I’m Fixed?

Since I had a couple of machines I wanted to finish up so they could be shipped out to customers, I went into work today for an hour before my medical appointment at Noon.

And once there, Alexandria, our P.A., told us that the X-Rays on my Cervical Fusion looked good, and they wouldn’t need to see me again until the one-year anniversary of the operation, which would be this coming November. So that was good to hear.

Besides my slightly drunken sailor walking style, the only problem that I really notice is that I still don’t have 100% touch sensitivity in my fingertips. But it’s been getting better over the last few months. Alexandria reiterated that it might be as much as two years before I can expect all the symptoms to disappear.

Next we started talking about my possible lumbar fusion. I had a list of questions, and we ticked them off one by one.

Turns out that the lumbar fusion will use a rod rather than a plate like the cervical version. But like the CF, they will be replacing two of my disks with a plastic spacer with more cadaver bone inserted.

The lumbar version of the fusion is a more serious operation, with more possible complications, so I’m going to have to get more information, and hopefully a consult with Dr. Wang, the neurosurgeon who will be doing the operation.

More to come.

Leaving the doctor’s, we drove up NASA Rd 1 to have lunch at our long-time favorite, King Food.

We both got our usual Chicken with Hot Garlic Sauce and Jalapenos, Fried Rice, and an Egg Roll.

After that we were home for the night.

What does Coke have against Texas . . . and me?

I’ve been trying to find Coke Zero Vanilla for months now. WalMart, HEB, Kroger, etc. Nobody carries it.

They’ve got regular Coke Vanilla, and Coke Cherry Vanilla, and even Coke Zero Cherry. But no Vanilla.

But when we were back in Alabama a couple of weeks ago, it’s everywhere. Even convenience stores have it. So I brought home 3 12 packs, which will last me a while. But not long enough.

I want my Coke Zero Vanilla.


Thought For The Day:

Those who stand on solid ground can perceive the movement of the river. Those who drift with the current don’t notice their movement toward the waterfall.

 


June 20, 2009

Mountains and Cheeseburgers…

Well, we did manage to extract our coach from the soggy mudhole that was masquerading as our RV site in Charleston.  We left earlier than we normally do because today was going to be a 260-mile trip.

We headed out about 9 am up I-26 toward Asheville, NC.  We wanted to visit the Biltmore Estate and the surrounding area.

About an hour out of Charleston, we encountered something we hadn’t seen in a good while, in fact, had almost forgotten they existed.

Hills, and then,  mountains!

The last time we drove through any type of hills was last November as we traveled back through Tennessee and North Alabama. Of course, the real downside was my normal 9.5 mpg I get on the flat, dropped to 7.5.

Our only stop on the trip was in Spartanburg, SC for lunch.  We had seen a show on the Food Channel about The Beacon Drive-in there, and wanted to give it a try.

And it was certainly worth the 3 mile trip off the Interstate.  The Beacon opened in 1946 and has been going strong ever since.

They’re the second largest drive-in in the US and serves more iced tea than any other restaurant in America.

Of course, I had to know where the largest drive-in is.

And it’s The Varsity Drive-in in Atlanta, GA.  (Remember Google is your friend.)  Plus The Varsity is older, opening in 1928.

Jan and I had cheeseburgers with fries and onion rings, and of course, iced tea.  And the cheeseburgers were great!  Your good old-fashioned slightly-greasy cheeseburger.  As I said, well worth the stop.

And the place is huge.  I had checked Google Maps to see if there was a place nearby we could easily park the coach.  And discovered their parking lot was enormous.  It’s the size of 4 football fields.

Here is where we parked at the corner of their lot.

Beacon Parking

And here’s how far it was to the restaurant itself.

The Beacon Drive-in

And there’s another parking area just as big on the far side of the building.  And it’s needed as they regularly serve over 5000 people a day.

About an hour after we left Spartanburg, we pulled into our site at Rutledge Lake RV Resort, and it’s so much better than where we were at in Charleston.

Here’s where we are.

Rutledge Lake RV Resort

As you can see, Mister is already checking things out for us.

 


June 20, 2010

Meeting the new In-Laws…

Sorry. No pictures today,  just family, both new and old.

We headed over to the lake house about noon with a big pot of beans that had been simmering all morning.

About 2 pm the hamburgers, hot dogs, bratwurst, and Italian Sausage were off the grill and on our plates, along with the beans and all the other fixins’.

After lazing around the lake all afternoon, about 7 pm. Brandi, Lowell, Jan and I headed over to The Maxican, a new Mexican restaurant we wanted to try. We were also going to meet Lowell’s parents, Sonja and Lendel Morrison there, for the first time.

Well, as it turned out The Maxican closes at 3pm on Sunday, so after a parking lot conference we all headed back over to the Jardin Corona, the Mexican restaurant we ate at the other night.

The food was good, and we had a great time getting to know Sonja and Lendel. After meeting them, it’s easy to see how Lowell turned out so great. We’re really happy to have him as a son-in-law.

Right as we were finishing, Lowell’s sister, Sherry and her daughters, Grace and Sabey, showed up and then followed us back to the lake house.

After a little while Jan and I headed back to the rig for the night.

Tomorrow is the BIG day.

We’ll leave here about noon to make the 80 mile drive to the Fischer area to pick up our friend Gina Ellis for the wedding, which will take place about 25 miles from her house at Chapel Dulcinea.

After the wedding at 6:30 pm we’ll all head over to The Salt Lick BBQ restaurant nearby for a wedding dinner of BBQ Brisket, Pork Ribs, Sausage, Beans, Potato Salad, and Cole Slaw. Hey, it is Texas, after all.

We plan on spending the night at Gina’s before coming back to Burnet on Tuesday.

 

Bend, OR


June 20, 2011

A Kindle Fix and a great Steak . . .

I was up a little early this morning, 9:45 to be exact, so Jan and I could go down to Big Jim’s Coffee Wagon at the front of the park for their great coffee and breakfast sandwiches. I also wanted to double-check why I couldn’t log into one of the passworded Wi-Fi signals here. Turns out that they had given me the wrong password for the wrong site, but with the right one I was able to log in with no problem.

More and more it looks like my Kindle problem is with my Cradlepoint router.

While I was working on this our daughter Brandi called to check in about this weekend.

After that, I went outside to work on some things around the rig, and lo and behold, our friends Bob Parker & Donna Huffer drove up to our site. We hadn’t seen them since Arizona, so it was good to catch up.

Around 3 pm I did an online chat with Cradlepoint Tech Support, and they solved my Kindle login problem in about 30 seconds.

I was told to turn off User Login. Since I had never turned it on, I assume it was a factory default. It certainly didn’t keep my Blackberry or laptop from logging into it. But at least it’s fixed now.

Later, around 4 pm, Jan and I headed into Bend for our final meal here, and once again, we picked Baldy’s BBQ. Believe me, some great BBQ comes out of this unassuming restaurant.

Baldy's BBQ

While Jan had her usual rib dinner, I decided to go in a different direction, so I order the 16 oz. Ribeye.

WOW!

These people know how to cook a steak. It was done perfectly. It was charred and burnt around the edges, but medium-rare inside.

It just doesn’t get any better than this.

Baldys Ribeye

After a great meal, we left Baldy’s and drove over the Wal-Mart to pick up some things before we hit the road tomorrow for a 290 mile run to Long Beach, WA to the Thousand Trails park there.

 

Victor, ID and Jackson Hole, WY


June 20, 2013

Wax On, Wax Off . . .

My first chore after getting up this morning (well, after coffee, anyway) was to figure out where the heck we’re staying for the next 4 days. But after thinking about I decided to go ahead and lock down our park in Billings, MT where we’ll be staying after we leave Cody, and right before we head to Gillette for the Escapade on the 29th. And I’m glad I did.

As it turned out I got the last site at the Billings Trailer Village RV Park, where we’ve stayed 5 or 6 times since 2008. Then it was back to finding a spot for us in Cody starting tomorrow.

And as it turned out, I lucked out on the first call, well partially. I was able to reserve 3 nights at Yellowstone Valley Inn & RV Park about 20 miles out of Cody, back toward Yellowstone. Because of that it will cut 20 miles off our trip tomorrow. And the guy said he has some construction people that are supposed to leave tomorrow so he thinks he will be able to give us the 4th day. So we’re good to go tomorrow at least.

After lunch I tackled something I’ve never done myself, but have always had someone do it for me. I washed and waxed our rig. Oh, and the truck too.

I decided to try Turtle Wax Zip Liquid Car Wash and Wax since I’d read good things about it. I just put a couple of ounces in a bucket and added water. Then I would pick an area about 8 feet wide, hosed it down with water and then used an extension brush to swab the coach sides. Then after letting it soak for a few minutes, I rinsed it all off and used a soft cloth to dry and polish the area.

It only took me about two hours to do the coach, and only about 30 minutes to do the truck. And they both turned out pretty good.

RV Wash Wax 1

RV Wash Wax 2

RV Wash Wax 3

After finishing up and stowing all my cleaning stuff away, Jan and I headed into Victor to have our last meal here at Big Hole BBQ. We’d eaten here our first night, and because it was so good, we wanted to eat there again before we leave.

It doesn’t quite live up to the ‘Big’ name, however. It has 3 tables inside, as well as 7 chairs at the bar, two tables out front,

Big Hole BBQ

and three tables upstairs on the deck.

Big Hole BBQ 2

Big Hole BBQ 3

Jan had a couple of delicious Shrimp Tacos, and I had a really good Pulled Pork Sandwich. It must have had a pound of meat on it. And of course, some of their great beans, and all of it topped off with their spicy BBQ sauce.

A really good finish to our visit here.

Big Hole BBQ 4

After dinner we walked next door to a small grocery store to get some buns and a few other things to have for dinner in our rig tomorrow night. That way we won’t have to drive into Cody for dinner.

We’ll probably head out around 10am tomorrow for our 180 mile trip up to Cody, passing through both Grand Tetons National Park and Yellowstone National Park.

 


June 20, 2014

Steaks and Croissants . . .

We got rain last night, and more is scheduled for today, so it was too wet to sit outside again with our coffee.

But Jan made up for it by putting out a couple of the fantastic Williams-Sonoma Frozen Chocolate Croissants that our daughter Brandi gave us for Christmas. They are shipped to you frozen in dry ice and come 2 dozen to a box.

All you have to do is just set them out overnight to thaw and rise, pop them in the oven at 375° for 12 minutes and you’re good to go.

Delicious.

Chocolate Croissants

About 3pm Jan and I headed over to Mishawaka for some shopping and dinner. We did hit some rain on the way but it had cleared up by the time we got there.

Our first stop was at the Sam’s Club to pick up our prescriptions and a few other things. I mentioned last month that when I renewed my membership on the 15th I had upgraded from the standard membership to the PLUS version. The reason I did this was that I found out PLUS members had an additional list of drugs that we can get cheaper, besides the $4 ones.

The drug in question was the Lipitor generic that Jan is taking. Previously we had been paying $93 for a 3 month supply. But this time with my new PLUS membership, I paid $35.61 for a 3 month supply.

So, instead of paying $125 for all our drugs, we paid $69, a savings of $56.

And since the cost of upgrading to the PLUS membership is $55 a year, we’re already $1 ahead, with 9 months to go. So the upgrade will save us almost $170 for the year.

NICE!

Leaving Sam’s we drove over to Outback Steakhouse to have dinner. Outback has always been one of our favorite steak places, especially since it’s not near as loud as Texas Roadhouse. You can actually have a conversation using your inside voice. Well, at least as much of an inside voice as I have, anyway.

As usual, Outback didn’t disappoint. My ribeye was delicious. Better than the one I had at Texas Roadhouse last week, and a couple of bucks cheaper too. Plus we always like Outback’s salads.

Leaving Outback after a good meal, we headed back to Wal-Mart for groceries. The Wal-Mart and Sam’s are side by side, but since we were getting some cold stuff, we didn’t want it all sitting in the hot car while we ate.

Tomorrow looks to be a movie two-fer, probably Maleficent and The Edge of Tomorrow.

 

Finally Leaving Prescott After 7 Weeks


June 20, 2015

Where Do I Begin?

And it started out so good, too.

Recapping yesterday, Friday the 19th.

We pulled out of Affinity RV about 9:30 right on schedule with Jan following me in the truck, with our first stop at the Sam’s Club to get diesel. I was a little disappointed to find the price had gone up two cents since yesterday, now at $2.39. Still no bad, but I should have seen this as an omen of what was to come.

I was only able to get two $100 fill-ups because that was all they allowed, and they have no way to just turn the pump on and let it run. So I ended up with a total of about 82 gallons instead of the approximately 125 gallons I wanted to purchase.

Then it was another few miles down the road to Alvarez Tires to get my new tires installed. I had been told by the owner that we were expected and that if I got there before 11, they would have us out the door by 2pm

Yeah, right.

I should have known there was going to be a problem when we got there and they had no idea who we were, nor was there any room on their lot for us. They did figure out that they did have our tires there though.

Now that we had diesel I could run the genset so we could have the roof AC’s running to cool the coach for Mister. But since the genset exhaust and the hot exhaust pipe comes out right by the driver’s front wheel, I ask them to work that tire first so they wouldn’t have a problem getting burnt.

That wheel already had a new tire on it, the one that was replaced at Affinity yesterday. But I wanted it pulled off so they could balance it.

They had me drive the rig around back until they could get to it. It hadn’t really gotten hot yet, so I  turned the roof fans on and opened some windows to keep Mister cool.

Next up, I checked the date codes on our new tires. The date on the tire already on the rig was 1215, so the 12th week of 2015. All the rest of the tires were various dates in 2015, except one that was 5014, so the middle of December last year. All fine with me, even the 2014 one, Six months is no big deal

After a lot of research on the trucker sites, I went with the Ironman I-601 295/75R22.5 14 ply tires. When I actually saw the tires I was impressed by the depth of the tread. It seemed almost an inch deep.

After parking the rig around back and leaving them the key (and warning them about Mister) Jan and I headed over to Origin Bistro for a last lunch. As it turned, lunch was the highlight of the day. It was pretty much all downhill from there.

But our lunch was great. I had the Sourdough Reuben, with made-in-house corn beef, made-in-house sauerkraut, Swiss Cheese, and Thousand Island dressing, all on Sourdough bread. Delicious!

And even better for me they had the Grilled Mexican Corn for my side dish.

Origin Bistro Sourdough Reuben

Jan got the Fried Avocado Tacos with Grilled Chicken, and the seasonal veggies, which she couldn’t stop raving over..

Origin Bistro Fried Avocado Tacos

After that great meal, we were both too full to even split a Fried Bread Pudding, so we settled on a small bowl of fresh fruit, in this case, strawberries and blueberries. It was available as a side,  but worked great as a dessert. And our waiter said it was on the house. Nice.

Getting back to the tire place, I was happy to see that they had moved the rig around to the lot in front, but unhappy to see that nothing had, or was being done on it.

I was also unhappy to see that the truck water temp was starting to run climb. And when I checked it out, I found that my radiator leak had returned. I had repaired it several months ago, and we’ve driven about 5000 miles since then, including our 3000-mile round-trip back to Illinois last month with absolutely no problem

Until now.

I gave up on waiting for them to get started on the front tire so I went in the rig and cranked up the genset. As usual it started right up and after a short time the speed stabilized. But after a minute or so, I did not hear the expected start of the AC’s So I plugged a 3 light tester into an outlet and found I was not getting any AC power to the coach.

My first thought, of course, was the transfer switch. But then I realized that not only was I not getting any AC power, but I was not getting any 12V to the batteries either. So that more than likely eliminates the transfer switch.

But just in case it was a temporary glitch, I shut it down, waited about 15 minutes, and then tried it again. With the same result.

Paying a little more attention this time, I noticed that the genset rpm’s were not steady. Normally, when you do a cold-start, it starts running fast for a minute or so, and then settles down. You will hear it change speed when you add a load, like the AC’s. But otherwise it runs at a steady speed.

But now it would run fast for about 30 seconds, then slow down for about 30 seconds, fast for 30 seconds, then rinse and repeat.

So my next check was to go outside, run the genset out on its cradle, and start it up from there, hoping to see something on the status light. But nothing showed up.

So as of right now, it looked like it’s going to be a hot ride to Verde Valley.

Finally about 1:30 someone started working on our rig. Don’t think we’re going to make our 2pm departure.

They went ahead and started with the driver’s side front as I had requested. Of course it didn’t make any difference now. Since they only had to balanced this one, they were done pretty quick, and then started on the passenger front. This was the tire where the blowout happened and the insurance company had given us a new (used) wheel to mount our new tire on. But about 15 minutes later, more bad news.

The new-to-us wheel did not fit our coach. The size and bolt pattern was correct, but the holes were too small, not by just a little, but a lot. So our only solution was to use the old wheel that survived the blowout. It seemed to be OK, since it’s held air for the seven weeks since they mounted the loaner tire on it. As it is, we really don’t have any choice if we want to leave here today.

I called Affinity RV to let them know about the problem, and then called my insurance agent, Chris Yust of C and C RV Insurance. She suggested that take the wheel back to Affinity and let them work it out with the insurance company.

So I loaded it up and headed off on the 30 mile round-trip back to the Affinity. Since I had the wheel in the passenger seat, Jan and Mister stayed in the waiting room at the shop. Unfortunately it wasn’t air-conditioned, but with the fans and one of those ‘swamp cooler’ things, it wasn’t too bad.

While we were driving around after lunch, it dawned on me that the AC fan in the truck wasn’t blowing out as much air as it used to. A little Googling told me that it was probably the speed control resistor block, rather than the blower motor itself.

So Jan and I and Mister headed back out. Our first stop was a DQ for something cold. Jan got a Hot Fudge Sundae, with two spoons. One for her, and one for Mister, since Mister doesn’t like to share his spoon. I just had a tall frozen drink.

Then it was on to Fry’s to get gas for the truck. At least my magic Fred Meyer’s card still works, giving me a 40 cents a gallon discount, down to $2.39 a gallon. Then coming back to the shop, I stopped off at a NAPA Auto Parts to pick up a resistor block for $8.36. Hopefully it will fix the problem.

By the time we got back to the shop it was about 4:30 and they finally had all 4 rear tires off. I had told the guy that I wanted the valve stem on the driver’s rear inside dual replaced. It has always leaked some since we had the Sumitomo tires put on in 2008 so I’m hoping a new valve stem will fix the problem. As it turned out, he also replaced the one on the passenger side too, since it also looked ‘funky’, his words.

Finally, about 5:30 we were on our way. Jan followed me in the truck for about half a mile until we found a place to hook up. And although we were on our way, it was not a fun trip.

By this time it was over 90 degrees inside the rig, and although we had the windows open and fans running, it didn’t help much. By the time we got to Verde Valley, it was about 6:45 and we were pretty miserable. Mister just laid in the corner and wouldn’t move.

Jan and I would have liked to do the same thing, since it was about midnight before the AC’s got the temperature down to normal.

That’s about it for yesterday. I’ll catch up with today, Saturday tomorrow.

 


June 20, 2017

Never, Ever Again . . .

We were up about 6am and pulling out of our site a little after 7:45 with Jan following in the truck. We were heading for the Lake Conroe Thousand Trails about 350 miles away, a long day for us, but we were anxious to get back to Houston.

Although we were here at this park for the convenience and not for the water-based activities, the view out of the windshield was nice.

Pauls Valley City Lake Park 2

Our first stop was the Wal-Mart about 5 miles away for diesel at $2.15/gallon. We filled up here two years ago, and knew it was an easy in/easy out. And by 8:20 we were hitched up and out on I-35 south,

And I-35 took us about 150 miles through Dallas where we hooked up with I-30 for a couple of miles, and then onto I-45 south.

And this brings up Never, Ever Again. I normally don’t have a problem driving through big cities. Houston, El Paso, LA, San Diego, Las Vegas, etc., no problem. But I will never, ever drive through Dallas again.

That is the biggest mess I’ve ever driven in, with construction from one city limit to the other. And as the lanes went from 3 to 1 to 2, etc., invariably they left you in a lane you didn’t want to be in, leaving you stuck in an exit lane where you don’t want to exit.

So then you put your turn signal on and start moving over, watching in your mirror the truck continuing to ignore your blinkers and coming on up. Then he suddenly realizes, yes, you really are coming over, and he’s going to be in big trouble fast.

So I don’t know if it will be any better, but if I ever have to do this again, I’ll take the 635 Loop around. It’s only about 12 miles further. Anyway, I don’t think it could be worse.

After a stop at the Madisonville Buc-ee’s for coffee and kolaches, we pulled into site A9 at the Lake Conroe TT.

Lake Conroe Site A9

Driving up this row, I thought I was in the ‘G’ section, and I kind of was, since the left side is ‘G’ and the right side is in ‘A’. But it’s a nice level site with 50amp FHU, so it’s all good. Especially since the office said that when everyone comes in today, the park is full.

Yesterday’s repair to my hydraulic fan motor held with no problem. Sometime in the next few days, I’ll go under the bed and check out the access to the top bolt.

Tomorrow, hopefully nothing.


Thought for the Day:

“May we always be happy and our enemies know it.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One Response to I’m Fixed?

  1. Bob Tucker says:

    Greg,

    I’ve been on the road and internet hasn’t been the greatest.  How have you found skylink>  Understand I could have it at my house and on the road.  More for when we are in Florida  for several months.  your thoughts??

     

    Thanks

     

    Bob Tucker

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