More Cows . . .

A pretty quiet day at work today, especially for a Monday.

The only thing interesting was that I saw one of Google Street View cars driving in the parking lot next to the feeder near FM517 and I-45.

Google Street View Car Monterey's

But that’s about all.

So some more reminiscing for all of us.

April 25, 2014

Needed: 60,000 cows . . . A Day!

An update on the Industrial County Market mentioned below:

It closed in October 2018 when it was purchased by the nearby Frebo Ranch. It’s all gone now.

Today, while we were staying at the Colorado River Thousand Trails near Columbus, TX, it was time for another daytrip so we headed out a little before10 am, but didn’t go far, only a few miles north on US71 to our first stop, the Industrial Country Market. We’ve passed this place a bunch of times, but never stopped. But blog reader Rob Nixon said we really needed to check the place out. And he was right.

Industrial Country Market 1

Take a hardware store, a toy store, a gadget store, a solar power supply store, and an ammo store, then throw in water and hydroponic vegetable gardens, add a lot of garden art and solar panels, run the whole thing completely off the grid, and you’ve got the Industrial Country Market.

Industrial Country Market 2

You could actually spend hours walking up and down the aisles of the ‘non-general, general store’.

Industrial Country Market 3

Toys, clothing, jewelry. ammo.

Industrial Country Market 4

Spices, electronics, tools, puppets, 1500 Watt Pure Sine Wave Inverters. and more.

Industrial Country Market 5


And outside  you find all sorts of gardens and plants.

Industrial Country Market 6


As well as a forest of Bottle Trees.

Industrial Country Market 7


Water gardens with fountains and waterfalls.

Industrial Country Market 8

Industrial Country Market 9


And ingenious art gardens made from a little bit of everything.

Industrial Country Market 16

Industrial Country Market 10

Industrial Country Market 11


Even a number of hydroponic gardens growing vegetables and ornamental plants.

Industrial Country Market 12


And it’s all run completely off the electrical grid.

Industrial Country Market 13


These 24 volt batteries come from telephone company Central Offices, which is why your landline phone keeps working even when the power is out. It’s all powered from the phone office.

Industrial Country Market 14


These and other solar panels provide an amazing 25KW of both 120VAC and 240VAC electrical power

Industrial Country Market 15

Jan and I really enjoyed our visit and we’ll probably go back again the next time we’re in the area.

Our next stop was a few more miles up the road at Hruska’s.


We’ve been stopping here for a long time and have watched the place grow into what it is today, a major operation. The place started out as general store/market in 1912 and has been in the family ever since. And they still have the best kolaches around.

Jan and I stopped for a couple of kolaches, but we noticed a lot of locals having their double-cheeseburgers, and it turns out that Texas Monthly Magazine says they have one of the best burgers in the state. Hopefully we can check them out before we leave.

Then it was back on the road, heading up to Brenham and the Blue Bell Ice Cream Factory Tour. We’ve been trying to take this tour for almost 35 years and we finally made it.

Blue Bell Creameries

The problem was that the tour is only given Monday through Friday, and it seems we were always up that way on the weekend.

Unfortunately I can’t show you any pictures because they don’t allow photos on the tour, but they do give you free ice cream at the end, so no pictures for you, but free ice cream for us.

That sound fair.

One of the most interesting facts given on the tour is that this one plant (they have two more. one in Sylacauga, AL, and one in Broken Arrow, OK) uses the milk from 60,000 cows . . .  a day. Now that’s squeezing a lot of cows.

After finishing up our ice cream (Jan had Rocky Mountain Road and I had Salted Caramel Vanilla) we head back toward home, but in a roundabout way, via Giddings, rather than the most direct way.

But going this way let us stop off at the Buc-ee’s there for a bathroom break and some of their Cranberry Nut muffins to bring home.

But the day wasn’t over yet. We had timed things so that we would be back at Peter’s BBQ in Ellinger about 4:30. Just in time for our last shot at their great Friday Night BBQ and Seafood Buffet. As always, really, really good.

Tomorrow looks to be a work-around-the-rig day.

Another day during one of our many stays in Las Vegas.

April 25, 2015

Back to Basics . . .

After coffee and taking care of some chores, I got back on my  PacBrake problem. I had gone online and found the lubrication instructions on the PacBrake website.

PacBrake Maintenance

PacBrake Maintenance 2

The first thing was to get access to the PacBrake under the bed, and that means removing a lot of our stored stuff out of the way.

Under the Bed 1

So after lifting the bed, and then lifting the engine access cover, I could now get to the PacBrake itself.

PacBrake 1

The unit is just to the right of the engine and fairly accessible. Here it is from the side.

PacBrake 2

I started lubing all the points listed in the docs. There was a problem matching up the actual lube points on paper with the actual unit since I’m looking at it from the top, but the docs show it from the side.

There are two lube sites that I’m still unsure about that, which means I’ll have to put in a call to PacBrake on Monday.

PacBrake 3a

I also need to figure out how to manually trigger the PacBrake, first, because I also need to lube the air cylinder’s shaft, and second, to be sure it’s actually working. I think I have a good idea how to trigger the air solenoid manually, or electrically, actually, but I want to be sure.

But however I do it, I know I’ll have to crank up the engine, since the valve itself is air operated. More later.

For dinner, Jan and I had been talking about a good hamburger, and after talking over the obvious, McD, Wendy’s, Five Guy’s, or Smashburger, we decided to give In N Out Burger a try. It also helped that there was one pretty close.

The last (and only) time we ate at one was in February 2008 when we were in San Diego during our first month of RV’ing. We remember liking the burgers, but it was Friday night and the place was full of screaming teenagers. Don’t know if that’s only reason, but whatever the reason, we’ve never been back to one. Until now.

Originally they were only located in California, but in the last few years, they’ve been spreading east. They’re even in Houston now.

We got there a little after 4:30 and found the place pretty busy. Getting in line, the first thing we noticed was the simplified menu board, harking back to the old days of McDonald’s.

In N Out Menu Board

Just cheeseburgers, hamburger, fries and drinks. Just how McD started out.

Of course you do apparently have a lot options, with their Secret Menu, and a Super Secret Menu. We both got the Double-Double (two patties, two slices of cheese) from the regular menu, but they also have a 3 x 3, and a 4 x 4 on the Secret Menu if you’re really hungry. We both got the #1 Combo which included fries and a drink.

InNOut Burger 1

But one bite told me why In N Out has the reputation it has. This has to be one of the best ‘inexpensive’ burgers I’ve ever tasted. And by ‘inexpensive’ I mean not one of those $7-9 or higher burgers. The Double-Double is only $3.50

And the fries were delicious too. A little research tells the story. They do pretty much everything in-house, or at least in-company.

They have their own meat companies that that fresh grind the patties and deliver them fresh, not frozen, to every location. The same goes for their buns. And like Five Guy’s and others, they do their own fries in-house, starting with the raw potatoes

They also make every burger to order. They say they don’t have microwaves or heat lamps in their locations. And it shows.

The other thing I noticed was how clean the dining area was. They had 3 people running around, wiping things down and cleaning up. In fact within seconds of someone leaving a table, it was cleaned off, wiped down, and ready to go again.

And their drive-thru shows how popular they are.

InNOut Burger 2

They have to rope off the area because it winds around through parking lot of the shopping area.

We’ll definitely go back. Often.

Tomorrow we’re going to drive down to Henderson at the bottom of the Strip to visit the The Lion Habitat Ranch. Originally it was the off-duty home of the MGM Grand lions. But when that exhibit was shut down a few years ago, it became their full-time home, along with giraffes and other animals. And they have a bunch of lion cubs just born earlier this month. Sounds like fun.

On our way to the Medina Lake Thousand Trails near Bourne, TX

April 25, 2016

Kluging It . . .

Recapping yesterday’s trip, we were hooked up and on our way by
9:50am. We made our first stop at the Luling Buc-ee’s for diesel, $1.79, the cheapest we’ve seen in the area.

And we’ve never seen Buc-ee’s this busy. It took a while to thread our way through the cars to get around to the larger pumps in the back. But we were able to pull right up to a end pump and fill up. Then it was another obstacle course to get out, but we were in and out in about 25 minutes, so it wasn’t too bad.

Then it was another 120 miles, and about 2 and a half hours to Medina Lake, the time mostly due the hilly, curvy road from Boerne to the park.

We got in to the park about 4pm and headed in to find a spot. We knew our friends, Dave and Lynn Cross, were back in the ‘F’ section so we headed that way. And then as we were meandering around, looking for a site, who popped out to flag us down, but Dave,who directed us to a 50 amp site two away from he and Lynn.

Media Lake F145

And as I mentioned in yesterday’s blog, Lynn Cross had prepared us a delicious spaghetti dinner and we spent several hours talking, having a great time.

When we got back to the rig, I tried to get the satellite system up and running, but without any luck. Our site is pretty heavily treed so I knew it was going to take some fiddling. But the first problem I had was getting power to the dome. I have about 75 feet of coax that lets me move the dome out into the open, but I only have 50 feet of 12 volt power cable.

The 12 volts is only needed to power the motors that aim the dome. Once that’s done, the 12 volts can be disconnected. But now I needed to get power to the dome, so since I didn’t have a 12 volt extension cable, I decided to take the power supply to the dome.

So I used my 12 volt power supply on an extension cord to power the dome

Satellite Power Kludge

I’d modified it to add a 12 volt socket just for needs like this.

But it still didn’t work. Although my voltmeter showed the power supply was putting out 12 volts, it wasn’t getting to the dome for some reason. But by this this time it was dark, so I called it a night, and we just watched stuff we’d recorded earlier.

Then this morning, I went down to the guard shack to let them know what site we were in and pay for our 50 amp electric. Or at least I tried.

When I tried to start the truck, I found the battery dead. I had left a accessory switch on, and had run it down. So I dug out my battery charger to fix the problem. But then I ran into another problem.

The charger I have does auto 6 volt/12volt selection, and since the battery was down to about 5 volts, the charger kept treating it as 6 volt battery. Not good.

So now what to do? I have 2 sets of  battery cables that I can chain together to let me charge the truck from the rig batteries when it’s hitched up, but that’s still not long enough. I could take the battery out of the truck and take it back to the rig batteries, or take out a rig battery and use that to start the truck.

But that seemed like too much work. There’s got to be a simpler kludge.

And then I realized I already had the solution at hand – the 12 volt power supply that I had tried to use for the satellite. It puts out a current-limited 6 amps steady, 8 amps surge. So I used it to charge the battery up to about 9 volts, and then let the big charger take over. It’s 3/5/20/75 amp model, so at 20 amps, it didn’t take long to top off the battery. So about 30 minutes later I was on my way to the gate.

And while I was there, I also wanted to get my driver’s license back. They recently started holding your Thousand Trails membership card until you come back and settle up.

But I no longer have a TT membership card, since the last place that held my card, the Bend/Sunriver TT in Bend, OR, lost my card and couldn’t give it back to me. And since I know my membership number by heart, I never needed it again.

Until today. So instead, they held my driver’s license.

I guess this will finally get me to call TT and get another one.

This morning our friend’s Brett and Frankie got in touch to tell us that they were also here at Medina Lake and wanted to get together. But it had to be today, since they’re leaving for Conroe tomorrow.

Brett and Frankie

So, about 3:30, Brett showed up at our rig in his golf cart to Uber us back over to their rig. Frankie had coffee and cake waiting for us, and we had a great time talking over their recent travels all the way down to Key West and back to Texas.

Too bad they’re leaving tomorrow, since we would have liked to spend more time with them. But I’m sure we’ll catch up with them down the road.

Getting back to the rig, I got back on my satellite problem. And when I hooked up the power this afternoon, suddenly the dome was getting power and scanning for the satellites. Not sure why it suddenly started working, but gift horses, and all that.

But it took trying 3 different locations to find one that worked. And unfortunately, the one that works is on the picnic table of the site next to ours, about 60 feet away..

Media Lake Sat Location

But this is a 30 amp site, and since the temps are edging in the 90’s now, and there are a lot of empty sites, hopefully we want have a problem.


Thought for the Day:

Physics is what we humans call the part of the God code that we can understand.



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