180 and Done . . .

Lunch today was our new local Pho Barr once again, just as delicious as always.

Our next stop was the Lowe’s right next door to the WalMart on FM646 to return a bunch of leftover toilet repair parts, about $43 worth to be exact. When I was working on the toilet, and trying a number of ideas to repair the broken flange, I would buy every possible part that I might need, and then just return the stuff that I didn’t use.

Saves on trips.

Next up was a WalMart stop for a few things, before going by the PO to check our PO Box, and getting home about 3:30.

Then about 6pm Jan and I drove over to the Three Acre Truck Park on FM1764 to get some Clam Chowder to go. We noticed the other day that Cousin’s Maine Lobster’s truck was going to be there from 5-9pm today, and we’ve heard how great their Chowder was, so we got some to have for dinner Monday night.

Last night was my 180th, and last day, of using my Bone Graft Stimulator. I had to do it 30 minutes a day, though it was never really a problem.

DJO Bone Graft Stimulator

When I got up for a bathroom break during the night, I would wrap it around my neck when I went back to bed. Laying my side I didn’t really feel it all. In fact often I would fall asleep and not wake up until several hours later.

But I’m still glad to be done with it. Though I guess it’s possible that I’ll need to use it again if I end up having the lumbar fusion at a later point.

Gold Coast and the Coral Castle


May 14, 2009

Unrequited Love and Turkey & Dressing . . .

As I said before, we’re parked at an RV community in Homestead (actually Florida City) FL called Goldcoaster RV Resort with over 400 sites, with most of them having mobile homes on the lots, but they have a lot of sites for rent.

Parked at Goldcoaster RV

GoldCoaster

One of the plants we’ve seen around here is a tree with large bunches of bright orange red flowers.

Royal Poinciana

Royal Poinciana Flowers

We were first told it was a Royal Poinsettia tree, but finally found it was a Royal Poinciana tree. These trees really stand out.

After lunch at Cracker Barrel (Thursday is Turkey & Dressing Day which is a favorite of Jan’s) we headed a few miles north to the Coral Castle.

The history behind the Coral Castle is one of unrequited love.  Edward Leedskalnin was jilted by his 16 year old fiancé the day before his wedding in Latvia.

Immigrating to American in the early 1920’s, he supposedly built the Coral Castle (then called Rock Gate) in tribute to his “Sweet Sixteen”.

The place was featured on ‘In Search of…” and “That’s Incredible” and there is some controversy how this one man, working only at night, was able to move stones as heavy as 30 tons by himself.

If you want more info, click here for a pretty good article.

Here are some pics.

Coral Castle 1

Coral Castle 2

My Sweet Sixteen (Actually she was 19 when we met)

Coral Castle 3

Coral Castle 4

Coral Castle 5

Coral Castle 6

Tomorrow we head down to the Florida Keys for 5 days.


Paul and Babe


May 14, 2010

Coastal Drive and More Elk…

Today we headed out about 9 am to drive around the Redwood National Forest area. We first came across the Tour Thru Tree, one of several trees that allowed you to drive your vehicle thru them. We decided to check it out later and kept moving.

Next we came to the town of Klamath and stopped for breakfast at the Klamath River Café. It turned out to be very good with really good coffee.

Then, heading north on US 101 we saw the place we’d been seeing signs for – Trees of Mystery, apparently the home of Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox.

Click to Enlarge !

They have a gondola sky ride above the trees, a trail thru the trees, and some other things. Another thing for a later visit.

We headed on up the road to Crescent City to scope out the place and do the Walmart thing.  Coming back I stopped for gas and we headed back toward Klamath.

Seeing a sign for a coast trail we took a turn down the road and headed toward the ocean. The first thing we came across was a large herd of Elk just off the road, just laying around catching some rays.

Click to Enlarge !

Click to Enlarge !

Following the road along thru the forest we came across a lot of fog in the trees.

Click to Enlarge !

Coming back past the rig we dropped off our groceries and headed back out  to make a Coastal Drive thru the Redwood National Park that we found out about in some brochures.

Click to Enlarge !

And it was a great drive. Most of the road was a narrow one-lane gravel road winding thru the trees right along the Pacific coast.
Click to Enlarge !

Click to Enlarge !

Click to Enlarge !

And we finally got a close up look at  some big trees.

Click to Enlarge !

Click to Enlarge !

Click to Enlarge !

Click to Enlarge !

We got back to the rig about 3 pm and were in for the night.

A while later Jan cooked up a batch of her great Chicken Rice-A-Roni, along with some garlic French bread. For dessert we had some fresh cherries we got at a road side stand today.

Tomorrow we’re going to check out the Tour-thru Tree and the Trees of Mystery, and then drive back down south to the Avenue of the Giants for more big trees.

Tonopah and Tahoe


May 14, 2013

Heading for cooler weather . . .

Today was pretty much a get-ready-to-travel day. And Jan got nervous when I told her the nearest Wal-Mart was 30 mile away from South Lake Tahoe where we’ll be for two weeks, so she wanted a Wal-Mart run before we leave tomorrow.

We started off with a Supreme Croissant Breakfast Sandwich from Jack in the Box, and then I topped off the toad tank with unleaded. I was surprised to see that the price had jumped 8 cents a gallon just in the last few days. Bummer.

After Wal-Mart, we ran a couple of more errands before getting back home about 2:30. Then about 3:30 I walked over to Jim and Peri Dean’s to take a look at the settings on their Cellphone Booster system. They’ve got slightly different system than what I’ve got, but the settings are the same.

Then a little after 4pm we all headed up to the Boulder Station Casino for the buffet and some last minute gambling. During our visit here, we won a $3 dining discount, a $5 dining discount, 1500 points on our cards, and Jan won a very nice polo shirt. Not Bad.

We got back to the rig a little after 7pm, and since it was still light enough, I spent some time stowing away some things for tomorrow’s travel.

While I was still outside, a friend of Peri Dean’s, Gail Grosman, showed up to say ‘Hi’.

We’re really looking forward moving north to cooler weather tomorrow. The high tomorrow in Tonopah is going to be 81 degrees, and then a high of 72 in South Lake Tahoe on Thursday.

Sounds real nice after the 101 degrees here in Las Vegas today.

All You Can Eat In Illinois


May 14, 2014

Cold, Wet, and Nasty . . .

Jan and I were up about 7:30 this morning, on schedule to head out about 9:30. And as forecast, it was pouring down rain. I was really glad that I had done as much as possible last night getting hitched up and ready to go. It was only 52° when I got up and it wasn’t supposed to get much warmer as the day went on. But the low temps meant we wouldn’t have to worry about needing to run the coach AC’s.

Our destination for today was Vandalia, IL, 185 miles away, where we’ll spend a few days visiting Jan’s sister Debbie, and her family.

Except for the fact it rained the entire way, the trip went very smoothly with a couple of stops. The one thing that was different from yesterday was the MPG.

As I mentioned yesterday, since we left the Houston area, we had averaged 9.16 MPG. This included a lot of hilly back roads and some city driving.

Then, after we filled up yesterday, we did 49.5 miles and used 4.9 gallons, giving us an MPG of 10.1 on the flat and level Interstate.

But  today we only got a little over 8 miles per gallon. So what was the difference?

The transmission temperature, which is governed partially by the air temperature. When the air temp is at least 70 degrees or so, the trans temp stays in the 160 to 165 range.

But if the air temp is below that, the transmission never really warns up. In fact on today’s run, the temp never got above 122° So the transmission fluid stays thicker, which results in more friction, which gives lower MPG. And this is with the Transynd synthetic fluid I’m using. I assume it would be even worse with regular fluid.

About 1:30 we pulled into the Timber Trails Campground, a PassPort America park, we’ve stayed at a number of times before. It’s a nice park, about 10 miles outside of Vandalia, with level sites and good power and water. What more do we need?

About 3:30 Jan and I drove over to Debbie and Jim’s to meet up with them for dinner. Gwen, one of their granddaughters, was there too, and she’s a real cutie.

Tomorrow night we’re going to her band concert where she plays trumpet. Looking forward to it.

Our destination for dinner was a place we eaten several times before called Crossroads. It’s out in the middle of nowhere in a small town called Keyesport, but you know it’s good by the size of their big parking lot.

And it was just about full tonight because Wednesday is All You Can Eat Fried Chicken Night.  And boy, was it good. Really, it’s Lambert’s good.

Crossroads Fried Chicken

After saying our goodbyes, Jan and I headed back to the rig, which is actually not far from the restaurant. We’ll be meeting up with Debbie tomorrow for breakfast at a Mennonite Restaurant. Supposed to be really good.

BUSTED!

Our daughter Brandi sent this over. Here’s what Landon was doing when he was supposed to be napping.

Landon NOT napping 1

Landon NOT napping 2

Dennis and Carol


May 14, 2015

Some Assembly Required . . .

First off, I want to thank everyone for their kind thoughts on the passing of my uncle. It is much appreciated.

It was supposed to rain all day today, and although we had a lot of thunder and lightning last night / this morning, the rain never really appeared, but mostly got pushed back until tomorrow. So now we’re looking at a 90% chance of rain over the next couple of days.

A little after 2pm, our friends Dennis and Carol Hill showed up for a visit.. They’re staying over in Congress, AZ, so it was only about a 50 mile trip. We haven’t seen them since the Escapade in Tucson this past March so it was good to catch up again. Dennis quickly bonded with Mister, or maybe Mister bonded with Dennis. But they seemed to be pretty happy with each other.

Dennis and Mister

Hopefully we’ll be able to get together again before they leave the area. We’re certainly not going anywhere.

While we were back in the Houston area this past winter, my son-in-law Lowell gave me a jar of Scary Cherries.

Scary Cherries - Reaper

These are Maraschino Cherries infused with extremely hot peppers, in this case, Moruga Scorpion Peppers, the 2nd hottest peppers in the world (the Carolina Reaper is now the hottest.). I really liked them, so much so that I went through them fairly quickly.

I was hoping they would have them at the Jerome Ghost Pepper Co when we visited Jerome about a month ago, but no luck. So I decide to make up a batch of my own.

I started by buying a large jar of Maraschino Cherries at the Fry’s across the street. I then dumped in a couple of tablespoons of one of my hot powder’s, in this case, pure oleo capsaicin. I then shook the jar for a while and tasted some of the liquid.

It was hot, but not hot enough. So I added a couple of more tablespoons. And after testing, then a couple of more. Finally it was right.

I figure that they’re now hot enough to just melt their way though an ice cream sundae all by themselves. We’ll see.

With all the furor over the new Apple Watch, I got to thinking about my first digital watch. It was the Sinclair Black Watch and it came out around 1975.

Sinclair Black Watch 1

And even more attractive to me, was the fact that if was actually available as a kit.

Sinclair Black Watch 2

If I remember correctly, it cost about $50 for the finished one, and about $30 for the kit.  So being a guy that built the first two color TV’s that we owned (Heathkit’s), I couldn’t resist getting a kit.

Despite all the parts, it only took a few hours to put it together and get it up and ticking. They even included the solder that you needed for the assembly.

It lasted for a couple of years, until the part of the case where the pins are inserted for the band finally broke out. But by that time Casio had digital watches on the market for $10. And no assembly required.

I wonder if I can get an Apple Watch kit?


The Battle For America


May 14, 2016

He’s FIVE . . .

Jan and Landon were up this morning about 7:30, and apparently played quietly together until I got up at 11. At least they didn’t wake me up.

We had originally thought Landon might be more comfortable sleeping with Jan in the bedroom, while I slept on the couch, thinking he might be a little scared in a strange bed in a strange place. But he was fine.

But he certainly tosses and turns through the night. A couple of times I was afraid he was going to roll off onto the floor, so I moved the moose footstool up against the side of the sofa.

And apparently sometimes he even sleeps sitting up.

Landon Sleeping

He sat up and moved into this position without ever waking. Note Miss Karma sulking off to the side, since Landon is occupying her usual sleeping spot.

BTW Here’s a Karma update. The Animal Alliance place down in La Marque where we are supposed to take her on May 26th to be spayed, called with a cancellation, so we’re taking her down there this Monday, the 16th, at 7am to have the operation done.

Jan said that later in the morning while they were watching the Cartoon Network, there was a Bugs Bunny cartoon about the Battle for Bunker Hill. (Yean, yeah, I know it was actually Breed’s Hill, and also that we ultimately lost that battle.) Anyway, sometime during the cartoon, Landon suddenly started paying attention and piped up, “Oh, that’s the battle for America.”

When Jan got over her surprise, she asked, “Landon, how do you know that? Landon looked back at her and said, “Hey!  I go to school.”

Like I said, he’s FIVE

And on that note, here’s the latest sample of his artwork.

Landon Artwork

Done with colored pencils, he certainly has a great sense of color and has no trouble staying within the lines.

Apparently, unlike the second day, the third day was the charm as far as Landon’s face boo-boo. I didn’t get a photo, but his face looked so much better it was hard to believe it was only one day later.

Jan and Landon spent a couple of hours over at the park pool this afternoon, and had a great time. Jan said he’s a really good swimmer and doesn’t need any wings, floaties, or rings. He just paddles around the pool on his own.

We headed out to take Landon back to Katy about 4pm. Being Saturday, we didn’t expect a lot of slowdowns, but between heavy rains that started after we left, and the several accidents, our normal 75 minute trip took us a little over two hours.

We met Brandi and Lowell at Little V Vietnamese Bistro, our favorite Katy restaurant for a great meal.

Jan, Brandi, and Lowell all had the Chicken Curry, which does smell fantastic. but I had to go with my favorite Shaking Beef Vermicelli Bowl.

Little V's Shaking Beef Vermicelli

And of course, finished up with our usual Crème Brûlée spoons for dessert.

Little V's Creme Brulee

Just the perfect amount of dessert after a delicious meal.

It was once again raining when we headed home, but no slowdowns this time, so we got home about 8:15.

As far as tomorrow, we’ll probably sleep all day.  It’s hard keeping up with a five year old.

Elk In Bend


May 14, 2017

Much Better . . .

When I went to bed this morning about 3am, the weather forecast was for high 50s and sunny today.

But when I got up about 11, it was 43° and completely overcast. And it stayed that way all day. And apparently we’re looking at more snow on Tuesday.

But it brought the local fauna when about 3pm we looked out to see these Whitetails grazing their way through the park.

Sunriver Deer 3

Sunriver Deer 2

They’re a lot bigger than the ones we see around the Colorado River TT.

For lunch we had our leftover sandwiches from our recent Sparrow Bakery visit. I had mentioned that I found my Monte Cristo kind of bland. So I spice it up with some Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese, Orange Marmalade, and a couple of shakes of hot pepper flakes.

Much, much better.

About 5pm Jan dished out bowls of her chili that had been simmering in the slow cooker all day.

Jan's Chili 3

Very, very good. And spicy enough to put Cinco de Mayo’s ‘Hot’ Salsa to shame. And that’s a good thing.

And the other good thing is that there’s plenty left.

I was able to find a new coolant tank cap on Amazon.

Coolant Tank Cap

The price, $9.78, was a lot better than than the $125 the Dodge dealer wanted for a brand-new tank. And it fits perfectly.

Tomorrow we’re going back into Bend to see Colossal with Anne Hathaway and Jason Sudeikis, and described as the best movie you’ve never heard of. I won’t give away what I’ve read of the plot, but it’s kind of a weird story.


May 14, 2018

Lubing and Legos . . .

Work today was another of those times when I took care of a bunch of small things, but just didn’t seem to get a lot really done.

I’m making a list (or lists) of all the things I want to have done before we leave on our 3 week trip to Illinois and Alabama  in a little over a month. I’m still hoping to get the two websites moved from an in-house server up onto Godaddy’s servers. We’ll see.

I mentioned yesterday that Brandi and her friend Chantelle are spending the week down in the Dominican Republic’s Punta Cana resort area, staying at the Hard Rock Resort & Casino.

Brandi - Punta Cana 1

And for free due to the sales contests that Chantelle has won.

And for a going-away present, Landon built this Mother’s Day artwork for her.

Landon's Mother's Day Legos

I swear the kid can build pretty much anything from Lego’s.

Recently the AC blower in our truck became intermittent and then died. At first I thought it was the motor itself, which I had already replaced in 2015. But when I tried to pull apart the connector to check for 12vdc coming in, the motor roared to life . . . for a few seconds, anyway. And when I pulled the connector apart, I found that it looked like this inside.

Truck AC Blower Motor Connector

So it was off to AutoZone to get one of these

New AC Blower Motor Connector

to replace the burnt one.

I had planned to splice the new one in using crimp connectors, but didn’t have enough slack on one side so I had to solder those wires and cover them with heat-shrink tubing. Then I sprayed it with Strike-Hold and it was fixed.

This past Friday afternoon we had our RV Mobile Lube visit for our biennial (triennial?)RV servicing.

I asked for the:

Full Engine Service:
Change oil and filter, lube chassis and driveline, replace all fuel filters on diesel & correct tire pressure

Full Generator Service
Change oil and filter, change air filter, and change fuel filter

Coolant Test
Using Cummins Test Strips

And A Possible Air Filter Change
I was hoping I wouldn’t need a new filter due to the cost.

All of this took about 90 minutes. One thing new is that now I don’t have to run the RV and the Generator for a while to warm the oil up so it will drain properly. They use a vacuum pump that just sucks it all out. The tech appreciates it since he doesn’t have to work under a hot engine and  generator.

On two previous visits I had the transmission fluid changed out using Transynd synthetic fluid. This extended my next transmission service out to 185,000 miles. Since we’re presently at 147,000 miles, it’s very possible that we’ll never need it serviced again before we hang up the keys, or they drop from my cold, dead fingers, anyway.

Richard, the tech, said everything looked good, and the coolant tested good, too. He did replace both the engine and the generator oil drain plugs since they were getting a little chewed up.

When he pulled the air cleaner out to take a look at it, I was happy to see that the output side that goes into the engine was clean and white.

RV Mobile Lube Air Filter

But then he turned it over and banged the input side on the ground, and it looked like two or three ‘bird’s nests’ fell out. A lot of grass, twigs, bits of paper, etc., and the inside was brownish-black. So it had to be replaced.

RV Mobile Lube New Air Filter

And here’s what it looks like installed.

So now it was time to crank the engine to be sure that the engine was primed and ready to go. So I turned the key …and nothing. Just silence.

Richard said he could hear the lift pump starting up, so it was getting power. After trying a couple of more times, even using the AUX Start switch, we still got nothing.

Talking it over, Richard asked about a disconnected plug he had seen while he was replacing the air filter.

RV Mobile Lube Loose Plug

Having nothing to lose, I had him plug it back together, and . . . rumble, rumble, vrooom!. He said that the lock on the plug is apparently broken so it won’t stay together. I’ll ty-wrap it in the next few days.

So the cost worked out to:

$400 –  Full Engine Service
$200 –  Full Generator Service
$  20 –  New Drain Plugs

and the one that hurt –

$250 –  New Air Filter

That totaled up to:

$870

But I’m good for at least another two years, maybe more, depending on how much we travel. The last time I had it Full-Serviced was 2015 so that averages out to about $250 per year for routine maintenance.

Not bad.

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Thought for the Day:

True terror is to wake up one morning and discover that your high school class is running the country. – Kurt Vonnegut

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