Daily Archives: May 10, 2022

Ramses The Great . . .

Jan and I were on our way into Houston by about 10:30 this morning, first heading to Katz’s Deli up in the Montrose area for lunch.  Katz’s is kind of our go-to place when we’re up in this area. Well, Katz’s Deli and Cleburne Cafeteria, I guess.

We got there right on schedule about 11:30 and had a great meal, as usual.

Jan got the Open Face Tuna Melt,

Katz' Open Faced Tuna Sandwich

with a side of Sweet Potato Fries.

Katz's Deli 20220510 Sweet Potato Fries

While I got my usual Rueben, the Klassic size, which is the medium one, with the Skinny being the smallest, and the New York being the largest.

Katz's Deli 20220510 Klassic Rueben

This is the New York one.

Katz's Deli Reuben Sandwich

Glad I didn’t get that one.

And in fact I kind of wish I had gotten the Skinny size one, because I was really full afterwards, and I knew we couldn’t bring home leftovers since we were going to the museum next.

For my side I got an order of their Homemade chips.

Katz's Deli 20220510 Chips

Not only are they made in house, but they’re cooked to order and come out warm.


Then after that great meal, we drove about 5 miles south to the Houston Museum of Natural Science to the Ramses the Great exhibit. Because of the padding I built into our schedule, we had about 20 minutes to kill before our 1:30 tickets, but better a little early than late.

The first thing we did was the 15 minute VR presentation done in these motion pods.

Ramses VR Hall

Not only do you have a VR headset on, but the pods turn, recline, and shake as part of the presentation, though Jan had them turn her motion off due to her tendency to motion sickness. But she enjoyed it too.

Next up was a 15 minute movie presentation about Ramses and his reign. He died at the age of 90, so old that when he died he had already outlived all of his children, so one of his grandson’s, Merenptah, became Pharaoh, and he was in his mid-50’s.

After that we began the tour through the hundred’s of exhibits.

Ramses Entrance

Ramses 1

Ramses 3

Ramses 2

It’s amazing what the dry sands of Egypt can preserve for 3000 years.

Here’s part of a wooden bow and an animal skin quiver.

Ramses Bow and Quiver

And here’s a piece of cloth found in a tomb wrapped around a sarcophagus.

Ramses Cloth


That’s about all for today. I’ve got a lot more, so I’ll finish up tomorrow.


San Francisco

May 10, 2010

The Rock . . .

This morning we left about 9 am headed for prison…

Alcatraz, that is.

By 10 am we were parked at a parking lot right across the street from Pier 33 on The Embarcadero, the street that runs along San Francisco’s waterfront

We were suppose to be in line to board our ferry at 10:30 am and I thought I had allowed plenty of time, but I didn’t count on it taking 20 minutes to pay for our parking.

This was one of those parking lots where your parking spot had a number and you go to an automated machine, enter you spot number, and feed machine cash or a credit card. The problem was that many of the people trying to pay were foreign tourists who apparently didn’t read English very well. And they were having a lot of trouble with the machine. So there was a long line at the machine.

Luckily, since we were right across the street from the dock, we had time for a quick bathroom break before picking up our tickets and getting in line.

Clipper Line

While waiting in line, we could see Coit Tower up the hill behind us. This was neat because we just say Coit Tower in the closing episode of Amazing Race on Sunday night, where the contestants had to climb the side of the tower to get their next clue.

Coit Tower
Our ferry, the Alcatraz Clipper left the dock about 11 am, right on time and headed toward Alcatraz Island, about 2 miles away.

Alcatraz Clipper

Off to our left we could see the Golden Gate Bridge that we had crossed earlier emerging from the fog.

Golden Gate in Fog

And then Alcatraz itself started to become visible.

Alcatraz 1

The “Indians Welcome” sign is left over from the Indian occupation of Alcatraz in 1969.

Alcatraz Sign

The first thing we noticed was all the lush vegetation around. Lots and lots of flowers, shrubs, and ground covers.

Alcatraz Flowers 1

Alcatraz Flowers 2

We made the quarter-mile, 130 foot vertical climb up to the cellhouse and began our audio tour using headphones, narrated by former guards and inmates.

Here’s the shower room for the inmates. Guess you couldn’t be too shy.

Alcatraz Shower

The three levels of cells.

Alcatraz Cell Block

And here’s a typical cell. 5 feet wide by 9 feet deep by 7 feet high.

Alcatraz Cell

And here’s Jan being locked away in one of the high-security detention cells.

Alcatraz Cell 2

The gouges and holes in the floor were made by grenades dropped into the cell blocks by the US Marines during a botched escape attempt in 1946.

Alcatraz Grenades

Looking back at downtown San Francisco from The Rock.

Alcatraz San Francisco

One of the actual cells that the three inmates used spoons to tunnel thru the concrete and disappear from Alcatraz in 1962. They were never found, nor were their bodies. The FBI concluded they had drowned, but other inmates and guards who were there at the time think they all escaped to South America, since they had all been studying Spanish via correspondence course.

That’s the hole underneath the sink.

Alcatraz Escape

After watching a very good 20 minute film on the history of Alcatraz Island.

The island became Fort Alcatraz in 1858 and remained under direct Army control until 1907 when it officially became an Army prison.

In 1933 the Army closed their prison facilities and transferred the island to the newly-formed Federal Bureau of Prisons.

Then it 1934 it reopened as America’s highest security prison. Over the years, it was home to many famous inmates, like Al Capone, Machine Gun Kelley, Alvin Karpis, and Robert Stroud, the Birdman of Alcatraz.

On March 21, 1963, Alcatraz was officially closed, and the remaining inmates transferred to other Federal prisons.

We caught the 1:35 pm ferry back to the dock and headed for the car.

Then we headed over to Joe’s Cable Car Diner. We had seen this place on Diner’s, Drive-ins, and Dives and wanted to check it out.

Joes Cable Car

They mainly serve hamburgers, or as they say, “Ground Steak Burgers”. And talk about fresh ground!  They grind your burger from fresh chuck as you order it.

And Joe, the owner, is adamant about his burgers. He was sitting at the next table when got our orders, and when he saw Jan start to put mustard on her burger, he said, loudly, “No, No, No. You must taste it first. Don’t put anything on it before you taste it”

Jan and both agreed this was absolutely the best burger we have ever eaten, bar none.

As we were leaving the restaurant about 3:45 pm, Jan talked to our daughter Brandi as we headed back to the rig.

Getting home about 5 pm, we settled in.

Tomorrow we’re going to take a DUCK Tour of San Francisco, ride the cable cars, and eat at Fisherman’s Wharf.

Another busy day.

No, you can’t take the cats!

May 10, 2012

Well, that was fun!

First off, thanks to everyone who contacted us about our safety in today’s storm. We’re fine. A little damp, but fine.

Last night (Wed.) was nice, and it was still nice when Jan took over the gate at 7am. But the thunder, lightning, and rain woke me up about 11, and it only got worse as the day rolled on.

By the time I took the gate back over at 2pm, it was just coming down in sheets.

Marathon Storm 1

Marathon Storm 2

And then the hail started. And kept on coming down, mostly marbled-size, but I did see some larger chunks. By this time the wind had really picked up and was pretty much blowing sideways under the canopy.

Then about 3:15, Jim Streeter, the Company Main (the overall boss of the rig site) pulled up in his truck and told us to take shelter in the Toolpusher’s trailer with the rest of the crew. Apparently a tornado had been reported in the area, so they shut the rig down and got everyone in the trailer.

These trailers are solid metal, very heavy, and have no windows. Probably the safest place on the rig site.

Jan said, “Yeah, until the rig falls on us.”  That’s Jan, always looking on the bright side of things. And of course, as we’re leaving the RV, I had to tell Jan, “No, you can’t take the cats!”

Marathon Trailer Shelter


They finally let us loose after about 45 minutes and we came back to this.

Marathon Storm Aftermath

Our canopy had partially collapsed from the weight of the water pooling in the cover. I was able to somewhat repair it, but it’s never going to quite fold up the same any more.

Then a few minutes later, we got the final “all clear” signal.

Marathon Rainbow

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a rainbow this low before. And the other funny thing is that, after taking this picture and getting ready to take another. the rainbow just disappeared like you flicked a switch, and not faded away like most do.

Earlier in the day, I was talking to the Company Man and he said they expect to finish up here sometime around Wednesday of next week, and that he expects us to move with them. But I don’t know what our company wants us to do. I’ll check with them on Saturday when I go over to pick up the mail.

The rig is moving about 45 miles west of here to just south of Charlotte, TX, which is about 15 miles from our favorite Wal-Mart in Pleasanton, TX, so that would be nice.

As usual, we see how it goes.

Yes, Burros Bite!

May 10, 2013

Oatman and the Mother Road . . .

Jan and I headed out a little after 8 for our daytrip down to Oatman, AZ, about 120 miles away. But our first stop was at Jack in the Box for a couple of Supreme Croissants to go with the coffee we brought from home.

Heading down US93 the first thing we encountered was a line of vintage cars caravanning down to Kingman.

Oatman Car 1

The ubiquitous 1957 Chevy


Oatman Car 2

Here’s one you don’t see very often. A 1963 Studebaker Gran Turismo Hawk. A friend’s parents had one.


Oatman Car 3

Another unusual one. A Studebaker truck


Oatman Car 4

A 1950 Chevrolet


Oatman Car 5

Ford ??. At least I think it’s a Ford.


Oatman Car 6

Another Ford


Oatman Car 7

And another Ford.


Getting into Kingman, we made a potty stop at the TA truck stop before heading about 4 miles west on I-40 and exiting onto what is the longest surviving section of Route 66.

Oatman Trip 1


It starts out pretty straight and smooth, but them quickly starts climbing up into the mountains.

Oatman Trip 2


Jan got excited when she saw this sign

Oatman Trip 3


But we still had a way to go to get to Oatman.

Oatman Trip 4


A curvy, twisty way.

Oatman GPS


Oatman Trip 6


Oatman Trip 7


This sharp hairpin turn had the only railing we saw along the way. And based on the small cross memorial at the edge, the railing is probably a good idea.

Oatman Trip 8


Oatman Trip 9


Oatman Trip 10


That is one twisty road.


A couple of miles outside of Oatman we came past the Gold Road Mine. This is a shot from up above.

Oatman Gold Road 1

Oatman Gold Road 2

Gold Road was actually once a town. The area built up in the very early 1900’s after gold was discovered in the surrounding hills Gold production peaked in 1906 and then tailed off as the vein played out.

But the town held on until 1942 when the miners moved on to other areas to mine more strategic metals for the war effort. Then a few years later the town was razed to save on taxes.

Then in 1992 a new company bought the mine and started up production again. But then in 1998 the gold price collapsed and mining was shut down once again.

For several years the mine company offered very popular gold mine tours, before starting up production again in 2007 and shutting down the tours.

With the high price of gold right now, the mine is very busy and very profitable. We counted about 30 cars in the parking lot and the place was surrounded by a tall chain-link fence topped by razor wire. Not taking any chances, I guess.

One thing I found interesting is that the mining company is making a lot of easy money just reprocessing the leftover tailings from the original mining effort. They don’t even have to dig it out of the ground

Modern extraction methods are so much more efficient now that they are getting more gold out of the old tailings than was gotten out of the mine originally.

Right past the mine area we saw where this car had gone off the road above and crashing into the rocks below.

Oatman Trip 11

Don’t know if it was driven, or pushed.

Oatman Car 8


Finally driving into beautiful downtown Oatman, we parked at the far end and walked back into town. And quickly saw our first indication that burros were near.

Oatman Trip 12

The town is only a few blocks long, but jam-packed with small stores and shops.

Oatman Trip 13

And lot’s and lot’s of burros. Lot’s of burros.

Oatman Burros 1

They’re everywhere. Which certainly made Jan happy.

Jan brought a bag of baby carrots to feed the burros, but a store clerk said they were trying to discourage the feeding of carrots because they have a lot of sugar, and too many are bad for the burros. Of course this may have just been a reason to sell us $1 bags of alfalfa pellets to feed them instead.

A little later while Jan was feeding some females, a big male came up behind her and tried to grab the bag containing the carrots. So for a little bit, you had this tug-of-war with the two of them fighting over the bag. Which promptly tore and spilled carrots and alfalfa pellets out on the ground.

Then it was a scramble to get it all picked up before it all got eaten.

Oatman Burros 2


Oatman Burros 3


Sometimes you just need a little shade.

Oatman Burros 4


Even the stores get into the fun.

Oatman Classy Ass


About noon we decided to have lunch at the Olive Oatman restaurant. We got was a very good meal, simple but good.

Jan had grilled chicken sandwich, and I had a very good cheeseburger.

Oatman Restaurant

But the dessert we shared was the real kicker. An order of Peach Fry Bread with Ice Cream.

Oatman Fry Bread

Fry Bread is really, really good. Trust me.

After lunch Jan was back to feeding the burros.

Oatman Burros 5

But maybe she should have paid a little more attention to these signs posted all over town.

Oatman Burros 6

She was feeding two burros, when another one came up, and apparently impatient and not wanting to wait his turn, tried to take a chunk out of Jan’s hand. Didn’t break the skin, but she said it did smart.

Oatman Burro Bite


Walking back to our truck I saw this sign on the rear window of a parked truck.

So these are Mormon’s who don’t like dogs?

Oatman 3 wives 2 dogs


Near the parking lot we saw this baby burro taking a nap, just pooped, I guess.

Oatman Baby Burro Down

It reminded me of this photo of Landon dressed in his giraffe costume and too pooped to Trick-or-Treat any more.

Giraffe is down

Oatman was named after Olive Oatman, an Illinois girl who was kidnapped by Indians in 1851 and lived with them until she was released in 1855, near present day Oatman.

Another interesting fact is that Clark Gable and Carol Lombard honeymooned here in March 1939 after getting married in Kingman, AZ. In fact you can stay in the Gable/Lombard honeymoon suite at the Oatman Hotel to this day.

We headed home about 1:30, taking a different route and heading west on over to hook up with US95 south of Bullhead City and Laughlin, and then on north back to Las Vegas.

Getting back about 4pm we first stopped off at Boulder Station Casino to swipe our Boarding Pass cards for the weekend drawings, and to get Starbuck’s Cinnamon Dolce Lattes before we finally headed home.

We decided not to do the Hoover Dam Bridge Walkway today and will try to catch it another day.

Cancer Free!

May 10, 2014

Stage 0 . . .

Jan and I were up earlier than usual because we still didn’t have power. Which is why there was no blog last night. I was going to post a quick note, but found I couldn’t get any data service on my phone or aircard. I don’t think it had anything to do with the power outage because that turned out to be local to the park. But I figure it was probably storm-related somehow. I could still make a phone call, just nothing with data.

Since we were up so early Jan and I decided to got out for breakfast at the Cracker Barrel right down the road. As we were leaving our area of the park, we saw where the power company was working to clear the downed trees that took out the power lines.

The Cracker Barrel was really busy, with a lot of large family groups waiting for tables, but we got seated in less that 10 minutes.

Jan had her usual Wild Maine Blueberry Pancakes with a side of ‘burnt’ bacon (that’s the way she likes it.), while I tried their new Smothered Steak and Eggs. That turned out to be a 5oz. Top Sirloin covered with Swiss Cheese, Grilled Onions, and Grilled Fresh Mushrooms. And they did it right, too.

Many places, when serving a small steak like this, cut it as a large, thin piece so it looks bigger. But Cracker Barrel cuts it as a 1 inch thick piece, which means you can order it medium-rare and actually get a tender, juicy piece of steak. Really, really good.

Before we came home we went by the nearby Sam’s Club to drop off Jan’s new Tamoxifen prescription to pick up later this afternoon.

We got back to the park about 11:30 to find we still didn’t have power, but about 11:55 it came back on and stayed on. Yah!

Our daughter-in-law Linda posted this pic of Chris and Piper working on a father-daughter project,

Chris and Piper in the Shop

a stand-up paddle board kind of like this one.

standup paddle board

A little after 4pm Jan and I headed back out for dinner and shopping. Our first stop was at Culver’s for a couple of their delicious ButterBurgers and Fries. Then it was on back to Sam’s Club for a few things, plus Jan’s prescription, and then Wal-Mart for a lot more things, before heading home about 6:30.

Tomorrow we finally really hit the road for this year, making a 200 mile trip up to Waskom, TX, just over the border from Shreveport. By Saturday we’ll finally be up in Elkhart, and catch up with everyone.

Now to recap yesterday.

Jan and I left the park about 9:30 heading down south to the Clear Lake area. The main reason was for Jan’s wrap-up visit to the oncologist. But like Wednesday, our first stop was at the Flying J at exit 64 for gas, breakfast scones, and cappuccinos for the road.

Jan’s appointment wasn’t until 3pm so I made a couple of client visits, wrapping things up until we’re back in the area later this year.

Next we went by the PO to drop off the Chinese visas to my great-nieces for their China trip later this summer.

Then it was on to Jan’s oncologist appointment. Her doctor first assured her that her breast cancer had been completely removed, and should not return. It was listed as a Stage 0 cancer, the least invasive and the most treatable form of breast cancer. So she will not need chemo or radiation, but she will need closer observation and diagnostic mammograms every year instead of the regular ones.

She was also was advised to take either tamoxifen or anastrozole for the next 5 to 7 years. The choice of which was up to us.

Let’s see. Anastrozole is $264 for 3 months and tamoxifen is $24 for 3 months.

So what to do, what to do, what to do.

Finishing up at the oncologist’s, we now headed up to the Katy to meet up with our daughter Brandi and her family. Along the way, the radio came on with a storm warming for the Montgomery County area. Which is where our RV is parked at the Lake Conroe Thousand Trails.

But looking at the radar, the storm pretty much covered the entire Houston area, including Katy. And by the time we got there it was pouring down. But our meal at Little V’s Vietnamese Bistro more than made up for the bad weather, with the usual wonderful food.

Landon at Little V's 4

Landon watches movies on Brandi’s iPhone while he has mini-corndogs. He doesn’t know what he’s missing.

Finally we got our goodbye hugs and headed back up to Lake Conroe. By this time the storm had dissipated down to just light sprinkles.

But when we got to the park we found that the park power had been off since the storm came through about 5pm.

And stayed off until 11:55 the next morning.

So Many Churches

May 10, 2019

Scenic Cruising The Rhine . . .


We had been sailing all night from Wertheim Am Main heading to Koblenz along the last part of our Main River voyage.

And, by last part, at a little after 9:30, we passed under the Kostheimer Brücke bridge

Cruising The Rhine City Bridge

and hung a right onto the downstream flow of the Rhine River.

This part, known as the Middle Rhine, has probably more castles, churches, and palaces per mile than anywhere else, supposedly over 25,000 of them.

Starting with the Biebrich Palace,

Cruising The Rhine Biebrich Palace

and another church to be named later.

Cruising The Rhine Castle 1

Or at least I didn’t get the name of this one, as well as a few others.

The Rhine along this part of the river is very fast flowing, so there are these breakwaters all along the way to protect the banks from being eroded away.

Cruising The Rhine Breakwater

Next is the Binger Maus Tower, or Mouse Tower.

Cruising The Rhine Binger Maus Tower

These small ones along the river’s edge were actually Toll Stations where passing ships would stop to pay the toll to the local lords. Armed guards were usually stationed here, often with a chain across the river to block the way until the toll was paid. This one dates from the 1300’s.

The Burg Eltz Castle

Cruising The Rhine Burg Eltz Castle

A Gothic church, complete with what looks like a Gothic garage.

Cruising The Rhine Church

And this rambling castle apparently comes with its own RV Park.

Cruising The Rhine Castle with RV Park

Another unnamed castle, but very picturesque.

Cruising The Rhine Castle 2

What looks like a castle on the hill above this Gothic church is actually the town’s water tower, built to look like a castle.

Cruising The Rhine Csstle Water Tower

I guess kind of like those cellphone towers that look like trees.

This one’s pretty much in ruins.

Cruising The Rhine Castle 3

And this castle has a town, vineyards, a church, and an RV Park.

Cruising The Rhine Castle 4 with RV

This is the famous Pfalz Island Toll Castle, complete with cannon ports for those pesky toll evaders.

Cruising The Rhine Pfalz Island Toll Castle

Gutenfels Castle, which as the sign says, is now a hotel.

Cruising The Rhine Gutenfels Castle

Schonburg Castle

Cruising The Rhine Schonburg Castle

Another Castle/Church Combo.

Cruising The Rhine Church 1

Another Toll Tower.

Cruising The Rhine Toll Tower

This photo shows the extent they will go to use every bit of arable land possible, even on steep hillsides.

Cruising The Rhine Vineyards

Famed Lorelei Rock, where legend has it that a water nymph/mermaid would sing pretty songs and lure sailors onto the rocks in the narrowed passage.

Cruising The Rhine Lorelei Rock

And of course, the obligatory statue of said water nymph/mermaid on an island in the river.

Cruising The Rhine Lorelei Statue

This is Rheinfels Castle, now partially restored.

Cruising The Rhine Rheinfels Castle

And another Maus (Mouse) Castle, this one near Wellmich.

Cruising The Rhine Mouse Castle Wellmich

Finally coming in to Koblenz, we passed the Ehrenbreitstein Fortress, and the funicular that takes tourist across the river to it.

Cruising The Rhine Ehrenbreitstein Fortress

Dinner tonight was special, with A Taste Of Germany theme.

Cruising The Rhine Taste Of Germany 1

Besides the usual menu, there was a separate one of German specialties.

Cruising The Rhine Taste Of German Menu

All really good.

And this time we had our waiter, Nikolai,

Cruising The Rhine Taste Of Germany Nikolai

get a group photo of everyone, yes, even me this time.

Cruising The Rhine Taste Of Germany Group

Next up is Cologne, with only a couple more days on our cruise after that.

The Viking Skirnir

Viking Skirnir