It Just Gets Worse . . .

Tonight was Alvin Opry Night once again, so about 5:30 Jan and I headed up to Alvin to first have dinner at Monterey’s Mexican, our usual stop here.

Then it was on over to the Alvin Opry which is held in the American Legion Hall there. Due to the weather the audience was a little sparse, as was the band, due to the bad weather coming in.

Several of the band members live north of Houston where the roads are already icy, so they begged off. We ended with a Steel Guitar, Lead Guitar, Drummer, and a Bass Guitar. All you really need for a CW band.

The weather forecast just gets worse here. The low Sunday night is supposed to be 25° and raining. Then the high Monday is supposed to be 28° and more rain, falling to a low of 17° Monday night. And again with the rain.

But for some reason, even with all the rain, and the way below freezing temps for over 24 hours, they’re still not showing much in the way of snow.

But we’ll see.


Thought For The Day:

We never really grow up — we only learn how to act in public.

 

 


February 12, 2011

Year 4, Day 1

First off, to recap yesterday, we started off with lunch at the Texas Tea Room with Landon’s other grandparents, Lendell and Sonja.

And, as usual, Landon charmed everyone in the place with his big blue eyes.

LandonTTR 1

LandonTTR 2

Brandi and Lowell left early Friday morning for a long weekend in Colorado, so Lendell and Sonja had driven down from Oklahoma to Landon-sit for the weekend. We couldn’t do it since we were leaving the next day.

Of course, the fact that it was –29 in Oklahoma a few days ago didn’t hurt either.

Reluctantly leaving Landon, Sonja and Lendell, Jan and I headed over to Wal-Mart to stock up for our upcoming travels. Next, we went by a locksmith to get some keys made, before heading over to a client’s office to pick up a final check (always fun).

Finally it was time to head home and start packing to leave tomorrow. Since it was really nice outside I spent the rest of the afternoon working around the rig, packing the toad, and tidying up the site.

At 5pm we drove up to T-Bone Tom’s for our last dinner in Houston. I got a order of Armadillo Eggs, but since I also got a steak, I was only able to eat 1 egg of the 4. These things are Big. They’re made by slicing open a large jalapeno, stuffing it with chopped BBQ Brisket, battering it in 3 different coatings, and then deep-frying them.

Delicious! And leftovers, too.

Armadillo Eggs 2

After dinner we drove over to say goodbye to Chris and Linda. Of course, being Friday night, Miss Piper was missing in action. But we had said goodbye to her on Tuesday night, anyway.

Getting home about 8 we continued to put away stuff and get set up to travel. When you’ve been parked for 5 months you spend a lot of time trying to remember where everything goes.

The last time we were in one place this long was the 5 months we spent in Alaska in 2008. Normally we’re only in Houston for two months or so, but Master Landon’s arrival changed things this year.

I finally got to bed a little after midnight, early for me, but I wanted to get up around 7, 7:30 or so.


Today . . .

I did manage to get up about 7:30, leaving Jan to sleep for awhile longer. It was 27 degrees outside, and everything was covered in a light frost. We even had an icicle.

GalvBayIcicle

I started by packing away the sat dish, and stowing our solar lights that line the driveway.

Then about 8 I went inside to gently awaken Jan by putting my ice-cold hands on her feet that were sticking out from under the covers.

I did say ‘gently’, didn’t I.

I told Jan I thought either all the wet weather we had the last month or so had shrunk the coach, or we bought too much new stuff.

Finally, about 10am Eldy and Jeannie came over to say goodbye. They’ll be here a couple of more weeks before we’ll see them again at the Gypsy Rally in Yuma the first part of March.

We pulled out of Galveston Bay RV Park, our home for the last 5 months, about 10:30, with Jan following me in the toad.

8.4 miles later we made our first stop . . . at Monterey’s Little Mexico in Dickinson. It’s been our ritual for 4 years now that we always stop here for lunch before we hit the road. We really need that one last bowl of Chicken Tortilla Soup.

MontereyLastTime

It also makes a convenient place to hookup the toad and check things out.

While we were eating lunch, our daughter Brandi called from Colorado. She said that they were having a great time, and that Lowell had won $1300 playing blackjack at the casino. Of course Brandi had lost $300 on the slots, but hey, they’re still up $1000!

BrandiColorado

She had earlier sent this photo from Colorado. Beautiful country!

We got back on the road about noon and made our next stop at the Buc-ee’s in Luling about 3:30 to get coffee and also some pastries to take to Gina.

We got to the park a little before 5, got set up and checked in with our friend Gina, who we are visiting here.. She said she’d already had a sandwich, and wasn’t feeling well anyway, so she didn’t want to go out to eat.

So we said we’d see her tomorrow, and about 6, Jan and I headed over to the Italian Garden Restaurant right down the street. Always great.

Getting home about 7:30 I set up the sat dish and we settled in for the night.

Another cold one at about 29 degrees.

And, of course, more tomorrow.


Thought for the Day:

The problem with the Internet, you’re never sure of the accuracy of the quotes. ~ Abraham Lincoln, 1866

 

 


February 12, 2015

It Wasn’t Me . . .

Despite the many rumors,I was not the person in Texas who won the $560 million Powerball Lottery.

Darn it!


After calling to say he was running a little behind and would be here between 1:00 and 1:30, the RV Mobile Lube guy showed up at 1:15 and got right to work.

RV Mobile Lube Truck

He did the complete Full Service Oil Change which consisted of changing engine oil, oil filter, primary and secondary fuel filters, lubing the chassis and driveline, checking all fluids, and correcting tire pressures. And he also did the Coolant Service which consisted of testing the coolant, and changing the coolant filter. He pointed out a couple of things to keep an eye in the next year, and two hours later he was on his way. Total cost was $430, and now I’m done for another two years.

Another thing I like about using RV Mobile Lu is that they give you a complete online list of all your service work. Here’s what mine looks like.

RV Mobile Lube History2

Today’s service has not been added yet.

* * * * *

Unlike my call yesterday to Starlights RV Lights people about my defective patio lights, today I had the pleasure of talking to a company that knows what customer service is all about.

In 2008, when we had only been on the road for about two weeks, one of the first things I purchased for our coach was a Progressive Industries EMS-LCHW50 unit like this one.

EMS_LCHW50

It is hardwired into our incoming shore power, such that it monitors the quality of the power. It not only acts as surge protector, but will detect a multitude of power problems, I.e. overvoltage, undervoltage, off frequency, open neutral and ground, and several others. When you first plug into a pedestal, it will not let the power into your coach until it is satisfied that it meets all of the criteria.

Twice in our seven years of RV’ing, our EMS unit has kept us from letting bad power into our coach, including one time when the power was so bad it burned out a board in the unit, but nothing got into our coach. And since the unit has a LIFETIME WARRANTY, Progressive Industries OVERNIGHTED me a new board with just a phone call.

* * * * *

This is a travesty.

Abe's Corn Cake

It is served as cornbread. They lie. It is not. If anything, it is corn cake.

It has the texture, taste, and sweetness of cake, and almost certainly has more flour than cornmeal in it.

If you iced it, you could sing Happy Birthday around it and nobody would be the wiser.

And don’t even get me started about cornbread dressing.

__________________________________________________________________

Thought for the Day:

Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.” – Albert Einstein

 

 


February 12, 2016

Four Hours Later . . .

We got back to walking this morning, but took a different route, racking up 1.25 miles in a single trip. I was hoping we’d be able to get up to two miles while we were here at Colorado River, but it looks like we’ll have to wait until Lake Conroe next week.

About 2 pm I drove over to the welder’s to pick up my screen door hinge – whether it was ready or not. But as it turned out, it was done. In fact I guess he had seen me drive up since he was standing in the office holding it in his hand. So $20 later I was out the door.

Hinge - Repaired 1_thumb[1]

Well, pretty it’s not.

In fact it;’s actually pretty ugly. Structurally it seems strong enough. At least it doesn’t flex, anyway.

The sliver bead material seems to be aluminum metal from the weld, but I would have felt better if he had ground it down smooth like the original weld. That way I would have had a better Idea about its strength. I did stop off at the hardware store on the way home to pick up a spray can of semi-gloss black to cover up the ugly.

Getting home I soaked the hinge in Dawn and water, and then scrubbed it down to get any residue and oil off, and then got in one coat of black before it was time to head out for dinner.

I’ll do another tomorrow morning, and then remount the screen door tomorrow afternoon. I’ll also start prepping for our move on Sunday morning, back to Lake Conroe for another two weeks.

One thing I do want to do is check all my tire pressures. With all the temperature changes, I want to be sure I’m in the ball park with 105 psi in the front and 100 psi in the rear duals.

And I’ll probably go ahead and dump the waste tanks and take us off shore water. That way I won’t have to wrestle with a cold, stiff water hose Sunday morning.

About 4:15 Jan and I headed up to Ellinger to meet our friends Jim and Perri Dean at Peter’s BBQ. They just got in to the park this morning and we wanted to get together at least once before we leave here on Sunday.

Jim and Perri Dean_thumb[1]

We first met Jim and Perri in Las Vegas when we were all staying at the Las Vegas Thousand Trails in 2013. Then in 2014 we were all here at Colorado River and got together several times with them, along with Gregg and Lynette McHenry.

And I guess we need to get together more often because we spent four hours talking along with dinner. When we got there about 4:30 we were the only ones there, and when we left at a 8:50, they were putting the chairs on tables around us, and shutting down for the night. So we finally took the hint and headed back to the park.

One of the things that took up a lot of the conversation was Alaska. They’re planning a trip up there later this year, so we were trying to give them an idea of what to expect. At least based on our 5 month visit in 2008.

The food at Peter’s was a good as always, but it’s gotten kind of expensive. And that’s just since we were here a month ago. The last time we ate here, January 8th, I think the buffet with BBQ and all the rest was $10.50 for Seniors. And our bill with drinks and tax was about $25.

But this time, they didn’t have a price on the wall for the BBQ buffet, but did have one for the Catfish buffet at $9.95, which is what Jan had. but our total bill this time was about $32

Subtracting out tax, that leaves about $29.50 for the meals. Then subtracting $4 for drinks, and $10 for Jan’s catfish, that leaves my BBQ buffet costing about $15.50, meaning the price has jumped almost 50% in the last month.

Ouch!

Maybe I’ll have the Catfish next time too.


Thought for the Day:


Republics are difficult to maintain and easy to destroy.

 

 


February 12, 2017

Hair Dryers and Hollywood . . .

Two more days, but unfortunately, there’s a 50% chance of rain tomorrow and a 100% chance on Tuesday. But at least Wednesday when we move back to Columbus is supposed to be clear.


Last Minute Flash Update:

I will not be working both Monday and Tuesday. Monday night will be my last shift. My day shift counterpart, Art, and his wife Mollie, who works days on the inside gate, are already leaving tomorrow on vacation. So Todd just wants to replace all four guards in one fell swoop.

Although I will lose the day’s pay, it will make it a lot easier since I won’t have to get off work at 5:30am and then drive the rig to Columbus later in the day on just a few hours of sleep.

So YAY!

Following up on the whole Celebrity Six Degrees of Separation theme, I got this comment from my cousin Joy.

* * * * *

Taking a day off to recharge and read your blog. I cannot compare my own experiences to yours -since I have obviously been sheltered & a wall flower – but I did meet Dan Blocker in Six Gun Territory many years ago (should still have his signature somewhere), and, while working at Bank of America in Malibu, met countless stars – most notably was Roy Orbison, Martin Sheen (offered to help me with my car) and Brian Keith (a surprising horse’s ass).

So many others: Cindy Williams (not as cute or nice as on TV), Cheech & Chong (not at the same time), Henry Mancini’s mother (she was interesting), lots of character actors and support people (you see their names in the credits) like Dan Wallin (his wife was so sweet, very genuine person). It was an interesting time for me – just never knew who would come through the door next.

Oh, thanks for sharing the obit! Funny stuff. I would like to think he actually helped write it – which would be even funnier!

* * * * *

This kind of made me thing of a new game where you link yourself to another person you know through one or more celebrities.

And with my cousin Joy, she’s met Roy Orbison who knew Johnny Cash and then back to me. So we have a Bacon Number of 3. And I wouldn’t be surprised if she put some thought to it, Joy could come up with some more names that might get us down to a BN of 2. Because I actually have a bunch more too.

It’s fun to thing about.

Now since my friend Tricia spilled the beans on the whole Katherine Ross hair dryer thing and several people asked, here goes.

For the first several Shuttle launches, I was part of the NASA television crew that was set up on White Sand Missile Range at a location called Northrup Strip. Northrup Strip was designated as the backup landing site for the Shuttle.

STS-1 and STS-2 both landed on the dry lake bed at Dryden with no problems. But when STS-3 came along in March 1982, problems. Between the Shuttle launch on the 22nd and the landing scheduled on the 30th, heavy rains flooded the lake bed and made a landing impossible.

At this point the landing strip at Kennedy Space Center was still under construction, so White Sands it was. And when it was announced that the Shuttle would be landing there, it seemed like the entire world invaded the little New Mexico town of Alamogordo where we were staying.

There were only two nice motels there, a Best Western and a Holiday Inn. Located side by side, I think they may have both been owned by the same people, since they shared the same restaurant and the bar.

We probably only had 30 people staying at the hotels, but when pretty much every television crew and film crew in the world descended on the town, they found both motels already full. And that’s because, without a lot of publicity, they were filming part of a movie there. And the stars and the crew were taking up most of the other rooms.

The movie in question was “Wrong Is Right”, a dark comedy starring Sean Connery, Katherine Ross, Robert Conrad, Leslie Nielson, John Saxon, and others. There were other stars in the movie whose names you would recognize, but these are the ones concerned because they were staying at the hotels with us.

The sands of White Sands were standing in for sands of Saudi Arabia which is where part of the movie was supposed to be taking place. So they were here for a couple of weeks to get those shots.

Now before all the Shuttle Landing commotion, we had a nice tight little group, with both the movie and NASA people. We even had several astronauts with us, Anna and Bill Fisher, and Story Musgrave.

We all got along great, trading autographs for Shuttle patches, etc., getting drunk together in the bar, and sometimes some of us eating together in the restaurant.

Sean Connery was full of great stories about shooting other movies on location, including the Bond films, while Robert Conrad and Leslie Nielson were constantly throwing jokes back and forth at each other. Katherine Ross didn’t say a lot, but seemed content to listen and laugh at the jokes, and she had a beautiful laugh.

Then one morning as I’m almost ready to leave my room to go down for breakfast and then leave for the Missile Range, there was a knock at the adjoining door to the next room. Not knowing who was staying next door, but figuring it was a NASA type, I opening it to find Katherine Ross standing there wearing a robe, and with a towel wrapped around her hair.

And she was holding up a hair dryer by the cord like it was a dead rat.

“You do electrical stuff, right. Can you fix my hair dryer? I’m already running late and it keeps going on and off every time I move.”

“Let me guess. You always unplug it by just yanking on the cord, right?”

“Well . . . yes.”

Now luckily for Katherine, I had a side business at the time. I soldered up computer boards for a couple of local computer stores in the Houston area. Back when I worked for the Department of Defense, they sent  me up to the NASA Certified Soldering School at MCAS Cherry Point, NC. so my boards looked like they were factory done.

The stores would give me the blank circuit boards and all of the individual parts, IC’s, transistors, resistors, caps, etc.. I would then populate them and solder them up. I got paid $10 a board and I could do 3 or 4 an hour. Good money for1982, especially since I was doing 100 at a time.

But what this all meant was that I had tools with me in my room since I always brought a bunch of boards with me on these trips. And I just happened to have a replacement AC plug to boot.

So it only took me a couple of minutes to snip off the old one and install the new one, which garnered me a Thank You! and quick hug from Katherine Ross.

Now the next night the bar was kind of quiet, with only the NASA people and some of the film crew there, with the stars all off at some press thing. But things picked up when Katherine walked in, dressed to the nines. Like Academy Award night nines.

She walked up to the big round table where I sitting with 6 or 8 other guys and stopped in front of me.

“Thank you for what you did for me this morning. I really appreciate it.”

“No problem. I was glad I could help.”

Then she winked at me and walked off.

There was dead silence around the table, with all eyes on me.

Well, at least after Katherine left the bar.

And my reputation among my coworkers was greatly enhanced.


Thought for the Day:

When copy machines break down, 23% of the time it’s because people sat on them to photograph their butts.

Now you’ve got to wonder what the other 77% are copying to make them break down.

 

 


February 12, 2018

Nomads Yes, Desperate

No . . .It just barely made it into the 40’s all day today. But hopefully it will warm up in the next few days so I can finally take the last window awning down and get it off to Sundowner Canvas.

Coming home from work I stopped off at the Victory Lakes’ Whataburger to pick up burgers and salads for supper tonight. Hmm, Hmm, Good.

Last September a book came out called Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century.  The website MarketWatch.com recently had an article about it entitled, “Many older Americans are living a desperate, nomadic life. They live in RVs and drive from one low-wage job to another.”

The book “reveals the dark, depressing and sometimes physically painful life of a tribe of men and women in their 50s and 60s who are — as the subtitle says — “surviving America in the twenty-first century.” Not quite homeless, they are “houseless,” living in secondhand RVs, trailers and vans and driving from one location to another to pick up seasonal low-wage jobs, if they can get them, with little or no benefits.”

I guess Jan and I will admit to being Nomads, but I don’t remember being Desperate anytime recently, or anytime at all, for that matter. And we’re not ‘houseless’ either since we still own ours.

I certainly wouldn’t pay for this book, but I do have it reserved on OverDrive through the Harris County Public Library Kindle book program. Right now I’m #5 on 2 copies.

A blog reader and friend, Jan Mains, recently asked me about virtual credit card numbers. She had received some info from her bank about them and wanted a little more explanation.

Virtual credit card numbers are temporary, sometimes one-use, credit card numbers that you can get from your credit card company’s or bank’s website. For example, Chase Bank, my bank, makes them available to me.

2021 Update:

You can get your own virtual credit card no matter what bank you have by using Privacy.com. I’ve been using them for several months now and it works great.

Maybe you want a credit card to use online without leaving a trail, or worry about getting hacked. You get a virtual number from their website and then use it.

And it only works once ;and then goes away. If you, or anyone, tries to use it again, it won’t work.

If you think you might use it more than once, you can sometimes set a ‘valid until’ date for a week or month ahead. Of course you never have to use this if you don’t want to.

I’ve used one once to pay for something on eBay that I was afraid was a little sketchy since they didn’t take PayPal, but it worked out OK.

Not sure what’s on tap for tomorrow, but I’m sure it won’t be desperate.


Thought for the Day:

English is weird. It can be understood through tough thorough thought though.

 

 


February 12, 2019

Choo Choo Trains . . .

T, Jan and I headed out about 2pm first for our usual breakfast bill of fare at the local Denny’s. Then it was on up to Clear Lake for a stop at the office to pick up a couple of packages that came in earlier today. And while we were there, an Amazon delivery van pulled up with a package that wasn’t suppose to be delivered until tomorrow. Nice!

And even better, a few days ago I returned a defective item to Amazon, for which they provided a paid shipping label. And in addition, as soon as the package showed up in the system as having been shipped, Amazon immediately refunded my money. Nicer!

Then it was off to WalMart and Sam’s Club for a couple of prescriptions and some other stuff. Then finishing up there, we made a loop by our old house to see if any thing had changed. But not much, though it stills had the same broken window in one of the garage doors that it had a month or so ago.

Regular readers will know how much I like railroads and trains, especially model railroads and model trains.

And I recently came across these great examples of model railroad layouts.

And this one is a larger scale layout with amazing detail, including a brothel for the logging camp. Something for everyone.

Check’em out.


Thought for the Day:

If I lived every day like it was my last, the body count might be pretty high.

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