Daily Archives: June 5, 2022

Up Close And Personal . . .

Recapping our visit to the Alabama Safari Park just south of Montgomery yesterday. We had seen a flyer for it and decided we had time to check it out on our way down to Gulf Shores.

We got there a little before the 9am opening time and found ourselves already 4th in line. And more cars were quickly pulling in behind us. When they opened the gate we drove up to the Gift Shop to buy our tickets rather than do the drive-thru since Jan wanted to check out the Gift Shop, and we wanted a potty break before doing the 1-hour drive-through the park. And of course, Jan found a couple of things she wanted.

Crossing into the park we found a number of animals waiting to greet us.

Or at least waiting to sample some of the feed from the buckets we bought when we got our tickets. And the llamas pretty much shoulder everyone aside to get to the feed.

This guy came around to my side and seemed disappointed that I didn’t have any.

This Thomson’s Gazelle wouldn’t come right up to the Jeep but waited for us to throw the food on the ground.

But this Blackbuck wasn’t shy at all and stuck his head right in the window.

And everywhere we looked around this 350-acre park we saw animals.

Next up were Jan and Landon’s nemesis, the camels.

Jan, Landon, and camels do not get along very well.

Back in 2013, when Landon was 2-1/2, we took him to the Bayou Wildlife Zoo near us in Alvin, TX.

While we were taking the open-air tram ride, I thought this Bactrian Camel (two humps) was going to climb into the tram with Jan.

Camel 4

He took a liking to Landon’s brightly-colored backpack and decided he wanted it.

Camel 5

And came after it.

Camel 6

She kept trying to push him away, but a 1500 pound camel doesn’t push very easily.

Camel 7

Camel 8

I’m not sure if Jan was trying to protect Landon here, or trying to get Landon to save her.

Camel 9

But luckily he finally gave up as the tram pulled away.

But yesterday the camel just took the feed bucket away from Jan and proceeded to chow down.

While another one decided that our Styrofoam antenna ball looked tasty and started chewing on it,

finally pulling it loose and chewing it up.

We told them what had happened when we got back to the Gift Shop and they sent a guy out to check on the camel.

Then turning a corner, this is not what you want to see standing in the middle of the road, blocking your way, a 2000# Banteng.

But he turned out to be pretty gentle when we fed him, and he even let us pet him.

However, I think overall the ostriches are the scariest looking.

Then after losing the first feed bucket to the camels, Jan lost the second one to the Zebras. They just bit down on the bucket and snatched it out of her hand.

Next we saw Bison and the big-horned Watusi cattle, neither of which came close to the Jeep, which was fine with me.

We did come across these two ring-tailed lemurs out in the grass, running around like squirrels. However, I think these guys must have escaped from their enclosure since the guidebook says they have their own island surrounded by a moat.

I guess these guys learned to swim.

By the time we got back around to the exit, we could see a large crowd gathered to greet the new visitors.

And get fed.

Then after a very enjoyable visit, we were back on the road a little after 10am.


June 5, 2010

Salt Lake City…

About 11 am our friends, Pat and Judy, came over to our rig, and after talking for a while we headed out for lunch right down the street at Applebee’s.

After talking over old times after lunch, we headed out for some sightseeing. We spent several hours driving around downtown, and then up into the hills overlooking the city.

Here’s a shot of the Mormon Temple and the Temple plaza.

MormonTemple 1

MormonTemple 2

And here’s a side shot of the Temple.

MormonTemple 3

This is up in the hills north of the city looking down on State St., the main thoroughfare running for miles out from the city.

State Street

Here’s a shot of the mountains to the west of Salt Lake City.  They had snow here in Salt Lake just last week, and are trying to reopen the ski areas because of all the snow they’ve had.

SLC Mountains

And here’s another colorful mascot like the pronghorn antelope we saw the other day.

Buffalo Mascot

After coming back to the rig, Pat and Judy headed home for a while, Then about 5:30 we met them and some of their family at the Texas Roadhouse a few miles away.

We had a great time getting to know them, along with the great food.

After dinner we took Pat and Judy home, with a detour to the new Mormon Temple up in the hills overlooking Draper.

New Temple

We got back to the rig a little before 8 pm and settled in for the night.

Tomorrow we’ll run some errands and then meet Pat and Judy at a nearby Famous Dave’s BBQ for dinner.


Weed, CA

June 5, 2011

Lavender Bears . . .

Here’s a new pic of Landon in his new pool. Brandi says he loves it and cries when she takes him out.

Landon Pool 3

She also said she got to sleep in this morning since Lowell got up to take care of Landon. When she got up the house was quiet and she thought Lowell and Landon had made a Starbuck’s run, but when she came out into the living room, she found this. Apparently, they had pooped each other out. Really cute.

Landon and Lowell

Friendly RV Park here in Weed

Friendly RV

is a very nice little park with a great view of Mt. Shasta that should look like this.

Mt. Shasta

But due to the rain and overcast looks like this.

Mt Shasta - Park

Although it went down to 39 degrees last night it’s supposed to get into the 60’s today. And it’s supposed to really clear up on Tuesday. We’ll see.

About 12:30 we did our biweekly LandonSkyping, and as usual, Landon was all over the place. Brandi and Lowell said if they walk into another room, he’s crawling right along behind them.

Video call snapshot 126

Video call snapshot 137

Video call snapshot 142

We can hardly wait until we get to see him in August.

A little later Jan fixed a lunch of left-over Chinese from Taste of China in Oakhurst last week. I wish we’d brought a gallon of that Hot & Sour Soup with us.

After lunch I finally got the satellite working by moving it about 30 feet behind the rig and shooting through this gap in the trees. It also didn’t help that, although it’s hidden in the overcast,

Park Sat View

this mountain, “Black Butte” is also in the way.

Black Butte

Because of all this I can only get about 75% signal level, but it works.

After a nice nap Jan and I headed out about 5:30 to downtown Weed and the Hi-Lo Diner. The Hi-Lo has been around since the 40’s and is the original store of what became the Black Bear Diner chain of 50 restaurants in 8 states. Apparently there was a divorce back in the 1970’s that split things up. One side then partially bought out the other, leaving the Hi-Lo by itself.

We had been told this place was really good and they were right. Jan had the Chicken Fried Chicken and I had the Chicken Fried Steak, and for dessert, Jan had the Blackberry Cobbler and I had the Peach Cobbler, both ala mode.

Hi-Lo Dinner

Boy was it all good. So good that we’re going to eat breakfast there tomorrow before we set out to explore the area.

Leaving the diner we drove around Weed, or what there is of it. Weed is a picturesque town but it only has about 2000 residents.

We did see this neat totem pole, although why it’s in front of a discount store, I have no idea.

Weed Totem

Tomorrow, according to Jan, we going to look for lavender and bears . . . or lavender bears . . .  or something like that. We’ll see.


More Gate Guarding Stuff

June 5, 2012

Mystery Solved . . .

The other day I’d complained about the fact that our fresh water tank was black so that with the summer sun on it, the water was always hot and you couldn’t take a cool shower even if you wanted to.

Well, reading on another blog, I found out why the tanks are black. Or at least the good ones. It keeps down the algae. The black tanks keep the sunlight out which greatly retards the growth of the green stuff. Actually I should I remember this from my aquarium days. But then that was back in my sticks and bricks lifetime, and far, far away.

I guess hot water is better than green water.

One of the many perks of being a gate guard, well, one of the perks, maybe, is the occasional catered meals brought in by vendors for the crew. And lucky for us, the gate guards are included in “crew”. But although we’d heard about the meals, this was the first time we’d been on the receiving end.

OK, there are two perks, the pay, and the occasional catered meal.

Ok, there’s one perk, the pay. The meals are just a bonus.

Last Friday, right before we got back from our granddaughter Piper’s graduation, they dropped off Fried Catfish and Shrimp Dinners, with Hushpuppies, Cole Slaw, and Corn, and though we didn’t have it until lunch the next day (Saturday), it was still good and crispy heated up.

But even better, right before suppertime the same day, a delicious! steak dinner showed up. Consisting of a great piece of meat, green beans, au gratin potatoes, salad with ranch dressing, a roll, and apple cobbler for dessert, it was really, really good. And the steak covered the entire bottom of the compartment. The green beans are on top of it.

Steak Dinner

The steak was still hot and juicy, and tender enough you could cut it with the plastic fork. In fact, everything was hot, except the salad, which was cold. Not sure how they did that. Guess they added the salad at the last minute.

Anyway, it was amazing how good everything was. The potatoes were melt-in-your-mouth, and I’d swear the green beans were fresh, not canned or frozen. Even the roll tasted fresh-baked, not the generic pull-apart variety. All in all, a great meal.

And the rumor is, there’s another meal coming today (Wednesday) or tomorrow. Here’s hoping.

I was reading on the RV.net forum about a gate guard couple working a gate with multiple rigs. They’re apparently handling about 600 vehicles a day (We normally do 60-80), but because of the heavy traffic, they’re making $565 a day.

Wow! That’s a little over $206,000 a year. When I mentioned this to Jan, I guess I had a little too much excitement in my voice, because she gave me “The Look”, and . . . you married guys know “The Look”, right?  The one that means you just stepped in quicksand and there’s no way you’re getting your foot back in one piece . . . yeah, that Look. Anyway, she Looked at me, and said “Don’t even think about it.”

Hey, a guy can dream, can’t he?


June 5, 2016

Moving On Down The Road . . .

Jan and I were up about 6:30 for our usual pre-prep to travel back to Lake Conroe today. As usual I had done a lot of things yesterday afternoon to get ready, I.e., stowed the sewer hose, etc. I normally would have also put up the shore water hose, but since I don’t have a working water pump right now, I  left it hooked up for today’s showers.

The replacement water pump is on the list, but it’s now been pushed down to third place. Instead, first up now is to climb up on the roof and check the drain holes on the rear AC. I’ve got water coming in from the AC filter when it’s running and I don’t see any sign of it running off the side of the rig as normal. It’s probably an algae buildup.

Then second, is my microwave door problem. The latch has apparently broken inside and I can’t open the door, even after holding in the button and pulling on the door as has been suggested.

At this point, looks like I’m going to have pull it out of its over-the-counter cabinet, and remove the panels to get to the latch to release it. Replacement parts should only be about $18. Certainly better than $300-$400 for a new one.

Jan and I headed into Columbus for our usual Schobel’s breakfast buffet. We always eat here before we leave Colorado River, and always have breakfast at the Cracker Barrel before we leave Lake Conroe.

Yes, it is a rut, but it’s a tasty rut.

Besides attracting us to the good food, Schobel’s also seems to attract neat customized trikes. This was the first one we saw in their parking lot last December.

Schobel's Trike 1

And then this one today.

Schobel's 2nd Trike 1

I didn’t get enough of a look at the engine to know what it is, beyond a V-8. Maybe a reader will know.

Schobel's 2nd Trike 2

With a Busch beer keg for a fuel tank, and a Busch beer container for a saddle bag, I’m sensing a theme here.

Schobel's 2nd Trike 3

Now that’s heavy-duty suspension. It would look right at home on a John Deere tractor, especially with the green paint job.

Schobel's 2nd Trike 4

A switch for everything.

Schobel's 2nd Trike 5

Now I’m not sure what the little ‘distillery’ here is for. That’s the fan and radiator in that rear box, so maybe it’s his radiator overflow.

But since it’s a Russian Standard Vodka bottle, maybe he’s making up some homebrew as he drives.

Schobel's 2nd Trike 6

A neat bike.

Back at the park, I was outside finishing up and ran into Vicki Hall, a fellow gate guard, and Facebook friend. She had posted a photo of their 5th wheel and said they were at Colorado River. When I saw the photo I realized they were parked right behind us.

Then a little later, Vicki’s husband Roy also came over to say “Hi”. Nice to put a face to a name and a Facebook post.

The way we’re parked on this circle, the rear end of our coach is near the camper right next door. Since our engine compartment is only about 15 feet from where they were outside cooking and eating breakfast, and we weren’t in any real hurry, I decided to wait for them to finish before I cranked up since it takes 5-6 minutes for the rig to come up on the suspension airbags before we can pull out..

So about 15 minutes we were pulling out and getting hitched up. And by 10:30 we were on our way to Conroe.

Saturday, when we were traveling down to Seabrook for our Taft/NASA reunion, we both commented on how there was no wind along the way, with the flags all hanging limp. But we both figured it would be different today, And it was.

Today the flags along the way were all at right angles to the poles. The only redeeming part was that it wasn’t as gusty as in the past, just steady from the north.

Passing Brookshire, we pulled over on the shoulder for a potty stop. This is a good place for that because the shoulders on both sides of the three lanes are extra-wide, due to the fact that they are designated as Evaculanes for hurricane evacuation, giving people 5 lanes to get out of town.

While we were stopped I cranked up the generator and turned on the AC’s. When we left Colorado River, it was overcast and 73 degrees, and it was supposed to stay that way the whole trip. But the sun came out and put an end to that. So AC’s it was.

We got into the Lake Conroe Thousand Trails a little after 12:30 and found a nice site in our favorite ‘E’ ring. Then a little later, I talked with Judy Mott about getting together while we’re both here. Really looking forward to seeing Dick and Judy again.

Life is good.


Still In Rapid City, SD

June 5, 2017

Working, But Not Fixed . . .

Or, Led Down the Wrong Path.

Well, we finally hit the 90’s today with a high of 91°, but tomorrow’s high is supposed to be 75. So a little let-up in the temps.

And along with the heat came afternoon thunderstorms, which meant I was dodging lightning while I was outside working on installing the new starter. And as I figured it was a lot harder to get the starter back on with the solenoid already attached.

According to the manual I should be doing all this with the generator out of the rig and the bottom panel off. Which is why it takes me so long to accomplish this repair.

In fact it took over an hour and a half of fooling with the starter, getting the two bolts started and finally tightened down. Then it was just a matter of connecting up all the wires and then reconnecting the 300amp fuse in the battery bay to put 12 volts back on the generator.

New Generator Starter Installed

So now it was just a matter of pressing the Start button and listening to it crank, right?


Dead silence.

So now it was back to basics. So I rechecked the wiring that I had reconnected and checked for the high amperage 12 volts at the back of the solenoid.

All OK.

So my next check was for the 12 volt control signal coming from the Start button to the back of the solenoid. Because of the way the wiring harness was routed before I removed the starter, I couldn’t get to this connection before to check it. But getting the wire loose from the back of the solenoid, I put one lead of the voltmeter on it and the other on a ground connection, and pressed the Start button.

No 12 volts.

So next I made up a jumper wire with a spade lug on one end and bare on the other end.  And after plugging it into the back of the solenoid, I touched the bare end to the high amperage 12 volt lug on the back of the solenoid.

New Generator Starter with Jumper Wire

And after several tries, the generator cranked up and ran.

So I had just learned a $166 lesson, buying a new starter that I probably didn’t need.

But as I said, before I couldn’t get to the wire anyway. So now I needed to find out why the signal wasn’t getting to the solenoid. So I went back to the copy of the service manual that I had downloaded. And all it told me was the signal from the Start button went into the Controller box and came out to the solenoid. Not a lot of help.

Next I got on the phone to Cummins/Onan for some tech help. I was trying to figure which connector on the controller fed into the wire harness and then out to the solenoid. But as happens, what I was seeing on the generator itself did not match up with what the manual said.

But the tech help wasn’t much help. In fact, since my generator was18 years old, they didn’t have any service data on it, not even a copy of the service manual that I had found online. So I was on my own.

I did try several things to trace the wire with no luck. Then finally I was chased back inside by another thunderstorm rumbling through.

But the pressure is off. I can make the generator run, even if I have to run a separate wire from the solenoid to inside the rig. But however, we will have the house AC’s running while we’re on our way back to Texas in the next few weeks.

But at least now I have a spare starter.

Tomorrow if it doesn’t rain we’re going up to Deadwood to take a look around.

Thought For The Day:

WE ARE ALL: Ugly to someone, fake to someone, stuck-up to someone, ain’t shit to someone, a loser to someone, a bitch to someone.


Make your money, pay your bills, take care of yourself and your family, and don’t worry what anyone else thinks.