Daily Archives: July 13, 2022

The Fish Pond . . .

Well, with only 5 hours left in Amazon Prime Day #2, I finally found something to order. I ordered a couple more of the Samsung Galaxy SmartTags 

Samxung Galaxy SmartTag

like the one that I use to track Jan in the big box stores. As she readily admits, she tends to wander off without telling me, so that I think I’m walking along talking to her, and then I turn around and find I’m talking to some other guy’s wife.

So it will be good to have a couple of spares.

NASA released the first photos from the new James Webb Telescope yesterday, and they are Spectacular!

Webb First Photo

In this Deep Field Infrared Shot the white spots with the diffraction spikes are stars within our own Milky Way galaxy. The other roundish spots are actual galaxies, located in the distant galaxy cluster SMACS0723-73, some 4.6 billion light-years away. And the reddish arcs are even more distant galaxies, at least 9.6 light-years away.

And it’s hard to conceive, but every one of those spots, those galaxies, contain an average of 400 Billion stars! And even wilder, this view showing thousand of galaxies, containing trillions of stars, is from an area of the sky the size of a grain of sand held at arms length.

Just WOW!

Tomorrow morning we’re heading up to Willis, north of Conroe, to meet up with Debi and Ed Hurlburt and Janice and Dave Evans, for lunch at The Fish Pond Restaurant. We use to eat here all the time when we were staying at Lake Conroe Thousand Trails, but it’s probably been 4 years or so since we’ve been there. So we’re looking forward to eating there again, and seeing our old friends.

Thought For The Day:

What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

Nuclear Spider Farm

July 13, 2009

Big Trains, Little Trains, and, uh, More Trains…

We’re presently at Roamer’s Retreat Campground between Gap, PA and Kinzers, PA, about 55 miles west of Philadelphia.

Roamers Retreat

We’re here until Wednesday to check out Independence Hall and other Revolutionary sites in Philadelphia,  but as a bonus, we’re in some beautiful Amish / Pennsylvania Dutch countryside, with rolling farms of corn and neat homes dotting the landscape.

And I mean, you’re really got to admire a state where the town of Blue Ball, PA  is right down the road from the town of Intercourse, PA, with the town of Paradise, PA close by.

Last night, after we got in and set up, we headed out in our toad looking for a place to eat supper and came across Miller’s Smorgasbord.  Smorgasbord is the word for buffet around here.

And it was worth the stop. Really good food.

Jan woke up this morning feeling a little under the weather, so we decided to put off our Philadelphia roadtrip until tomorrow.

So, after puttering around for a while, I headed out to track down the National Toy Train Museum that I had come across a brochure for.

In getting there, I came across two other train places, The Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania, and the Red Caboose Motel.

Red Caboose Motel

When I saw the sign for the Red Caboose Motel, I was thinking maybe, you know, there was a red caboose out front, or even, the motel office is in a caboose.

But no, every room is a caboose.  They”re just not all red.

And the motel restaurant is in a old railroad dining car.

Red Caboose Mote l1

Red Caboose Mote l2

Red Caboose Motel 3

They’re painted up in the color schemes of pretty much every railroad, including some that no longer exist.


Right next door to the Red Caboose Motel is the National Toy Train Museum.

Toy Train Museum

When I was about 12 I had a large (16 ft. x 6 ft.) HO gauge train layout.  But then I discovered girls and the model trains kind of faded away.  Of course, it didn’t help that we moved to South America and I sold it all.

Anyway, I always enjoy seeing different layouts and model trains, so this was a real treat.

They had layouts in all the standard gauges, S, O, HO, G, etc., and some very nice layouts that were in operation.

Toy Train Museum 1

Toy Train Museum 2

Toy Train Museum 3

Toy Train Museum 4

Toy Train Museum 5

They had model trains going back to the 1860’s all the way up to the present day.  It’s really amazing how long toy trains have been around.  I guess about as long as real trains.

After leaving the Toy Train Museum, I headed down to the Big Train Museum, or, The Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania, as they call it.

Railroad Museum of PA

But more about this, tomorrow.

Montgomery, AL

July 13, 2010

Knight and Day…

Today started off with another take-it-easy morning around the rig. Then, around 11 Jan heated up a batch of her delicious chicken spaghetti and garlic bread.

Around 1pm we headed out to a nearby theater to see ‘Knight And Day”, the new Tom Cruise / Cameron Diaz spy movie  We both enjoyed it. It was nice for a change to see a movie that all the best parts weren’t given away in the previews.

We had tried to call Fred and Susan before the movie, and tried several times more after…all with the same results. The call would ring once and then hang up.

I tried calling another number and it worked fine, so it wasn’t us.

So, not being able to reach them, we drove over to their house. Susan was there and Fred arrived a few minutes later. They had been having phone problems since last night. On their end, it would also ring once and then quit.

After talking for a good while, we headed out to eat at a Mexican restaurant called Cuco’s. Turned out to be pretty good. Much better than other Alabama Mexican food I’ve had.

And again we spent a good bit of time talking after dinner. With Fred and I it seems like we started back up right where we left off 32 years ago.

Fred and Susan


We said our goodbyes at the restaurant about 7:45pm and headed back to the rig for the night. I still had some stuff to do before we leave for Birmingham tomorrow morning.

We plan on spending 2 nights in Birmingham and then 3 nights in Athens, AL before heading up to Louisville, KY for The Rally.

July 13, 2011

A Little Rain and A Job Delayed . . .

We woke up this morning to more of the gentle rain that started last night, and brought some cooler temps with it. But some hot coffee and a warm muffin fixed things right up.

About noon Jan heated up our leftover Italian from last night’s meal at Tomato Street. And just like Mexican leftovers, Italian also gets better with age.

By 1 pm I was ready to finish up my transfer switch project by installing the receptacles on the generator output so I can plug it in when we need it.

But things quickly came to a screeching halt when I discovered that I did not have the correct parts. I guess when I pulled all four out of the bin I got two that were in the wrong bin. Hopefully I will be able to find the correct parts locally this afternoon and finish up tomorrow.

Brandi called about 3 pm to check in and give us the latest Landon update. Landon will be 11 months old in a week, and we’ll see them at the family reunion in IL in about a month. Yeaaa!

About 4 Jan and I headed into Newport to check out the True Value Hardware to see if they had the parts I need, and they did. So I’ll finish up tomorrow morning.

Then it was off for another visit to Rancho Alegre where we ate a couple of nights ago. It was really good, and we wanted to try it again before we leave on Friday.

This time I just had a big bowl of the Chicken Tortilla Soup, and also got a bowl to go. Jan had a two enchilada, one chili rellano plate and she also also had leftovers. This was the best Mexican we’ve had in a good while, and we’re going to miss it.

Rancho Alegre Dessert

They give you a free dessert after your meal, Buñuelos with honey and whipped cream, and a strawberry topping. The perfect finish.

On the way home we stopped off at an Exxon station to scout it out to fill up with diesel on our way out of town on Friday morning. We’re only down to half a tank, but we’re going traveling thru the wilds of Montana and Wyoming for a while, and I don’t want worry about getting diesel in the middle of nowhere.

When we got back to the rig about 6 to find a note taped to our coach telling us there was a water line break, and water would be off until tomorrow morning. But when I checked at the outside faucet a little later while washing the bugs off the windshield, it seems to be working OK.

July 13, 2013

Dodging A Bullet . . .

We headed out of the Sioux Falls Fairgrounds about 9:45am with Jan at the wheel. This is the first time she’s driven as we left a campground, since normally she just takes over along the way.  She drove about 90 miles until our first rest stop, and then we traded seats since we were starting to get some rain.

The referenced bullet-dodging was the fact that we managed to get out of the Sioux Falls Fairgrounds without getting rained out and stuck in the mud. In 2008 we were there for a week and it poured for the last two days. We sunk into the mud right where we were parked and couldn’t move at all.

And for a while this time it looked like it might turn out the same way. Rain was threatened the last couple of days, but it never materialized. But to make up for it, it was pouring down rain in Albert Lea, MN, when we headed for our destination about 180 miles away.

The speed limit on I-90 is 70mph while we putter along at our normal 55mph. And it’s amazing how many vehicles, including RV’s, blow past us . . . over and over. An Alfa See Ya Gold passed us three times, as did a Pathfinder coach. You’d think they’d figure it out after awhile as they keep passing me.

We pulled into the Freeborn County Fairgrounds in Albert Lea about 1:30, and wandered around for awhile looking for someone to check it with. This seems to a common problem with fairground RV parks. They certainly don’t have an overabundance of signage telling you where to go.

So finally I decided to unhook the toad and drive around for a closer look. But while I was doing that, ‘Norm’ showed up to lend a hand. He directed us to park on this concrete pad since they’d had so much rain in the last two days. Worked fine for us. We’ve got 50 amp electric, water, and no mud.

Freeborn County Fairgrounds

Around 4pm Jan fixed a dinner of leftover Old Chicago Pizza from the other night. Still really good.

Then about 6pm we headed over to Wal-Mart for a few things before coming back to the rig and then finished up the night with. a dessert of last night’s Bread Pudding from Famous Dave’s BBQ.

Tomorrow we’ve got a 210 mile trip to the Wisconsin Dells area for the next 5 days.

Pauls Valley, OK

July 13, 2015

Another Fun Day . . .

Jan and I headed out about 10:45 for another day of fun, starting with meeting Sonja and Lendel at Bob’s Pig Shop.

Bob's Pig Stop 1

In business since 1933, and acknowledged as one of the oldest continuously operating businesses in the state of Oklahoma, Bob’s Pig Shop is one of those neighborhood places where multiple generations have eaten.

Bob's Pig Stop 2

While Sonja and Lendel got their favorites, Jan got the Pig Sandwich with Seasoned Fries. As for my meal, I wanted to try a little of everything, so I got the Combo Plate.

Bob's Pig Stop 3

It had a Rib, Sliced Pork Loin, and Brisket, along with Potato Salad, Cole Slaw, and Baked Beans. It was all really delicious, especially once I asked for their much hotter BBQ sauce. And I had some BBQ to take home as well.

Leaving Bob’s we followed Sonja back over to their house where we left our truck, and all headed out for a tour of the Oklahoma countryside. Working our way south through a lot of pretty scenery, we first ended up at Turner Falls, a well-known swimming hole near Davis, OK.

Turner Falls

With all the rain they’ve had recently, the rivers and streams are running high, and are just perfect for swimming. Nearby the Falls is Collings Castle, looking like it would be more at home in the English countryside than Oklahoma.

Collings Castle

Built in the 1930’s as a summer house for Ellsworth Collings, an OU college professor and dean, it fell into disrepair after his death and passed through several owners before being bought by the city of Davis, who also owns the adjacent Falls.

In the near future they hope to refurbish the place and turn it into a museum and visitor’s center.

Along the way, we also passed through the Arbuckle Mountain area, home to a vast array of different types of rock. So much so that geology students come from all over the US to study the area.

Some of the rock formations show such violent upheaval that strata lines run straight up and down, instead of the normal horizontal lines.

Later down the road, we drove through Sulphur Park, an area with artesian wells and sulfur springs. Indian tribes once used the waters as healing potions, and even today people take the water home to drink for its properties. Mostly now it’s a great swimming area for the kids. Driving through this area, we saw a lot of deer right along the roadway, feasting on the many bodark apples on the ground.

Sulphur Park Dear 1

Sulphur Park Dear 2

Finally getting back to Sonja and Lendel’s about 3:30 we read, rested, and napped until it was time for supper. We had planned to have dinner at Punkin’s BBQ, but found them closed on Monday’s. So since we had planned to have our last meal at Tio’s Mexican Restaurant tomorrow night, we flip-flopped things and had Tio’s tonight. So we’ll have Punkin’s tomorrow night.

July 13, 2016

Name that Park . . .

A few days ago Jan and I  were talking about our travels next year, and discussing where we were going to stay. And that led to us to playing ‘Name that Park’

We were going through the almost 5000 photos we took in during our first year on the road in 2008. I would find a photo of us parked somewhere and then Jan and I would try to guess where we were.

Turns out we were pretty accurate, and got most of them right.

Unfortunately I wasn’t blogging during that first year traveling to Alaska, so all we’ve got are a lot of photos and the emails that Jan was sending to friends and families

Chena Marina Takeoff

But in July 2008 we were workcamping in Fairbanks, AK at the Chena Marina RV Park. Chena Marina was on a floatplane base so we got to watch the planes takeoff all the time.

And a few days later, our granddaughter Piper showed up to visit with us for a week.

Chena Marina Piper

Thought For The Day: