OWWWWW!

This afternoon was my 2nd Physical Therapy session, so after dropping off Jan to get a pedicure, I got to my appointment a couple of minutes before 1pm, and was called in right on time.

And rather than Melissa, the therapist I had last time, Marisa was helping me today.

The first thing she did was lead me over to a BioStep Bike like this,

BioStep Bike

and told me to use it to warm up before we started the therapy session. And her idea of a warmup was 10 minutes holding 60 rpm.

Yikes!

I’m sorry, but 10 minutes at 60 rpm is not a warmup. That’s a workout. But I was able to complete the time.

Then we ran though the 4 exercises I was given last week, which take about 15 minutes, before she started me on 4 new ones, these working on my leg muscles.

The entire session only took about 45 minutes, and when I was done and ready to leave, I found my legs so tired I was having trouble walking very far. In fact, I had to stop and rest twice before I got to the car. But by the time I had picked up Jan and we got to Pho Barr for lunch, I was doing a lot better.

So we’ll see how the rest of the week goes. Hopefully they won’t just keep adding exercises every week.

Otherwise I may have to be wheeled out to the car.


Thought For The Day:

When In Rome Flamingo


July 19, 2010

Louisville…

We left Northgate RV Travel Park in Athens, AL about 9 am heading for Louisville, KY, about 250 miles away. For a change the roads were really smooth.

We pulled into the Louisville South KOA about 3pm, one hour later than we had planned because we didn’t realize that this part of KY is in the Eastern Time Zone.

We also had a problem getting parked. KOA parks always have someone leading you to your site in a golf cart. We were the first ones in, and then 6th more rigs pulled in beside and behind us. For some reason the parkers got confused and parked everyone else first. So we sat there for almost 25 minutes. I wanted to just go ahead to the site, but Jan said to wait. Finally I went back inside, and after almost a half hour we got parked.

A little after 4 we headed out in the truck to the Kentucky Exposition Center where The Rally is being held, starting tomorrow with two Early Bird days before the rally starts for real on Thursday, the 22nd. I wanted to do two things: double check the actual route into the rally, and see if we could go ahead and pick up our rally packets at Will Call.

I am glad we did check the route, because it turned out the website directions were confusing when actually driven. But we weren’t able to pick up our packets because the lady had already left.

Leaving  the Expo Center we headed over to Jeffersonville to have dinner at Longhorn Steakhouse. We both got the same thing we had last week in Montgomery, and it was just as good.

Coming back to the park I got a shot of these two unusual rigs. This one looks like a Stealth RV. I bet it’s hard to keep cool in the summer.

StealthBus

I’ve thought about selling ad space on our RV to help pay the bills, but this is a little over the top. I’m not sure Jan would go along it.

JellyBellyBus

I did notice this neat new version of a trampoline, without the dangers of falling off and breaking your neck.

Trampoline

An hour or so later heavy rains moved in for the rest of the night. Hopefully it will slack off somewhat tomorrow, although there’s a 30-40% chance of rain throughout the rally.

More tomorrow from The Rally.


July 19, 2011

On to Garrison . . .

First off, I wanted to post some of the neat vehicles I’ve seen lately.

This really nice-looking Prevost was parked a few sites down from us in Columbia Falls. I assume it’s mid to late 90’s since it doesn’t have any slides. But it sure is pretty.

Prevost Next Door

Yesterday when we stopped at the Glacier National Park’s St. Mary Visitors Center, I saw this great looking Chevy Panel Van in the parking lot.

GNP Chevy Van 1

GNP Chevy Van 2

Now back to your regularly-scheduled blog.

We headed out this morning from Columbia Falls a few minutes before 10 for a 207 mile drive to Garrison, MT for the night.

Before we left I did the manual transfer switch thing under the bed, and got us set up to use the generator on today’s trip since it was supposed to be pretty warm and I knew we’d want to use the house AC’s on the trip. This would be the first time I’d used the generator since I added the receptacles to be able to use it. Crossing my fingers . . .

About 25 miles after leaving the park, we started our run along the west side of beautiful Flathead Lake. The lake is about 50 miles long, about half of it in the Flathead Indian Reservation.

FlatHead Lake 1

About this time I fired up the generator, and with no sparks or smoke, a few minutes later the AC’s came on. I guess I wired it up right after all.

FlatHead Lake 2

FlatHead Lake 3

FlatHead Lake 4

About 130 miles along, we got on I-90 eastbound, ten miles west of Missoula. And we still had great scenery for the remaining 80 miles of our trip to Garrison.

I-90 to Garrison

We pulled into the Riverfront RV Park in Garrison about 2:30 and were led directly to our site by the owner. This is the 4th time we’ve stayed here and we always enjoy it. It’s quiet, out of the way, and cheap. Only $26 total for 50 amp full hookups.

Mister smelled grass and demanded to be let out immediately, so I put him out on his leash while I hooked up.

A couple of minutes later this cute little poodle showed up and wanted to make friends with Mister and play.

Snack

Unfortunately Mister considers dogs this size as ‘snacks’ and started stalking the poodle. So I quickly scooped Mister up and tossed him in the rig before he ruined his dinner.

And just for the record, Mister considers dogs of ‘any’ size as snacks. I’ve seen him go after full size German Shepherds and Chows. And at about 25 pounds he’s no lightweight himself.

Mister's Snack

The views from this park are some of the nicest we’ve seen, and the storm front moving in just it more dramatic.

Riverfront 1

Riverfront 2

Riverfront 3

Right after we got parked Jan started a crockpot of pork stew with potatoes, parsnips, carrots, and garlic that was ready to eat about 6 pm, and it was was delicious.

Tomorrow we’ve got a 270 mile run to Billings, MT for one night before getting to Cody, WY on Thursday.


July 19, 2012

The King is Dead. Long Live the King . . .

A week or so ago I mentioned that during our break we had visited the Buc-ee’s in New Braunfels, TX, the largest convenience store in the world. At 68,000 square feet, with 83 toilets and 60 gas pumps, it’s certainly Texas-sized.

Well, this afternoon our daughter-in-law Linda sent us a link to a story about the new biggest Buc-ee’s in the world, and it’s going to be right down the road from the RV park we stay at when we’re in the Houston area. Unfortunately it won’t open until Memorial Day 2013, so we won’t get to visit it until the following Thanksgiving when we’ll be back in the area. Can’t wait.

This past Tuesday morning something unusual happened here at our rig site. It got very quiet and very dark. The rig normally looks like this at night.

Peggy Gate Rig 1

However, about 4:45am it looked like this.

Rig in the Dark

You know how that silence can be deafening? Well, that really held true here. Even the dark was deafening. The only thing lighting up the area was a couple of those portable light towers that have their own generators.

The big diesel generator (and by ‘big’ I mean the size of a semi trailer) that powers everything here at the site just up and quit. Just a big “WHUMP! and it was gone.

People came running out of buildings like ants at a picnic. For some reason there was also a lot of yelling and cussing going on. Over the next 20 minutes they’d tried to restart it a number of times with no luck. Finally someone found that a circuit breaker had popped on the power running the pump that feeds the engine from the big fuel tank. That’s the big blue tank just to the left of center in the above photo.

Resetting the breaker fixed the problem and a few minutes later they were back up and running. Well it was nice while it lasted.

On a somewhat related note I mentioned in an earlier blog that they would be drilling two separate holes here,

two-hole-well-site

about 25 feet apart so they can do directional drilling in opposite directions. The amazing thing about this is that they actually drag the entire multi-hundred ton rig using two giant cranes to the new hole after greasing up those metal skid plates you see.

So this evening I ask the Company Man how long it would take. He said that from the time they shut down at the first hole and are back up and ready to drill (spud in) at the second location is normally about 12-15 hours. That’s just amazing.

I’ve mentioned before that we normally have our big meal of the day in the evening, and just have a snack for lunch. One of the few exceptions to this is Tuesdays, which it’s Chile Rellenos day at Galindo’s in Charlotte.

At our old site, Galindo’s was only about 8 miles away, perfect for a quick lunch. But now from our new location, they’re about 40 miles away. Even for Chile Rellenos, a 80 mile round trip was a little much. But I decided to go ahead and get groceries in Pleasanton then instead of waiting until Friday, making it only an additional 15 miles. Very doable,

The meat-filled Chile Rellenos was as delicious as usual, and as often happens, dinner showed up too. I’ve mentioned before that it seems like every time we have a big lunch, a catering truck shows up with a big dinner.

And about 4:15 one showed up. And a few minutes later the smell of steaks on a grill wafted across the site. And by 5:30 we were chowing down on a delicious meal of steak, seasoned mashed potatoes, green beans, salad, and a root beer float for dessert.

Steak and Float

The salad is actually on the steak. It covered the entire area. And as usual, it was really good. And we were really full. But it was worth it.

Wrapping up, I thought I’d tell you about a neat Android app I found recently. Called CamScanner, it turns your phone into a scanner. Just take a photo using the program and it turns it into a PDF document. It will even do it with photos already on your phone. Pretty neat.


July 19, 2013

Three Cows A Day . . .

or What Kind of Casino is This?

Since we wanted to get diesel this morning before we headed north, we left the park a little before 8:30, me driving the rig and Jan following in the truck. We were going fuel up at a Co-Op gas station, kind of like a Pacific Pride, but it let’s anyone in. Plus it has plenty of room to get in and out, and also hitch up.

But then it got a little weird. I had already checked and found out that the pumps have no credit card limit on them, so I didn’t expect any problems.

Wrong!

The pump would only give me 19.000 gallons and then it shut off. Strange.

So I tried it again. And once again exactly 19.000 gallons, which was $72.75.

There was a number on the pump to call if you were having credit card problems (these pumps are completely unmanned. There’s nobody there at all to talk to.). So I gave them a call. And they were as confused as I was. Again said there is no $ limit or gallon limit, and suggest I try a different pump. So I did.

The person before me had put $116.00 into his vehicle so I knew it should work. Just for grins I used my same VISA debit card again. And it again gave me 19.000 gallons.

I still wasn’t filled up, but this time I tried my Discover Card and it worked.

Kind of.

It gave me 25.000 gallons exactly. That just about filled me up, so at that point I just called it quits. I guess it just didn’t like me.

After hitching up the toad, we were back on the road by 9:30 and heading for the Island Casino in Harris, MI about 225 miles away.

After a lot of pretty good country roads and a 5 mile stretch of I-39, we joined US-41 a few miles south of Oshkosh. US-41 turned out to be a very nice 6 lane/4 lane road that took us on up through Green Bay.

Around 12:30 we finally gave in and started up the generator so we could run the coach AC’s. Made it a lot more comfortable.

About 12 miles into Michigan, we went through Wallace, the home of the DeYoung’s Family Zoo featured on the Nat Geo Wild channel. We visited here a couple of years ago and really enjoyed it. I’ve reposted our visit below.

We got to the Island Casino about 2:30, and as is usual with casinos and fairgrounds, had to wander around a bit to find the RV park. The complete lack of signage didn’t help, and because it’s tucked back in some trees, we couldn’t see the entrance until we were right up on it.

We’d been told to just find a site and get parked and set up, and then call the Courtesy Shuttle to take us back to the hotel to register. Turned out to be $20 a night for nice long pull-thru sites with 50 amp and water, with a dump station available when we leave. Not bad.

About 4:30 we called the Shuttle and went over to have supper. Jan was in the mood for steak so we ended up at their 5 Bridges Steakhouse.

But what kind of casino doesn’t have a buffet? This one, for one. They have about 5 different restaurants, but no buffet.

Isn’t that unAmerican, or something?

After pretty good steaks, we headed back to the rig for the night. Since we were pretty well treed-in, I didn’t even try to set up the sat. dish. So we’ll just read and play computers.

Tomorrow we’ve got a 185 mile run to the Elk’s Lodge in Sault Sainte Marie where we’ll be parked right on the locks and can watch the boats go by. Neat.


DeYoung Family Zoo . . .

Originally posted on August 7, 2011

When I went to bed last night I still didn’t know if we were going to make the trip this morning up to Wallace, MI about 100 miles away, to visit the DeYoung Family Zoo.

The weather was showing a 60% chance of thunderstorms last night, but it was supposed to be clear on Monday. So we could wait til then if necessary.

But when I checked it about 5 am, it was down to 50% chance, and by 8 it was 40%. So we decided to give it a go since it looked like things were improving. And it turned out to be a beautiful day, lucky for us.

We headed out a little after 9, stopping in Shawano for Egg Muffins and coffee, and then gas. We got to the park about 11:30, and it was all we hoped it would be.

The DeYoung Family Zoo is owned by Bud and Carrie DeYoung, and has been featured for several years on the Nat Geo Wild channel as “My Life is a Zoo”.

Since we love small zoos and animal parks, it has been on our bucket list for a couple of years.

Just this year along we’ve visited places like Bearizona in Williams, AZ, Out of Africa in Camp Verde, AZ, Cat Tales Zoological Park north of Spokane, WA, and the Rooster Cogburn Ostrich Ranch between Tucson and Phoenix, AZ.

One of the first things we encountered was the petting zoo area where Jan tried her hand at feeding the goats.

Jan Feeding Goat

They had a real mix of animals in this area, including alpacas,

Petting Zoo 5

and a zhorse, or zorse, a zebra/horse cross.

Zhorse

First off, you have no idea how hard I resisted saying something about “Lions, and Tigers, and Bears.”

Oh, wait. I just did. Sorry.

They have a little bit of everything here. I’m really just hitting some of the highlights.

One thing we both liked at this zoo was the fact that it wasn’t just all sterile concrete and moats. The animal’s habitats were large and natural-looking, like this grizzly cage.

Grizzlie Bear 1

They have over 400 animals here, and most of them are rescues of one sort or another, including these two beautiful cats.

Two Tigers

White Tiger 2

A little while after we got there it was feeding time for the meat eaters. Here’s Bud flinging a chunk of cow over the fence to the waiting White Tiger below.

Bud Feeding Tiger

Although I could never get a picture of it, when the meat is thrown over the fence, the tigers leap up about 10 feet and catch it in mid-air.

Carrie said they go through three cows a DAY to feed the animals.

Tiger Eating

Tiger Eating 1

Tiger on the Run 1

Lion 1

They have a new baby hippo who’s in a temporary facility,

Baby Hippo

until her new pool is ready. Very nice.

Baby Hippo New Home

Here’s Carrie in the cage and talking about the different breeds of wolves they have.

Carrie 1

Wolves 4

These are Dingos, the Australian wild dogs, of “The Dingo Ate My Baby” fame, although these are like pets, and kids were hand-feeding them dog biscuits from the box.

Dingos

This mother hyena is taking her cub back to the den after it got too close to the fence and the crowd of people around.

Mommy Hyena

Besides the baby hippo, there were a lot of other, smaller babies that we could pet, hold, or feed.

This is a baby Wallaby, a type of kangaroo.

Baby Wallaby

And here’s a very young monkey being fed by a little girl.

Baby Monkey

And here’s a Stripped Hyena, one of Carrie’s favorites, who really likes to be held and cuddled.

Baby Hyena

Bud came out with these two somewhat older baby monkeys that really entertained the crowd with their antics.

Bud and Baby Monkeys

The last area we visited was the reptile exhibit with this Monitor Lizard just hanging out.

Monitor Lizard

Bud and Carrie have really put a lot of work into this place and it shows.

Carrie and Bud

As I said, I just skimmed the surface of what there is to see here. Check it out if you’re in the area.

We left the park about 2:30 and headed home, stopping for dinner at the Cottage Diner in Cecil, WI, about 25 miles from the rig.

We got back about 5:45 and settled in for the night. Tomorrow we’ll head south about 200 miles to Janesville, WI for one night, then Normal, IL for one night, before ending up in Vandalia, IL at Jan’s sister’s house on Wednesday for our family reunion. Brandi, Lowell, and Landon will be in on Thursday.

We can’t wait.

Unfortunately it looks like Chis, Linda, and Piper won’t be able to come. They will be missed.


July 19, 2014

DumbAss Cookies. . .

I had planned on patching my flat tire from last week, but once I really took a look at it, I’m not sure it can be safely fixed, since the puncture is kind of close to the sidewall.

There’s a Discount Tires in the Wilmington, OH area where we’ll be moving on Monday, so I think I’ll let them take a look at it.

Yesterday I installed the studs and wing nuts on my bedroom AC grill cover like I did a few weeks ago on the front one. Makes it much quicker and easier to clean the filters, which I will need to do a couple of times a month when we’re gate guarding again in a few months. All that caliche dust clogs them very quickly.

Here’s what the finished job looks like.

Bedroom AC Vent 2

And more detail on this fix can be found in this June 22th blog.

In the afternoon, Jan made a batch of what she called “DumbAss Cookies.” (Lord knows I would never call them that). She was using a Chocolate Chip Cookie mix she got at the Amish bulk foods place, E & S Sales, over in Shipshewana. The print on the label was very small,  even though there was plenty of room on the label for larger text. Plus the amount of mix to be used was broken in the middle over two lines, so Jan read 2 1/4 cups of mix as 2 quarter cups, i.e. 1/2 cup, of mix instead of 2 and 1/4 cups.

DumbAss Cookie Label

Later realizing what she had done, she went back and tried to correct the mix, but got her fractions wrong and then lost track of where she was. So she decided to just bake them anyway. And they turned out delicious!

But they will forever be known as “DumbAss Cookies.”

Tomorrow is our last full day here at Indian Lakes before we move about 80 miles northwest to the Wilmington Thousand Trails for the next two weeks.


July 19, 2015

Compare and Contrast . . .

or I had to go to Tennessee to get some good Alabama BBQ.

One of the nice things about being here at Tom Sawyer RV Park is the view of the Mississippi River, and the barge traffic going by.

Tom Sawyer Barge

Of course the park itself is really nice with long sites, trees,and a picnic table.

Tom Sawyer RV

But then 2/3’s of the park is under water as I mentioned yesterday. We even had to drive through about 6 inches of water to get to our site.

Tom Sawyer Flood 1

And here’s the road leading out to the other area.

Tom Sawyer Flood 3

But this flooding pales in comparison to what happened in May 2011.

Tom Sawyer Flood 4

Glad we missed that one.

As usual, our last day here in Memphis consisted of shopping and eating. So our first stop was the Tru-Value Hardware out by I-40. I was looking for three things, a new shower on-off valve, a selection of ATM fuses, and a new locking 1/2 inch hitch pin for our Blue Ox tow bar.

Jan wanted a new shower valve because the old one on our Oxygenics shower head had started leaking. And of course the fuses were for my problem with the 12V  receptacles on our dashboard that showed up as we were leaving Fort Smith yesterday. So while I was at it, I wanted to get a selection of 5, 10, 15, 20, and 30 amp fuses, all of the various sizes that are used in our coach.

And I needed a new hitch pin because the lock on one of mine had jammed and couldn’t be used anymore. At least it jammed while it was off the hitch, and not locked on.

I had already checked two Wal-Marts and a Lowe’s for the shower valve with no luck, and Tru-Value didn’t help here, either. But they did have the 10 and 15 amp fuses, but not the 5, 20, and 30 ones.

And they did have a selection of locking hitch pins, but only in 5/8” and not the 1/2” that I needed. I still have one of the original non-locking pins and I’ll use one of  those until I find something else, probably from Amazon.

Then it was off to have more Memphis BBQ. Last night we had eaten at Charles Vergos’ Rendezvous, a place in an alley in downtown Memphis.

Charles Vergo's Rendezvous

We ate here on our visit before last, and loved it. But when we were here last time, it was a Sunday and Rendezvous was closed. So we ate there last night so we wouldn’t miss it this time.

Rendezvous is known for their ribs, and one taste shows why.

These ribs are different. They’re grilled over charcoal, not wood, and not slow smoked, or anything like that. They’re grilled 30 minutes on a side about 18 inches above a blazing charcoal fire.

This produces a delicious crust on the ribs that is then mopped with a mixture of vinegar, water, salt, and barbecue spices. Then before serving, the ribs are sprinkled with the secret Rendezvous seasoning.

I got the combo platter with ribs and their pulled pork, all juicy and delicious, while Jan just had ribs.

Rendezvous Ribs

But another real standout here are their beans. They’re almost as good as the ribs. They have a delicate burnt caramel taste that I’ve never encountered before, but it adds such a flavor bonus, it’s hard to describe.

As far as today goes, we were going through the Best BBQ Places in Memphis’ lists trying to find a good place to eat this afternoon. But one problem we ran into was, like Rendezvous, many of the high-rated places are closed on Sunday.

But looking over several lists, I came across a name I was really familiar with – Jim & Nick’s BBQ. I’ve eaten at their original Birmingham AL location a number of times back in the 90’s, and knew they had started to spread out in Alabama, but I didn’t know they had gone further. In fact they’re now in 7 states as far west as Colorado.

So off we went to Jim & Nick’s out in Cordova, a Memphis suburb about 30 minutes away on the east side of  the city. And it was well worth the trip.

Jim and Nick's 1

We started off with their Sausage Plate, with a link of their home-made sausage, served with pimento cheese and BBQ sauce. So good that Jan, who doesn’t really care for sausage, loved this.

Jim and Nick's Sausage

Then they brought out a basket of their Cheese Biscuits which we devoured pretty quickly. They’re delicious, and so well-loved, they even sell the mix so you can make your own at home.

Jan got their Pig on a Bun pulled pork sandwich topped with Cole Slaw, while I again went with a Combo Plate with Ribs and Pulled Pork.

Jim and Nick's BBQ

And it was like I was back in Alabama again, with the spare ribs and the pork, all slathered in their sauce, especially their Hot Habanero sauce. Like being back home.

Earlier, I had mentioned to our waitress Joy, that I had eaten at their original location a number of times, and she apparently mentioned this to the manager, Todd Mulder. So Todd came by our table and spent about 30 minutes talking BBQ with us. Everything they serve is made from scratch, and they even own their own hog farms so they can control the quality of the meat.

And as it turns out, he and his wife love Gulf Shores, AL where I grew up, and where we’re going to be in a couple of weeks, that we spent some more time talking about our favorite places there.

Todd’s a really nice guy, and you can tell he’s really passionate about his job, and it shows in the food and service at his place.

And thanks for the great service, Joy.

While we were eating, Jan asked me which ribs I liked best, Rendezvous’ or Jim & Nicks. I told her I really liked them both. It’s like apples and oranges, Even though they’re both ribs, they’re so different, it’s more of a contrast than a comparison.

But maybe if I ate at both places a few dozen more times, I might be able to decide. Or maybe not.

Tomorrow we’ve got a short 80 mile run east to the Cherokee Landing Thousand Trails park near Middleton, TN,. But strangely enough, to get from Memphis, TN to Middleton, TN, we have to go through Mississippi.


July 19, 2016

Well, I Liked It Anyway . . .

Even if Jan wasn’t quite as impressed.

After lunch I went out to the truck to take a look at the dead AC blower I discovered yesterday. First up was to check all the fuses that might affect the system, so anything to do with the AC, heater, blower, etc.

But  unfortunately, it wasn’t one of these easy fixes. So next up was to take a look at the blower itself under the passenger-side dash. After some struggle, I finally got the connector apart so I could check the readings.

Blower Connector

First I used the Ohms function on my meter to check the continuity of the blower motor. I was really hoping that the blower itself was OK since I had just replace it last September. Check it out here – Fixed

And I got a reading of about 2 ohms which meant the motor was probably good. So next I scrunched around where I could now measure the voltage coming into the other side of connector.

And I had 12 volts. Huh?

So I plugged the two ends back together and now the blower worked. Huh?

So maybe a dirty contact?

But as I tucked the wiring back in the place, the blower quit again. Huh?

So I wiggled the connector some more, but no luck. Still dead.

So next I wiggled the only other wires in the area, the ones hanging down from the  blower resistor pack.

Truck Resistor Pak

And when I did the blower started working again. Aha!

I was able to wiggle it around until it stayed working. But if I moved it enough it would quit again.

Now that I know what the problem is, I’ll come out tomorrow and use my socket set to pull it out and take a look at it. But it should work for today.

About 4pm Jan and I headed into Sealy for a dinner and Wal-Mart run. We had decided to try Jin’s Asian Café, which had 4 Stars on Yelp with 22 Reviews. Turned out to be in a strip mall but very nice inside.

First up we ordered a couple of Shrimp Spring Rolls, which turned out to be very good. In fact so good, they didn’t last long enough for a photo.

Next us was a bowl of Hot & Sour Soup which I thought was decent, not King Food in Webster good, but pretty good. We’ve certainly had much worse.

Jin's Asian Cafe Hot & Sour

Then we ordered the Chicken in Garlic Sauce

Jin's Asian Cafe Chicken with Garlic Sauce

and the Combination Fried Rice.

Jin's Asian Cafe Combo Fried Rice

As the Yelp reviews mentioned, the portions were large, and after eating our fill, we still had more than half to bring home.

As I said, I thought it was pretty good, although not very spicy. We had asked for Extra Spicy, and also to add Jalapeno’s, but got neither. Maybe lost in translation?

On the other hand, Jan thought it was just ‘OK’, but not OK enough to go back.

So there.

After our trip to Wal-Mart we got home about 6pm and got everything put away. Then it was up on the roof to prep for my AC coil cleaning tomorrow.

I took all the screws out so it will be quick to get started tomorrow morning.

Rig AC Coil

First thing I’ll have to do is to mask off and cover the air return hold and then spray it down with cleaner, using a brush to get as much gunk out as possible. Then I’ll use the hose spray nozzle that I also pulled up to flush it all out.

Hopefully that will finish the job.


July 19, 2017

Impregnated By Kermit the Frog . . .

Jan and I headed down to the nearby 14 screen movie complex to finally see Wonder Woman. We normally like to wait for the crowd to thin out on big movies like this. And it certainly worked today, since there was less than a dozen people in the theater, including us.

Jan and I both REALLY enjoyed the movie, one of the best we’ve seen recently. I was especially happy to that they stuck very closely to the original comic book storyline EXCEPT for the fact that they moved the time period from WWII to WWI, or The War To End All Wars, as they referred to it at that time.

Gal Gadot was perfect for the part, but one unusual fact that has come to light since the movie came out is that Gadot was pregnant during the filming, while she was doing all the action scenes. But even stranger is the fact that they called her back this past November to redo some scenes . . . action scenes. At this point she was five months pregnant with a definite baby bump.

The solution to that was CGI (Computer Generated Graphics). They cut the abdomen out of her leather costume (which wouldn’t fit at that time anyway) and then covered her bump with a green piece of cloth. Then in post-production they took away her bump with computer graphics. Neat!

Gadot said later that in close-ups, she looked like Wonder Woman, but in the long shots she looked like she had been impregnated by Kermit the Frog.

Well Recommended.

Afterwards it was up to Willis to have dinner at Whataburger. YUM!


And now for Unintended Consequences Pt. II.

The city of Seattle, WA seems to be doubling down in the unintended consequences game.

In 2014 Seattle raised their minimum wage, already at $9.47 an hour, to $11, and then on to $13 in 2016, heading to $15 next year. So was the result of this that everyone made more money and lived happily ever after?

Not quite.

Restaurants have been closing at an increasingly faster pace since the minimum wage hikes, and the increase ramps up with the wage increase.

A recent University of Washington study shows that workers at the lower end of the wage increases, the ones going from $9.47 to $11 to $13 to $15, are now making an average of $125 LESS per month than before the increases.

And city tax revenues are down due to all the businesses closing.

Probably not what they had in mind.

Next up, in January 2016 Seattle instituted a $25 tax on gun purchases and a 5 cent a round tax on most ammo. They said the $500,000 the tax would raise would be used to study gun violence.  So what happened?

Well, after a number of lawsuits to force the city to release the data, they finally admitted that the tax collected was less than $200,000. And insiders say it was really just a little over $100,000. But that’s $100,000 extra, right?

Well, yes and no.

Many (most) gun dealers moved out of the city, and the one remaining large gun dealer said he’s overall sales are down 20% and gun sales down over 60%. He’s laid off employees and is in financial trouble.

But the big kicker is that while he sent them a little over $15,000 from the new tax, he didn’t  send them the usual $150,000+ in sales tax revenue and employee taxes that he normally does.

No, due to reduced overall sales, he only sent the city a little over $70,000. And now they’re losing that, because as the last dedicated gun store in Seattle, he’s leaving town too.

Don’t you just hate when that happens.

Well, maybe things got better in the city’s gun violence problem with a $100,000 of studying? Nope, not even close.

“Per the Seattle Police Department, when comparing the first five months of 2017 and the five months prior to the bill taking effect, shots fired are up 13 percent, people injured in shootings are up 37 percent, and gun related deaths have doubled.”

Ouch!

Don’t you just hate when that happens.


July 19, 2018

Dot, Dot, Dot . . .

Today was the first day since we got back from our recent trip that we pretty much did nothing.

Really nice!

We both just goofed off, read, and computered until about 2pm when we headed out for lunch, and a couple of other stops.

We had heard good things about a nearby Mexican restaurant, San Lorenzo, so we thought we’d give it a try.

it’s always a good start when you begin with really good chips and salsa, especially the salsa, which was delicious and warm. A really tasty contrast with the chips.

Jan tried a variation on her Cheddar’s favorite, Key West Chicken and Shrimp, with San Lorenzo’s Pollo Margarita with Grilled Veggies.

San Lorenzon Pollo Margarita

She said she now has a new favorite.

I got the Combo Fajitas Poblano, with Chicken, Beef, Onions, Grilled Smoked Poblanos, and Bacon, all covered with Monterey Jack Cheese. Really great, and big enough that I had leftovers to take home.

San Lorenzo Fajitas Plobano

I think we’ve found our new favorite close-by Mexican place. Nice since the Dickinson’s Monterey’s was put out of commission by Hurricane Harvey and still hasn’t come back.

Next up was a Home Depot stop, a WalMart stop, and a quick visit by the house before we finally got home a little before 5pm.

I did successfully order one item during this past Monday’s Amazon Prime Day. Don’t know if I got in early enough, or was just lucky not to get caught up in all the problems they had, but I ordered a new Echo Dot, and received it on Wednesday, right on schedule.

Echo Dot

This is the 3rd Dot we’ve bought, along with our original Amazon Echo. One Dot is back in our bedroom to give us Alexa access back there. Another one I have on my desk at work to use when I’m there.

And the new one is to keep in our truck for use on the road. I just hotspot my phone and we’re good to go. We use our full-size Echo when we’re traveling in the rig, but it’s really too big for the truck. So now we have one to just leave in the console ready to go when we are. And at $20 off for Prime Day, $30 instead of $50, it was a great deal.

Readers will remember a while back when I built a 50 amp tester for RV pedestals that lets me test a pedestal’s power for just about any fault.

50 Amp Tester Finished

50 Amp Tester at Pedestal

50 Amp Tester at Night

The reason I only used one voltmeter is that it was too wide to fit side-by-side with a second meter, or the fault tester either. So I have to move mine back and forth.

Now Paul, one of our readers, has one upped me with his version.

Paul's 50 Amp Tester 2

Paul's 50 Amp Tester 1

For his version, he modified the back of the meter to make it work side-by-side with a fault tester. Nice work, Paul.

Since I reinstalled our Splendide washer/dryer after the repair, we’ve run about 6 loads through it with no problem, and, more importantly, no leaks. Turned out it was nothing serious, just a hose had come loose.


July 19, 2019

Caught Up . . .

After I got the last of the orders boxed up and waiting for the USPS, (none with UPS today) I started back going through the denied credit cards, some for orders we have already shipped out and some we will ship as soon as we can get a good card number from them.

I did have two customers, who according to the USPS tracking info had received their orders on the 15th, deny they had received anything from us. One was listed as being left at the front door, and the other one was handed to the resident.

So I asked them them if the address and phone number on their order was the best way for the US Postal Inspectors to get in touch with them. When they ask why, I said that the USPS is really cracking down on mail theft, i.e. porch pirates, etc., and that the inspectors would want to get more information from them since mail theft was a Federal crime.

In both cases, they excused themselves for a few minutes, only to come back and say they were wrong and they did receive their order, and then quickly gave me a good CC number.

It was just amazing how quickly they were able to find those missing orders.

I’ve got a few more that I’ll call tomorrow since I couldn’t reach them today.

Since we’re pretty much caught up at work, I’m not working this weekend, so I’ll take a shot at changing out the plugs and coils on the truck tomorrow, and maybe the brakes on Sunday.


July 19, 2020

More Confused . . .

I spent the late morning and most of the afternoon with my head burrowed in the fuse block area located in the top of the rig’s dashboard in front of the steering wheel. I’m trying to figure out why our rig’s taillights, turn signals, and probably the brake lights have stopped working. But the headlights still do work.

But now I’m more confused than when I started. I’ve got sets of schematics from the chassis maker, Spartan, and the coach maker, American Coach/Fleetwood. But they don’t always seem to match up with what I’m actually seeing. And in some cases they directly contradict each other.

I may get to the point where I have to start at the headlight switch and just start tracing it out. We’ll see.

I tried to sign up for the new NBC Peacock streaming service today and found out I can’t. Or I can, but only if I watching on my computer, not on our TV.

As it turns out the Peacock app is not available on our Samsung TV or our Amazon Fire Stick.

So I guess we just do without for now. It’s not like we don’t have a half dozen or more other streaming services.

Several of our readers have asked, with the fairly expensive repairs I’m doing on the truck, why I’m not looking at a new vehicle.

Well, for one reason, I’m cheap. But you already knew that, didn’t you.

Here’s one blog reader’s question,

Greg…
given the age and mileage on your truck it might be time to consider either new or new to you (i.e. used) rather than fix… it you probably already thought Bout that since it sounds like you’re getting it fixed..

And here’s my longish answer.

Neil,

I’ve certainly thought it, but I just can’t seem to make the numbers work.

Our truck is a 2004 Dodge Dakota 4wd 4 door and had 104,000 miles on it when we bought it around the end of 2007, and came with a camper shell over the bed. It had been a T-Mobile supervisor’s truck and had had dealer servicing. It now has about 305,000 miles on it + 120,000 being towed behind the RV.

We bought it at the end of 2007 for $13,000 cash. Then I spent about $1000 on the tow bar package for it.

Now looking at the best rated used 2017 mid-size trucks, according to the 2017 Dinghy Guide, only the GMC Canyon can be towed 4 Down. And according to CarMax 2017 Canyon’s range from $27,000 to $36,000. And of course, I’d need a new base plate to tow it.

So we would either have to take it out of savings or end up with a large monthly payment. And I don’t like monthly payments. When we started RVing, we paid everything off, and then paid cash for the truck and our Class A rig. So right now, we only have our monthly bills, and I’d really like to keep it that way if I could.

Plus I can and do a lot of the work myself. If this had been an A/C leak under the hood, I could have probably fixed it myself.

Now with the transmission rebuilt about 18 months ago, the only big ticket item left is the engine. Now as I mentioned in the blog before, for the last nine months, our V-8 engine has actually been a V-7. One of the cylinders is only showing about 25# of compression while the other seven are between 125 and 135. But it runs just fine, just down a little on acceleration and gas mileage. In fact we did a 1500 mile roundtrip back to Alabama in January and it ran just fine, with no problem holding 70-75 on the Interstate.

So my thought at this point is to just keep driving it until the engine dies and then put a rebuilt engine into it for $5000-6000.

Still a lot cheaper than $28,000 to $35,000 plus a new base plate.

So as I said, it all boils down to the fact that I’m cheap. Plus the fact that despite being 16 years old, the truck still looks good.


July 19, 2021

Planning Our Next Trip?

Jan’s lunch date at the Cheddar’s up on the Tollway and Westpark never showed up, but Jan said she had a nice trip and a good lunch anyway. Later, getting back to the Clear Lake area, she did some shopping before picking me about 3:15 for the trip home.

We did make a Cowboy coffee stop for our usual Sugar-Free Hazelnut Lattes. And as delicious as usual.

Jan and I started talking/planning? our possible next trip this morning. Having just seen Yakov Smirnoff this past weekend, this brought Branson to mind, where we saw him in 2008 and that led us to Christmas in Branson. So we’ve started looking at dates, hotels, shows, etc,

Based on the distance, we’ll probably make it a two-day trip with a stopover in Texarkana going and coming.

Right now we’re thinking December 5-11, but that could change. However the plans are in the works.

After the New Coke debacle back in the 80’s, you would think they’d have learned their lesson. But apparently they haven’t. Recently Coke announced that they were reformulating the formula of Coke Zero to make it taste more like regular Coke.

Now most people I know, along with me, think that it’s really hard to tell the difference now. So if figures that anything they do is just going to screw it up.

Old-New Coke Zero]

At least they’ve also redesigned the can, so I’ll know when to stop drinking it.

Tomorrow we’re heading to the Conroe area to meet up with Debi and Ed Hurlburt for lunch at The Catch, a new place for us. But the menu looks good.


Thought for the Day:

Jan and I disagree on this.

It’s taken me 55 years to get her from ‘Ruined’ to somewhere between ‘Wait’ and ‘What are you doing?’

Meat Chart

%d bloggers like this: