Daily Archives: June 19, 2022

Happy Father’s Day To All . . . Well, Fathers

My Father’s Day lunch today was at one of our favorite local places, Gator’s Bar & Grill.


They were advertising some Father’s Day Specials, like the one I got.


A 14 oz. Ribeye with 4 Blackened Shrimp, Roasted Broccoli, and a Side Salad.

Jan got her fav Filet, again with the Roasted Broccoli, and a Side Salad.

Really, really good.

Then it was off up the feeder to the HEB for our week’s stuff from there. Finishing up I got gas there at $4.43. Not bad, relatively speaking.

Tomorrow I’ve got my 6 month Check Up after my Cervical Fusion last November, and I hopefully I can get more info about a possible Lumbar Fusion.

When we were leaving Sam’s yesterday I noticed these two out in the retention pond out in front of the store by the feeder.


Normally the pond water level is too high for them, but since we haven’t had rain for over two weeks, this Ibis and a Roseate Spoonbill seem to be enjoying it.

Thought for the Day:

Being born in Alabama, I was 15 before I knew “Damn” and “Yankee” were two separate words.


June 19, 2009

Schooners and Container Ships…

Today is our last full day in Charleston.

We decided to take a Charleston Harbour Tour to see some more of the history of the place.

It’s been a while since we’ve had a real breakfast so we stopped off at an IHOP on the way to the docks.

While we were waiting for our tour boat, we got a good look at the new (2005) Ravenel cable-stayed bridge.

The pylons are 575 high, the roadway is 186 feet above the water, and the bridge has a main span of 1,546 feet, the longest among cable-stayed bridges in the Western Hemisphere. And it’s 8 lanes wide plus a walking/bike lane.

It’s a big one.

Ravenel Bridge

Ravenel Bridge

Ravenel Bridge Closeup

Ravenel Bridge Closeup

We also could see the USS Yorktown moored right across the river from us.  It’s now a floating museum, along with a submarine, a destroyer, and a Coast Guard cutter.

USS Yorktown

USS Yorktown

We should get a closer view on our tour.

Finally our tour boat was ready to leave the dock.  Luckily we were able to get some seats on the top deck, somewhat in the shade.

Carolina Belle

Carolina Belle

Heading out from the dock we passed some of the large, expensive houses along the river.

Millionaire's Row

Millionaire’s Row

And everywhere you turn, there are boats and more boats, big ones, little ones, boats everywhere.

3 masted schooner

3 Masted Schooner

The far point of our trip took us by historic Fort Sumter, where the first shots of the Civil War were fired.

Fort Sumter

Fort Sumter

Fort Sumter Closeup

Fort Sumter Closeup

We had thought about taking one of the tours that stops at the Fort, but with temps supposed to hit 97-100 today we decide to just wave as we went by.

So we did.

Heading back around the bay we part Fort Moultrie, another fort involved in the Civil War.

Fort Moultrie

Fort Moultrie

A closeup of the USS Yorktown and a Navy Hawkeye AWACS aircraft.

USS Yorktown with Hawkeye

USS Yorktown with Hawkeye

Next we passed a larger container ship being unloaded.  Charleston is one of the largest container ports in the US and one of these ships can be unloaded at the rate of 40-60 containers per hour.

Container Ship

Container Ship

After our 90-minute tour wrapped up, we headed over the Ravenel Bridge to Mt Pleasant.  We were looking for a Whole Foods Market to pick up some Aunt Gussie’s Organic Sugar-Free Cookies.  We really like them and Whole Foods seems to be the only place we can find them reliably.

By now it was almost 4 pm so we headed back over to Meeting St. to eat at Hyman’s Seafood.  We were told to be sure and eat here before we left and this was our last chance.

And it was certainly worth the visit, although Jan and I both ordered from the Deli menu instead of the seafood menu.

Jan had a fantastic chicken salad sandwich and I had a Reuben on grilled rye.   We both ordered the regular size sandwiches, which was good since we couldn’t have eaten the large ones.

We also had the potato salad and hushpuppies.

The hushpuppies were a little different.  They were sweeter than I’m used to.  But it all worked out since they made a nice dessert.  This was good since we really too full to order a real dessert.

Hyman’s is another one of those places you seem to find in Charleston where the family and the business have been around forever.

The family has been in business on this block since 1890 and in the restaurant business here since 1986.  The 5th generation is now involved in running things.

The staff is very friendly and took a lot of pains to be sure we were happy.  We spent several minutes talking to ‘Mr. V.’, who seems to be a roving goodwill ambassador for the place.

And we were lucky.  We got there about 4:30 pm and were seated right away.  However later arrivals were not so lucky.  There was a long line outside when we left  about 6 pm.  Here’s what it can look like when they’re busy.

Hyman's on a wait

Hyman’s on a wait

Be sure and check out their website at Hyman’s Seafood.  It’s an interesting site.

Well, tomorrow we’re heading for Asheville, NC.  We want to visit the Biltmore Hotel there, and then stop off at my cousin’s in Graham, NC on our way to Virginia Beach and Kill Devil Hill.

More tomorrow from another state…


June 19, 2010

Fun and Family at the Lake…

We started today by meeting family, old friends, and some new friends at the
Tea-Licious Tea Room on the square in Burnet, TX at 11 am.

From left to right: my wife Jan, our soon-to-be son-in-law Lowell, our daughter Brandi, and her friends, Shawna, Dylan, Gavin, and Jason Oakley

T-Licious 1

From left to right below:  Our daughter-in-law Linda, our son Chris, and Lowell’s friends, Kenny, Sheila, Ashton, and Colton.

T-Licious 2

After a great lunch and some shopping, we all ended up back at the lake house on Inks Lake, about 10 miles west of Burnet and about 4 miles from where we’re parked.

InksLake 1

With the temperature in the mid-90’s, most everyone quickly hit the lake.

InksLake 2

InksLake 3

This is my son Chris’ Century Ski Boat that he completely rebuilt, including the 327 engine.

It’s great for tubing.

InksLake 4

InksLake 5

After a great spaghetti dinner meal fixed by our daughter-in-law Linda, a bunch of us set out on a sunset lake cruise on the pontoon boat.

InksLake 6

Chris has some help at the wheel.

InksLake 7

We saw a number of deer along the banks, including this one.

InksLake 8

And what’s a sunset cruise without a couple of good sunsets.

InksLake 11a

InksLake 12

Then, of course, when the sun goes down, the moon comes up.

InksLake 13

Tomorrow will be another day of gelling on the lake, before the big day on Monday.

And we’ve still got more people coming into town, including our opposite in-laws, who we’ll meet for the first time.


June 19, 2011

Happy Father’s Day . . .

First off, Brandi sent us some new Landon photos of their Father’s Day outing to the Kemah Boardwalk in Kemah, TX.

Landon got his first pair of real shoes the other day, and it looks like he’s trying out his dance moves.

Landon 038

Here’s a photo of Landon and his daddy, Lowell.

Landon 042

Sabey, Lowell’s younger sister, is visiting and getting in some Landon time.

Landon 055

I’m not sure what’s happening here, but it certainly has Landon enthralled.

Landon 058

Before we left, our son Chris called this morning to wish me a happy Father’s Day. We look forward to seeing Chris, Linda, and Piper when we get back to Houston in November.

Today was our last day to do ‘touristy’ stuff here in the Bend area, so we headed out about 11, first into Bend for a bagel breakfast sandwich at Big-O-Bagels. Then we headed north about 20 miles to Redmond, OR.

We wanted to look around the area, and check out the Expo Center where the big Good Sam’s Rally will be held next month.

Redmond Expo 1

Redmond Expo 2

The Expo RV Park has 106 full hookup sites and is very nicely laid out. While we were there, I had a nice chat with the lady at the office who’s a workcamper.

Leaving the Redmond area, we drove back through Bend to The High Desert Museum, about 5 miles south of town.

They’ve got a number of inside and outside animal exhibits, including this Chuckwalla desert lizard,


a Gila Monster,

Gila Monster

Bald Eagles,

Bald Eagles

a Grey Fox (OK, why are grey foxes red? What color are red foxes?),

Gray Fox

a Prairie Falcon,

Praire Falcon

and a River Otter.


It turns out that this Bobcat


and this Lynx


are sitting like this, patiently staring at their access doors, waiting to be fed. They know when it’s feeding time.

Beautiful animals.

Lynx 2

In another building, they had this highly-detailed 1920’s era sawmill, It took the builder 25 years to build it, and it even works.

Sawmill Model

Jan really enjoyed the display of old quilts. This ‘Star’ quilt dates from 1875,

1875 Quilt

and this ‘Silk Fan’ quilt is from 1890.

1890 Quilt

While we were there, our daughter Brandi called to wish me a happy Father’s Day. Now I’m two for two.

We spent a couple of hours wandering through all the many exhibits, and really enjoyed it. The High Desert Museum is small, but very well done.

Leaving the Museum, we drove a couple of miles down the road to the Lava Lands National Forest. We’d been driving past here for the last week or so, and this was our chance to explore further.

We drove up to the entrance gate, and found out something the tourist brochure or the website hadn’t told us.

You have to have an appointment to drive to the top of the butte. There are only 10 parking spaces up there, so they ration access.

We got there about 3:10, and the time given to us was 3:45. The gate guard gave us a slip of paper with our time on it, and told us we could start up at 3:40. So we parked in the nearby lot and read. Jan always has a book at the ready, and I had my new Kindle with me.

Lava Butte Start Climb

At 3:40 we started our 8% grade climb up the narrow road. They don’t allow buses or RV’s up here, and meeting oncoming vehicles was very interesting.

Lava Butte Hill 1

Getting to the top, we found a nicely laid out parking area, and a Ranger checking our appointment slips. In fact, as we were getting out of our truck, the ranger was sending someone back down the road who had come up too early.

Lava Butte Parking

Since our slip said we had to leave at 4:15, we started our climb up to the top of the hill. It was a steep 100 foot trek.

Lava Butte Climb

It was interesting to see all the ground squirrels zipping around the lava fields, and although you weren’t supposed to feed them, it was obvious that they were expecting to be fed.

Lava Squirrel

Getting to the top, and still a little breathless, we were able to look back at the parking lot,

Lava Butte Parking 2

and down into the crater itself.

Lava Butte Crater

You can get a better idea from this aerial view that shows the roadway spiraling up the butte. The visitor’s center is located about 1 o’clock in this photo, along the rim of the crater.


Looking around we could see other examples of other volcanoes in the area.

Butte Volcano 1

Butte Volcano 2

Butte Volcano 3

Coming back down the butte with 5 minutes to spare, we were able to look out over the lava fields that still surround the area from the eruption over 7000 years ago.

Lava Fields

Lava Fields 2

Reaching the bottom a little after 4 pm, we decided to head back into Bend to have dinner once more at Red Robin. This is one of the best places around to get a burger, and even better, the delicious steak fries that come with your burger are unlimited. Of course the burgers are so big, you really don’t have any room for more fries, or dessert, for that matter.

While I was there, I tried logging in to their free Wi-Fi signal with my Kindle, and it worked with no problems. More and more it looks like the problem may be with my Cradlepoint router. Of course, my Blackberry and HP laptop can log in to it just fine.

We’ll see what happens.

We finally got home about 6 pm, a great last tourist day here in central Oregon.


June 19, 2013

Another One Bites the Dust . . .

Well, got his nose pin-cushioned anyway.

I had let Mister out on his leash this morning and then went around to the other side of the rig to close our grey valve. While I was doing that, I got to talking with the guy in the Airstream trailer next door. They had just arrived this morning and were getting set up. Mister heard their kids and came underneath and out on that side of the rig to see what was going on.

The kids of course went over to pet him, and Mister was in hog heaven. About this time, Lewis, their 50# yellow lab came shooting out of the Airstream, barking and heading for Mister. Mister just sat up and yowled. Lewis runs right up to Mister, and as soon as the dog’s nose was in range, Mister went ‘slap’, ‘slap’, kind of a one, two punch.

Lewis sat back on his haunches, yelping and shaking his nose. Mister then started stalking Lewis, belly to the ground, and hissing. Lewis apparently realized this wasn’t working out quite like he’d planned, so he turned and ran back into the camper, whining all the way.

Mister immediately went back into his “I’m a happy kitty, pet me” mode and all was well. Lewis however never came back out of the RV the rest of the afternoon.

A little after noon Jan and I headed back over the Teton Scenic Route to do some shopping in Idaho Falls, 60 miles away. This time, since I didn’t have to concentrate on getting the rig safely up and down the steep grades, I had a little more time to enjoy the view.

Idoho Falls Shopping 1

Idoho Falls Shopping 2

Our first stop was at a Fred Meyer’s, mainly for the Chase Bank located there. But of course Jan found a few things she needed.

Our next stop was a Sam’s Club, for our prescriptions, and a few other things. Then after a quick stop at the Home Depot next door, we drove over to a nearby Wal-Mart for some more stuff. Strange how we never seem to have enough stuff.

By now we were getting hungry so we headed over to the Snake Bite Restaurant, a place that Jan had found highly recommended on the Internet. Unfortunately it closes at 3pm. So after checking out a couple of other places, we ended up at Smitty’s Steaks & Pancakes, a traditional American food place. We both had the Fried Chicken Dinner and it was very good. And it came with a free Strawberry Shortcake dessert.

A really good meal.

While we were eating, I realized that we are supposed to leave here on Friday to head up to Cody, WY, and thought I would call the Absaroka Bay RV Park where we stayed two years ago and get a site for four nights. But they only had an opening for Friday and Saturday nights. So I guess I need to get on the phone tomorrow.

Coming home about 6pm, we stopped off at a convenience store for cappuccinos before heading back over the mountain, getting home a little after 7pm.

Tomorrow is a ‘work around the rig and get-ready-to-travel’ day. And maybe a last night’s meal at Big Hole BBQ.


June 19, 2016

“Can We Just Buy This Site?”

After being up at 6:30 and finishing the last of our travel day prep, we headed for the Cracker Barrel in Conroe a little after 8am.

For us, it’s a travel day tradition before we leave Conroe, just as we have breakfast at Schobel’s in Columbus before we leave Colorado River. At first we were kind of surprised at how busy they were, much more than usual. Then we realized it was Father’s Day.

After our usual good breakfast , we got back to the park a little after 9. I had already raised the levelers and stowed away the pads, so after I let in the awnings, I cranked up the genset before I unhooked shore power.

Doing it this way, the transfer switch changes over to the genset so smoothly that the AC’s never notice the switchover and keep running.

We pulled out of our site a little before 10 and then stopped in front of the Activity Center to hook up. One of the few failings here at Conroe, besides the eternally bad roads, is that there is no place designated to hitch and unhitch.

We were told originally to use the secondary parking lot off to the side of the Center, and often that works, but other times, like this morning, there were already cars there. So all we could do was to pull over off to the side, partway on the grass and hitch up there. And by 10:15 we were pulling out of the park

Out on I-45 south, our son Chris called about 10:30 to wish me a Happy Father’s Day.  One down, one to go.

Hopefully we’ll get down to see everyone later this week.

The trip was about as smooth as it could get. With the genset running the AC’s we were very comfortable all the way. Except for the last couple of miles.

I think when they replaced our diesel tank last year after our blowout, that maybe they didn’t get the genset diesel pickup in the right place. Twice now with more than half a tank of diesel, the genset has shut off during a slow, but sharp turn.

Today, turning off US-71 on to FM-1890, the genset quit immediately after the acute 80 degree turn. I held down the prime button for a few seconds and then restarted the genset. Not really a problem, but irritating anyway.

We got into the park about 12:30 and really lucked up. We definitely weren’t going back to the back ‘A’ ring with all the electrical problems, but we’re still in the ‘A’ section.

After we got backed in and parked, Jan looked around and said to me, “Can we just buy this site?”

Colorado River A23

It doesn’t get much better, with two big shade trees, a good satellite shot, a level pad, and a concrete patio with a picnic table.

And with the shaded picnic table I’ll be able to get on some of my outside projects like rebuilding my armrests.

Colorado River A23 Picnic Table

Right after we got parked, our daughter Brandi also called to wish me Happy Father’s Day. So now it’s a two’fer.

We got set up pretty quickly, but by the time I was finished, I was drenched in sweat from all the humidity.

But a cool shower and an hour-long nap made it all better.


June 19, 2019

Fixed, I Think . . .

But I’ll know for sure tomorrow.

I spend most of the day at work trying to recover the SQL database for our old Tattoo Supply website, using some HD recovery software. I’ve made some headway finding some different parts of it that I’m hoping I can piece back together if I can’t find a full copy.

Normally Wednesday is a stay-at-home dinner for us, but we decided to go somewhere close by, which ended up being Los Ramirez Mexican over in Dickinson, but on our side of the Interstate.

This place is really, really good. And really, really cheap.

An amazing combination.

Jan always gets the Pechuga Rellana,

Los Ramirez Pechuga Rellana 4

with a whole chicken breast, a bunch of shrimp, and broccoli, all covered in cheese, along with half an avocado. And how much is this masterpiece?

Only $7.99

We’ve seen similar dishes at other places for $12.99, or more.

For me, I always get the Beef Fajita Taco Salad.

Los Ramirez Beef Fajita Taco Salad 3

I’ve paid over $12 for one smaller than this, and not as good. And how much?


Our total bill, with drinks, was only $18.14.

You can’t beat that.

We got home about 5:30, and after letting the truck engine cool off for an hour or so, I went out to change out the spark plug and see how that affected my problem.

I removed the new ignition coil that I had installed yesterday and then removed the spark plug. It broke loose pretty easy, but it was hard to unscrew.

Finally getting it out, it looked like this.

Dodge Dakota Spark Plug

Rather than the .040” gap it should be, it was about .070, almost twice. So after checking the gap, and coating the threads with anti-seize, I threaded the new plug in and tightened it down.

I decided to reuse the new coil to see what would happen with the new code I got yesterday. And after it was installed, and before I started it up, I use my Torque phone app to clear the old fault codes.

And when I started it up, it sounded fine. No ‘LUMP, LUMP, LUMP’ rough idle. I let it run for a few minutes, turn it off, and checked the codes.

All of the ignition error codes were gone, and the only two I had left were for the O2 sensors, which is my next job. But not a rush one.

But the real test will be our out and about tomorrow.

I’m still not sure why replacing old coil with the new one gave me a completely new code, and a much more rougher engine, and then worked fine with the new spark plug.

Since it only takes a few minutes, I may temporarily swap the old coil back in this weekend to see what happens.


June 19, 2020

Inuit Pies?

Following up on yesterday’s Erasing History post, 66-year-old Marine Corps veteran, Larnell Evans Sr., the great-grandson of Anna Short Harrington, is very upset that Aunt Jemima is being phased out. Harrington took over as Aunt Jemima in 1935 after the death of Nancy Green.

Evans says that “it hurts” to know that Quaker Foods’ answer to current events in America is to “erase my great-grandmother’s history.”

“This is an injustice for me and my family. This is part of my history, sir. The racism they talk about, using images from slavery, that comes from the other side — white people.”

So far, we’ve lost Aunt Jemima, Uncle Ben, Cream of Wheat, and now . . . Eskimo Pies.

But somehow I don’t think Inuit Pies has quite the same ring to it.

So when are they going to take Michael Jordan off the Nike ads?

And even cities are trying to get in on the fun. Duluth, MN is trying to get rid of the word ‘chief’ from several city positions and titles, including Police Chief and Fire Chief. However these two people aren’t too thrilled about the idea.

Police Person? Fire Leader?

And the Houston Realtor Association is no longer going to use the term ‘master’ bedroom. Instead it’s now going to called the ‘primary’ bedroom.

So I guess Senior Master Sergeants and Chief Petty Officers are on the way out, too.


June 19, 2021

Wrapping Up A Fun Two Weeks!!!

Jan, Claudia, and I had a great time down at Gulf Shores today, hitting all our favorite haunts, including Buc-ees, Tullulah’s, Ron Jon’s, Lulu’s and more

We were worried about the weather forecast, but despite the dire predictions and a few heavy but short-term showers, it turned out to be pretty nice.

But there was enough heavy surf that the lifeguards were keeping everyone out of the water.

Gulf Shores Waves 1

Gulf Shores Waves 2

I really enjoyed seeing Jan and Claudia hit it off so well, and it’s amazing how much they’ve had in common, including careers in medical records, and much more.

Jan and Claudia

We both really look forward to seeing Claudia again next year when we’re down here with the entire family.

Thought for the Day:

Arriving at the mortuary about 30 minutes before the scheduled viewing of her dead husband, the grieving widow was horrified to discover that her husband was not dressed in his favorite expensive black suit, but a cheap blue one. She started screaming at the funeral director that he better have this fixed in time or she will sue him for every last cent he has.

The director and his assistant start looking for the missing suit, and found it on the body in the next viewing room, The director immediately tells his assistant to go calm the widow down and tell her the problem will be corrected in time for the viewing.

And right on schedule, the viewing takes place and the widow is relieved to find her husband in his favorite suit.

After everyone leaves, the assistant asks the funeral directory how he switched the suits so quickly, since it would normally take at least an hour to do that.

The funeral director smiles and says, “Switched the suits? No, I just switched the heads!”

I guess it’s just another way of handling my problem with switching heads in photographs. At least I generally use the same head, though.