I Hear Things . . .

Jan and I were on our way a little before 1pm, with our first stop at the Dollar General on FM646 for a few things that Jan wanted. As for lunch, we had originally planned to try the Wagyu Burger at Arby’s today, but apparently we were a day late and a burger short.

The last time we were at an Arby’s was back in January when we tried their Diablo Dare, really good, and the hottest sandwich of any kind I’ve ever eaten. So I had high hopes for their Wagyu Burger.

But alas, it was not to be.

Last time we had to visit the Arby’s over in Friendswood/Pearland because the one in Webster wasn’t even offering the Diablo Dare. And neither of these locations had inside dining, only drive-thru. So we sat out in the Jeep in the parking lot to eat.

But now, maybe because of no indoor dining, Covid, or something else, but 15 of the 20 Arby’s locations in Houston are now permanently closed.

And it appears that the Wagyu Burger had gone away, as it’s no longer listed on their menu pages.

Missed it by that much.

So since we were in a ‘burger’ mood, we decided on Texas Huddle once again, and we got Juana, our regular server.

Jan went with her usual Keto ‘bunless’ Mushroom Cheddar Bacon Cheeseburger, with a side salad and the Grilled Veggies.

Texas Huddle Cheddar Swiss Keto 20220626

I went with the burger that got me coming here to start with, their PB&J Bacon Cheeseburger, with a side salad.

Texas Huddle PB&J Burger 20220716

While we were eating the manager came by to say Hi and asked how our meal was. When we were talking about the PB&J Burger, and he said he was thinking about doing an ‘Elvis’ version adding bananas.

Sounds great to me. I’m there.

Finishing up, we made a WalMart stop before getting home a little after 4pm.

Another very nice day.

I hear things. Now!

I’ve mentioned before that due to playing in loud rock bands and noisy gunfire, my hearing is pretty crappy. I find myself regularly asking Jan to repeat something, and she’s sitting right across the rig from me.

I’ve thought about checking out some of the hearing aids that are available, but the prices were pretty high, and several people I’ve talked to haven’t had good luck with them.

But then I came across an ad for these BeHear NOW Hearing Assistants.

BeHear NOW

Though they look like regular audio earbuds, they’re more.

They have a phone app that allows you to tailor the device for your hearing loss.

BeHear NOW Setup

For each ear, the app gives you a series of six tones at increasing frequencies, and you set the slider for the level at which you can just hear the tone.

Here’s what my levels look like.

BeHear NOW Levels

It shows as I already knew that the hearing in my left ear is much worse than my right.

You can also select from a library of pre-set levels to see how they work.

In addition, you have four environmental pre-sets, Indoor, Outdoor, Crowd, and Live Music, that also modify the hearing curve and frequency response.

And all I can say is that these things are Amazing.

I can hear things I haven’t heard in a long time. Things like the subtle click of the keyboard when I’m typing, the tick of the clock in the bathroom, or even the slight sounds of my breathing when it’s quiet, etc. And I have no problem hearing Jan either at home or in the car.

And even though the front AC in the rig is right overhead, it tunes it out so that I have no problem hearing the TV.

Plus since it’s Bluetoothed to my phone, I can even take phone calls on it, and listen to audio from other Bluetooth sources.

I’ve got 30 days to try it out, but so far so good.

I’ll keep you informed.

 


Thought for the Day:

The Light of A Thousand Suns . . .

Today, July 16th, is the 77th anniversary of the first atomic bomb explosion in 1945.

Two days a year, once in the spring and once in the fall, the government opens up access to Trinity Site and allows visitors in for a look-around.

In April 2010 we were lucky enough to be in Los Vegas on the spring date, and made the trip over to tour the area.

So I thought I repost our visit in today’s blog.

 


 

Originally posted on April 3, 2010

We got up at 6:30am this morning (man, that’s early!) and after grabbing breakfast at the hotel, we headed about 85 miles south of Albuquerque to the town of San Antonio, NM.  San Antonio is the jumping-off place to Stallion Gate, the northwest entrance to White Sands Missile Range (WSMR) and Trinity Site.  I used to enter WSMR thru this gate back in the early 80’s when coming back from White Sands Test Facility (WSTF) in Los Cruces when I was working for NASA.

But before we left San Antonio I stopped and filled up at the one and only gas station in town. We had read that they also have fantastic homemade fudge, and it looked great. So we decided to stop back by on our way out of town.

After making the 12 mile drive out to SR 525 we turned south and entered Stallion Gate about 3 miles later. They had people handing out directions and security guards checking I.D.

Then it was another 14 miles out to Trinity Site itself.

Along the way we came across this sign several times.

oryxsign

If I hadn’t seen this sign in 2007 when we visited the WSMR Missile Museum I would have been very confused. This is an Oryx. And Oryx are native to Africa, specifically the Kalahari desert area.

So what the heck were they doing here?

It turns out that in late 70’s, 93 Oryx were brought over from Africa and their offspring were introduced into the White Sands Missile Range. They were expected to stay on the Range, but apparently the Oryx didn’t read the signs and they began to wander far and wide as now animals have been spotted from 60 miles south of Albuquerque all the way down to West Texas.

And without any natural predators their population exploded. The coyotes and mountain lions in the area were no match for the large antelope with their razor-sharp horns.

Someone then looked at importing the Oryx’s natural enemy. But this came to a screeching halt when it was discovered that the Oryx’s natural enemy were lions. And no one could get the lions to promise to stay on the Range either.

So now there are over 5000 Oryx in the White Sands area, more than there are in the Kalahari.

It’s not smart to mess with Mother Nature.

Arriving at the Trinity Site parking area about 10 am, we found a large number of visitors already there.

Making our way to the entrance, we encountered Jumbo.

Jumbo

Originally it was 25 feet long, 12 feet in diameter, and weighed 214 tons!

This is what it looked like 1945.

Jumbo 2

Before testing the first A-bomb, called Fat Man, scientist were worried about whether the bomb would actually work the first time.

The bomb was to be triggered by a large conventional explosion which would then trigger the chain reaction. But, if the chain reaction didn’t occur, they didn’t want the precious plutonium scattered all over the area. But by the time of the first test, scientist were more confident of the bomb’s success, and Jumbo wasn’t used. Later the Air Force detonated 8 500 pound bombs in Jumbo, blowing out the ends as seen here.

Next we made the 1/2 mile walk to the fenced-in area of Ground Zero itself. There in front of us was the marker commemorating the first A-bomb.

GroundZeroObelisk

GroundZeroPlacard

Nearby are the remains of the 100 foot tower that held the bomb before the test.

TowerRemains 1

TowerRemains 2

This shows what a 10 million degree fireball will do to solid steel. And here’s what the tower looked like before.

Fat Man Tower

Also inside the fenced area was a mockup of the Fat Man bomb itself.

Fat Man 2

Seems like they could have done better than a hand-lettered cardboard sign, though.

Fat Man

There’s a joke here, but I won’t go there.

Ground Zero is littered with Trinitite, a green rock/glass, created by the searing heat as it fused the sand into glass. It is a Federal Offense to remove any of this from the area. It’s also slightly radioactive.

Trinitite

Trinity Site is an eerie place to visit. It’s hard to imagine the destructive forces unleashed here, even hotter than the surface of the sun. On the other hand, it’s hard to tell anything ever happened here.

The scrub grass looks the same here as it does miles away. There is no crater remaining. In fact the original crater was only about 4 feet deep and 240 feet in diameter, more of a small depression, rather than a distinct crater.

The observers were in a bunker about two miles away when the bomb went off. Windows were blown out 120 miles away and the shockwave was felt 160 miles away. Other observers, 10 miles away, said they could feel the heat, like opening up an oven door.

To conceal the test, the Army said that a munitions storage area had accidently exploded at the Alamogordo Bombing Range. The secret wasn’t revealed until the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima a few weeks later on August 6th.

Leaving the site about 11:30 am, we were glad we had come early. There was a solid line of cars, about a mile long, lined up at the gate waiting to get in.

TrinityTraffic

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it before, but I may only be here because of the bombs dropped on Japan.

My mother was Chief of Nursing at West Point, and she and her nurses were boarding trains bound for New Orleans in August 1945. There they were to board ships heading to the Pacific to support the invasion of Japan.

Called “Operation Downfall”, the War Department estimated as many 4 million American casualties with 800,000 deaths, while 5 to 10 million Japanese DEATHS were expected.

However the two atomic bombs that were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki killed about 100,000 total.

77 years ago today, at 5:29 am, the world entered the Atomic Age when the first atomic bomb was detonated at Trinity Site on what was then the USAAF Alamogordo Bombing and Gunnery Range, now part of White Sands Missile Range near Alamogordo, NM.

While waiting for the explosion, the scientists took dollar bets on how big the yield from the bomb would be. Edward Teller took 45,000 tons of TNT, Robert Oppenheimer bet 3,000 tons, Isidor Rabi bet 18,000 tons, Hans Bethe had 8,000 tons, and Enrico Fermi took side bets on incinerating the state of New Mexico or the entire planet.

With the explosion measuring 19,000 tons of TNT, Isidor Rabi won the pot. And I  guess everyone was glad Enrico Fermi’s bets didn’t pan out.

Meanwhile, a young Richard Feynman reasoned that the only real danger from the bomb at that distance was from hard ultraviolet rays, so he sat in an Army truck and watched from behind the protective glass windscreen, making him the only one to see the test with the naked eye.

 


July 16, 2009

New York, New York…

I had a rude awakening this morning, or rather,  a diesel awakening.  And Jan had a good laugh at my expense.

Jan got up early but  I was sleeping in…at least for a while.  About 9 am, I was suddenly awakened from a deep sleep by our coach engine starting up…right underneath me.  Our bed is right over the engine and it’s very LOUD when it’s running.  And then about 5 seconds later, it quit.

Running out to the front of the coach I found Jan laughing. It turned out that lady next door had come over and told Jan that her cat was hiding under our coach, and ask Jan to start the engine to scare the cat out.

Well, it worked. It apparently scared the hell out of the cat and it took off, probably even harder to catch now.

And it scare the hell out of me, too.

Luckily I had showed Jan how to start the coach. Starting a diesel is not difficult, but there is a procedure you have to go thru so you don’t get all sorts of error messages.

We’re in a nice, woodsy RV park with a lot of wildlife around.  So far, we’ve seen rabbits, a mother deer and her two fawns,  and a flock of 5 or 6 wild turkeys.  But no bears…yet.

Black Bear Campground

Black Bear Campground

Later in the morning I finally got a chance to install the new replacement board in my EMS (Electrical Management System) that had died a couple of weeks ago in Williamsburg.

The new board kind of worked, but it didn’t completely fix the problem. So after talking to the company, they’re sending me another part.  Hopefully this will fix it.

About 11 am we headed over to Middletown, NY, the nearest larger town. We wanted to pick up some things for the coach,  see the countryside, and grab some lunch.

After our stops at Radio Shack and Advanced Auto Parts, we stumbled across Cosimos’ Brick Oven,  a great Italian restaurant.  Jan and I both had panini sandwiches from the lunch menu. Really good. Hope we can go back before we leave.

Coming back we detoured over to Harriman, to check the location where we will be catching the MTA train into New York.

After we got back and took a nap, I went back to work on getting the satellite dish working. Yesterday, I was not able to get a signal from the satellite due to nearby trees.

So this afternoon, Jan helped me hoist the dish up on the roof of the coach for a better site line.

About 5 minutes later I had a signal and we had TV again.

After I finished with the satellite,  Jan and I sat out in the fading light and enjoyed some sangria.

Life is good!

 


July 16, 2010

Old Home Week…

We left Cherokee Beach Campground a little before noon heading about 120 miles north to the Northgate RV Travel Park in Athens, AL.

The trip were pretty uneventful, except for about 15-20 miles of rough roads on I-65 north of Birmingham. We got into Athens about 2:00 pm and got set up. It’s always nice when your relatives own a RV Park.

About 2:30 or so, I started calling family here in Athens. My mother was from here and I have 3 uncles and their wives, with assorted nieces, nephews, and cousins living here, and we try to get together with everyone while we’re here. We’ll be here until Monday, so hopefully we’ll get to see them all.

About 4:30 pm we headed out for dinner at Catfish Cabin, a really good catfish place, what else. They probably have the best hushpuppies I’ve ever eaten, and growing up on the Gulf Coast, I’ve eaten a lot.

Getting back to the rig I talked to some more relatives about getting together, trying to work with everyone’s schedule.

More tomorrow…

 

Columbia Falls, MT Near Glacier National Park


July 16, 2011

A Do-Nothing Day . . .

Our do-nothing day started with the usual coffee and a muffin and then . . .

pretty much nothing.

Jan did Internet stuff, read, and napped.

I did Internet stuff, read, and napped.

Then about 5 pm Jan and I went right down the road to The Nite Owl, a local restaurant/casino.

And it was easy to see why the parking lot was full. Jan had a mushroom cheeseburger with all the fixings, and I had a combo plate with 1/4 white Broasted Chicken and 1/2 pound of Country Style BBQ Ribs, with BBQ Beans, Cole Slaw, and Fry Bread.

This was really good, down home food. The Broasted Chicken was some of the best fried chicken I’ve ever eaten.

And that was about it for today.

Tomorrow?

It’s a Landon Skyping Sunday.

Yeah!

 

Wisconsin Dells


July 16, 2013

Who Needs A Water Park . . .

to get soaking wet, when all you need is a JetBoat.


On another note, the other day I blogged about how I used the separate 20 amp receptacle on the pedestal to power one of our AC’s since we’re on 30 amp and the weather’s in the low 90’s.

One reader asked for further info on how I did it. But another one took exception to what I was doing.

Here’s his comment that you can still read in the comment section of yesterday’s blog.

So, you were able to scam 50a from a 30a pedestal. It’s called fraud, not something to brag about!

And here was my answer, also still on yesterday’s blog.

Peter,

Strong language using words like ‘scam’ and ‘fraud’, only to reveal your ignorance of the facts.

You might have asked if I had permission to do this, which I did.

You might have asked why I didn’t pay extra for a 50 amp site. That was because none are available, otherwise I would have.

You might have asked if the pedestal is metered, which it is. So using the 20 amp totals on the meter anyway.

You might have ask about the many other park models around here that are  running window AC’s from the 20 amp on their pedestal.

You might have asked a lot of things before using words like ‘scam’ and  ‘fraud’, but you didn’t.

You might want to ask yourself why you continue to read my blog.

You might want to know that I would prefer you didn’t.

Hope this explains things.

First off I want to thank everyone for their comments and support after yesterday’s blog. It’s much appreciated.

A couple of readers had asked about these ‘Cheater’ Boxes. And yes, that’s what they’re called, “Cheater Boxes”, and how they differ from what I did.

30 amp + 20 amp Cheater Box

 

30 amp 20 amp Cheater Box

These adapters plug into both the 30 amp and 20 amp receptacles on your pedestal, giving you a 50 amp supply.

Kind of.

Many RV’ers don’t realize that what we get from a 50 amp receptacle on a pedestal is actually two 50 amp circuits, for a total of 100 amps. That’s why you see two ganged circuit breakers in the box.

So this adapter actually gives you half of what you get from a normal 50 amp circuit, but it would allow you to run both AC’s

Kind of.

The one drawback with these adapters is that many times they don’t work. If the 20 amp receptacle on the pedestal has a GFCI on it, and most now days do, then this adapter will not work. It will pop the GFCI as soon as it’s plugged in.

So as Emily Latella says, “Never Mind”.

Since these adapters usually cost over $100, you might want think twice about getting one for the few times you would need it and be able to use it.


On a more fun note, Jan and I headed out about 10am for breakfast at Mitzi’s and then a couple of boat rides, one slow, and one fast.

Very, very fast.

So after a really good breakfast at Mitzi’s Family Restaurant, we headed down to The Original Wisconsin Ducks dock for a one hour, half land, half water tour through the Wisconsin Dells along the Wisconsin River.

We’ve taken Duck rides all over country, from Seattle to San Francisco to Washington and Philadelphia, and the Wisconsin Ducks are different.

First off, there are two duck companies here in the Wisconsin Dells, the only place in the country where that is true. In fact, starting 1946, the Dells was the first place in the country to have a Duck ride. And the back and forth story of the ducks is kind of interesting. Here’s the Wikipedia story.

In 1946 a Milwaukee native named Mel Flath brought the first amphibious truck (DUKW) to the Wisconsin Dells. It was an impulse buy that he had made at a government auction in California; the trip’s purpose had been to purchase war surplus trucks.

Mel opened the “Dells Amphibian Line”, which gave 90-minute tours in the Wisconsin River, exposing tourists to the area’s famous sandstone formations. Mel eventually sold his duck fleet to the Associated Boat lines in 1952, which renamed the company the Wisconsin Ducks, Inc.

In 1952 the Wisconsin Ducks, founded by Jack B. Olson, began offering tours of the river dells and adjacent areas using decommissioned amphibious DUKW vehicles from World War II. However, duck competition was far from over after the 1952 sale. Flath opened up a duck ride again briefly from 1964 to 1966.

When he was bought out again, the Soma Boat Company opened its own duck ride on Mirror Lake, near Lake Delton, which it called the Aquaducks. In response to the competition, Wisconsin Ducks, Inc. assumed the name “Original Wisconsin Ducks”. Aquaducks existed from 1968 until its sale to the boat lines in 1976. In 1977 yet another duck ride began, this one by Flath’s daughter and son-in-law, George and Suzanne Field, named Dells Duck Tours, Inc., operating from the same property as Mel had 30 years earlier. This time sporting a red, white and blue exterior, these ducks, while not the “original” ducks that were first brought to the dells, were still World War II production models. Today, the Dells Duck Tours, Inc. are known as the Dells Army Ducks after a paint scheme change in 2002.

The second thing is that this company has almost 90 ducks in service, not the 3 or 4 that most companies have. In fact this is the first time we taken a Duck ride without having a reservation for a particular time. Here you just show up whenever, and catch the next Duck, with one leaving every few minutes.

As it turned out, our Duck was a WWII original. Built in 1942, our Duck really looks it. It’s amazing that these things, built over 70 years ago, still are making 6 to 8 tours a day.

Wisconsin Ducks 8

But some of them don’t survive. Here’s the Duck Graveyard.

Wisconsin Ducks 7

The third thing is that we had Jocelyn, our first female Duck driver.

And she drives the Duck like a Indy car driver. Every other Duck ride we’ve taken starts out putt-putting through town at a sedate 20 mph or so. But the Wisconsin Ducks have their own race course, errr, roads.

They have 8 miles of paved single-lane, one-way roads through the woods and hills along the Wisconsin River. And Jocelyn drives like something big and mean is chasing her.

The Duck is capable of about 50mph on land, and I swear she had it floored all the way. Some of the dips felt like being on a roller coaster. Pretty good for a Pre-Dental College student.

The other thing that was fun is that most Duck rides drive slowly down the ramp and into the water. Our Duck went blasting down the ramp and hit the water at about 20 mph throwing up a large wave all around to the squeals of the passengers.

Wisconsin Ducks 1

But besides the excitement, we did have some very scenic views along the river and through the woods, hills and dales. Or is that dells?

Wisconsin Ducks 2

Wisconsin Ducks 3

Wisconsin Ducks 4

The competition: Dells Army Ducks.

Wisconsin Ducks 5

Wisconsin Ducks 6

So after our best Duck ride ever, we headed back into town for our next boat, the Dell’s JetBoat Ride

The one we were riding on, the Condor, is the fastest and most powerful on the river. At over 55mph, and with 3 400+hp V-8 engines, it literally flies across the water.

And stops on a dime. And then the bow digs in. And then a huge wave comes over the bow and soaks everyone.

The JetBoat’s other trick is to be bombing along at 50+ mph and then the pilot cranks the wheel all the way over. The boat goes into a flat spin, traveling 360 degrees, and then comes around and back out the same direction. Without ever slowing down.

But with the obligatory large wave washing over the side of the boat.

The trip out wasn’t too bad since we had a trailing wind for the most part. But coming back to the dock, the headwind sent the water over the bow with a vengeance. And we got soaked to the bone.

In fact we were so wet that on our way back to the rig, we stopped off to get the truck washed. And the bills in my wallet were so wet, the machine wouldn’t take them. Luckily I had a plastic bag that kept my camera dry for the most part.

But the ride was a blast!

And the scenery was great too.

JetBoat 6

JetBoat 1

JetBoat 2

JetBoat 3

JetBoat 4

JetBoat 5

Tomorrow, a train ride.

 

Indian Lakes Thousand Trails


July 16, 2014

Trains and Bridges . . .

Today was another ‘tourist’ day, so we left the park about 10:30, heading for the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center on the Cincinnati waterfront along the Ohio River.

National Underground Railroad Museum 1
One of the first thing you see entering the museum is this enormous quilt wall, illustrating many traditional African-American themes.

National Underground Railroad Museum 2
One of the central attractions here is this authentic slave pen from a Kentucky farm. Built in 1830, it probably only survived because a tobacco barn was constructed around it.

It was carefully disassembled in Kentucky and moved here for the opening of the Freedom Center in 2002.

National Underground Railroad Museum 3
Jan really enjoyed the large quilt exhibit. But in many cases, these were more like 3D cloth artwork rather than just quilts.
NURFC Quilt 1
This one commemorates Hattie McDaniel, the first African-American to win an Academy Award.
NURFC Quilt 2
And this one celebrates the the Red Tails, the Tuskegee Airmen, WWII pilots.
NURFC Quilt 3

There were many other fascinating exhibits, so more later.


One of the things that caught my eye, and interest, was the John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge that crosses the Ohio River right in front of the museum.

Built between 1856 and 1866, it still carries traffic between Covington, KY and Cincinnati to this day, and remains the busiest of Cincinnati’s 4 bridges. When it opened in 1866, it was the longest suspension bridge in the world, and has been designated a National Historic Landmark.

Cincinnati Roebling Bridge

30 years later, Roebling’s son, Washington, would design and build the Brooklyn Bridge in New York City.

Near the bridge on the Kentucky side is this beautiful condo building. Called The Ascent at Roebling’s Bridge, it opened in 2008. But the view from Cincinnati is only part of the story.

The Ascent at Roebling's Bridge
At 20 stories and 300 feet, here’s what it looks like from the Kentucky side of the river.

The Ascent at Roebling's Bridge 2
But if you want to live here, you better have some big bucks. At present 18 of the 70 condos are available for sale, ranging in price from $545,000 to $5,450,00.

Finally heading back toward home about 4, we ended up having dinner at Ron’s Roost in the Bridgetown area of western Cincinnati.

We weren’t heading there, we just kind of stumbled across it, and found it had 4+ stars on Yelp, so we thought we’d give it a try. And boy, were we glad we did.

I mean, how could you not like a place that has a chicken truck,

Ron's Roost Chicken Truck

and who’s motto is, “It’s Cluckin’ Good!”

But don’t be fooled by the name. This is really a very nice restaurant, as you can tell below.

Ron's Roost - Street View

They’ve been around since 1960, and are so well-known for their food, they’ve been featured on the Food Network.

And our food was great, too. Jan had their award-winning fried chicken, but I finally got my German fix with the Bavarian Sample Platter that had Sauerbraten with ginger-snap gravy over spätzle noodles, red cabbage, potato pancakes, and a smoked German Mettwurst, along with their famous Hot Bacon Slaw.

People, this was really, really good. It will certainly be on our ‘Eat There Again’ list.


Landon’s been working on his primary colors and writing his letters, and this is the result. Nice.

Landon Learning His Colors

Tomorrow looks to be another stay at rig day, before we’re back in Cincinnati on Friday.

 

Fort Smith, AR


July 16, 2015

Avengers, Assemble . . .

After a nice quiet morning enjoying life in the woods, Jan and I headed out about 2:30p for some food and fun. First up was a late lunch at Arby’s.

We’ve seen the commercials about their new Brown Sugar Bacon sandwiches and wanted to give them a try.  Hey, the more bacon, the better.

We both ordered the Brown Sugar Bacon BLT, which was really good.

Arby's

In hindsight, from the photo, it looks like I also got some Black Pepper Bacon on my sandwich, which was fine with me. Hey, the more bacon, the better. Then to spice it up, I added their Horsey Horseradish Sauce and some of their Three Pepper Hot Sauce.

Something else that gives these sandwiches a really good taste is that the buns are King Hawaiian Bread. And the touch of sweetness really works.

Finishing up lunch we headed a little ways back down the road to the Movie Lounge, a nearby movie theater.

But right before we got to the theater, I got a call from Rudy Legett of AquaHot fame. He and his wife Carolyn are going to be in Fort Smith tomorrow, so we wanted to set up a get-together for dinner tomorrow night.

We’ve been putting off seeing Avengers: Age of Ultron, and now based on how many theaters it’s still in, I.e. almost none, it was now or never. In fact this is the only theater that’s still showing it here in Fort Smith, and it’s gone tomorrow, replaced by something newer. And according to Flixster, it’s not showing at all in Memphis where we’ll be on Saturday for a couple of days.

The Movie Lounge turned out to be a dinner theater, but not the kind that does plays. But one like the Star Cinema Grill in Webster, TX that we go to a lot when we’re in the area.

They have a full restaurant along the line of a Chili’s or Applebee’s, and serve your meal right at your seat. The Star Cinema Grill was originally a 6-screen theater that went under when two 16+ screen theaters moved into the area. So about 10 years, they revamped the building, taking out every other row of seats and replacing them with a row of small tables. And on each table is a call button. After you finish your meal, and later decide you want popcorn, just press the call button.

But Movie Lounge takes this to a whole new level. In fact I think it may have been designed from scratch. It has two screens for movies, a smaller screening room with regular tables and chairs, a lounge area with about twenty tables, and a stage with live bands and other entertainment.

The entire concept is much more high-class than the one in Webster. The seats themselves seem to be designed for meals, and are much more comfortable.

Movie Lounge 1

Movie Lounge 2

Even the bathroom reflects the upscale décor.

Movie Lounge 3

Very nice!

We both really enjoyed the movie, even at almost 2 1/2 hours. The action was pretty much nonstop with a good storyline. One thing I like is fact that all the movies are linked together in an overarching plotline. Every Marvel movie, Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, Thor, Guardians of the Galaxy, Ant Man, and even the upcoming ones, Black Panther, Captain Marvel,  and Dr. Strange, (and the TV show, Agents of SHIELD) all serve to advance a master story along the way. And, since Disney/Marvel now owns Spiderman, he’s in the mix too.

Of course if you’re not a comic book fan, ignore everything I just said.

Heading home, although we were full from lunch, and didn’t order anything at the movie, we were hungry enough to make a stop at Braum’s.

Braum’s, if you’re not familiar with it, is a chain of restaurants located in Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Missouri. It’s kind of a cross between a Dairy Queen and a convenience store, in that they have ice cream and burgers and stuff like a DQ, but they also have an area with milk, bread, cold drinks, and other groceries. A little strange, but it works.

I was unsure what I wanted, but after I saw Jan’s Hot Fudge Sunday, I thought a Banana Split that size would be good. But I miscalculated.

Braum's

I should have figured mine would be the length of a banana. I couldn’t even finish half of it.

It’s the same old story. Eyes too big, stomach too small.

 

Colorado River Thousand Trails, Columbus, TX


July 16, 2016

Not A Box Cat . . .

Miss Karma is definitely not a box cat.

Now most cats are.

Big cats.

big-cats-in-boxes

Little cats.

cute-kittens-in-boxes-felidae-300x200

Lotsa cats.

organize-cat-boxes

Our Cat Mister would try to fit into any box, any size.

Mister in Small Box 2

MisterInBox

But Karma is a whole ‘nother story.

Yesterday when we stopped at Brandi’s on our way back to the rig, we picked up a box from Jet.com with a 30 pack of Joint Juice for Jan.

The box is about 18” x 18” x 18”, so not a tight fit at all. But when I picked Karma up and tried to put her in the box, you would have thought I was dropping her into molten lava. And even now she won’t have anything to do with the box.

A strange cat from the very start.

It seems like most weekends we’re off doing things with the kid, but this weekend we’re home, er,  rigbodies. So after a little nagging by our friend and Ranger Barbara Spade, we decided to take in the Saturday Potluck here at the park.

For our dish, Jan fixed up a batch of her Sopapilla Cheesecake, always a get-together favorite.

Sopapilla Cheesecake 2

And besides Jan’s offering, there was a lot of other good food as well, and a bunch of happy people.

Colorado River Potluck

 

 

Lake Conroe Thousand Trails, Conroe, TX

 


 

July 16, 2017

On The Ice . . .

Jan and I left the rig about 10:30, heading for our daughter Brandi’s down in Katy for the afternoon.

We were going to be attending Landon’s Ice Hockey classes at the Sugarland Ice and Sports Center after meeting up at Brandi’s.

One thing new this trip was that my Garmin GPS was suddenly routing us using the Grand Pkwy Toll Road instead the Sam Houston Toll Road that we’ve always taken.

So why the sudden change? It wasn’t doing that when we left here on our western journey last March. Then I remembered that while we were out west, I had done an update on our Garmin, so I guess that’s it.

Now on the surface the Grand Pkwy looks a little better, but only about 4 miles better, the mileage difference between the Sam Houston Route and Grand Pkwy Route. But those 4 miles come at a cost.

When we take the Sam Houston we go through 2 toll booths at $1.75 each, for a total of $3.50 one way. But the Grand Parkway is somewhere between $8 and $9. It’s hard to tell because of the strange pricing at the toll booths.

Where tolls on the other toll roads around Houston are $1.00, $1.50, or $1.75. But the GP is just weird.

$1.98
$1.03
$1.35
$0.95
$1.20
$1.11

What the heck kind of toll is $1.11?

So twice as much in costs for a 4 mile savings. Not really worth it. At least for that savings. But it is worth it in one case.

And that’s when we’re leaving Brandi’s on a weekday afternoon rush hour heading back to Lake Conroe. Heading in toward Houston on I-10 and then around on the Sam Houston isn’t too bad. But then you get on I-45N on the way to Conroe.

And it’s pretty  a dead stop at that point. In fact, one time, the normally hour and 15 minute trip took us almost two and a half hours.

So that’s when the Grand Parkway route comes into its own.

Getting close to Brandi’s we took a loop out by the Hamilton Metal’s rig count sign and found the count had not increased since last week, still showing 952. At least it didn’t go down.  I suspect the holiday period might have something to do with it.

Jan and I rode down with Lowell and Landon, and we all met Brandi at the rink about 1:15. First up was to get Landon dressed in all his paraphernalia, kind of like a squire dressing a knight.

Landon Hockey - Dressing

Then we were up in the stands while Landon got out on the ice.

Landon Hockey - Peanut Gallery

Landon Hockey - On The Ice

The coaches ran the kids through a number of different exercises, skating forward, skating backwards, stopping, fighting for the puck, hitting the puck into the goal, etc.

Landon Hockey - He Shoots He Scores

Landon Hockey - Control the Puck

There were three girl players among the group. Here’s one.

Landon Hockey - Girls on Ice

And here’s the other, standing to the right of Landon who’s second from the left.

Landon Hockey - Girls on Ice 2

The pony tail is a dead giveaway. Her jersey is so long on her that its almost like a dress.

But, as they say, looks can be deceiving. Both of these young ladies, and the third one, are really good skaters. As good or better than most of the boys, actually.

Landon has really improved since we saw the video of his earlier lessons, and he’s really enjoying his classes.

Leaving the rink, Brandi headed off to a baby shower while Lowell, Landon, and Jan and I drove right down the road to Floyd’s Cajun Seafood.

Floyd's Sugarland 1

There are now five Floyd’s Cajun Seafood, four in the Houston area and one in Beaumont. And up until now it’s the only one we haven’t eaten at.

Floyd's Sugarland 2

We all had the Chicken Fried Chicken. Well, all, except for Landon, who didn’t want anything except a Dr. Pepper.

But I also started out with a cup of their delicious Seafood Gumbo, probably the best outside Louisiana.

Floyd's Sugarland Gumbo

And then it was on to the CFC.

Floyd's Sugarland CFS

If you ever go to a Floyd’s, try the CFC. Yeah, I know it’s a Cajun Seafood place, and that’s all delicious too. But just try the CFC.

And do like we do. Order it with the gravy on the side, and then cut the CFC up into strips and then dip it AND the French Fries in it. You will not be disappointed.

 


July 16, 2019 Uncategorized

He Is A Doctor After All . . .

Though today is normally an off day for me, I was back at work trying to catch up on our backlogged order situation. Because we were trying to just get the orders out as fast as possible, believe or not, we shipped the orders before we charged their cards.

But since most of our customers have been with us a long time, we figured we wouldn’t have a problem and we didn’t .

Out of almost 200 orders, we had 9 that didn’t go through. And 4 of those were because my client didn’t write the CC number down correctly, or more likely couldn’t read his own handwriting.

He is a doctor, after all.

But now we’re to the point where we’ve go enough slack that I’m able to run the cards before I ship. Which is a good thing because we found out that Jennifer won’t be back until the first of next week, if we’re lucky. So we’re on our own until then, I guess.

Since we were overdue for a WalMart run because I worked all weekend, we headed back out after I got home about 4. Our first stop of course was at Yummy Yummy since it’s right across the Interstate from WalMart. How convenient.

I did get the 9 Volt battery eliminator in today from Amazon and took some time this evening to hook it up to my TENS unit so I can run it all night if need be, rather than have the 9 volt battery run down about half way though the night.

I did have to kind of kludge it since the eliminator connection is just two 9 volt connectors on the end of a wire. So what I did was to fold a piece of heavy cardboard into the shape of a 9 volt battery and use that to wedge the connector into place. Then with a small slot cut into the battery door for the wire to exit, it all works fine. So I’m ready for the next attack.

 


Well, That Was Disappointing . . .

About a month ago I ordered these flamingos for Jan’s Flamingo Flamboyance from a Facebook ad.

New Facebook Flamingos

According to the ad, they were Made In The USA, and Shipped From California, unlike most FB stuff that usually seems to come on a slow boat from China, literally.

The shorter one is is 28” high and the taller one is 32”, so good size, too. And it would be a perfect addition to the yard.

The first Rut Roh! came 9 days later when I received a notice that the order had shipped . . . from China, via China Post.

The second came about a week after that when I clicked on the ad again, and it had disappeared, or at least the flamingos had. There was something else being sold.

But since I was still getting tracking info as it crawled across China, I was somewhat mollified.

But then about a week ago, the entire company website just disappeared, but the tracking info said the birds were now in the US and in the hands of the Post Office, so maybe things were still OK.

Then yesterday, a package showed up in the mail. It was about 14” long and about 5” square, and it was half crushed. Not a good sign all around.

And it didn’t get any better, or any bigger when we opened the package. Inside was two smaller boxes, and inside those boxes was this.

Wrong Flamingos

For the record, they’re about 8” tall, and not metal, but some sort of resin. And broken, of course.

Well, $^%$#%

And I don’t know what they’re made of but I couldn’t find any type of glue that would work to put them back together.

Unfortunately I’m not sure I have any recourse, but I’m going to talk to PayPal since it was paid for through them. Stay tuned.

I spent a good part of the day at work configuring and setting up a new camera surveillance system at the office like this one.

Zosi Surveillance Camera System

Sometimes Jennifer is working in the back and doesn’t hear the buzzer so this should take care of that problem. And let us monitor other areas too.

Though our other flamingo order fell apart we did get word that this one had arrived and was ready to be picked up.

Flamingo Frank In Paradise

This is Flamingo Frank and he’s about 18” high, and strangely enough we ordered him from Home Depot. Hope he gets along with all the others.

As I mentioned previously, tomorrow we’re seeing Yakov Smirnoff at the1894 Opera House down in Galveston and then having dinner at Saltgrass Steakhouse.

Can’t Wait!


Thought For The Day:

I tend to live in the past because most of my life is there.

  

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