A Two Heater Night . . .

Last night was our first really cold one here, all the way down to 34°. Well, I know that’s not cold for a lot of you, but here it’s pretty chilly.

Pretty much a two heater night, so I plugged in our 2nd Lasko heater to keep the coach from getting too cold overnight. I normally set them both for about 60°. Then it’s pretty quick to warm things up in the morning.

And it looks like we’ve got a string of 30’s and 40’s coming up for the next week or so. Well, we’ve got two more smaller heaters in our storage room if we need them.

Jan and I headed out about 1pm for lunch at Dickinson Seafood again. Blackened Catfish, Grilled Veggies, and a Side Salad.

Dickinson Seafood Catfish 20201020

Always delicious.

Then after a WalMart shopping sojourn, we headed home, with a stop by Cowboy Coffee, for, well, coffee. At least for me.

A Large, Large, Cold Blended Sugar-Free Pumpkin Spice Latte.

Cowboy Coffee SF PS

A real frou frou drink, but really good.

Jan tried a Chai Tea with Steamed Milk for the first time and really liked it too.

Tomorrow morning we’re heading down Galveston to have breakfast/brunch at the Sunflower Café, a favorite of ours. We’re meeting up with long time friends, Jim and Peri Dean, and another couple to be named later.

Really looking forward to it.


December 1, 2010

You learn something new every week . . .

First off, we’ve got a great photo of Master Landon going to visit Santa at the mall in HIS Santa Suit.

Brandi said that, unlike a lot of kids who cry sitting on Santa’s lap, Landon started laughing out loud when Santa tickled him under his chin.

Landon in Santa Suit

Now what did I learn new this week?  Two things.

First, I CAN lose two credit cards in one week.

I mentioned the other day how I somehow lost/left my credit card in a Wal-Mart. I’m still not sure what happened. I swiped my CC and remember putting it back in my billfold and then taking my cashback and putting it in my billfold. I can only guess that the card fell out. But I got it back the next day from Customer Service, and I’ve been checking my account, but no unknown charges have come thru. So, no harm, no foul.

The second thing I learned is that when an ATM now takes your card, it doesn’t keep it.


Yesterday, I stopped at a Wells Fargo to deposit a check from a client. These new ATMs have a feature where you can just stick the check in the slot and it reads it and deposits it. No deposit slip, nothing.

But, unlike any ATM I’ve used recently, this one took my card. Every other one I’ve used recently you stick your card in the slot and then pull it back out. So I was surprised when this one just sucked my card in.

Then I had trouble getting the ATM to take my check in the slot. The little door wouldn’t open. Finally, after cancelling the deposit, and then telling it again I wanted to deposit a check, it worked.

But I was already running late for my next appointment, and in a hurry, I forgot my credit card was still in the machine, and I didn’t realize it was missing until last night at dinner. And then I remembered what I had done.

So I thought no problem. I’ll call the bank tomorrow morning and we’ll run by and pick it up on our way out of town.


When I phoned the guy at the bank and asked if I could come by and pick it up, he just laughed and said “Well, you can, but it wouldn’t do you any good. It’s in about 500 little tiny pieces.” Apparently the banks don’t service the ATMs anymore. The armored car companies do, and to keep anyone else from getting your card, the machine just chews it up.

Who Knew?

He said I could come by any Wells Fargo and they can issue me a new card instantly. So I’ll do that later this week.

Before we left for the Texas Hill Country this morning I got these great photos of the Bayou and some wildlife.

What’s hard to see in this first shot is the bird on the piling right in the center of the photo.

GB RV 1201

A little tighter shot shows it’s a Great Blue Heron.

GB RV 1201a

And here’s an even closer on it. A beautiful bird.

GB RV 1201b

And here’s an Anhinga, another local water bird. It’s low tide and he’s sitting on part of a submerged boat.

Egret 1201

We got on our way to the Hill Country a little before 10, first stopping at Chris’ to drop off some paperwork, and then we headed up I-45.

We got to Fischer, TX about 2:30 pm, after making our usual stop at the Buc-ee’s in Luling for a bathroom break. We had come up to visit for a couple of days with our friend Gina who lives on a 600 acre cattle ranch near Fischer.

After catching up on things, about 5 we headed out for supper over in Wimberley, a nearby small town. We wanted to eat at the Cypress Creek Café, that had now reopened.

In the restaurant, and looking at the menu, I noticed they had Buffalo Wings in Mild, Hot, Very Hot, and … Devil’s Breath!

And yes, it was printed in red with the exclamation point. And after the name it had “Signed Waiver Required”. Then underneath it said it was made with Ghost Chilies, the hottest peppers in the world.


I had to have them.

The Ghost Chili, or Bhut jolokia, or Naga jolokia, has been rated between 855,000 and 1,041, 427 Scoville Units, the heat rating for chili peppers.

By comparison, Tabasco Sauce rates at 2500 – 5000 SHU (Scoville Heat Units), and regular jalapenos rate at 5000-10000 SHU.

And they do make you sign a waiver, but you don’t get a certificate like you do when you have the Atomic Wings at Quaker Steak and Lube.  Bummer!

And to add insult to injury, when they bring out your platter of 12 wings, they sprinkled them with red pepper flakes. Oh Boy!

The waiter said they came 6 to 8 to an order, so I also got a bowl of tortilla soup, while Jan got the Chicken Fried Chicken and Gina got the Chicken Fried Steak.

But 12 wings turned out to be too much food with the soup. Jan ate one or two wings and I ate 6, along with my soup, so we had 4 to take home.

Now for my review. They were hot, but I’m not sure it was hotter than the Blazin’ sauce at Buffalo Wild Wings, nor as hot as the Atomic Wings at Quaker Steak.

What was funny is that it was a different kind of heat. It did meet my two main criteria for hot stuff…the top of my bald head starts sweating and my nose starts running, but it didn’t make my lips burn like the new XXX Obscene sauce at Hooters. They tingled, but my lips didn’t burn for several hours like with the XXX.

But all in all, it was an interesting experience. I’d always wanted to try Ghost Chilies, but this is the first place I’ve seen them on the menu. I’d have them again.

Getting back to the ranch we found Gina’s raccoons waiting for us on the porch. There were three babies who came running over to me, sitting up on their hind legs wanting to be fed. I got this photo of one trying to figure out if my shoe was food. At least I hope it was my shoe and not my foot.

Me and baby raccoon

A little later Jan sat out with Gina as even more came in to be fed. Gina said she’s had as many as 20 at one time.

Gina Racoons 1

She puts out large pans of dog food and water. These two appear to be washing up before their meal.

Gina Racoons 2

And they really like peanuts. Here’s Gina hand feeding one of the babies.

Gina Racoons 3

That’s about it for today. More from the Hill Country tomorrow.

Thought for the Day:

Very sad life. Probably have very sad death. But at least there is symmetry” – Zathrus



December 1, 2012

Burning Chrome . . .

Our son Chris came over about 11 to fix my stuck tailpipe problem.

To recap, my rig’s chrome tailpipe extension rusted out and while we were at the Thousand Trails in Batesville, IN, back in September, I decide to install the new one that I had actually ordered while we were gate guarding. But I ran into a problem getting the old one off. It had been jammed into the muffler pipe so far that I was unable to get it out. I tried penetrating oil, banging on it, heating it with a torch, etc., all with no luck. So I decided to put it off until we got back to Houston.

And with the right tools it just took a few minutes. My son used a Sawzall reciprocating saw and a metal cutting blade to quickly cut the old extension off flush with the muffler extension. Then he put the saw blade into the muffler pipe and cut a slot into the remaining piece of the extension.

Tailpipe 1

After that it was easy to use a pair of pliers to twist and remove the old piece.

Tailpipe 2

Then it was just a few minutes to clamp the new extension into place and the job was done.

Tailpipe 3

By now it was time for lunch, so Jan, Chris, and I headed up to Bacliff to have lunch at Stomp’s Burger Joint, probably our favorite local burger place.

Stomps 5

Stomps 1

Stomp’s has some of the best burgers around, and is always crowded. And in addition, their onion rings are fantastic. I don’t know what they do different, but they’re like no place else.

Stomps 4

After lunch, and saying our goodbyes to Chris, Jan and I headed into Webster for a couple of errands.

First stop was to pick up some pants I had altered, and then it was on to Lowe’s to get a new toilet seat for the rig. The old one had the finish coming off in a couple of places so we wanted to get a new one.

Our last stop before heading home was Half Price Books for Jan to look for a new calendar.

Then it was back to the rig for the night.

Thought for the Day:

Courage is being scared to death – but saddling up anyway. – John Wayne




December 1, 2013

Resting Up and Wrapping Up . . .

Today was pretty much a rest-up day from yesterday’s Texas Renaissance Festival visit. Actually we seem to be doing a lot of resting up lately. Resting up from 3 months on the gate, resting up from Thanksgiving, resting up from . . . Well you get the picture.

But we were rested enough to want breakfast this morning so about 10:30 we headed out for the breakfast buffet at La Brisa right up the road on 146. They have one of the best breakfasts around with a combination of American and Mexican dishes. Great!

Afterwards we drove around for a while to check out changes in the area before heading over to Chris and Linda’s to drop off some of Jan’s sausage balls that we forgot to give them after Thanksgiving.

Our granddaughter Piper told us the other day that she’s still on course for her medical education. January 14th she starts a 10 week course to become an EMT. Then next it’s on to Paramedic school. She then plans to use her employment in these fields to help fuel her further schooling. They will also count as clinical hours during these classes.

Piper at TexRenFest

Sounds like she’s really got her career on track. And beautiful to boot.

We also heard from Jim and Linda Mossman, the couple who took over our gate when we left November 23rd. Sounds like they’re not any busier so far than we were. You can check out their blog here: Jim and Linda’s Travels. I’ve also added their blog to the blog rolls here.

I’ve been looking over our travels this past year, which completes our 6th year of full-timing. We did 7,779 miles this year for a total of 60,386 miles for the 6 years.

This means our coach, a 1999 American Eagle,  now has a total of 124,897 miles on it, and so far she’s still going strong. (fingers crossed). Our toad (truck) now has a little over 208,000 miles on it, 107,000 that we put on it since we bought it in the fall of 2007. Of course this doesn’t include the 60,000 miles it’s been towed behind the rig, mileage that doesn’t get recorded on the truck’s odometer.

All in all, a nice year, and I think we’re all ready to go again next year. Well, the truck’s in the shop, but I’m sure it’ll be ready too. (Well, I hope.)

Tomorrow it’s time to get back to work with a client visit or two. Hopefully we’ll also hear something about the truck from the shop.

Thought for the Day:





December 1, 2014

I Don’t Feel So Bad Now . . .

Catching up on Sunday:

After a long night spent fighting Walker the Dog for space on the couch, I woke up tired. He would curl up at the bottom and then slowly stretch out until he was taking up most of the sofa. and all of the blanket. Once when I got up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, I came back to find he had worked his way under the blanket until he was completely covered. So when Jan got up about 7am, I went in and got a couple of hours of sleep on the single bed where she’d been sleeping.

When I finally got up about 9:30 Jan and I headed out to have breakfast at The Egg and I, our favorite local breakfast/lunch place. Besides the good food, they have a really great Hazelnut coffee to go with it, so it’s always a go-to breakfast place for us.

After a great breakfast, we drove over to Tuesday Morning so Jan could pick out Christmas cards. She’s always found the best deals on high-end cards there, so it’s the first place she checks.

Next it was my turn with a trip across the Interstate to one of my favorite places, Fry’s Electronics. I could wander around in here for hours . . . and have a few times. But this time I was here for something specific, a microSD card for my latest toy.

RadioShack QuadCopter

It’s a remote control quadcopter, only about 5-3/4 inches from blade tip to blade tip. And even better, it has a HD quality video/still camera built in. And even better, better, is the fact it only cost me $9.95. Which is probably why it didn’t come with a memory card, and I had to supply my own.

I got this quadcopter at RadioShack, where originally it listed for $79.95, but they had it on a Black Friday Sale for $34.95. But I had a $25 off coupon on any purchase of $35 or more. So I also bought a battery for $1 to get me over the $35 limit.

They tried to sell me microSD card for it, but it was way too expensive. Which was probably the idea they had in discounting the quadcopter.

But while I was in Fry’s getting my memory card, I found a another new toy.

Swann Atom Quadcopter

Another quadcopter. But while this one doesn’t have a camera, it is kind of special . . . It’s only about 3 inches blade tip to blade tip. Here’s a comparison.

QuadCopter Comparison

And this one was only $12 with a $10 mail-in rebate. I wonder how much smaller they can make these.

By the time we got back to the house, Chris, Linda, and Piper showed up from their trip, so after getting hugs and goodbyes, Jan and I headed up to Brandi and Lowell’s to pick up our mail and have dinner before we headed back to Conroe and home.

We decided not to all go out for dinner, but instead Lowell and I went to bring back sandwiches from Phillies Cheesesteaks, which actually is right next door to Little V’s Vietnamese Bistro, our favorite place there.

And these Cheesesteaks are the real thing. The guy who owns the place used to work at Pat’s in Philadelphia, which is one of the two places claiming to be the originator of the Cheesesteak, the other one being Gino’s, which is right across the street from Pat’s.

He started out trying find a local bakery that could duplicate the sandwich rolls from Philly, but had no luck. So for a while, he flew in flash-frozen rolls from there, but now he brings in frozen 5 gal buckets of dough and has a local place bake them fresh. He says that they taste as good as back in Philly, and the many customer reviews on Yelp and other places seem to agree.

And for our part, the Cheesesteaks and Cheese Fries we got were really great. Another place to go back to.

After getting our second round of hugs and goodbyes and collecting our mail, Jan and I headed back home a little before 7pm. I was happy to see that our South Dakota tag stickers had come in, since the ones on the truck and the rig expire today.

We got home about 8pm, both glad to be able to sleep in our own bed, with me very happy that I don’t have to fight a dog for the blanket.

Now to today:

After our morning coffee and muffins, Jan and I headed out for lunch and some errands, with our first stop being the Conroe Sam’s Club to drop off Jan’s prescription for Anastrozole, her replacement for the Tamoxifen breast cancer drug she had so much trouble with. We’ll see  how this one does.

Next, with the dreary, rainy day, Jan decided she wanted a bowl of her favorite Creamy Tomato Soup from the Twin Peaks ‘breastaurant’, about t0 miles south on I-45. And who am I to tell her ‘No’.

We’ve only eaten at the Twin Peaks down in Webster, so we were surprised to see how much larger this one was.

Twin Peaks Conroe

It’s two story, and really nice inside, with every booth having their own TV screen. Jan, of course, got her Tomato Soup, and I got my usual Venison Chili,

Twin Peaks Venison Chili2

and we split an order of the Pulled Pork Sliders.

Twin Peaks Pulled Portk Sliders

One thing I quickly noticed about the Venison Chili was that the meat was not as finely ground. It was much chunkier than the Twin Peaks in Webster, so I ask our waitress about it. She said each restaurant grinds their own venison, and the manager here likes it chunky like that. And he’s right. It really is better.

Leaving Twin Peaks, I saw something that made me feel not so bad about my little ‘Oops’ the other day at the Escapees Park in Livingston.

Twin Peaks Stuck Truck 3

Twin Peaks Stuck Truck 1

Twin Peaks Stuck Truck 2

I’m not exactly sure how he managed to do this, but at least I had the excuse that I was backing up at the time.

He did this going forward. And I bet he didn’t expect to have it spread all over the Internet, either.

After a quick stop at Home Depot for a few things, and then Sam’s Club to pick up Jan’s prescription, we were home for the day.

Tomorrow will probably be a stay-at-home, rest up day. But then again, it might not.


Thought for the Day:

I’m not completely worthless. I can always be used as a bad example.




December 1, 2016

McGriddles and GaGa . . .

Jan and I were on the road for our day trip to San Antonio a little before 10am. But our first stop was the Dollar Tree in Floresville.

Jan was looking for a couple more large clamps that she originally got at the Dollar Tree in Conroe, TX. But with no luck, we drove to the other end of the strip center to check out the Dollar General. But we struck out there too.

So giving up for now, we segued over to the McDonald’s right next door for some breakfast. I tried the Bacon, Egg, and Cheese McGriddle this time instead of my usual BE&C Biscuit. Thought the McGriddle was OK, but a little sweet for a breakfast sandwich, at least for my taste. I still like the biscuit version better. McDonald’s does do good biscuits.

Our next stop was the Sam’s Club on I-37 just inside the 410 loop for several things. Most important was a new set of frames for my eyeglasses. I manage to break, bend, twist, or sprain a set about once a year, so it’s lucky that Sam’s has been selling my same frames for over ten years. So while we’re at Sam’s I just drop off my old glasses at the Optical Dept., do the shopping, and then come back in 30 minutes to pick up my glasses, all nice in a new pair of frames. And it’s only about $50, well worth the price.

Then when we went to check out I was told that I needed to renew my membership since it expired Nov. 25th. I knew this wasn’t right since my membership always renews in May, and I had renewed it at the Conroe Sam’s around that time. Then I remembered that there had been a problem with the renewal

Turns out the store manager was taking care of it, and got confused since I was bumping my membership up the Business Plus at the same time I was renewing. He took almost 30 minutes to get it done and finally told me that he wasn’t going to charge me at all.

But as it turns out he still apparently messed up because he only managed to renew me for 6 months, not the full 12. When I ask them to go back in my history to confirm that my renew date has always been May, they saw the problem since they don’t actually offer 6 month renewals. With that straighten out, our next stop was the nearby Target for a few things that Jan needed.

By the time we finished it was 1:15 so it was on down I-37 to the Alamo Quarry  theater to make the 2pm showing of J.K. Rowling’s “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”. The first of five Harry Potter prequels, it tells the story of how one of the magical books mentioned several times in Harry Potter came to be.

We both really liked the movie, which was in 3D. Great characters, great effects and a good story. The 3D was also very well done, with none of the ‘dodging the spear thrown at you’ stuff you sometimes see. But you would swear that the butterflies flying in front of you were only about 12 inches from your face, and you should be able to reach out and touch them.

If you liked the Harry Potter books and movies, you’ll like this movie.

One thing that happen right before we walked into the theater to sit down is that the alarm, and I do mean alarm, went off on my phone. I have a very LOUD ringtone set to alert me about a text from Todd, our SiteWatch supervisor, because it usually means a gate job.

In this case it was a new gate, and a change. Originally I was suppose to work at Davila 5 on Sunday. But now I’m working Saturday AND Sunday at another gate. One called Moczygemba 1H.

So now I have a question. Why don’t people with somewhat normal names have gates named after them? Now usually the name has some reference to the landowner, or the mineral rights owner. But what’s with these names?

So far this year we’ve been at

Solge Kinkler 5
Brysch Jonas
Davila 3,4,5
Davila 5,6,7 (Still don’t understand this one.)
Zaesle Eckols 2

and now

So how come no Jones Smith 1,2,3 or Johnston 3H, 4H, 5H?

When the movie was over, we made the 10 minute drive over to the Magic Time Machine to meet up with our long time friend’s Jim and Peri Dean.

Jim and Peri Dean MTM

They read in last night’s blog that we were going to be in San Antonio today and hoped we could get together. So Jan ask if they wanted to meet us at Magic Time Machine, and they said yes.

Jim and I both got the Ribeye,

Magic Time Machine Ribeye

while Peri and Jan both got the New York Strip. And a good steak was had by all.

For blog readers that may not know, Magic Time Machine is character theme restaurant, where all the waitstaff dress up like characters from books, TV, movies, or entertainment.

In the past we’ve had Wonder Woman,

Magic Time Machine 4

and even the Joker,

Magic Time Machine 5

so you never know who (or what) you’re going to get.

But tonight we had Lady GaGa as our server.

Lady GaGa MTM 1

Lady GaGa MTM 2

She was probably the best server we’ve ever had there. She took really good care of us, got all our orders perfect, and she sings good too, giving us a couple of song and dance numbers.

We were having such a great time they literally had to sing us out the door.

Hopefully we’ll get to see Jim and Peri again soon.

Tomorrow it’s the Chicken Fried Steak Fingers/Fried Catfish lunch at Barth’s, a few things at Wal-Mart and HEB, and then we’re going to drive out to this new gate so I won’t have to try to find it in the dark at 5:30am Saturday morning.

Thought for the Day:

“If you thought that science was certain – well, that is just an error on your part.” ― Richard Feynman




December 1, 2018

A New Hobby . . .

I have a new hobby. It seems like I regularly get phone calls ‘spoofing’ a number close to mine, only differing in the last 4 digits. Now normally I just ignore these and they go away, never leaving a voicemail. But a couple of days ago, I decided to try a new tack.

I answered the call with “Investigative Task Force, Fraud Division. Go for Jackson.”

All I heard on the other end was, “Ah . . . Ah . . . Ah . . . ‘Click’

Kind of reminds me when, back in the early 80’s, I was spending two weeks of every month out at the White Sands Missile Range, the location of the backup Space Shuttle Landing Site for the first half dozen or so missions.

On one of these trips, Jan called and said she was getting obscene phone calls late at night. So I asked, “Anything interesting?”

“No. Kind of boring, really. He’s not very good at it. Too much heavy breathing. But he’s calling at 2am and waking me up.”

Thinking about what to do, I remembered the new phone services we had signed up for a couple of months earlier, i.e. Caller ID, 3-Way Calling, and Call Forwarding, and thought that might be a solution.

I told Jan to look up the non-emergency phone number for the Galveston County Sheriff’s Dept. and then when she goes to bed to forward our number to the Sheriff’s number. And of course, don’t forget to change it back in the morning. So she did.

Some of you may remember that when you did this, and you were home when someone called, you would hear a half-ring before the call was actually forwarded. She said she heard two separate half-rings the first night, one the second night, and no more after that.

Problem solved.

While we’re on the subject of phone calls, while I was getting gas at Costco yesterday, I got a call from a client who I hadn’t  heard from in15-20 years. Or so I thought, since her name came up from my Contact list.

But when I answered it,  it wasn’t Marcela. Instead it was Charity at Bay Area Surgicare concerning Jan’s upcoming cataract surgery next Thursday. Guess the number got reassigned sometime in the past.

And following up getting gas at the Costco for $1.84 yesterday, today Sam’s Club one-upped them with $1.79. Wow!

How about that!  A four subject connected segue.

Thought for the Day:

Two Kinds of Countries