A One Year Update . . .

This morning I noticed a $72 charge come through on my PayPal card for the yearly renewal of our Kroger’s Pharmacy Plan. So I decided to go back through our prescriptions to see how much I had actually saved, and it turns out to be a lot.

Previously, we had always used a combination of both Sam’s and WalMart’s discount plans, and it always seemed to be the cheapest around. But when I heard about the Kroger plan and checked the prices, I was really surprised.

Very pleasantly surprised, actually.

Every one of our prescriptions that I checked was much cheaper.

And when I looked at the year-long total, we had saved almost $1100 over Sam’s/WalMart. So minus the $72 membership fee, we saved a little over $1000.00

Very Nice!

Thanks to all the kind comments from readers enjoying our past adventures. Jan and I have both enjoyed the reminiscing too.

Last Day At Park Of The Sierras


May 4, 2010

The Acorn Pole…

Today was another ‘get ready to travel” day. We plan on leaving about 9 tomorrow morning and moving about 230 miles north to the Wind Country RV Park in Rohnert Park, CA,  which will put us about 45 miles north of San Francisco.

We plan on staying there a week exploring San Francisco, Monterey, and the Napa wine country.

About 1:30 I dropped Jan off at the park laundry so she could do some heavy rugs.

When I picked her up about 4 pm we drove over to the acorn pole here in the park to see the handiwork of the Acorn Woodpecker.

Acorn Woodpecker

Acorn Woodpecker2

And this is their work.

Acorn Pole

Acorn Pole2

What you see above is a telephone pole, and food storage container for the Acorn Woodpecker and his acorns.

He enlarges the cracks in the pole and stuffs his acorns in there to keep them safe. But sometimes that doesn’t work. In Arizona, Acorn Woodpeckers stored 485 pounds of acorns in the sides of a wooden water tower that fell thru to the inside and they couldn’t get them back out.

About 4:30 pm we picked up George and Sandy Stoltz at their RV here in the park to drive into Oakhurst to have dinner at El Cid, a great Mexican restaurant we found here.

Great Friends, Great Times, Great Food.  I”m sure we’ll bump into them again somewhere on the road.

More tomorrow from the Napa Valley…

More Vegas


May 4, 2013

Powerball . . . NOT!

About 1:30 Jan and I headed just north of our Thousand Trails park to the Boulder Station Casino right next door for a movie and then dinner.

But after getting inside our first chore was to get new Boarding Passes, the Station Casino’s version of the Player’s Card. Every casino has their version of the card, and as far as I know, they’re always free.

The idea is that you scan the card whenever you gamble and whether you win or lose (usually lose!) you accumulate points, and depending on different circumstances, you get extra point multipliers, 3X, 4X, etc. And the points you accumulate can be traded in for prizes, free meals, or even cash. And just having the card gives you discounts at the restaurants.

After getting our cards updated, we headed to the other end of the casino to the movie theaters. We were going to see The Crood’s, an animated film about a caveman family trying to survive the breakup of the supercontinents. (yeah, I know the supercontinents broke up 100’s of millions of years ago, and there were no cavemen back then, but this IS a cartoon, after all)

We’d read good reviews about the movie, and they turned out to be pretty accurate. From a story co-written by John Cleese of Monty Python fame, the movie turned out to be a $500 million success, with a sequel and a TV show in the works.

With voices by the likes of Nicolas Cage, Emma Stone, Ryan Reynolds, and Cloris Leachman, and a multitude of ingenious animal combinations like Piranhakeets, Crocodogs, and ParroTurtles, the story is a lot of fun, and well worth seeing.

After the movie was over we headed over to the Feast Buffet for our dinner. Even getting there a little after 4, we still had about a 10 minute wait to get a table. But as with our previous visits in past years, it was worth the wait. And cheaper than Golden Corral, too.

Coming home I stopped off at a nearby convenience store to get some Powerball tickets since the prize is up to $192 million, and found out something surprising, or maybe not so surprising when you think about it.

Nevada casinos don’t want any competition, so Nevada is one of the few states that have no lotteries whatsoever. They’ve been trying to get one here since 1975, but the casinos have always been able to kill it. Besides the casinos, the other major problem is that the ban on lotteries has been in the Nevada State Constitution since it was ratified in 1864. And it’s a 5 year process to change it.

So now thousands of Las Vegans, Las Vegasians, whatever, make the 40 mile drive down I-15 to Primm’s State Line Lottery and buy millions of dollars of California lottery tickets.

Primm's Lotto Line

Here’s the line at Primm’s when California started selling Mega-Millions tickets last year. It’s estimated that Nevada is losing 30 to 50 million dollars a year because of this.

Oh, well. It’s only money.

Heading Back To Conroe, TX


May 4, 2014

Two Bites. And Only Two.

Today’s our last full day here at the Colorado River Thousand Trails before we head over to the Lake Conroe Thousand Trails tomorrow morning. So this morning was also our last morning to have our coffee and muffins sitting outside with Mister.

One thing that’s funny about these times, is how Mister always likes to have some of our muffins. But only two bites.

I will pinch off one piece about the size of the nickel and he will eat it right up. Then I will pinch off a second piece and down it goes too. But never a third piece. If I pinch off one more, he will just ignore it and walk off in the other direction. Then the next day it’s exactly the same thing over again.

Strange Cat.

After pretty much goofing off the rest of the morning, I finally went outside to install the new shear pin in the slide. I mean I can only procrastinate for so long, right?

I first pulled the slide in a couple of inches, and then measured both ends of the slide from the wall to the outside edge. This distance needed to be equal on each side of the slide to within 1/8”. But to get this set up, it took a lot of jockeying the slide back and forth, and then fine-tuning the position with the manual ratchet.

Then I used pin punch to align the holes between the gear and the shaft. But finally I was able to the new pin started.

Shear Pin Install 1

Then I used the pin punch to hammer it home.

Shear Pin Install 2

I’ll wait until we’re ready to travel tomorrow morning to actually try it out.

Keeping my fingers crossed.

Finishing the slide I got out my Air Compressor and topped off my driver’s inside rear dual. It’s always had a small, slow leak so I need to add about 10-15# every few weeks.

Later, about 4pm Jan and I drove into Columbus to have one last delicious meal at Los Cabos Mexican Grill. And, besides being so good, their portions are big enough that we both have leftovers for tomorrow night.

Coming home we made a quick stop at HEB for some salad fixings for upcoming meals.

Then later I packed away all the outside chairs and a few other things getting ready for tomorrow. Then it’s back on the road again, at least for 121 miles, anyway.

BlowOut Followup


May 4, 2015

Monday in Prescott . . .

First up, I want to thank everyone for their kind thoughts and good wishes. It means a lot to us that we have so many friends. Thank you again.

After our momentous yesterday, it would have been nice to sleep in, but that was not to be. We were up about 7:30 because Affinity RV where we’re parked here in Prescott would be opening at 8. I figured things would start rolling about then, so I wanted to be up and ready.

Stan, the Service Manager, showed up about 8:15 and ask if I had a spare tire. When I told him I didn’t, he said our rim was OK, and they were going to put a temporary tire on our rig so that they could move it to a more permanent location where we’ve would still have 50 amps and water, as well as now being able to put our slide out.

While they were working on the tire, I called National General Insurance and put in my claim for yesterday’s unpleasantness. I had already talked to my agent Chris Yust, of C and C RV Insurance to set things up so I didn’t have any problems.

About 10:30 we made our move and got parked and set up in a very nice area behind one of their buildings. We even have a spot to set up our satellite dish so Jan’s happy.

Affinity Parking Site

And there’s even a blue boy nearby to take care of our grey tank. We can go two weeks on our black tank and I hope we won’t be here that long. (I was way wrong. We were here for about 2 months.)

They’re having an 18th Anniversary Expo Sale here at Affinity RV this week, and part of that is that they have a food tent set up with breakfast (breakfast burritos) and lunch (BBQ Pork, BBQ Beef, and BBQ Chicken, along with the fixin’s. So around 12:30 I walked over to pick up lunch for Jan and I.

While I was there, I ran into blog reader and friend, Jim Hamm. He was there with his RV club helping out to serve the food. He had not yet read this morning’s blog so he did not know that we were here. As for us, we’re always happy to see a friendly face.

Although today was forecast with heavy thunderstorms, all we got was a lot of dark clouds and some drizzling rain. As far as the rest of the week, we’re looking at high’s in the mid-60’s and low’s in the 40’s.

Nice.

Now back to yesterday.

___________________________________________

We left the Las Vegas TT at 7:30, stopping about a mile down the road to take on some diesel. When we got here two weeks ago, diesel was $2.57, but today it was $2.93. Bummer!

While I was filling up, Jan, who had followed me in the truck, went next door to the very convenient Jack in the Box to grab us a couple of breakfast sandwiches. Yum! Then finishing up, we drove another mile or so down to the Wal-Mart on Boulder Hwy where we hitched up our toad and hit the road.

Our trip was smooth with some crosswinds, but nothing too bad. A ways outside Kingman, we pulled off in the parking lot of a filling station for a bathroom break. While there I was surprised to see this sign.

Medical Cannabis

I guess that gives new meaning to the term, “Convenience Store.”

Then about 80 miles out of Flagstaff on I-40E our trip came to a quick stop.

I saw something come out from under the wheels of a passing semi and tumble across right in front of me. And then there was a big BOOM! and the rig headed for the ditch.

Luckily, I was driving my usual 55mph which probably helped. Conventional blowout wisdom says to accelerate to straighten out and then slow to a stop without using the brakes. I didn’t accelerate because that would have just gotten me to the ditch faster. But instead I let off the gas and was able to wrestle the coach around until it was heading straight down the wide shoulder. From the time of the BOOM until we came to a stop was probably about 30 seconds.

The kitchen area looked like an avalanche zone. Both the coffee maker and the toaster/convection oven fell to the floor and then was covered up by all the stuff, spices, bottles, etc., came down until we had about a two foot pile of debris blocking the walkway back to the bathroom.

I was kind of involved at the time, but Jan said Mister freaked out. He had been lying on the floor just behind our chairs when all the stuff started raining down on him. She said he started jumping around, from her chair, then up on the dashboard, and back down again.

She also said, “I think he was screaming, but then again that may have been me.”

If I hadn’t been so busy, I might have been screaming too.

After catching our breath, I went outside to check out the damage. The first thing I noticed, besides the shredded tire,

BlowOut Tire

was diesel leaking out from underneath.

BlowOut Fuel Hose

BlowOut Fuel Tank2

The blowout had ripped the hose off between the fill nozzle and the tank. It looks like we lost 3-5 gallons before the level fell below the tank input.

At the front of the wheel well there was a bunch of wires hanging down where a wire bundle had been shredded.

BlowOut Wire Bundle2

The only other damage I saw was the bottom mirror on my rearview mirror had fallen off,

BlowOut Mirror

and the wrap-around AstroTurf step mat had been ripped off.

That was about it.

Based on some of the stories I’ve heard about blowout damage, I.e. side panels ripped out, brake and air lines torn up, suspension components bent, etc., we were very lucky.

Coming back in, I got on the phone with Good Sam ERS. The closest place that had something big enough to haul us was down in Prescott about 90 miles away, and he was out on a call. A little while later, I got a text message giving me an ETA of 3:09pm.

The guy got here at 3:15. Pretty accurate ETA.

BlowOut TowTruck

It took about an hour to get things set up, and then I just drove the rig up onto the flatbed, and then we were on our way.

BlowOut TowTruck 2

Dennis, of NASTOW Heavy Towing in Prescott, took us to Affinity RV Sales where he knew the manager and had arranged for us to park for the night in their lot.

Getting there, I just backed the rig off the flatbed and around the corner and into our spot. We didn’t have room to open our slide, but we did have 50 amps, so that was great.

Presott RV 1aa

Bob Bean, the manager, came by a little later to check in on us, and to see if we needed anything. Really nice guy.

Right before I put the rig up on the trailer, Dennis and I were looking at the tire and I saw something embedded in between the shreds of rubber.

BlowOut The Culprit

It was what I had seen bouncing across the road, a metal truck tire valve stem, about 4 inches long. I guess I was just unlucky enough to hit it when it was sticking up and not laying flat.

Finally, about 8:30, Jan and I headed over to an IHOP to have a late dinner. Between what happened, the long day, and the late meal, we were both kind of shell-shocked.

But we sure slept good.


May 4, 2016

An Oil Slick Revisited . . .

Things were real quiet at the White household today. Jan woke up with what she called a ‘baby migraine’, so she took a Sumatriptan and then just rested the remainder of the day.

Yesterday when I went into Columbus, I passed the Colorado Country Oil Co-op where we’ve bought diesel several times because the price is usually so good, But not now.

The first part of February this year it got down as low as $1.65 a gallon, but two weeks later it was back up to $1.69. And it’s slowly been climbing ever since. And yesterday, it was up to $1.99, a $.34 gain.

And we saw the same thing last week at the Buc-ee’s in Luling. As we headed from the Lake Conroe TT to Medina Lake TT on Sunday the 24th of April, it was $1.79/gallon. But a week later when we came back to Colorado River and stopped there for coffee, it had jumped up to $1.89.

I’ve got a bad feeling about this.

I crawled under the rig the other day to check out my slobber tube can. Back in early March, after we traveled from Lake Conroe to Colorado River, I found a heavy oil coating, an oil slick, on our truck after we arrived here.

Oil on Truck

You can read about it more here. Oil On Truck

After some Googling and investigating, I decided it had blown out of my engine’s oil breather tube, or ‘slobber’ tube.

Slobber Tube 1

Apparently many rigs have some sort of catcher or collector to handle this, but mine obviously doesn’t. So I made one.

And you can read about it here. Slobber Can Install

So I wanted to check for any more ‘leakage’. I checked before and found nothing, but it’s been a couple of months so I wanted to look at it again.

And like last time, I found nothing. Rather than remove the can to check like before, this time I just used a twig as a ‘dipstick’. And it was dry

So I still don’t know what really caused this. It’s never done it before or since, and I hadn’t added any oil recently to possibly over-fill it.

So I’ll just have to keep an eye on it.


Bend/Sunriver Thousand Trails in Bend, OR


May 4, 2017

Moving Day . . . Again

After trying a couple of more times this morning to get a satellite signal on our Winegard dome, I gave up and checked out a couple of open sites down from us.

And one of them D3, looked perfect for us. But there was another RV lurking nearby, looking like they wanted to park in the space I was now standing in. So I quickly called the office and told them we wanted to move from D24 to D3 and she said she’d switch our sites.

But not wanting to take a chance on losing the site to a squatter even though it was now assigned to us, I called Jan to walk over with the tag that goes on the pedestal.to hold the space for us.

But as it turned out the lady was not trying to steal my site, but was afraid that I was trying to steal her site right next to ours that she had already reserved at the office. We had a big laugh about it and I helped her back in her 36ft Class A coach.

Moving two sites over to our new space, I again decided to pull in straight rather than back in, giving us a windshield looking out over the open field, rather than looking at the Jayco right across the road.

Bend-Sunriver TT Site D3 - 2

Bend-Sunriver TT Site D3

A great view, and now we have DirecTV again. Jan is giddy.

Because we got here a day late on our reservation, I’m going to add a day at the end so we’ll be here for a full 14 days, and then readjust our schedule down the road.

Now to a recap on our recent mechanical unpleasantness.

First off, by the time we got back from Redding with the part and, moved the rig down to the Hi-Lo RV Park, and then had dinner, it was getting dark enough that I would have had to have some sort of lights under the rig to work.

Second, I figured that if it was going to die again it would do it very quickly. And it did. Remember as I said yesterday, I always play the odds.

Several readers commented, wondering why I don’t have diagnostic software/hardware for problems like this.

Well, I kind of do. My Silverleaf display lets me see fault codes from our Cummins engine, but it showed no codes from the Allison transmission problem.

Of course I was able to get a fault code from the transmission at the console. That’s what gave me the 2-5-1-1 code that indicated that the problem was the Speed Output Sensor.

Now as far as the full computer diagnostic package that the dealer uses, the one that everyone thought I should be hooking my rig up to before I tried to fix anything. Well, that one starts at $3200 and goes up from there depending on how many bells and whistles you want.

So, no thanks.

I can throw a lot of parts at a problem before I come anywhere near that amount.

BTW When you leave a blog comment, please leave your real email address. No one can see them but me, and I don’t do anything with them. I do however often use them to reply to your comment via email, as well as on the blog itself. I regularly email someone back and it bounces with an incorrect address.

A few days back, I posted this photo from Truck Village just south of Weed,
CA.

Weed Colorful Trucks

As I said these are in-service fire pump truck that are assembled on site for CalFire. The owner just likes bright colors.

But it’s kind of hard to get a good look, so I thought I post this Google Satellite View.

Truck Village Sat View

A lot more colors from this angle. Supposedly there are not two trucks exactly the same color.

We’ve got some wild weather coming up while we’re here. Yesterday and today’s high was in the low 80’s, but tonight it’s going down to 47°.

Then for the next two weeks we’ve got most days in the 50’s and 60’s and nights in the high 20’s and low 30’s.

And a chance of snow later in the week.


May 4, 2019

Passau 5/4/19

After our usual great breakfast, we were up the the gangplank and off the ship about 9:30 for our day visit to Passau, Germany, our first stop in a German city.

Passau Gangplank

We had signed up for the Walking Tour of Passau, the included one for this stop. Unfortunately, so far we haven’t had many, if any, ‘driving’ tours, but I guess it helps work off all the delicious food they keep feeding us.

We started out along the Inn River, with our first stop the Schaibling or Salt Tower.

Passau Salt Tower

Built in the mid-1300’s, it was a fortified watch tower to protect and store, what else, Salt. Salt, necessary for preserving food, especially meat, has been a hot commodity since the Roman days. In fact, in many cases Roman soldiers were paid in salt. Hence the term, ‘Salary’.

The salt came from the mines near Salzburg, and was a favorite target of pirates and thieves, so it was protected all the way up the river and then safely stored in the tower.

Next, cutting up through an alley to get into town, we came across this sign on someone’s backyard.

Passau Meine Ball

It says, “My Home, My Ball, My Family”

He looks like he’s serious about all this.

Our next stop was the old town hall which was pretty non-descript on the outside, but another story on the inside. And besides the carved marble staircase

Passau Town Hall 1

and the marvelous frescoed ceiling,

Passau Town Hall 2

its other claim to fame was that Mozart played here for the local prince at the age of 6. Mozart, not the prince. But Mozart felt insulted when they kept him waiting for six days before hearing him play, so he refused to ever play for the prince or his family again, since they wouldn’t pay him for waiting.

A little way down the cobble-stoned street, we passed through an archway and into the square in front of the beautiful St. Stephen’s Cathedral.

Passau St Stephens Cathedral Front

There have been churches on this site since 730 A.D., with this one being built between 1668 to 1693 to replace the previous one that burned down in 1662. Designed in the Baroque style, it’s over 100 meters long, and even more beautiful on the inside than the outside.

Passau St Stephens Church 3

Passau St Stephens Church 4

Passau St Stephens Church 5

Even the floor tiles are over 1000 years old, taken from Roman ruins and reused.

Passau St Stephens Church Tile Floor

But the crowning glory is the massive pipe organ, the largest in Europe, and in the top five in the world.

Passau St Stephens Church Pipe Organ

It currently has 17,794 pipes and 233 registers, and is played from six consoles, and even better, we got to hear a concert after lunch.

Or maybe I should say after ‘dessert’, since that’s what we had. Jan had the Cherry Cheese Strudel with Vanilla Ice Cream

Passau Cherry Cheese Strudel

and I had the Apple Strudel with Vanilla Sauce.

Passau Apple Strudel

Delicious!

There are very few free toilets in Budapest or Germany, but even less so in Germany. You either pay .50 € or 1 €, or you buy something in a restaurant. But this little old lady had a real scam going by setting up right in front of the ‘WC’ next to the cathedral.

Passau St Stephens Church Bathroom

Many of these have an attendant to give change, or a change machine, but this one didn’t. So if you had to go really bad, you bought a postcard or a trinket to get some change.

Nice racket!

When we got back into the church for the concert, we were warned that there was no recording allowed. But obviously someone did record it, and you can listen to the opening piece here on YouTube.

And it was all I could do to not laugh out loud on the first few notes. It was Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, probably one of the most recognizable openings in classical music, except maybe for Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony.

But that wasn’t the funny part. Here we are in definitive ‘Dracula’ country, and this the definitive Dracula theme song. So much so that if you Google ‘Dracula music, this piece comes up.

The organ has one pipe that’s about 2 feet across and puts out a note at 16Hz. It seems to make the air in your lungs vibrate, and you feel it as much as hear it.

They also have a pipe that’s about 1/4 inch across that puts out 16kHz, so pretty much only young kids and probably young dogs can actually hear it. I certainly can’t, but it does make my ears itch.

Dinner back on the ship was as delicious as usual, with my Angus Ribeye with double veggies, and no fries.

Passau Angus Ribeye

Gotta try to cut back somehow.

Jan got one of her favorites, the Roasted Chicken.

Passau Roasted Chicken

Next up: Regensburg


Thought for the Day:


If you’re shocked by what I say, then you obviously haven’t been paying attention to who I am.

  

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