrow morning.

We’ve really enjoyed our stay here at Indian Lakes, and hopefully we’ll get to come back next year. It’s a really nice park.

Thought for the Day:

Remember, if you’re not playing the game, the game is playing you.




November 6, 2012

On to Gulf Shores . . .

Well, if the Lord’s willing and the creek don’t rise, we’ll be on our way again down to Gulf Shores.

When we left Northgate RV Travel Park about 8:30 Monday morning, we were first headed about a mile and a half down the road to fill up with diesel at a Texaco station. Unfortunately we only made it about a mile before our coach diesel just up and quit. Just like I’d turned the key off.

Luckily I was able to pull off the road and into a long turn lane leading into an apartment complex.

Even though my Silverleaf said I still had about 40 gallons left, due to my problems a couple of months ago with a clogged fuel tank vent tube, and the resulting vacuum crushing in part of my fuel tank, I thought I might actually be out of diesel.

So, using my 5 gallon can, I put in 15 gallons of diesel (the amount Cummins says to use if you run out) and ran the priming sequence that Cummins recommends.

With no luck.

So after talking with Spartan, I checked the 4 fuses for the Engine ECU and the Fuel Pump.

Again with no luck.

So finally it was time to call Coach-Net Emergency Road Service to get us towed in to a service center. It almost two hours for them to locate a wrecker heavy enough to tow us, and then almost an hour to get us ready to tow.

But finally we were on the road following the tow truck in our toad, heading over to Bankston Motorhomes in Huntsville. We finally got parked and checked in there about 2:30, but it was about 3pm before a tech started looking at our rig.

But since the shop closed at 4:30 he only had time to run through some basic checks and tests before time ran out. But after trying to prime and crank several times, we still had no luck, and that was it for the day.

We had planned to stay in the rig since we had power available from the shop, but around 9:30 our power suddenly went off. So after thinking it over we headed over to a nearby Holiday Inn Express. We had been invited to stay with my Aunt and Uncle in Athens, if we needed, but as late as it was, and since we wanted to be back at the shop before 8:30am, we decided to stay local.

However it was about 9:30 before the tech got back on the job. The delay was caused by the fact that he wanted to use the computerized scanner and it was in use on another coach.

And when he finally got to use it, it didn’t really help. There were no codes and everything seemed to be working fine.

It still just seemed like fuel wasn’t getting to the engine. So the tech decided to try to just “brute-force” it.

Fill both filters with diesel and just crank it until it starts. Of course you can only crank it for about a minute at a time to keep the starter from overheating. And since we had been cranking off and on for a good while, our batteries, even using the AUX START switch, were getting too weak to do much more cranking.

So the tech went and got the Start Cart, a heavy duty wagon with 8 12volt batteries in it. The tech was also going to use a little ether. This is normally not a good idea because the intake air pre-heater can ignite the ether and cause things to go BOOM! But we pulled the fuse for the pre-heater to eliminate that problem.

This first time we tried this, the engine cranked for about 15 seconds and then caught. But it only ran for about 5 seconds and then died. So after letting it cool off for about 30 seconds, we tried it again.

This time it ran for about a minute and then died. And the third time was the charm. The engine caught the first thing and just ran. And ran. And ran.

Not to look a gift horse in the mouth, I immediately ran to the office to pay so we could get on the road. But it still took about 20 minutes before we were pulling out.

Since it was really too late to head toward Gulf Shores, we just headed back to the RV park in Athens. On the way we stopped off at Kroger’s and took on about 90 gallons of diesel at $3.75 a gallon.

The rig ran fine all the way back to Athens, and restarted with no problems after fueling up.

Tomorrow we’ll try again for Gulf Shores.

Stay tuned.

Thought for the Day:

“Sometimes paranoia is just having all the facts.” – William S. Burroughs




November 6, 2014

Drying Out . . .

I headed over to Bryan/College Station about 9:30 this morning for our weekly grocery/supply run. Since it’s almost a 90 minute round-trip, this gives me time to get everything done and still get back before it’s time for me to relieve Jan on the gate at 1pm, and also time to eat the lunch I bring back.

My first stop was the AutoZone to pick up the flasher control module for our 2004 Dodge Dakota. At least I hope that this $70 module is the reason my turn signals and emergency flashers are completely dead. I’m getting tired of waving my arms out the window. Now all I have to do is check my Haynes repair manual and figure out where to stick it.

Finishing up my Wal-Mart duties, but before leaving the store, I stopped in at their McDonald’s for Iced Caramel Mochas and 2 apple and 2 sweet potato pies. Since we’re having lunch for our big meal, we’ll have a couple of pies for dinner tonight, and then the others for breakfast tomorrow.

Then it was across the parking to the Sonic to get Jan’s Chili-Cheese Coney (light onions) and my Corn Dogs, and an order of Ched’r Peppers for our lunch. Unfortunately when I got back to the gate, we found that Jan’s Chili-Cheese Coney (light onions) was a bun, a coney, and light onions. And ONLY that.

No chili, no cheese, and no mustard. But she said the Ched’r Peppers were good!

Our frack finally got restarted this morning so the sand trucks are pouring back in again. We did 227 vehicles through the gate for the day, down a good bit since they weren’t fracking during the night, so no sand trucks during that time.

Coming back to the gate I once again saw that big orange ball of fusing hydrogen gas up in the sky, for the first time in days it seems like. Although it’s drying out, our road is still awash due to the runoff from the surrounding land, so it’s going to take a few days of dry weather before everything’s back to normal.

Or at least as normal as it gets around here.

Since we’re looking at nighttime temps in the 30’s for the next ten days or so, I picked up a box of these HotHands Hand Warmers at Wal-Mart today to give them a try.


You just open the package to expose them to the air, squeeze them a bit, and they heat up and stay hot for about 10 hours. They’re pretty ingenious in that they only contain iron power, salt water, charcoal, and kitty litter.

And they get hot by rusting. But they rust really, really fast which gives off heat. Pretty neat, and no dangerous chemicals.


Thought for the Day:

Everything you’ve learned in school as “obvious” becomes less and less obvious as you begin to study the universe. For example, there are no solids in the universe. There’s not even a suggestion of a solid. There are no absolute continuums. There are no surfaces. There are no straight lines. – R. Buckminster Fuller




November 6, 2015

Either She’s Better Trained Now . . .

Or I am.

Probably a little of both

Starting tomorrow morning we’ll be keeping our heads down here on the gate.

It’s the first day of deer hunting season in this area.

And there will be deer hunters here. The landowner has deer stands and blinds set up all over, as well as a lot of game cameras, and he charges people to hunt on his land here.

They’re not supposed to shoot in our direction, and we are wearing orange safety vests, but a few of these idiots manage to shoot each other every year, and they’re wearing orange safety vests too.

About 11am I headed into Carthage for my weekly Wal-Mart shopping. Oh, and Whataburger too.

The first thing I noticed there was that gas was $1.91 at the station there. When I here this past Tuesday, I filled up for $1.83, a big jump for three days. But I guess it bodes well for the oil industry.

One thing I picked up at Wal-Mart was a bottle of Diesel Kleen. I try to dump in a bottle every 3rd or 4th tank of diesel

Here’s what I had to say about it when we were gate guarding in July, 2012.

A few days ago I was talking with one of the drivers for Macro Trucking, one of the big haulers in this area for the rigs. They have over 600 semi’s, and we get 3 or 4 a day in here.

The driver told me about Power Service Diesel Kleen with Cetane Boost.

Diesel Kleen

He said the company had started using it in all their trucks about 9 months ago, after doing a six month trial run on about 50 of them. He said they were getting a solid 5-6% increase in mileage, along with cleaner injectors.

So I’ve used it every 3rd fill-up or so ever since. Can I tell you that my mileage has increased, or my injectors are cleaner?

No, it’s pretty much impossible to really see an MPG change with the varied routes and conditions we drive under. And I haven’t had my injectors looked at since I started using Diesel Kleen, or before, for that matter.

But we just recently hit 135,000 miles on our coach, about 70,000 miles of it from our travels, and except for a bad fuel line sensor a couple of years ago, we’ve had no engine problems in our 8 years of travel.

One reader asked if Diesel Kleen was approved by Cummins Diesel. I don’t know, but I kind of doubt it. The manufacturers can’t test every additive, and every combination of additives that you might use. But I’m pretty sure all these trucking companies wouldn’t be using Diesel Kleen if they didn’t think it worked, or that it would harm their engines.

When I put the Diesel Kleen in, I’ll also put in a slug of Biocide like this.

When the weather gets cold and rainy, moisture will start to condense in your diesel tank. And the moisture feeds algae, which starts to grow in the fuel. And when you start the engine, the algae clogs the fuel filter, and your engine stops.

Been there. Done that.

But a capful of Biocide will take care of the problem.

Was it always just this simple?

Recently I’ve mentioned (complained?, ranted?) about getting my order right at Whataburger. I would tell her that I wanted a #6 with cheese, and only these extras, which in Jan’s case, is ketchup, mustard, tomatoes, and grilled onions, and nothing else.

Then she would ask, “Do you want pickles?”, and we’d go around again.

And today it was the same girl, but I tried a different tack. I said, “I want a #6 with cheese, plain. Then I want following, ketchup, mustard, tomatoes, and grilled onions. After each item, I waited for her to hit the key on the register.

The first time, we just stared at each for a few seconds until I said “ketchup” again, and nodded at the register. And she hit the ketchup key and it came up on the little screen in front of me.


Then it was item, key, item, key, item, key, and we were done.

Then my burger went just as smoothly.  So this time it took about 30 seconds total, instead of the usual 2 or 3 minutes of back and forth.

Of course with my luck there’ll be a new girl next time, and we’ll start this all over.

Who are you going to believe, me or the lying website

Seeing as how the equine carcass was still twitching a little, I decided to take another swing or two at it.

A couple of days ago I related how I had tried to buy a Thousand Trails Camping Pass to augment our park selection during our trip up to Vermont for the 56th Escapade next July. This was after trying to buy a Ready, Camp, Go card, or a Zone Pass for same reason. And this was based on this page of the website.

Camping Pass

I was told that it did not mean what I thought it meant, and that I could not add a Camping Pass to my membership. Then yesterday I was back on the TT website and when I went to the My Membership page, I saw this.

TT My Membership Page

Note the “Want to add more campgrounds to your membership?” part.

Why yes, thank you. I do.

So I “Clicked Here”, and guess where it took me.

No, go ahead, guess. I’ll wait.

Right the first time. And the second, and the third.

It took me right back here.

Camping Pass

Ok, surely I had them dead to rights this time.

Well . . . NO.

This time I called Corporate Member Services instead of the phone number on the page. Surely they could straighten this out.

Well . . . NO

First off, the lady denied that the website said that. And after we went round and round about it, I gave her my password so she could log in as me. She was still insisting that I was wrong until she got to my My Membership page. Then she got quiet.

After about 30 seconds of silence, she said, “That’s not what it means.”

Me: “Well then, what does it mean?”

More silence.

Finally, “It means you can upgrade to an Elite Membership.”

Me: “Then what’s the Camping Pass part for?”

More silence.

Finally, “It’s to show you how much better an Elite Membership is than a Camping Pass.”

Me: “But I don’t have a Camping Pass, so why should I care? Since it’s on my My Membership page, why doesn’t it show my Alliance membership and compare with how much better an Elite Membership is?”

More silence.

This is getting to be fun.

It’s lonely on the gate, and I needed some entertainment.

Then she put me on hold and went away for about 5 minutes. When she came back she said, “We have no control over what’s on the website.”

Me: “Well, didn’t someone from Corporate have to tell someone at the website to put that up there.

Again, “We have no control over what’s on the website.”

Me: “Well, could I talk to someone who does have control over what’s on the website.”

Again, “We have no control over what’s on the website.”

Seeing as how we were circling back around for a fourth go at this, I thanked her for her time, and told her to have a nice day.

But the part of all this that really ticked me off was something she told me early on when I mentioned no longer being able to buy a Ready, Camp, Go card like I originally wanted.

I called in on October 4th to purchase the RCG card and that’s when I found out they were no longer available.

They stopped being available on October 1st.

I have no words.

Well, yes, I do. But you probably don’t want to hear them.

Thought for the Day:

Is Nothing Sacred Anymore?

Andy Griffith Show

I think my favorite part is that Aunt Bee hated everyone.




November 6, 2016

Living in Six Shooter Junction . . .

Well, I’m finished up at this gate and off for a couple of days. Todd says I’ll probably be back on another gate by Wednesday.

Actually, it’s going to be nice to be off  for a few days, especially since I’ve been on Day shift. Besides having to get up at 5:30 AM, there’s real time to do any shopping. By the time I get home it’s almost 7pm, and by the time we eat supper and I do the blog, it’s pretty much time for bed.

And it would be even worse it I was on a 5am to 5pm shift, which means I would have to be up at 4am. NNNOOOOOOO!

Last week when I dropped off our absentee ballots at the Kenedy PO, I was amazed when I walked in. It was like walking back into the Post Offices of my childhood.

Kenedy PO 0

Kenedy PO 1

Kenedy PO 2

Turns out there’s a reason for this feeling. This Post Office is almost 80 years old. Build in 1937 as a WPA project during the Depression, it’s amazing how good a shape it’s still in.

There’s another building in downtown that has a 1912 date on the lintel, and then there’s this old time service station too.

Kenedy Filling Station

Not bad for a town that in the early 1900’s was nicknamed “Six Shooter Junction” because of all the gunfighter shootouts that happened in the area.

Tomorrow we’ve got an Amazon package coming, and then the lunch buffet at Barth’s. Monday is Chicken Fried Steak and Chicken Fried Chicken Day, crossing off another day of the week.

Thought for the Day:

Always drink upstream from the herd.




November 6, 2018

Don’t You Dare!

We had our ophthalmologist appointments at 2:15 so we decided to go in a little early and have breakfast at The Egg and I once again. Jan’s new favorite is their Avocado Toast with Scrambled Eggs and Salad Greens

Egg and I Avocado Toast and Greens

We had hoped to try out Snooze- An AM Eatery, a new breakfast place, right down the street from the Egg, but it doesn’t open until the14th. We’re looking forward to checking it out.

As far as the ophthalmologist results, Jan’s finally going to get her cataracts removed, starting with the left one on Dec. 6th. Otherwise everything else looks OK, with no signs of macular degeneration or retinal neuropathy.

My diagnosed cataract pretty much isn’t. After checking out my eyes, particularly the left one, said all I really have is a slight thickening or yellowing of the cornea, and not a cataract. He set me with an appointment with the practice’s cornea guy to double check for any problems.

He also scoffed when I mentioned that my optometrist said that I couldn’t drive at night, and had no problem filling out a new SD Vision Statement to get that restriction off my license.

This afternoon it suddenly dawned on me that the speedometer of our rental Malibu goes all the way up to 160 mph.

Malibu Speedometer

When I mentioned it to Jan, she immediately said, “Don’t You Dare!”.

She knows me so well.

When we were first dating in 1967, I had a souped-up red 1965 Triumph Spitfire like this.

1965 Triumph Spitfire

Except that mine had a full roll-bar and a white racing stripe.

The original Spitfire had a 1,147 cc OHV inline 4 with about 67hp, good for about 95mph. Downhill, and with a tailwind.

But mine,  purchased from the brother of an ex-girlfriend, had a full race-prepared engine, putting out 89hp at 6000rpm on the dyno.

But not to let well enough alone, I shoehorned a Triumph GT6 6 cylinder engine in, also prepped, this one to about 170hp. This on a 1500 pound car.

Which is why, when Jan and I were coming home from Orlando one night on a nice straight, deserted road, and I guess noticing how quickly the scenery was streaming past, she asked how fast we were going, and I told her.

135 mph!

Her eyes got really big, and she ‘eek’d’ a little, but that was it. I think that’s when I really knew I was going to marry this girl.

Previously, I had had it up to a little over 140, but the front end would get a little ‘bouncy’.

FWIW, I had taken both the Basic and Advanced Racing Courses at the Bob Bondurant Racing School in Atlanta, and had previously raced in SCCA F, G, and Unlimited classes. So it wasn’t like I hadn’t done this before.

So Jan had good reason to suspect that I might want to find out whether or not the Malibu was worthy of this speedometer.

Thought for the Day:

“Calling a thing by its right name is the beginning of wisdom.” – Kahlil Gibran




November 6, 2019

You Go, Girl!

I mentioned yesterday that I had taken our ASUS laptop with us on our errands so I could be sure my DeLorme GPS module was still working.

I use the module along with the DeLorme Street Atlas 2015 program to guide us on our RV trips, and have since 2007. The database has every RV park we’ve ever stayed at, all 339 of them, as well as many sites and attractions along the way. It also has every route we’ve ever taken.

Master RV Parks List

When we’re traveling in the RV the laptop sits on a tray next to my driver’s seat, and displays not only the GPS directions at the bottom of the screen, but also my Silverleaf Digital Dashboard display.

Silverleaf 2

But note above that I’s still using the 2015 version of the Street Atlas program. That’s because that was the last version that DeLorme came out with. And that was because Garmin bought out DeLorme, mainly for their Iridium Sat Phone technology. But they apparently didn’t want to continue with the Street Atlas program, so the 2016 version never appeared.

And that also means that there has been no map updates either.  Bummer!

So occasionally  we find ourselves driving ‘off-road, at least according to the map display. But it still gets us there.

But it’s hard to hate Garmin for this, because I like their GPS units so much. We’ve had this Garmin Nuvi 1490 LMT since December 2011 and it’s still going strong.

Garmin 1490LMT

Well, with a little help, anyway. Over the last 8 years I’ve had to replace the power cord and the internal battery, but otherwise no problems.

I guess it’s a Love/Hate Relationship.

Recently I told you about the leggings that Jan recently bought, but up until yesterday she had only worn them in the rig because she thought only young girls wore them out.

But after I pointed out several women her age also wearing them, yesterday she wore them out on our errands. And after I was finished checking out at the WalMart while she waited out by the rest rooms and  I caught up with her, she had a big smile on her face.

She said that while she was waiting for me, a young black girl came by and told her that she was ‘rocking those leggings’, and then said, “You Go, Girl!”.

Jan's Nightmare Before Christmas Leggings

Probably won’t be the last time she wears her leggings out in public now.

You Go, Girl!

Thought For The Day:

The foolishness of one’s actions or words is determined by the number of witnesses.