Before Its Time . . .

It’s looking more and more like our upcoming Alaskan Cruise is going to be a no-go. Yesterday Canada announced that they would allow no cruises to dock at any Canadian port, I.e. Vancouver, where our cruise is supposed to end, until February 2022. Now the first thought would be just use Seattle instead. But there’s a problem with that too.

All foreign-flagged ships, pretty much all cruise ships, must dock at at least one foreign port when transiting American waters, I.e. Vancouver again. So now we’ll just have to wait and see what happens next.

Back in the day, before Dometic bought them, Fan-Tastic Vent Fans pretty much had a lifetime guarantee. I know several times I called about parts and they sent them to me gratis. But that changed when Dometic took over.

Any way the fan motor in our bathroom vent fan has been slowing dying, and finally croaked the other day. So when I called Dometic about a new motor/fan combo, I was quoted a price of $75. But I found the same one on Amazon for half that.

Fantastic Vent Motor and Fan

Dometic Fan Blade and Motor

It will have to be installed from up top, but it should go pretty quickly.

Tomorrow afternoon Jan and I are going to meet Brandi. Lowell, and Landon at the Babin’s Seafood up in Katy. We’ve never eaten at a Babin’s, another in Tilman Fertitta’s stable of restaurants, and we’re looking forward to trying it.


Thought For The Day:

“Life’s tragedy is that we get old too soon and wise too late,” – Benjamin Franklin

 

 


February 5, 2011

The Toilet Wars are over . . .

and I won!

The new base adapter kit from Dometic finally let me mount the toilet correctly.

To review . . . I bought a new toilet while we were in Las Vegas last March because I was tired of replacing the seals in the old one. But I also bought myself a lot of new problems.

Thinking I would simplify things, I bought the same Sealand Traveler 500 toilet that was already in the coach. But in the intervening 10 years they had changed the base plate from a 4 bolt mount to a 2 bolt one.

I put in a call to Sealand to see if they had anything to help me with the problem. Not only did they not have anything to help, they didn’t seem to understand what the problem even was.

So I tried various schemes over the last year with only a modicum of success…usually temporary.

So a couple of weeks ago, in an act of quiet desperation, I called Sealand again.

And lo and behold, they’d finally figured out they had a problem. And now they had an adapter kit to fix it.

And it worked great. The war is over.

We met Brandi, Lowell, and Landon at King Food at 11:30am for lunch before heading over to their house so Jan could Landon sit while Brandi and Lowell go out to a movie and then to the Taste of Texas Restaurant up on I-10 and Beltway 8.

Leaving Jan at Brandi’s, I first when by Sam’s Club, and then dropped our winter comforter off at the cleaners. After that I headed back to the rig to install the toilet adapter kit. I did make one trip out to Home Depot to get some new bolts since the old ones were a little corroded.

When I came back I found Mister and Emma jostling for position on the heated kitty bed. It looks like Emma is trying to push Mister away with her paw, but actually she’s sound asleep.

Mister and Emma 3

Finishing up the toilet repair, I left the rig about 5:30 and headed back up Brandi’s. While I was there I did get some great Landon pics, but I left the camera there, so they’ll be for later.

Brandi and Lowell got back about 6:30 and then Jan and I headed down to Texas City to Ryan’s for supper. Jan wanted fried chicken and they have some of the best around.

We got back to the rig about 8:30 pm and settled in for the night, after another long, but fun, day.

The weather supposed to be nice for the next several days, so I hope I can get the rest of my chores done around the rig.

More tomorrow. . .

——————————————————————————————————————-

Thought for the Day:

“If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude than the animated contest of freedom, go from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains sit lightly upon you, and may prosperity forget that you were our countrymen!” –Samuel Adams

 

 


February 5, 2012

Barcenas and La Posta . . .

Jan and I decided to have the Sunday morning breakfast buffet at La Brisa this morning, and as we were leaving the coach, she was wondering if she should feed the birds before we left, or wait until we came back.

Well the birds decided for her. As soon as she stepped out of the coach, flocks of birds headed toward us, squawking all the way, and settled in the palm trees surrounding our site, just waiting for the birdseed lady (Jan) to get to work.

We also had our Great Blue Heron friend right off shore keeping an eye on things.

Great Blue Heron 4

After our usual great La Brisa breakfast, I brought Jan home and then turned around and headed up to Webster to spend the afternoon working at a client’s office, setting up some things that’s hard to do when everyone is there working.

Finally about 4:30 I headed back down to the rig to pick up Jan so we could head right back up to meet Brandi, Lowell, and Landon at the Barcenas Mexican Restaurant right near their house.

Brandi had gotten back from Denver earlier in the afternoon, glad to be out of the snow and ice and 8 degree temps, and back to just rainy Houston.

Landon was his usual energetic self, keeping us all highly entertained.

Jan started out feeding him the chips and Queso, but apparently Landon thought she was spending too much time talking and not enough time feeding him,

Landon Barcenas 35

so he just started feeding himself.

Landon Barcenas 4

Landon Barcenas 5

 

Then after we finished eating, Jan and Landon had a rousing game of “Where’s Landon?”

Barcena Where's Landon 1

Barcena Where's Landon 2

After a fun get-together at Barcenas, and a quick stop at CVS, Jan and I headed home, talking about our upcoming travels, and some of our other favorite Mexican Restaurants around the country, and one in particular, the legendary La Posta de Mesilla in the Old Mesilla area of Las Cruces.

On the National Register of Historic Buildings, the La Posta Compound dates back to the 1840’s when it was a freight station. Then after the Civil War it was an important stop on the Butterfield Stagecoach Line. And later, it was the home of the Corn Exchange Hotel, one of the finest in the Southwest. The La Posta de Mesilla Restaurant opened in 1939 and the same family has been serving delicious food there ever since.

Jan and I are really looking forward to eating there when we’re through there in a couple of weeks or so.


Thought for the Day:

Camping…nature’s way to feed the mosquitoes.

 

 


February 5, 2013

Out of Breath . . .

Today started early (very early!) with a 7am departure from the rig up to Friendswood for Jan’s doctor visit for this year. It took about 90 minutes, but she got a clean bill of health for this year. So she’s good to go.

Since she had to fast this morning before her tests, we headed down the road to Kelley’s Country Cookin for a really good breakfast.

And coffee, lots of coffee.

Then it was about 5 miles down the road to try once again to replace a client’s computer power supply. Readers will remember last Saturday I went to the client’s house with what turned out to be used, dead power supply in a new box.

So after correcting the situation with EPO, the store that sold it to me, I was back to try again. And this time the new supply worked fine and after a few minutes the client was up and running again.

Our next stop was Brock’s Car Care near our house to talk about getting some work done on our truck tomorrow. We’re going to rent a car this afternoon and then drop the truck so they can get started on it the first thing tomorrow.

Next up was a client in Clear Lake and then one in Pasadena (Hi, Tricia!), and then finally, home.

But our stay only lasted an hour and then it was back on the road, and a stop for dinner at Monterey’s Little Mexico for some good Mexican.

By 5pm we were up in League City to Enterprise Leasing to rent a Toyota Corolla, or at least that’s what I reserved and was paying for. But something I’ve learned over the years is that if you renting a cheap, small car at a small town office, you usually get upgraded because they’re out of small cars.

In this case we ended up with a big, honkin’ Dodge RAM Crew Cab truck. Sweet!

Then I drove the rental up to Brock’s with Jan following in our truck, where we swapped stuff out and left it to be worked on.

Then after a quick stop at Kroger’s and Chase Bank, we ran by Brandi’s to check the mail, Sam’s Club for prescriptions, and finally home.

(Catching my breath) Glad today is over.

——————————————————————————————————————–

Thought for the Day:

One of the ordinary modes by which tyrants accomplish their purposes without resistance is by disarming the people and making it an offense to keep arms. – Joseph Story – Supreme Court Justice – 1811 to 1845

 

 


February 5, 2014

Good to Go . . .

Jan and I were up early this morning, leaving the rig about 8 AM and heading up to Friendswood, where our doctor put us up on the rack, gave us a full checkout, drained some fluids, and topped off our prescriptions. As a result she said we’re good to go for another 12 months or 12,000 miles of RV’ing, whichever comes first.

On a related subject, so far for me, Medicare is an expensive rip-off. Before I went on it this past October, I was self-pay for my yearly checkups, and they normally cost me about $200, including all the tests. This year, under Medicare, my checkup was $125, a savings of a whole $75. Great!

Except that’s ignoring the $105 a month that Medicare is costing me out of my Social Security. So it cost me $1260 a year to save $75. Wheee!

When I mentioned something about this to the office clerk, she reassured me that once I met the $147 deductible, another visit would only cost me $23. Oh boy!

Since I’ve never had to go to the doctor twice in one year, I was not really impressed by this cost savings.

Of course, I’ll probably sing a different tune if something serious happens. But until then, I’ll just whine and complain.

I’m good at that.

By the time we were both finished, it was after 11 AM, so we decided to reward ourselves with lunch at Twin Peaks. Or maybe Jan decided to reward me.

The first thing we did was to apologize to our regular waitress, Lauren, for being unfaithful to her by eating at Bombshell’s, a competitor breastaurant. She laughed and said that she and her boyfriend had eaten there this past weekend, and they didn’t think anymore of it than we did.

Twin Peaks 4 500

After our usual good food and great service, Lauren reminded us (me) as we were leaving, that this coming Saturday the 8th is the beginning of Lingerie Week at Twin Peaks.

Twin Peaks Lingerie Week

What can I say? I guess we’ll just have to eat here again next week.

Maybe even more than once.

Leaving Twin Peaks, and after a quick client visit, we stopped off at Barnes & Noble to check out the magazine section. We thought about getting a couple of coffees at the resident Starbuck’s, but decided that for just about the same price of two coffees there, we could get two coffees and four of the delicious Cranberry Nut muffins to go at the Buc-ee’s on the way home. They’re great heated up for breakfast.

Around 3:30, our son Chris and his wife Linda, stopped by for a few minutes. While he was here, Chris helped me put the two front chairs back in place after the Great Reflooring. And Linda got to see the beautiful job Chris had done on the floor.

Thanks, again, Chris

Tomorrow will probably a mixture of work-around-the-rig and client stuff.


Thought for the Day:

Live in Peace, but build for War.

 

 


February 5, 2015

Not Much . . .

is pretty much what Jan and I did most of the day. It was foggy, dreary, and spitting rain the whole time, not very conducive to doing much of anything. Especially not outside.

I made some phone calls, one to Thousand Trails reserving some dates over the next few months as we travel out west and later back east. As it stands right now, we’ll spend from March through the middle of May out west, before heading back to Illinois by the end of May for a family reunion.

Then Jan and I will spend the next couple of months in Indiana, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, before we finally start back toward Texas the first part of August.

Later in the afternoon, I went over my service history with RV Mobile Lube. It’s about time to get our rig serviced again, and I’ve always used them to do it. They come right to the RV park, change all the fluids and filters, and lube the chassis and driveline. They will also service the generator, check/change your coolant, and service your transmission.

I will probably just get the engine and the coolant service, since my generator doesn’t need it yet, and since I’ve had two past transmission fluid changes with TransSynd, I don’t need my Allison transmission serviced for another 50,000 miles.

One thing new I wasn’t happy to see when we got back to the Galveston Bay RV Park was this.

GBRV Corner Rock

They’ve decided to line the corners of the new sites with large boulders. Just the thing to turn a tight corner into a multi-thousand dollar repair bill. If they’re so worried about a rig cutting across the grass, they should have just put in a diagonal of concrete or gravel there.

A little before 5pm, Jan and I headed right down the road to meet Chris, Linda, and Piper at the Herb Café, a nice small restaurant with a great menu. Jan and I have eaten here several times before and it’s always been good. And it was tonight too.

Not only is every thing fresh and made inhouse, but they grow their own herbs and seasonings in their garden next door. Really good.

Tomorrow: Fiberglass

___________________________________________________________________

Thought for the Day:

I have learned to use the word ‘impossible’ with the greatest caution. – Wernher von Braun

 

 


February 5, 2016

Sometimes it’s the 10% . . .

Chris and his wife Linda showed up about 10am to pick up his invalid bike.

On his way back from Burnet yesterday, he’d discovered the rear tire on his bike was coming apart so he left it here to come back today and pick it up. He rented a U-Haul motorcycle trailer to take it back with them, which made really easy to get it loaded and tied down.

Chris Motorcycle 1_thumb[4]

Once it was all ready, Jan and I followed them into town to have breakfast at Schobel’s Restaurant in Columbus before they headed home. But by then it was so close to lunch, that I was the only one who had breakfast, with everyone else having lunch instead. But we had a good time talking, anyway.

After seeing Chris and Linda off, and coming back from our breakfast/lunch, we made a detour out on US90E to Schneider Welding to see if I could drop off my screen door hinge. He said he could do it, but not today. I said that was just fine as long as I get it back by next Friday, before we leave for Lake Conroe on Sunday.

Getting back home, it was time to tackle my clogged up toilet problem. As I mentioned yesterday, after thinking it over, I was 90% certain that a clogged roof vent pipe was causing my problem.

Well . . . No.

It turned out to be the other 10%. I eliminated the vent pipe situation last night by turning off the shore water, opening the black valve, and then inside, just barely opening the toilet bowl ball. The level dropped an inch or so, but then stopped, even after I opened the toilet valve all the way.

So this morning I was going to use a long fiberglass rod to try and clear the clog. With the water still off, I stepped on the floor pedal to open the toilet ball and started poking down into the toilet.

And on about the 2nd poke I hit something hard that clinked. But the level did drop a little more. So I poked some more and suddenly it all broke free and every thing drained.

But what was the ‘clink’? Grabbing a flashlight I could see the problem.

The pipe drops about 18” into the tank (further than I thought) and it was clear. But above it was a section of white PVC-looking pipe that made up the base of the toilet pedestal itself. This was inserted in the black pipe leading to the tank. And a section of this white pipe had cracked and was sticking out into the center of the pipe.

Due to the discoloration, it looks like it’s been there for a good while, maybe since the coach was new. Tapping it with the rod, it was hard and not flexible at all. The only thing I can figure is that over time stuff had been building up on that piece until it finally clogged completely. And if I try to break it off or remove it, I would take a chance of having it fall into the tank. Not a good thing.

So I’ll just leave it alone for now and check it with a flashlight every now and then. Like I said yesterday, we’ve never had a clog before in the 8+ years we’ve owned the coach, so maybe it will go another 8 years. We’ll see.

About 4:45 we picked up our friend Randy Lazarine and all headed into Columbus to have dinner at Los Cabos Mexican Grill

Readers of our blog from December 2014 may remember my adventures with Randy’s new-to-him Monaco Diplomat. He had bought it from PPL here in Houston a few days earlier, and ended up parked right next to us here at the Colorado River Thousand Trails. He saw me outside working on my rig, and asked for some help with his rig’s electrical system.

After he’d been parked here several days,  both his coach and engine batteries had run down. You can follow the story of what I found wrong with his coach, and how I fixed it. How it ever got off the dealer lot that way is a mystery.

https://ourrvadventures.com/2014/12/charge-2/

https://ourrvadventures.com/2014/12/batteries-and-balls/

https://ourrvadventures.com/2014/12/wiring-and-re-wiring/

Check out the story above.

As far as the latest Karma the Kat update, she’s apparently decided she’s definitely a ‘rig’ cat now. We had started out worrying that she might try to escape since she was so used to being outside. But we’ve since noticed that if she’s anywhere up front in the rig and we open the door, she heads for the bedroom as fast as she can go.

She’s not taking any chances.

Wrapping up, I want to congratulate my uncle Tom Calvin on his Lifetime Achievement Award as the winningest high school football coach in Alabama history.

Tom Calvin Coaching

Tom Calvin: Honoring a lifetime of achievement

After playing for the University of Alabama for three years in the late 40’s, he played fullback for the Pittsburgh Steelers for 4 years before being injured. He then coached high school football for the next 33 years, amassing a record of 201-130-11.

And his wife Lenette holds her own in the sports department as well, She’s an Olympic-level gymnastic coach, even working with famed Olympic coach Béla Károlyi at several Olympics, and at his facility in Houston.

Congratulations to both.


Thought for the Day:

Old age is not as bad as I thought. It’s a good feeling when you just don’t give a damn anymore and you feel lucky just to wake up in the morning.

 

 


February 5, 2018

At Least One Thing Good . . .

Work today was kind of a madhouse. Jennifer, the office manager, was out, possibly with the flu, but hopefully not.

I haven’t seen her since last Wednesday, and based on the flu’s incubation period (1 to 4 days, 2 days average) I (and by extension, Jan) should be OK

Bu with Jennifer out, between phone orders, walk-ins, and processing web orders, we were overrun, even with me getting roped in. And it may get worse in the next few days as the sales ad cards start getting delivered.

We did get some sample ad cards via Priority Mail from the direct mail company today, and they looked great. They took my original design of a 6” x 6” layout and stretched out to about 6” x 11”, much more of an eye-catcher in the mailbox.

As I mentioned before, Jan and I have started laying out our next RV adventure. We plan on leaving here on June 23rd, with our first stop at Poche’s Fish N Camp in Breaux Bridge, LA. Then we’ll spend the next few days working our way north up to Vandalia, IL for another big family reunion at her sister Debbie’s and her extended family, arriving on the 26th.

We always stay at the Timber Trails RV Park in nearby Mulberry Grove, and since we’re bumping up against the 4th of July holidays, I put in a call to get our reservation in early, leaving a message.

When the lady called back a couple of days later she was laughing, saying that the park didn’t even open until April 1st and that they were down in Florida for the winter.

But she said to call her back on April 1st and I’d be first in line. So I told Alexa to remind me then.

Then come July 1st, we’ll head south, down to Athens, AL to check in on all my surviving relatives, before heading back to Houston on the 6th or so.

Then later in the summer,  July or so, we plan on heading down to Florida to check out our good friends Nick and Terri Russell’s new digs in Edgewater, and also catching up with a couple of Jan’s old friends in the Titusville area and West Palm Beach.

It’ll be good to get back on the road.

At least one thing good came out of yesterday’s outrageously-priced Jiffy Lube oil change. Believe it or not, it fixed my oil pressure gauge problem.

The possibility of this happening is actually why I got the oil change yesterday in the first place. When I was Googling my original problem, I saw a couple of references to people having the same problem curing it by replacing the oil filter.

Apparently the oil flows out of the filter and directly by the pressure sensor, so maybe if the filter material was collapsing, or the internal filter bypass was messed up, that might make the sensor kind of wonky.

The last time I had the oil changed was in Rapid City last spring about 6000 miles ago. And the Jiffy Lube guy said it was a FRAM filter they replaced so it wasn’t a cheap filter causing the problem.

But at least it’s now fixed.



The Headline of the Day:
Woman in sumo-wrestler suit assaulted her ex-girlfriend in gay bar after she waved at man dressed as a Snickers candy bar.


Thought for the Day:

If Thought Bubbles Appeared Above My Head, I’d Be Screwed.

 

 


February 5, 2019

It’s Twenty Years Old . . .

How Long Can It Last?

Jan and I headed a little after 1pm for lunch at our favorite King Food. But as we were passing by, we made a detour into Rudy’s BBQ for a take-home bottle of their BBQ sauce, as well as a jar of their coarse ground pepper,

Rudy's Black Pepper

as well as one of their coarse salt.

At King Food, Jan got her usual Chicken with Hot Garlic Sauce with Jalapenos,

King Food Chcken Garlic 3

while I went with just a big bowl of their Hot and Sour Soup.

King Food Big Bowl Hot & Sour

Always a treat.

BTW a few years ago King Food was selected as one of the Top 100 Chinese Restaurants in the US.

Then it was on up the Interstate for a quick stop at Lowe’s for some screws, and then it was on to the nearby WalMart for more stuff. It seems we never have quite enough stuff.

Then it was on home with a stop for a couple lottery tickets.

A number of years ago the temperature controller on our rig’s Dometic NDR 1292 refrigerator quit controlling. Luckily it stuck wide open, so for a while I just watched the internal temp and cycled the fridge on and off.

But this was a problem when we were away for a few days. So a while back I hooked it up to one of these WiFi switches,

PECHAM WiFi Switches

so that I can control the fridge remotely. And I also can control it via Alexa, as well putting it on a timer. But it was still hard to allow for outside temperature changes which affected the fridge internal temps.

So why didn’t I just fix it? Well, the consensus was that it was the controller board. A VERY expensive controller board. And really more money than I wanted to put into an, at the time, decade and a half old refrigerator. I mean, how long can it last?

Now, except for this, our Dometic has been a workhorse, and unlike many other Dometic and Norcold RV refrigerators, our 1292 has never had a recall on it. But I keep waiting for it to fail so I can replace it with a Samsung or LG residential fridge.

I mean, it’s twenty years old.

How long can it last?

At this point  though, I’m beginning to believe it might just outlast Jan and I.

But I would like to find a cheap(er) fix for the temperature problems. So recently I came across this.

WiFi Thermostat

Digital WiFi Thermostat

A thin probe connects the unit to the inside of the fridge, which then will turn the fridge on and off based on the temperature setting I select. In addition, I can also control it manually via Alexa, or an Android app.

Hopefully that will take care of this problem.


Thought for the Day:

“Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies just because they become fashions.” – G.K. Chesterton – 1930

 

 


February 5, 2020

Before Its Time . . .

This was a Peloton before there was a Peloton.

Bally LifeCycle

In January 1987 I left the NASA contractor where I working on the Space Shuttle and moved over to Krug Life Sciences where I was working on the first iteration of the Space Station, then called Space Station Freedom.

I was the computer/video interface guy in a small group tasked with designing exercise equipment for the astronauts to use in space. After brainstorming for a few weeks, tossing around ideas for things what would work in Zero-G.

I mean, weight-lifting was out, as well as pushups. Even running on a treadmill wouldn’t be a worthwhile effort. Finally we settled on the idea of an exercise bike of some sort. The effort needed wouldn’t change under Zero-G conditions, and the astronaut wouldn’t float away if he was strapped to the seat.

In addition, we were also told to find a way to make the exercise ‘entertaining’. Getting started, our first job was to get an exercise bike to work with.

At the time Bally was the manufacturer of one of the top-of-the-line computer-controlled exercise bike, the Bally Lifecycle. So we called and appealed to their patriotic inclinations. Well, that and the promise of being able to advertise it ‘As Used On The Space Station’. And with some subtle threats, ‘possible IRS audits, etc.’ I was able to get a complete set of schematics and manuals on the bike.

As far as the ‘entertainment’ part of this, we decided to try and interface a video disc player to the unit that would play back biking videos, touring places like Hawaii, Yellowstone, and Yosemite. After a lot of work we came up with a way that the astronauts could take different routes and the video disc would sync up with their turns, so they could take a different route every time they exercised. And they could also speed up, slow down, or stop. All of this viewed on a monitor mounted over the bike’s handlebars.

And it was all controlled by a Commodore 64 that I had removed from the case, disconnected the keyboard, and mounted the circuit board inside the bike. The program was stored on a game cartridge so that when you turned the C64 on, it booted up directly into the program.

The only unknown at that point was to fly the video disc player on the Vomit Comet to be sure it would work in Zero-G. But while we were waiting for our slot to come up on an upcoming flight, Krug lost their contract on this project, and I move on to another contract.

The bike and our mods went back to Bally and disappeared. But then about 10 years, our concept was resurrected by Bally and others, utilizing the new DVD players that had just come out. We were just ahead of our time, and the technology.

Maybe tomorrow I’ll tell you the rest of this story. About a hammer, a brutal murder, a psychotic doctor, and 40 years in prison.


Thought For The Day:

Sometimes I really need this.

Feasible Reasons

 

 

 


2 Responses to Before Its Time . . .

  1. Lois says:

    I just paid a deposit for an Alaskan cruise a week before the shut down, for June of this year on Royal Caribbean.  I was thinking the same thing as you. Are you going to take the refund or the credit? I am thinking of taking the refund.

    thanks again for all your research on the virus, it help me get thru.

    • gregwhite says:

      Lois,

      Still not sure what we’re going to. I would hope that they cancel it for now, before our $4200 payment on February 17th. Though we’d probably rebook, not crazy about having over $5000 tied up just sitting there, even with the 125% credit.

      So we’re leaning toward the refund too.

      Thanks for your comment and kind words.

      Greg

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