Could’ve Been Worse . . .

I spent most of today at work trying to configure a new computer for our Shipping Dept. I want to get it into place by this week so it can be up and going for a couple of weeks before I leave on vacation for two weeks starting on the 26th of this month.

I’ve still got to set up the two different shipping label printers (one for UPS, one for USPS), and also the weigh scale. And then finish final configuration of the UPS program itself. Hopefully I can finish it up on Wednesday.

After my frustration during my recent toilet repairs, I saw this article, Toilet Struck By Lightning, and realized it could have been a lot worse.

It could have been lightning!

Toilet Lightning 1

Toilet Lightning 2

It seems that a lightning strike came down through the exhaust vent and hit the toilet. Luckily it was a vacant apartment, but someone was scheduled to move in the next day.

So this is my problem, my poop is too old?

Effects of Aging Have Been Reversed by Putting Young Mouse Poop in Old Mice

It sounds like something that might have come out of a sci-fi novel, but it’s based on cold, hard, printed research: transplanting fecal microbes from young mice into old mice seems to reverse key signs of aging in the guts, eyes, and brains of the older animals.

When the poo microbes were transferred from young to old mice, this inflammation showed signs of reversing. When the transplant was moved the other way, signs of gut aging and inflammation began to appear in the younger mice.

Tomorrow we’re heading into Houston to first have lunch at the Katz’s Deli in the Montrose District before seeing the Ramses exhibit

Ramses Exhibit 1

at the Houston Museum of Natural Science.

Really looking forward to both.

Staying in Homestead, FL

May 9, 2009

Art Deco Tour . . .

Today we took a drive about 30 miles up US 1 to Miami and Miami Beach.

On the way we stopped for lunch at Tony Roma’s, a restaurant we used to eat at a lot when there was one in Webster near where we lived in Friendswood.

We started at the bottom of Collins Ave.  on Miami Beach and drove up thru the Historic Art Deco hotel district, past the famous Fontainebleau Hotel, and all the way up to Bal Harbour.

Driving that route brought back some old memories.

When we moved back from Colombia, South America in 1963, my mother, sister, and I stayed in a hotel in South Miami Beach for a month waiting for my father to follow us back.

A friend I made that was also staying at the hotel and I spent a lot of time roaming up and down Collins Ave.

Right across the street from the Fontainebleau was the dock site where the TV series “Surfside 6” was filmed, although the show was no longer on the air by then.

There were also a lot of Jewish deli’s in the area where I was first introduced to bagels, lox and cream cheese.

We’re still planning on driving up to Cape Kennedy on Monday for the Space Shuttle launch if the weather holds.

More Gate Guarding

May 9, 2012

Be Careful What You Wish For . . .

It’s been kind of hot the last few days, so we thought it would be nice to have some cooler weather.

And we got it. Along with about 3 inches of rain, and it seems like about 6 inches of mud.

But it is cooler, and will be only in the low to mid 80’s for the next few days. And in fact, right now at 1:30 am, with the wind chill, it’s downright cold.

But it did get cooler.

Jan had a girl’s day out this afternoon. She and one of the gate guard wives down the road drove over to Pleasanton for an afternoon of shopping. Except for our trip from our old gate to this one almost two weeks ago, this is the first time she’s been out and about. They ate at a really good Chinese buffet called Yummy, and even brought me some home. And yes, it was yummy.

One thing Jan brought us back from Wal-Mart were some real rain ponchos. The ones we’ve been using for the last few days are transparent blue with ‘Maid of the Mist” on them in large while letters. We got them in 2009 when we visited Niagara Falls and rode the famous boats.

But I’m not sure the new ones Jan got will be any less conspicuous since they’re fire engine red.

I finally broke down and ordered a Kindle Fire the other day, and it should be in at the office tomorrow, so I’ll drive over and pick it up. It’s always fun playing with a new toy.

I also ordered a new Lucite grab bar handle from Fleetwood for our coach. They get brittle after a while from the UV rays, and ours broke a couple of weeks ago. It still lights up so I’ll just have to replace the bar itself.

I guess the rig resolved their drill bit problem. After being stuck at about 11,500 feet for three days, they were at 12,400 last night and almost 14,000 tonight. And watching the rig from here, they seem to be making steady progress.

They certainly have a lot of interesting bugs around here. One of them are these large (about 3 inches long) grasshopper/locusts? There are also a lot of smaller green grasshoppers that are everywhere.


When Mister’s outside, he’ll go over and sniff them, but that’s about it.

That about covers it for the last few days. I’ll give you a Kindle Fire review after I have a chance to play with it for a few days.

Losing Money in Las Vegas

May 9, 2013

Wall, at least it got here pretty quick . . .

but it’s the wrong one.

Well, it’s the right one as far as it’s the one they said I needed. But it’s not the one I need.

And I’m not quite sure that they know exactly which mirror I have. I have looked over every square inch of my mirrors, including inside where the missing mirror goes, and there’s not a number of any kind to be found anywhere on it.

Anyway, the mirror they sent me is about an inch too narrow and about a quarter inch too short. It also has a heating strip on the back and mounts completely differently. Although my upper main mirror is heated, the lower one is not. So this is not my mirror.

Since we’re going on a daytrip to Oatman, AZ tomorrow, it’ll probably be Monday before I can get back with them.

About 2:15 we headed down to Boulder Station Casino so Jan could play Bingo. She quickly found that this is high-tension Bingo. They call a number every 12 seconds and Jan was playing 6 cards so she couldn’t look away. Plus there were a lot of side games to keep track of, too.

But it was all for naught. Here’s Jan burning through $18 of Bingo cards.

Jan Plays Bingo

I think Jan really prefers the laid-back Knights of Columbus Hall type of Bingo like she’s played back in Houston.

‘The games last about an hour and start on the odd hours, 11, 1, 3, etc., so we were finished up about 4 and decided to have dinner at the casino buffet once again.

Then it was time to give Boulder Station some more money so here’s Jan losing $20 in the slots. And it didn’t take long.


Jan Plays the Slots

Coming back to the park, I stopped off at Smith’s Grocery Store gas station to fill up. Using my magic Fred Meyer’s card, it was only $3.15 a gallon. Very nice.

Tomorrow we’re taking a daytrip back down to Oatman, AZ, an early 20th century gold mining town. But the big attraction for Jan is the multitude of wild burros wandering around the through the town. She’ll be in hog heaven.

Then coming back home we plan on stopping off at the access point to the walkway that crosses the new Hoover Dam Bypass Bridge. I want to walk out on it. Jan’s somewhat iffy about it.

Hoover Dam Bypass Walkway

Hopefully I’ll have some better photos than this one from the Internet.

Blowout Repair in Prescott, AZ

May 9, 2015

Old Friends and Good Food . . .

Jan and I got really excited this morning when a little before noon there was a knock on the door, since we were thinking it might be some news about our repairs.

But it was better. It was our friends Dick and Phyllis Schell who drove over from the Verde Valley Thousand Trails to make a Costco run. And since they were in the neighbor, they decided to come by and say “Hi.”

And even better, after talking awhile, we decided to go to lunch together. Jan and I had had our eye on a nearby place called Speed’s Hanger Deli. With 4-1/2 stars on Yelp, and only about half a mile away, it was high on our list.

Speed's Hanger Deli

The place turns out to be the endcap in a non-descript office park, but inside it’s an eclectic mix of military poster art and souvenirs.

Speed's Hanger Deli 7

The 3 page menu has over 80 sandwiches listed, plus sides and desserts.

Speed's Menu

The sandwiches were enormous, and delicious. As you can see from the page above, all the sandwiches have military names.

I had the aptly-named ‘Fatman’, (along with ‘Little Boy’ one of the two atom bombs dropped on Japan) with grilled roast beef, capicolla bacon, pastrami, grilled onions, provolone, mozzarella, and pepper jack cheeses. I then added jalapenos and horseradish mayo.

Speed's Hanger Deli 1

Jan got the ‘Rosie the Riveter’ with roast beef, sautéed with mushroom and onions, topped with melted Provolone cheese.

Speed's Hanger Deli 4

Dick had the ‘Zero’ Meatball sandwich.

Speed's Hanger Deli 2

Phyllis got the ‘H-111 Heinkel’ Turkey sandwich.

Speed's Hanger Deli 3

it was easy to see how Speed’s got 4-1/2 stars, our sandwiches were great. We’ll definitely try to schedule a trip back before we leave.

As usual when RV’ers get together, we spent more time talking than eating, and didn’t go our separate ways until after 2pm.

Dick and Phyllis Schell

Hopefully we’ll get out of here and back over to Verde Valley before Dick and Phyllis leave the area. But if not I’m sure we’ll see them down the road soon.

Slow WiFi in Conroe, TX

May 9, 2016

It’s A Trap!

to quote a famous fish-headed Admiral.

Since I’ve been downloading so many updates and upgrades to our granddaughter Piper’s laptop, and since the 3G and 4G internet service here at Lake Conroe is so sucky, I was considering subscribing to the park’s new FAST WAVE Wi-Fi service.

Nobody at the park seemed to have any idea what kind of speeds I would be seeing, and there was not a phone number or email address on the signup site to ask them.

So after waffling a bit, I logged in and signed up, paying for 1 week at $14.95.

Big mistake.

As soon as I got online, I first went to to check the speed. And immediately decided the service was misnamed.

SLOW WAVE was more like it. Kind of like Jumbo Shrimp or Pretty Ugly.

Speedtest showed me about 2.5 Mps, slower than I was getting at Colorado River on 3G, must less the 30 – 40 Mps I was getting on 4G. The only thing actually faster was the Ping time. It was 20 ms rather than the usual 100 ms I get on 4G. That means when you click on something on the web, it will only take 20 thousandths of a second, rather than 100 thousandths of a second, for something to happened. Big Whoop!

The only redeeming thing, and the reason I didn’t call and cancel immediately, was that it does take the load off our Aircard bandwidth, so we’re not slowed down while the laptop is updating.

As it was, I spent a good part of the afternoon downloading about 1.5GB of 216 Win7 updates and getting them installed. Now I’m still trying to get all the drivers installed, but they don’t make it easy.

As I figured, our ‘power problem’ that we had at Colorado River has not happened here. This afternoon both the front and rear a/d units were running, so I cringed as Jan started the microwave. And . . . nothing. No problem at all.

So it’s all Colorado River’s fault.

More Baldy’s in Bend

May 9, 2017

A Two Part Problem?

After our 20° night three days ago , we had a 24° one night before last, and then 29° last night.

And we’re looking at 40° tonight. At least that’s the temp forecasted. But our temps out here in the woods seem to always run 3 – 5 degrees lower. So we could be looking at the mid 30’s tonight.

I spent most of the afternoon working on my Kwikee step problem. It was working fine when we left Los Cruces back in March, but later that afternoon when we checked in to the Cochise Terrace RV Park in Benson, the step started grinding when it extended.

And grinding when it retracted too, as well as not retracting all the way.

When I called Lippert (the now-owner of Kwikee) they immediately told me my problem was the motor/gearbox and they would be happy to sell me a new one for only $250. Right!

At least not until I’m sure that’s what it really  is.

Kwikee Step Mechanism

First thing I did was to drop the motor to look at the gears. Because of the grinding/chattering I kind of expected to find a tooth or two missing from either the motor gear or the interfacing one in the gearbox. But they all looked good.

So next with the motor hanging loose, I had Jan open and close the the door and listened to the motor as it ran. And it sounded just fine, with no noise beyond the normal motor sounds.

Next I pulled the cotter key and disconnected the gearbox linkage from the step mechanism so I could move the step in and out by itself. And in doing this I found that the step was binding at the bottom of its movement.

And when I scrunched further underneath the rig I found that the whole frame was slightly bent, pushed toward the front of the rig. But how it happened I don’t know. The entire step mechanism was replaced after our blowout in May 2015, so it’s just two years old.

I got my crowbar out of the truck and tried to bend the step back into alignment with only a little success. I couldn’t get enough clearance to really straighten it out, but I did make some improvement. To fix it completely I may have to remove the entire step mechanism to get it completely straight.

After spraying all the moving joints with while lithium grease the mechanism was moving a little better, so I put it back together, hoping I had fixed the problem. And it kind of did.

It was moving a lot better, but I was still getting the chattering. But now I noticed that the step came all the way out, but the motor kept running, and chattering.

So, is something causing the motor to not shut off when it should? But that’s for next time since it was getting dark. But it looks like a two part problem.

For dinner tonight we finished off the rest of the Baldy’s BBQ from yesterday. Still great. And hopefully we’ll get in another visit before we leave.

Then later for dessert we finished off the last of the Gingerbread Banana muffins that our friend and neighbor Dina Pickens dropped off a couple of days ago.

Tomorrow we going in to Bend to see “Guardians of the Galaxy” and then have dinner again at Red Robin and then make a Wal-Mart run .

“quarrelsome wenches”

May 9, 2019

Wertheim Am Main, Germany


Our Skirnir docked in Wertheim at 8:30am, and after an early breakfast we left on our Wertheim Walking Tour by taking the train about 9:15. Or a Mini-Train anyway.

Wertheim Mini-Train

And of course, as it’s been for the last few days, it was cold and rainy.

As we came down the gangplank there was a supply truck backed up starting to unload supplies, which strangely enough, seemed to be mostly made up of alcohol.

Wertheim Supplies Unloading

And for the first time I saw how the ship sometimes hooks up to shore power.

Wertheim Power Cables

They would rather run their shipboard generators, but sometimes they have to use shore power for environmental reasons, and rather than try to wrestle with one really big, really heavy cable, they use 10 smaller ones.

The train dropped us off in front of the Spitzer Turm, also known as the Leaning Tower of Wertheim.

Wertheim Tower

Tilting due to 800 years of Main River flooding, it was originally started in the 1100’s and added to in the early 1200’s. About 120 feet high, it once served as a prison for drunkards and “quarrelsome wenches”.

It really doesn’t tilt as much as the photo shows dur to lens distortion, but it is said to be a couple of degrees further along than Pisa.

Like its slightly younger counterpart in Italy, there are regular attempts to stabilize it, with some success, I guess, since it’s still standing.

Wertheim is first mentioned as a city in 779A.D, and some of the many buildings supposedly have been around about that long, especially the ones known as half-timber houses.

Wertheim Town 4

And apparently the blue ones are a sign of wealth.

Wertheim Town 3

We made our way through the rest of the town taking in the many colorful houses and shops.

Wertheim Town 1

Wertheim Town 2

We also noticed a few of these ‘corner blocks’ that was the signature of the builder and his workers.

Wertheim Corner Blocks

The date is kind of hard to make out, but it says 1595, kind of a youngster here, relatively speaking.

In the background of this city photo, you can make out the remains of Castle Wertheim at the top of the hill.

Wertheim Town 5

Dating from the early 800’s, the castle remains in ruins.

This colorful church has a strange history.

Wertheim Church 1

Originally it was a Catholic church, but with a change in local rulers, it was given over to the Protestants. Then another ruler, and it was back to the Catholics.

Rinse, Lather, Repeat.

Finally the citizens rebelled and divided the church between the two religions, and everyone was happy.

Getting back to the ship about 12:15, we saw the group getting ready for the 15 mile bike ride starting at 1pm.

Wertheim Bikes

Better them than Jan and I.

Heading out about 12:45 we got a better look at Castle Wertheim along the Main.

Wertheim Hill Castle

Further along we passed another castle on a hill, but bigger and more modern, it seems,

Wertheim Hill Castle 2

And more of the vertical vineyards, these bigger and more commercial it looks like.

Wertheim Vertical Vineyards

About 5:00 we docked for a short time at Freudenberg to pick up the Bike tour riders, and then we were back on the way.

Later, a little before dinner, I looked out our room window and saw this.

Wertheim Lock Wall

This is the wall of the lock we were in, about 6 inches away. And it’s same on the other side, too.

At 443 feet long and 38 feet width, the Skirnir, and the other Viking river cruisers, are sized to fit in the smallest lock along the Danube/Main/Rhine rivers. And they cram in every inch they can.


Cruising the Scenic Middle Rhine ending up at Koblenz in the afternoon.