Daily Archives: May 28, 2022

Once Removed . . .

The weather here is a big change from the Houston area, with lows in the mid-50’s and highs in the mid-70’s, though they say it might hit 80 tomorrow. Maybe,


Coming into Athens yesterday we passed by the new Buc-ee’s that’s under construction just south of town on I-65. Should be open early next year.

That will make 4 in Alabama, with others in Auburn, Birmingham, and Robertsdale.

About 11:30 we drove over to my cousin Marjorie’s house (First Cousin, Once Removed) to pick her up for lunch. We headed done to our usual spot, Big Bob Gibson’s BBQ down in Decatur.

Jan and Marjorie both had Pulled Pork Sandwiches with Fries,

while I had the Combo Platter.

And of course we had to finish up with slices of their homemade pies.

After lunch we spent some time driving around Athens, checking out old haunts, including the house my parents bought here when we came back from Colombia, S.A. in 1964.

They bought it new, and it still looks really good for a 50+ year old house. Looks like the new owners have repainted since we were here two years ago.

Finally about 3:30 we said our goodbyes, leaving with an assortment of her home-baked muffins.

Tomorrow, breakfast with more family.


Up From West Palm Beach

May 28, 2009

On to Titusville…

We headed out of the RV park in West Palm Beach this morning about 10:30 am.  Our first stop was about 8 miles away in Jupiter, FL.

I wanted to go ahead and fill up with Diesel at a Shell station we had scouted out a few days earlier. We do it this way because it’s easier for us.

We try not to wait to fill up while we’re on the road. When we have our toad (I.e. pickup truck) hitched behind us, we’re 61 ft long, longer than some tractor-trailer rigs and we’re pretty much restricted to fueling up at truck stops.  But the truck stops are usually crowded and you often have to wait in line at the pumps. Plus the truckers seem to resent us getting in their way while they’re trying to make living.  And I guess I don’t really blame them.

We don’t have to fill up very often.  We have a 150 gallon tank that will take us over 1200 miles between fill ups.  The last time we took on diesel was April 7th when we left Old Town, FL.

So what we do is when we’re parked somewhere and it’s about time to fill up, we start looking for gas stations that will work for us.

Of course, the first requirement is that the station carries diesel.  We also want a station that looks like it sells a lot of diesel.  If diesel sets too long in the tank it starts to grow algae and pick up moisture.  Both of these are very bad for your engine.

Next, we look for a place where we can get in and out off without too much trouble.  This is made easier by the fact that we won’t yet have our toad hooked up.  We don’t want a place that we have to back out of or can’t turn around in.

Lastly, we try to find a place nearby we can park long enough to hook up our toad.  This normally takes between 5 and 10 minutes.

The Shell station in Jupiter fit all of our criteria and $297.00 later (118 gallons at $2.499 per gallon) we were on our way to Titusville.

Since we had traveled this way before, sightseeing along US 1, we took I-95 north to save some time.

About 50 miles out of Titusville we started running into heavy rain,  just what I really love when we park and it’s time to start hooking up our utilities.

Luckily the rain had almost completely stopped by the time we pulled into Manatee Hammock Campground in Titusville.

We had noticed this park several weeks ago when we drove up for the Shuttle launch and were happy to learn that it was a Passport America park which means we can stay here for 1/2 price, I.e. $15.00 per night.

We pulled in about 2:30 pm and got set up. This is a really pretty park.

Manatee Hammock Campground

I had seen the word ‘hammock’ used a lot in Florida and they didn’t seem to be talking about the one that hangs between two trees and you nap in.

It turns out that the word refers to the overhanging canopy of trees in an area. Which I guess it is kind of like the other hammock too.


In Gillette, WY

May 28, 2010

ACA Rally – Day 2…

Today started off with a very nice breakfast buffet at the Energy Hall. We’ve really been surprised by the quality of the food we’ve been served here. It’s been great!

After breakfast, we came back to the rig for a couple of hours. Because the ground where we’re parked is soft, I wasn’t able to level our coach when we parked because the leveler pads just sank into the ground instead of raising the coach. This left our coach with a distinct downhill tilt.

So I wanted to raise the levelers and then put some boards or pads underneath and then try to relevel.

To do this I had to start the engine. What was funny was that Emma heard the engine start and immediately ran to Jan’s chair and assumed her travel position. She looked disappointed that we didn’t go anywhere.

Now that we’re level again, going to the back of the coach isn’t like walking uphill.

Anyway, about 11:15 we headed back over to the Energy Hall for the men and ladies luncheons.

The ladies’ luncheon was held at the Prime Rib Restaurant that has also been catering our meals here at our Rally.  They were taken to the restaurant by bus. And after the lunch the women’s group had a fashion show.

The men’s lunch was burgers and brats, both good, and afterwards we had a talk by a county commissioner talking about the mineral wealth of the Campbell County area. Besides being one of the largest coal-producing areas in the country, they also have immense oil and gas deposits, and if that’s not enough, they are a large producer of uranium. Talk about your energy monopoly.

Then at 1:00 we had a seminar panel with a representative from Spartan Chassis talking with us about maintenance, troubleshooting, and repair of our chassis and chassis systems.

After that I walked over to the new American Coaches they have on display in the hall.

ACA Energy Hall

Jan and I both agreed that out of the 3 coaches, we like the new Eagle the best. These have 4 slides and are 42 to 45 feet long, as compared to our Beauty’s 40 feet.

And the inside shows it.

Eagle Living Room

These units are really beautiful and it would be nice to have one. But the list price on this unit is $564,000, so we’ll probably have to wait for our Powerball/MegaMillions win before we get one.

On 2nd thought that price makes us really happy with our paid-for Eagle.

BTW the word is that someone bought this new Eagle yesterday.

About 2:30 we headed back to the coach to wait and hear from a friend of ours who was passing through Gillette on her way back to Billings.

Linda and her son Aaron showed up about 3:15 and we had a good visit with them. We hadn’t seen Linda since we were in Billings two years ago on our way back from Alaska.

Later in the afternoon, the partying started. And believe me, these people are serious about their partying. Several travel with their own Margarita machines!



Tonight was an open night so about 6 pm we drove into Gillette for dinner at Las Margaritas Mexican Restaurant.  And it was very good, especially for northeastern Wyoming!

Tomorrow night, we have a BBQ dinner, and then on Sunday, we have a Prime Rib dinner.



Rigging Up

May 28, 2012

But there’s always Plenty of Hot Water . . .

The guy who decided to make large water tanks black has never been in south Texas in the summertime, and tried to take a cool shower.

It’s just all hot, all the time.

I now see why some gate guards have a tarp tented over their tanks. Right now the water in the shower is warm, but comfortable. But as the days get hotter I may have to look into the tarp thing too. We’ll see.

Here’s a series of photos I took over a couple of days as they built our rig.

Rig 1

Rig 2

Rig 3

The thing goes together like a giant Erector Set. But I guess that dates me.

Maybe I should say Legos instead.

I went back by Tita’s Taco Stand the other day for some more of their great tacos. Their green sauce is some of the best I’ve ever eaten. Good food and nice people.

Tita's Taco Stand

I just wished they served their breakfast tacos all day long, instead of stopping at 11am.

Heck, I wish McDonald’s sold Egg McMuffins all day long too.

Under the heading, “They Grow Them Big Here in Texas” I took this shot of a large green grasshopper who has taken up residence under our canopy.

It’s hard to tell from the photo but his body alone is about 4 inches long. So far, he’s ignoring us and we’re ignoring him.

Let’s hope we keep it that way.

Big Grasshopper

That’s about it for today. Wednesday afternoon we’ll head to Houston for a couple of days for our granddaughter Piper’s graduation, and should be back early Friday evening. Gate Guard Services is sending someone over to work our gate while we’re gone.

I will try to post a blog from Houston, but don’t know if I will have time.


Missing In The Mail

May 28, 2013

Snap, Crackle, and Pop . . .

Apparently neither the US Postal Service nor UPS like me anymore.

This past Saturday our daughter Brandi sent us our mail by a USPS Priority Mail package. According to their tracking website, the package should have been delivered today. However it’s presently sitting up in Kent, WA for some reason

Brandi put it in the mail on Saturday, it left Houston on Sunday, and went straight to . . . Federal Way, WA.


I’m in California. The capital, Sacramento, is only 80 miles away. Why send it to Federal Way, WA which is over 600 miles from here. But to compound the problem, the next day, today, instead of being delivered here in South Lake Tahoe, CA, my package moved a whole 5 miles to Kent, WA.

Where it now sits. I even went back and double-checked the address that it’s being sent to, and it’s correct.


As far as UPS, last Thursday I ordered a replacement lower mirror for our rig’s outside passenger-side mirror from RamCo in Elkhart, IN. It shipped out Friday, the 24th, from Elkhart and moved to Hodgkins, IL.

Where 4 days later it still sits. After initially saying, it would be delivered today, the tracking now says that it will be delivered here on Friday, the 31st.

The problem with these new delivery dates is we’re not going to be here on Friday, the 31st. We’re leaving here on Thursday, the 30th, and will be at the Bend, OR Thousand Trails on Friday. I’m going to try to call UPS tomorrow to see if I can get that package rerouted to Bend. I’ll have to see if that’s going to work.

My fall-back plan is to leave some money with the park office and hope they will forward everything.

As far as today, Jan and I headed out about 9:30 for our trip back to Virginia City, but our first stop was at the IHOP a few miles down the road. A really good breakfast and a really excellent waitress, Stacey.

Leaving from there about 10:30, rather than take the normal US 50 over the mountain to Carson City, we took SR 207 out of Stateline, NV over the mountain near the ski resorts and down through Minden to hook up with US 395 which took us up to Carson City.

Tahoe SR207 1

Tahoe SR207 2

Heading off of US50 and up SR341 we traveled up that 15% grade that we’d seen on our visit to Virginia City last week. Coming into town, we saw the main reason for our return visit passing by, the train ride on the Virginia & Truckee Railroad.

Virginia City Train 1

I had been hoping to ride behind their steam engine, but they were only running their 1950 GE 80 ton yard switcher this week.

Virginia City Train 2

Virginia City Train 3

They were only running two cars today. The open-air gondola, built in 1925, was originally a cattle car, but was cut down and seats added for passengers. The rear car, originally a box car built in 1916, was remodeled to look like a caboose.

The 35 minute round-trip ride took us down to Gold Hill, where gold and silver were first discovered in the area.

Virginia City Train 4

A lot of the mine equipment is still standing in the area.

Virginia City Train 5

This is one of the old railroad tunnels from the 1870’s. It got so unstable that it had to be shored up between trains. When a train needed to go through the tunnel, it stopped at the entrance and some of the crew would get off and remove the shoring timbers. Then the train would go through the tunnel as quick as it could, and the crew would then replace the timbers until the next train.

What could possibly go wrong here?

Virginia City Train 7

They finally built a new tunnel around 1880.

Getting into Gold Hill, we came across several historic buildings. This is the 1869 train station.

Virginia City Train 6

And this is the 1866 Bank of California building, the oldest one in town.

Virginia City Train 8

And of course a lot of pretty vistas along the way.

Virginia City Train 9

Virginia City Train 10

The other thing I wanted to see on our revisit here were two train museums that were not open when we were here last time. But as it turned out, I struck out on both counts.

One of them was never open. It’s actually the storage/work yard of the Virginia & Truckee, and they don’t allow visitors. The other one, the Virginia City Historical Museum, is still only open on weekends. Bummer again!

But I did get a shot of this beautifully restored Central Pacific 1873 American 4-4-0 locomotive through the window. This was used to haul gold and silver ore from Virginia City up to Lakes Crossing where the Virginia & Truckee connected with the Transcontinental Railroad. Lakes Crossing is now known as Reno.

Virginia City 4-4-0 American

At the peak 40 trains a day hauled ore out of here. Four partners of one big mine were making $300,000 a month . . .  EACH!

Everywhere you look around here are old cars,

Virginia City Train 11

Virginia City Train 12

Virginia City Train 13

old equipment, and other mine junk. The American Pickers would have a field day here.

Finally leaving town and heading back toward Carson City, we got a look at what’s called the ‘100 Mile View’. It’s called that because the farthest line of mountains is 100 miles away.

Virginia City 100 mile view

Getting back into Carson City, and after driving around through the old part of town, we made a Wal-Mart stop and a Bed, Bath & Beyond stop before having dinner at Five Guys Burgers and Fries, one of our favorites, before heading home.

One of the things we find funny here is when, as I’ve mentioned before, we buy a bag of chips in Carson City at 4500 feet and then take them up to 7300 feet and over the mountain to South Lake Tahoe. There’s just this constant snap, crackle, pop from the backseat as the bag puffs up like a marshmallow.

Tomorrow, our last day here, is an official goof-off / get ready to travel day before we leave on Thursday.


Still In Prescott, AZ for Rig Repair

May 28, 2015

Who Knew ??

After a really nice night at this Comfort Inn, we checked out their breakfast and enjoyed it sitting out on the patio. This is a beautiful motel built back in the hills south of Prescott. You can smell the pines in the air.

Comfort Inn 1

Comfort Inn 2

So much different from our room in Amarillo the other night.

About 10am I drove over to the rig to see how things were going, and didn’t learn much because everyone was in a meeting. I did see the rig in the bay with the front end up on jacks, presumably to install the new fuel tank.

After making a Fry’s stop across the street, I headed back to the motel to let them know we’d be spending another night. With checkout at 11, I didn’t have a lot of leeway.

Of course about 2pm they called and said they would have the coach out of the bay about 5 and ready for us to move back in. So I told them to take their time and that we’d be over tomorrow morning.

Also it now looks like the rear airbag on the passenger may have also been damaged in the blowout. The mud flap that hung down right behind the tire is ripped out and completely gone, along with the big piece of angle iron that was fastened to it. This is what it looks like on the driver’s side.

Driver's side Hose Shield

And this is what’s left on the passenger side.

Rig Brace

So maybe that’s the culprit. I guess we’ll know more tomorrow.

After a nice afternoon of goofing off, reading, and napping, really nice after the go-go-go of the last week or so, about 3:30 we headed over to the Cracker Barrel. This being Thursday, it was Turkey and Dressing Day, Jan’s favorite Cracker Barrel day.

I wasn’t sure what I was going to have. At first I thought about breakfast, but looking over the menu, this caught my eye.

Cracker Barrel Burger

Who knew Cracker Barrel has great burgers? This is a half pound bacon cheeseburger with the meat’s crispy burnt edges on the outside, and moist and juicy on the inside. The bacon was very crisp, and the cheese was a thick chunk, not just a slice, and the Cole slaw and fries were good too. Just about a perfect good-old burger.

The side dish at the upper left is their Pecan Sweet Potato Casserole, one my favorites, so I always get it when it’s available, no matter what else I’m getting.

Hopefully by this time tomorrow we’ll know more about our timeline for the rest of this year, and can decide what we’ll be doing.


Losing Old Friends

May 28, 2016

On The Road Again . . . Again

Today was supposed to be a nice, quiet at-home day, after our 8 hour road trip yesterday, and that’s how it started out. But that changed when Jan saw the Facebook post from Bonnie Horner’s family mentioning that they were hoping friends would drop by to visit.

As I mentioned a couple of days ago, Bonnie’s husband Richard passed away on Wednesday, so Jan and I had decided to wait a bit before we got in touch. But once we saw the Facebook post, we got dressed and hit the road for Pearland.

Bonnie and Richard_thumb[4]

Lucky for us, today’s trip was the complete opposite of yesterday’s with the sun shining and just a few clouds, compared with pouring down rain yesterday. So with no weather or traffic slowdowns, we were there a little after 3pm.

Jan worked with Bonnie a good while back, and we’ve always gotten together over the years, and we were planning to set up a get-together for this year too when we got the news about Richard.

It was really good catching up with Bonnie and her children Jeanne, Susie, and Bob. Bonnie has several cats, so we all had a lot of cat stories to tell, talking about our pets.

After telling Bonnie we’d get back together for dinner soon, Jan and I headed out a little after 5. Since we were close, we decided to have dinner at one of our favorites, Floyd’s Cajun Seafood and Steakhouse right down the road in Friendswood.

We have eaten at this location a number of times, though not near as many as the Floyd’s Cajun Seafood in Webster. But it’s all good no matter which one you visit.

I think I’ve mentioned before that the ‘Floyd’ in the name is Floyd Landry, the originator of the Landry’s seafood chain, before he sold it to Tilman Fertitta.

Jan loves the Chicken Fried Chicken here, especially the gravy that she always gets on the side. After the meal, when she was telling our waiter how much she loved the gravy, he said she wasn’t alone. And that they had changed the recipe once, thinking they would make it better. But they were immediately flooded with complaints, and quickly went back to the old recipe.

Don’t mess with success. Remember New Coke.

I had my usual Seafood Gumbo, as you can see is just loaded with shrimp,

Floyd's Seafood Gumbo_thumb[1]

and then a Shrimp & Oyster Po-Boy.

Floyd's PoBoy 2_thumb[1]

Big portions, and the only reason I was able to finish it was that I had not had breakfast or lunch today. So I had  plenty of room. But I was still stuffed afterwards.

Heading back on the way home, we made a Wal-Mart stop for a few things. Pearland has grown so much in the last few years that they now have three Wal-Mart’s. We don’t even recognize it anymore.

Finally heading for Columbus, we decided to take a detour around Brookshire on I-10. Since the heavy rains the other day, part of US90 just west of Brookshire is flooded out, forcing all of US90’s traffic onto I-10, causing a 6 mile backup on I-10 through Brookshire and almost into Katy.

So leaving Pearland we headed down US59 for a bit and then cut west through Rosenberg and then onto SR36 which brought us back onto I-10 at Sealy, bypassing all the mess.

So, with a potty stop at the TA Oasis Truck Stop, we were home by 9:30. And after two long days in a row, we are definitely staying home tomorrow and Monday.

And maybe Tuesday, too.


Pacbrake Stuff

May 28, 2017

Some Random Stuff . . .

The last time we were in Billings, MT a number of years ago, there were a small number of casinos/bars/restaurants around the town, but nothing of any size.

But this recent visit they were everywhere, and bigger and fancier.  And almost all of them are out of business. So I don’t know if they overbuilt too fast, or just had more casinos than they had people who wanted to gamble. But it’s strange.

A few days ago, after our Buffalo Wild Wings visit, we got our truck washed at the Parkway  Car Wash just off downtown RC. They did a great job of pre-spraying the front of the vehicle to get the fine spray of diesel oil off. We always get this blow-by when we’re traveling in the mountains and using our Pacbrake a lot. But hopefully we’re pretty much out of the mountains for this year.

BTW I’ve found in talking to a number of people that they don’t think their Pacbrake does much, or even works at all. And, if they aren’t using it very often, and/or not performing the lubrication maintenance on the system, it’s very possible it has jammed up and it isn’t working. But there is a very easy way to check your Pacbrake.

In most cases, when your Pacbrake is turned on and you let off the gas, the system downshifts into 4th gear, and then engages the Pacbrake. So it can be hard to tell what part of the resulting slowdown is caused by the downshifting and what part is caused by the Pacbrake.

So on a hill of decent size, go ahead and downshift into 4th on your own. Then about 10 seconds later, turn on your Pacbrake and let off the gas. If you feel an additional slowdown, then your Pacbrake is working. If you feel nothing extra, then it’s probably not, and you need to have it checked out.

A few days ago I got an email hack I wanted to warn you about. It was supposedly from ‘USAA Bank alerts’ with the Subject ‘New banking autnification system’ And yes, that’s the way it was spelled. Bad grammar and typos are always a  good clue that an email is not authentic.

USAA Scam 2

Note that the real From: address is [email protected]and has nothing to do with USAA. And if you put your mouse on the ‘Click here to get started’ button or the ‘usaa.com/contact-us’ link at the bottom of the text,  it takes you to here:


With a .hu country code for Hungary, it’s probably not from USAA.

So let’s be careful out there!

Wrapping up with the Jetpack MiFi data problem I mentioned a few weeks ago, I’ve got more info on the amount of data I’m supposedly using.

In the past, on my 3G aircard, I’ve consistently used 20 to 25 GB a month, very seldom varying more than a couple of GB’s. But the past two months since I got the MiFi, I used up 10GB in the first 7 seven days, and then was throttled back to 3G speeds.

So at that point, both last month and this, I switched over to hotspotting from my new Galaxy S8+. And in a little over two weeks I still haven’t quite used 10GB of 4G yet.

So explain to me why I use data more than twice as fast on my  MiFi as I do on my S8+? For the same stuff.

Seems kind of suspicious to me.

And of course there’s the problem of the fact that the 3G speeds I get throttled back to when I’ve used up my 10GB of 4G, is slower than the 3G I can get on my aircard that I still have, 660 kbps vs. 1.1Mbps. And this is at the very same time from the same location.

I smell a rat!



May 28, 2018

Just Like His Uncle Chris . . .

I spent most of the day slogging away on the knife website. We have over 50 new knives, and each photo has to be cropped to two different sizes, one for the regular display, and a larger size for the ‘Click To Enlarge” function. Then they have to be enhanced, sharpen, and in some cases, retouched.

Then each product block has to be assembled from six different pieces, and placed in position on the page. And it all has to line up.

Then the last thing I will do is go into PayPal and create each ‘Add To Cart’ button, and then each button’s code has to be inserted into the product block.


It’s not hard, just time-consuming. And after a while, my eyes get tired and I have to take a break.

Brandi, Lowell, and Landon are up in Oklahoma visiting Lowell’s parents there. Sonja, Landon’s other grandmother, posted this photo of Landon showing off his latest artwork, the cover of a book of student poetry. He’s now a published artist.

Landon's School Book Artwork

And here’s a closer view.

Landon's School Book Artwork2

And apparently this runs in the family. Landon’s Uncle Chris is also an excellent artist and when he was in elementary school, his sketch of the school building was selected to be on the cover of the school handbook. I guess it’s Like Uncle, Like Nephew.

As always seems to happen this time of year, some of our favorite TV shows start falling by the wayside, as in CANCELLED.

One long-time favorite of ours, Lucifer, which just wrapped up its 3rd season, was cancelled abruptly after being told they had been renewed. Because of this they had actually already filmed the first two episodes of Season 4.

There’s been a big outpouring of fan support hoping for another network to pick it up, as just happened with Tim Allen’s Last Man Standing. So we can always hope, I guess.

But at least we’re going to get to see those two Season 4 episodes that were shown tonight back to back. We DVR’d them and will watch them tomorrow.

The other show we lost was a new one, Deception, about a disgraced master magician and his identical twin brother, who help the FBI solve cases using magic tricks and illusions.

Although we haven’t watched the 2 hour finale yet, it’s said that it ends in a cliffhanger that changes everything we thought we knew about what was happening on the show.

@#$@&  I hate it when that happens.


Baby’s New Shoes

May 28, 2021

Count’em! 5

Today was a fun day at work, with most of my time spent repairing a number of customer’s machines that had been sent in with problems for me to look at. And since I don’t usually have any kind of technical specs or schematics, it means that I had to dig out some of my old troubleshooting skills.

I made an appointment yesterday afternoon for 4pm to have the local Verizon store finish the initialization of my new phone and then switch the numbers. I figured that I would hold off doing anything else besides charging it up and being sure it turned on, since I figured a SIM card change out might be necessary, and I was right. In fact both my old and new phones needed a SIM change.

I told the young lady that I would transfer all the data between the phones, and that all I needed was for her to do the new phone setup, and then transfer the phone number from my old S8+ to my new S21, and Jan’s number from her old S5 to her new-to-her S8+. All this took her about the 20 minutes and I was on my way home.

I’ve got the data transfer going right now, and it looks like it’s going to take about 4 hours doing it by Direct Connect phone to phone. Looks like it copies everything, Contacts, Apps, Videos, Photos, etc.

In the meantime I’ve been slogging through the 187 page manual that I downloaded yesterday, trying to catch up on all the new stuff on the phone, especially the 5 different cameras.

Count’em! 5.

So far I like the Jeep’s new tires. They’re a slightly firmer ride, and the handling seems crisper. And the braking is definitely better. Happy so far.

Jan got a new addition to her Flamingo Flamboyance, a glass Flamingo Birdbath. We have a number of Cardinals and Blue Jays flitting around the yard so Jan wanted to put something out for them.Flamingo Bird Bath

Looking forward to a nice long weekend plus, since with the Monday Memorial Day holiday, I don’t go back to the office until next Wednesday.

 Thought for the Day:

“By calling attention to a well-regulated militia for the security of the Nation, and the right of each citizen to keep and bear arms, our founding fathers recognized the essentially civilian nature of our economy.

Although it is extremely unlikely that the fear of governmental tyranny, which gave rise to the 2nd amendment, will ever be a major danger to our Nation, the amendment still remains an important declaration of our basic military-civilian relationship, in which every citizen must be ready to participate in the defense of his country.

For that reason I believe the 2nd Amendment will always be important.” – John F. Kennedy