Daily Archives: May 29, 2022

An Unusual Day . . .

A little before 10am, we headed out for the Cracker Barrel right down the road for another round of First Cousin, First Cousin Once Removed family get-togethers.

Unfortunately, we were having so much fun catching up, that I forgot to get a group photo, so you’ll have to re-see the one from June 2021 when we were last up here.

From the back, that’s Luke, Harland, Darby, and their mother Helen.

Luke is the team leader for a company that installs French drains on houses in the Huntsville area, while Harlan is 14 and still in school, while Miss Darby is a Paralegal at a law firm here in Athens.

The one missing is here is Stahlie. who is presently down in the Miami FL area on an archaeological dig. She’s part of a team who goes into areas before any new construction is allowed and surveys for any artifacts that might be there.

They regularly find relics from Indian tribes thousands of years ago, remains of Spanish encampments, and even things from the Revolutionary War era.


To give you an idea of the kind of young lady Miss Stahlie is, how many people can say they’ve been photobombed by a Chinese Communist soldier on the Great Wall of China.

Jan had the Wild Maine Blueberry Pancakes, along with Bacon,

while I got the Sunrise Sampler with a little bit of everything.

After getting our hugs and goodbyes, Jan and I made a WalMart stop before heading back to the Days Inn for the afternoon.

And now here comes the ‘Unusual’ part. Normally we only have one big meal a day. But today we had two.

About 5pm we drove back down US72 for a bit to have dinner at another local favorite of ours, Catfish Cabin. We’ve been eating here whenever we’re back in town pretty much since they opened in 1968. And it’s always good.

They always start us off with a fresh hot basket of their homemade hushpuppies.

Then Jan got the Cabin Plate,

with a whole catfish, fried shrimp and fried oysters, and a Baked Potato.

I got my usual Regular Combo Platter,

with Fried Catfish, Fried Oysters, Fried Shrimp, Boiled Shrimp, a Stuffed Crab, and a Baked Sweet Potato.

And then somehow we made enough room to split a slice of their Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie.

But just barely.

Tomorrow we’re getting together with another old friend. And by ‘old friend’, she was 15 and I was 17 the last time I saw her until last year.


Our Doppelganger

May 29, 2010

American Coach Association Rally, Gillette WY – Day 3

Like yesterday, today started out with a breakfast buffet, but with a slightly different menu from yesterday. It’s nice to not have the same thing every day.

At 9 am the Board of Directors convened the General Member’s Meeting.

ACA Meeting

It was good to hear that although membership had declined in the recent past, it seems to be climbing again. They also talked about changing the rally schedules to make it easier for families to attend.

Then at 10 we had a presentation from Fleetwood American Coach’s National Sales Manager Jason Humphries, who told us that the industry is slowly coming back. He also talked about how new EPA regulations for 2011 are causing a big price jump on some diesel models. Engines made to meet the 2011 rules will cost between $50,000 to $60,000 dollars more than 2010 engines. That’s just the additional cost for the engine!  That means that the 2010 Eagle I showed yesterday that cost $564,000 will now cost over $610,000, or more.  WOW!

However this only applies to engines MADE in 2011, and is not based on the coach model year. So coach manufacturers bought up as many 2010 engines as they could to use in 2011 coaches until they run out. So they’re telling people that if you are thinking about a new 2011 coach, get it now before there are no 2010 engines left.

That may be why they announced that someone else at the Rally had bought an Eagle like the one I mentioned yesterday.

After lunch Jan had a craft class where they made fancy beaded bookmarks. Very nice.

Heading back to our coach I took a picture of our Doppelganger, about 3 spaces away. Here it is,


and here we are.

The only real difference is that they have a satellite dome on top and we have an open dish. And they have the black mirrors mounted on the doors and we have the chrome ones mounted on the front of the rig.

Doppleganger 2

They also have two cats just like we do.

Then later, about 5:15 we headed back over to Energy Hall for the BBQ dinner.

Energy Hall

Once again the meal was top-notch. And this time we had wine with our meal.

After dinner, we had entertainment. His name was Joe Miller and he’s from Deadwood, SD. He looks a lot like Kenny Rogers, and he did a great tribute performance covering Roy Orbison, Marty Robbins, and Elvis. And he was very good, very entertaining.

By 8pm we were back in the coach and getting out the electric floor heaters. It’s supposed to be in the mid 30’s tonight.

Well, al least it’s not snow…not yet, anyway.


It’s Likely

May 29, 2013

Going . . . Going . . .

Almost Gone.

After checking the tracking info for both my UPS and USPS packages, and finding one still sitting in Kent, WA and the other one in Hodgkins, IL, I went down to the park office about 11am to tell them the problem and they said they had no problem forwarding them on to the Bend OR Thousand Trails.

Getting back to the rig, I took a look at my rig’s wipers. They don’t seem to be tracking properly across the entire windshield and skip on part of it. Some experimentation showed that the bolts holding the wiper blades to the arms were a little too big and causing the blades to bind and not pivot correctly as the arms moved.

Since I didn’t have smaller bolts in the right size, I drove down to the local TruValue hardware store to pick up some of the right size. On the way I double-checked with the office to be sure nothing had come in for me, and then left my forwarding address and a $20 bill to cover postage. Hopefully it will all work out.

Getting back I re-installed the blades with the new bolts. I’ll check tomorrow to see how they work now. While I was outside I also topped off my rig tires with my air compressor. Being in a colder climate means the pressure has dropped a little. Finishing up, I changed out a weak battery in one of my TireTraker TPMS sensors.

Finally about 4pm Jan and I headed out to have dinner at Red Hut Café, a Lake Tahoe tradition since 1959.

Red Hut 1

Being right down the street from the Heavenly ski lift area, they continue with the theme.

Red Hut 2

Jan had a Tuna Melt with fries, and said it was the best Tuna Melt she’d ever had.  What was different about it was the tuna. She said it was a large lump tuna, much different from the normal canned tuna. I had pancakes, eggs, and 3 strips of their delicious Jalapeno Bacon, something I had never tried before. Boy it was good.

After dinner we drove across the street to the marina and dock for the Tahoe Queen paddlewheeler, and a last look at Lake Tahoe.

Lake Tahoe Queen

Coming back to the rig, we stopped off at Raley’s for some breakfast sandwiches for the next two travel days, and also one last visit to the Peet’s Coffee located in the store.

Getting back to the park I went ahead and pulled the truck behind the rig and got it hooked up for traveling tomorrow. One less thing to do in the morning.

We plan on heading out about 10am and travel 215 miles up US359 to spend the night at the Likely Golf and RV Resort in Likely CA, and then on to the Bend OR Thousand Trails park on Friday.



May 29, 2014

Now you see her. Now you don’t . . .

Jan and I once again sat outside with our coffee, and the last of our Martin’s muffins. We kind of thought about walking, but figured we had done our part yesterday walking the Shipshewana Flea Market.

Mister was outside with us as usual, so I took a close-up picture of his new tag, but this evening when I started the blog,  I found that it was obscured by the grass he was lying in. So I did a quick cleanup in Paint Shop Pro (a Photoshop clone). Wouldn’t hold up to really close inspection. For that I’d have to work at the pixel level, but that’s very time-consuming.

Mister's New Tag 1 Mister's New Tag

On another level, below is one I did about 15 years ago. This photo was taken down in Florida and was supposed to be Jan’s mother Trudy, on the left, and the three daughters. Debbie, on the right, Jan, next, and then Beverly next to Jan.

However, Beverly insisted that her jailbird friend Josie, also be in the photo.

Jan's Family 1 Jan's Family 2

So back home in Texas, I proceeded to remove Josie from the photo as depicted above. This took several hours to complete. It’s not really hard to do, more like just tedious.

Around 2:30, I saw that my Amazon order had arrived at the park office, so I drove up to pick it up, as well as a bag of ice.

Getting back home I spend about 30 minutes putting together our new kitchen cart, which came out looking like this.

New Kitchen Cart 2

Since when we travel, the slide comes in where the cart is, it will be wheeled into the bedroom hallway and the wheels locked.

I’ve been getting some really amazing speeds on the Verizon 4G system around here. This reading was done over in Shipshewana yesterday.

SpeedTest 35Mbs

Note the download speed was over 35 Mbps. The most I’ve had previously was about 20 Mbps.

Don’t know if this has anything to do with Verizon’s recently announced XLTE upgrade which is supposed to be 2X the standard LTE. In fact, from what I’ve read, I’m not sure that my almost 3-year-old Samsung Droid Charge is capable of the XLTE speeds.

Tomorrow I’m going to check out a repair to see about getting the rig’s cracked passenger side windshield replaced.


Cracked Again

May 29, 2015

Oh, No. Not Again!

Hoping we would be back in the rig today, we had breakfast about 9am at the motel, sitting out on the patio and enjoying the sun.

Since we were supposed to check out by 11am, I called the repair shop to be sure we would be able to get back in our rig this morning before we left the motel. I was told that it was still in the bay up on the jack because they wanted to go over some things with me, but after that they would bring it out of the repair bay and get it parked for us.

Getting there, the first thing I saw was the damaged fuel tank that had been replaced.

Old Diesel Tank

All I can say was WOW! It’s hard to imagine how that happened. Luckily they were able to save and transfer most of the remaining diesel to the new tank.

It looked like they made a lot of headway while we were gone. The new (used) mirror was installed,

New Mirror

as well as the new (new) step.

New Step

And the new side panel around the wheel well looks great.

New Panel

I do wish however they had gone ahead and repainted the fuel door to match the new panel. I’ll have to talk to them about that.

They told me that when they actually got under the rig they discovered a big hole in the bottom of the front bay right behind the wheel, and so they had repaired that too, as well as completely relined the wheel well itself.

It also looks like all the wiring is repaired, but I’ll be checking it out for myself in the next couple of days.

I mentioned the other day that they had also discovered that the rear airbag on the side of the blowout had been punctured and will also need to be replaced. So that’s still on order.

They pulled the rig out of the bay about 11:30 but didn’t have a space to park for hookups yet, so they moved it over to the other side of the lot until a space opened up. Jan and I both checked it out and it all looked OK. One thing I did notice however was that the refrigerator was at about 50 degrees, though the freezer part seems OK, as does the little electric icemaker freezer.

At first I thought they had not had the rig plugged in while it was in the bay, but they said they did. And the electric freezer was fine. Then after thinking about it for a while, I figured out what had happened. The front end of the rig had been 3 feet off the ground for several days while they worked on it, and the gas/electric refrigerators don’t work well on a severe slant. In fact running one like that can sometimes damage it permanently. But later in the afternoon, it had already started pulling the temp down. Right now, at about 11:30, it’s down to 37 degrees.

Don’t know what we left in the fridge, except maybe drinks and cheese, but we’ll have to check it  carefully.

Finally about 1:45 we gave up waiting and went to lunch at the nearby Cowgirl in the Kitchen Café, a new favorite of ours. We’ve eaten here twice for breakfast, but this is our first lunch.

We both started with a bowl of their delicious chili, then Jan went with the Tuna Salad Sandwich which is one of her favorites. For my part, I joined the Mile High Club.

No, wait. That’s not right. I ordered the Mile High Club. There, that sounds better.

And Mile High is a very apt description.

Mile High Club 1

Mile High Club 2

In fact it’s almost too big to eat. But I managed.

Getting back about 2:30, we found that our rig was now parked and hooked to power, so we started moving all our stuff back into the rig from our trip.

But Jan quickly noticed a new problem. Or rather a second occurrence of an old problem.

As in the cracked windshield that we had replaced about a year ago up in Elkhart, IN.

Nee Broken Windshield

Turns out they had cracked it somehow moving it. And they said they’ll take care of it.

I had hoped we might be on our way by the middle of next week, but probably not now, since we’re waiting for a new airbag as well as a new windshield.

On a bright note though, if they keep replacing parts, we’ll soon have an all-new rig.


Not Enough Calamine Lotion

May 29, 2016

An Epiphany . . . Of Sorts

After a lot of discussion (days, months, etc.) and a bunch of procrastinatin’, Jan and I have come to decision, an epiphany, I guess.

We’re not going to travel much this year, at least not as much as we normally do. And almost certainly not up to the Escapade in Essex Junction, VT the end of July. Of course it’s always possible that we’ll dump out a new bowl of Jell-O, hopefully orange, my favorite, and decide to make the direct 2000 mile run up there in time.

But I wouldn’t bet on it.

In the last 8 years, we’ve traveled over 73,000 miles, so a little over 9,000 miles a year. But that’s kind of distorted by last year’s blowout-shortened 5,300 miles. So figuring that in, we’ve done almost 10,000 miles a year for the first seven years..

And in that time, we visited 47 of the 49 continental US states, somehow missing only Kansas and Nebraska in the middle. As far as Canada, we’ve visited the provinces of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland, missing only Manitoba.

And as far as the Canadian territories, we visited the Yukon, and the Northwest Territories, missing only Nunavut.

So, all told, not a bad record for 8 years.

Of course, we won’t stick to just bouncing back and forth between Conroe and Columbus, but will probably do a week in Gulf Shores, AL at some point, combined with a detour up to north Alabama to check in on my relatives.

But I know our ‘hitch itch’ has not been completely scratched, not even a little bit. I doubt there’s enough Calamine Lotion for that anywhere.

Unlike the last two days, today was a nice, quiet afternoon for us, until about 3:30pm when it got really quiet, as with a loud thump, the shore power went off.. But it wasn’t us this time, but the power was out on our ring, and the adjacent ring behind the dumpsters.

When our previous shutdowns kept reoccurring, due to voltages occasionally going 1 volt over 130 volts, or 1 volt under 103, I put our Progressive EMS into bypass mode, so we weren’t popping off 2 or 3 times a day.

Here’s what we ran most of the afternoon.

105 volts_thumb[1]

I don’t have a direct meter on the L-2 voltage, but when the rear AC comes, this front voltage actually goes UP to around 109-110 volts. This reinforces my thought that there is an open or high resistance neutral in the system, probably near the panel since it affects all the sites.

After about 15 minutes, and still no shore power, I cranked up the genset and got the AC’s back on. With the temps in the high 80’s, we didn’t want to let it go too long.

And in comparison, this is the output of our genset with both AC’s running.

118 volts on Genset_thumb[1]

About 45 minutes later, the park guy came by to say the power was back on, and that they had found a blown breaker somewhere up the line.

I wonder if when they upgraded these two inner rings to 50 amp so that they could put a couple of cottages here, they might have done it on the cheap. The new pedestals only have a 50 amp connector, with no 30 amp or 20 amp connectors.

What I’ve seen done in the past is that rather than pull new heavier wires, capable of handling 50 amps on each leg, they do it on the cheap, and just pull one new wire. This new wire, paired with the 3 wires from the original 30 line, gives them the 4 wires they need for a 50 amp circuit. But of course vastly undersized for the load.

Tomorrow’s another stay-at-home day, hopefully with no more power interruptions.

But I wouldn’t bet on it.


Too Foggy In Rapid City?

May 29, 2017

Dots and Dinner . . .

It’s still going down into the mid-30’s here at night, with high-60’s in the daytime. But they’re promising warner weather next week. We’ll see.

Our Hermiston friends, Dave and Joanne, came by this afternoon to say ‘HI’ and set up a dinner tomorrow night at Buffalo Wild Wings. And it turns out we’ve both been in the computer industry since the very early days, so we’ll have a lot to talk about tomorrow.

Catching up on some products we use:

Our Zero G RV and Marine Hose is still doing great.

Zero G RV Hose

We’ve been using it for about a year with no problems. You don’t even have to roll it up, just wad it up and throw it in the storage bay. And it’s especially nice when I’m packing up to leave on a 35° morning and I don’t have to wrestle with a stiff hose.

We’re also really enjoying our Amazon Dot, the Amazon Echo’s little sister.

Amazon Echo Dot

I used it a lot when we were gate guarding last year, and it’s really great when we’re traveling, either in the rig or the truck.I just hotspot my phone so it can connect with the Internet, and no more constantly changing stations as we travel.

The Dot will do everything that the full-size Amazon Echo will do. It just doesn’t have the bigger amplifier and speakers, but it can be powered from a USB plug so it’s really easy to use on the road. And in the confines of the truck it has plenty of volume.

We can listen to stations on iHeartRadio, talk radio, or any of our 8000 songs stored in the Amazon Cloud. And at only $50, it’s less than 1/3 the cost of an Amazon Echo.

A Great Deal.

Now that the holiday is pretty much over, we’ll get back to doing some touristy stuff.. Up toward the top of the list is a visit to Mt. Rushmore again. When we were here in 2008 we did both a day and a night visit, which we had planned to do this time too.

But according to some online reviews for the last few days, the fog has been so heavy that you couldn’t see the monument at night even when it was lit up. So we’ll see.


Thought for the Day:

We lost the 6th book_thumb