Monthly Archives: August 2022

Glad We Did It Back Then . . .

I spent most of today at work writing a new instruction manual for the machines we’re importing from Poland. Well, not so much writing as translating. Though the supplied manuals are supposedly in English, it looks like it was done by running the Polish version through Google Translate. And for some reason, the topic headings are still in Polish.

So I’m using Google Translate to get the topic headings into English, and rewriting everything into conversational English, that doesn’t read like it was written by a robot. Then I’m putting it all together with new images to make a new manual for our customers.

I’m also going to sent it to the Polish people to see if they want to use it for their other machines.

Saw this article the other day about problems with the water levels in European rivers this summer.

Low Water Levels Disrupt European River Cruises

It talks about how people on cruises are spending a lot of time this summer on buses because of low water levels. But on some level, this happens every year.

Twice in fact.

Back in 2018 when we were booking our Grand European Viking Tour, running from Budapest to Amsterdam, we found the rates during the early spring and late fall were much cheaper. Figuring there had to be a catch, I did a little digging and found out why.

Turns out that in the spring when the mountain snows melt and fill the rivers to overflowing, the levels are then too high for the cruise ships to get under the bridges. And this is such a regular thing that the ships are designed for this as much as possible.

Viking Skirnir Level Deck

Everything folds down, and the wheel house retracts until it is also flush with the deck. There’s even a ‘sunroof’ where the captain can pop his head up for a few seconds to get his bearings along the way.

Skirnir Wheelhouse Tour 2

But if the water level is still too high, passengers are bused around the high spots and spend their nights in hotels along the way.

Then every year in the fall, the river levels are much lower, too low sometimes for the ships to navigate, and then it’s back to the buses.

This is why we paid more and booked our cruise for the sweet spot, the first part of June, and had no problems.

But I’m glad we did our cruise when we did.

Today the U.S.S. Texas, one of only a few Navy ships to serve in both world wars, was moved from its long-time docking near the San Jacinto Monument to a dry dock down in Galveston to have its leaking hull repaired.

USS Texas On The Move

At this time it’s not known where it will be going when the repairs are finished, but apparently it will not be coming back to its old dock at San Jacinto.

Tomorrow we’re doing a day trip down to Galveston ourselves. We’ll do lunch at our favorite brunch spot, Sunflower Café, and then spend some time driving around the island. Then coming home, we’ll probably make a La Marque Sam’s Club stop for a few things that we didn’t find at the one on El Dorado yesterday.

And we might drive by and check out the U.S.S Texas while we’re down there too.,


Thought For The Day:

When Tyranny Becomes Law


August 31, 2011

On to Elkhart . . .

For some reason I woke up at 6:30 this morning, earlier than I planned, but couldn’t go back to sleep, so up early it was.

The only problem was, not normally up at this un-holy hour, I found it was still pitch-black outside. So I had to wait to do outside stuff.

But I was able to spend some time stowing away stuff inside. By the time I got coffee started, it was starting to get light, so I went outside and started bringing in the satellite stuff and tiding up around the rig. By this time Jan was up and about, and a little later, she heated us up Jimmy Dean Egg Sandwiches for breakfast.

After relaxing a while with our coffee we got prepared to leave and I discovered a problem. I had planned to raise the levelers and pull the coach up about ten feet so I would be able to pull the toad in behind and hook up before we pulled out. The problem was, the levelers wouldn’t come up . . . or at least the control panel said they weren’t all the way up.

I went outside to check and found them all the way up, so I went to the right rear bay to check the hydraulic fluid level in the Power Gear reservoir, and as I suspected (and hoped) the fluid level was low. The reason this makes a difference is that these systems use the level in the reservoir to signal to the control panel whether or not the levelers have retracted all the way.  If the fluid level is low, the system thinks the they haven’t retracted.

And of course, the quick (and cheap. I like cheap!) solution is to top on the reservoir with ATF transmission fluid, and all’s right with the world. I always keep a bottle of it in the coach because without it I’m stuck. If my coach thinks the levelers are down, even if they weren’t, it won’t let you put it in gear.

Now if it only did that when your power cord is still plugged in.

By the time we finally left the park, I had decided to get diesel at a station we had passed last week that had it for $3.77, so Jan was following me in the toad, and we would hook up after we filled up.

The problem was, I couldn’t find where I left the gas station. I mean, it was right there last week. Where could it have gone? Who could have moved it?

Finally, after circling around, and up and down several country roads, Jan called me on her cell and ‘suggested’ that I was lost and she was tired of driving around in circles. And that we should just head on out along our route and fill up along the way, which we did in Rockville, about 15 miles down the road.

I didn’t think she really needed to use that ‘tone’, though. You married guys know the ‘tone’ I’m talking about. You know the one where she thinks you’re lost, and she thinks you’re an idiot for getting lost, but she wants to be nice about it because she knows that otherwise you just might circle around central Indiana three or four more times before you give it up as a lost cause.

That’s the ‘tone’ I’m talking about.

Anyway, taking US41 north, we finally picked up I-65. And as seems to be a usual ‘feature’ of Indiana (and Illinois, too) Interstates, the road immediately went to crap. And the I-80 Toll Road was even worse.

Why is it that toll roads always seem to be even worse than non-toll roads. Where’s all the money going? Certainly not to maintenance.

We finally pulled into the Elkhart RV Campground a little after 4 pm and were directed to our site.

Brandi sent this picture of Landon at his daycare entitled “Couldn’t quite make to nap time”.

Landon Asleep 2


August 31, 2014

Magic Liquid . . .

No, not booze

Still no gate news, but as I said yesterday, I don’t really expect any until tomorrow, or even Tuesday. The entire facility has been locked up all weekend with no one around except us and our neighbors.

Later in the afternoon, Jan fixed up a cold tuna pasta salad for us to have over the next few days. For the pasta, she tried something different – Wacky Mac pasta.

Wacky-Mac

All different colors, the pasta is colored and flavored with tomato, spinach, and beet powders, so it will be interesting to try it out. Along with the pasta, Jan mixed tuna, chopped-up bread and butter pickles, mayo, and Provence Spice. Then stored it in the fridge for a couple of days to let the flavors merge. Really looking forward to it.

One thing Jan wanted me to pass on to those of you who have bought the Microwave Pasta Boat. that I mentioned earlier. Pasta Boat

She loves this for doing pasta, any type of pasta, in the microwave, but she has found that if you use the normal cooking time for your pasta, in the Pasta Boat it will probably be overcooked.

For example, if your cooking directions say 18-20 minutes, Jan suggests starting with 15 minutes instead.

Brandi, Lowell and Landon are spending the long weekend at the Woodlands Resort, north of Houston.

Landon - Spiderman 1

They have a two-story waterslide, a river for tubing, and a dancing water fountain for the kids to play in.  And of course, face painting and balloon animals (superheroes?)

Landon’s having a ball.

The magic liquid I’m referring to is Strike-Hold. Here’s what I said about it back in June.

What I saw when I walked up to the booth was a guy holding an extension cord with a small lit light bulb screwed into a socket on the end.

And his hand, and the lit bulb looked something like this.

Strike-Hold Electric Bulb

HOLY CRAP!

Now that got my attention.

Turns out it’s done with a product called Strike-Hold being sold at the rally by Ken Murphy and his wife Marilyn.

Strike-Hold CLP is marketed as a cleaner, lubricant, protector, and demoisturizer.

Strike-Hold Bottles

It was originally developed for use by the military to protect weapons from sand. When the parts are sprayed with Strike-Hold and allowed to dry, it functions as an excellent dry lubricant that repels the sand.

As far as the underwater light bulb, the spray has a dielectric insulation value of over 38,000 volts. Thoroughly spraying the socket and the bulb base is all that’s needed. Ken would even unscrew the bulb while it was underwater and then screw it back in again.

And on the website is another incredible demo where an electric drill is sprayed internally, and then while running, it is immersed in a bowl of water, and keeps running.

I came home with several bottles.

If you would like to order some, you can contact Ken Murphy at 214-850-4677 or kmurphytx@live.com.

I’ve been using Strike-Hold since then on anything electrical, from my 50 amp power plug to my toad taillight plugs. And it works great.

Jan and I have been going through stuff getting ready for our gate. And one of the things I was checking out was our Kindle Fire. The last time we really used it was last November when we finished gate guarding.

Jan used it at night on the gate to surf the web and read Kindle books. But I remembered that toward the end, I was having a problem charging the Fire. So I was not surprised to find that it would not charge now either.

I tried 3 different chargers with no luck. Whatever the problem was, it seemed to be in the Fire itself. And a little Googling told me there was a known problem with the charger socket itself. Since we’d had the Fire for over two years, there was no warranty, so I was about ready to think about chucking it.

But Jan, bless her heart, suggested I try the Strike-Hold. Turning the Fire upside down, I sprayed some into the socket and let it sit for about 30 minutes.

And plugging it in, the Fire went right into charge mode until it was fully charged.

I love this stuff.


August 31, 2015

Even Less Happened Today . . .

Trucks stopped coming in. Trucks stopped coming out.

I made my sojourn into town this morning a little after 11am. Besides lunch and a couple of grocery items, I wanted to check out a Print and Mail place to see if we can receive packages there.

Turns out that they ship stuff out, but they don’t receive anything. And as far as they knew, no place in Carthage can handle receiving FedEx, UPS, or USPS, since you never know how Amazon is going to ship something. I guess now I’ll have to check in Henderson to see if they have anything.

After stopping at the Brookshire Brothers for a couple of things, I picked up lunch at the Whataburger again, basically for two reasons. We were still in a burger mood, and I need to get rid of some trash.

We still don’t have a trash trailer here (and may not ever, apparently) and if I went somewhere else to get lunch, I’d have to make a whole ‘nother deal to drop off garbage.

We still want to try out El Rancho Grande, the Mexican place that Lynette and Gregg McHenry recommended, so maybe that will be this Friday. I did notice that the Jalapeno Tree, another Mexican place I passed today, was really busy.

When our Company Man left a little after 3pm, he said they were finished up and he would check with his boss to see if they were going to keep us here until the frack crew comes in, or dismiss up and then bring us back then.

And he had no idea when they would be here, since they’re working at another site right down the road. But our site is still active, since the production crew is still here. And when the last of them left about 5pm, they said they’d be back at work tomorrow morning around 7 or 8am.

As far as the site itself now, it’s completely dead with no lights at all. So as it stands right now, we’re shut down for the night, but not officially, so we’re still manning the gate. Although Jan stayed inside on her 6 – 11pm shift tonight, and just kept an eye out for anyone, I’m now outside as usual. We’ve had cases where we’ve been told everyone was gone for the night, and then someone shows up at 3am to do something.

So we’ll see how it goes the next few days.


August 31, 2016

It Walks!

Turns out our Drill Rig has feet.

And it just walks from hole to hole.

The last drill rig gate with multiple holes we worked was back in July-August of 2012, our very first year gate guarding, We were following a Marathon-H&P rig for most of the 4 months while we were down in south Texas, and our very last site was a two-holer,

But when they got ready to move to the next hole, about 25 feet away, it was a 2-3 day process. And we got those days off.

With pay.

Just as with rigging up and rigging down, we don’t do any logging with the moving either.

As far as the procedure, like here the rig was built up on large flat metal plates, and when they got ready to move the rig, they first oiled up the plates to make them slippery. Then they brought in two big 100 ton cranes and positioned them side by side in the direction they wanted to move the rig.

Then, with the cranes pulling, they slowly moved the rig over the new hole, steering the 100+ ton rig by the cranes tugging more on one side than the other.

But on this Nabors rig, there are hydraulic pistons in the 4 pillars that support the rig and they just walk it into place, steering it with a joystick, I’ve seen photos of walking rigs online, but they all had their ‘feet’ out to the sides of the rig and you could see them walking. But with this rig, it’s all internal.

Blue Moon Gate Rig Pillars

What I’m not clear on is how the rig actually moves. And nobody I’ve asked seems to know. I mean, the pistons lift the rig, but what propels it in any certain direction. I can think of several ways, but I’ll find out for sure and let you know.

Anyway, with this setup they can move the rig in just a few hours.

And we don’t get any time off.

I mentioned before about the sucky Verizon Internet here, but it turns out it’s only 3G part that’s sucky. 4G is fine, with 8-10 Mbps down, and around 1Mbps up.

I noticed that when I did something datawise on my Galaxy S5 phone, it moved right along. But anything through our Verizon AirCard (circa 2007) pretty much ground to a halt.

The reason I’m still using a 9 year old 3G AirCard is that it’s grandfathered in with unlimited data. With all the Internet stuff I do, I use 25 to 30 GB a month. And that’s not streaming any movies, or the like.

And if I upgrade to a 4G MiFi, I lose my unlimited data. I keep hearing about people getting special upgrade deals at RV shows or other places, but they never seem to apply to me. But I’ll keep looking.

I mentioned last night about the loss of Guide data that I was getting on my DirecTV system, and how I was going to swap out my new ‘dumpster diving acquired’ Winegard dome with my old original one that I’ve had since 2010.

I figured that the problem was either with my DirecTV HD receiver, or something on their end not sending the guide data, but I was going to swap out my dome and then my cables to eliminate them before I called DirecTV.

But I may have been wrong.

When I changed out domes early this morning the problem went away, and has stayed away for almost 24 hours. I’ll wait another day or so and then swap them back. And if the problem reappears I’ll know for sure.

And if the dome IS the problem, I’m even more confused about what’s happening. The data stream coming down from the satellite is just 1’s and 0’s, with the guide info riding on a subcarrier along with the video information, If the receiver gets the video, it should get the guide data also. And the satellite dome shouldn’t be able to strip it out. It just doesn’t work that way.

And the other thing is that the guide data loss is intermittent, with the problem coming and going, because it does get data sometimes, otherwise it wouldn’t work at all.

Of course, in the back of my mind, there’s always the thought that this problem was why the dome ended up being dumpster-dumped in the first place. But then why did it work fine for several months before the problem reappeared.

Just another question to keep me entertained.

Today was Blue Moon BBQ day, our first visit, and it won’t be our last. And even better, it’s only about a quarter mile back up the road.

Jan got their Stuffed Potato, filled with chopped brisket, sauce, and covered in cheese.

Blue Moon BBQ Stuffed Potato

She said it was really good and she’ll have it again next time.

I went with a combo of their Cowboy Cornbread and the Bean Pot beans.

Blue Moon BBQ Cornbread and Bean Pot

The Cowboy Cornbread has chopped brisket, tomatoes, chilies, and onions mixed into the batter, and then it’s all baked in a cast iron skillet, and then covered in cheese. And what you end up with is almost more fixin’s than you do cornbread.

And it’s delicious.

The Bean Pot is about half and half beans and brisket, mixed with their BBQ sauce and then covered in cheese. I’m sensing a theme here.

I really like their BBQ sauce, very tasty and it’s very hot. Even hotter than Famous Dave’s Devil Spit, or Rudy’s Hot Sauce.

We’ll be going back very soon, in fact probably this Saturday. Because Saturday is the only day that they have Hotshots. Hotshots are large fresh jalapenos, stuffed with 3 cheeses and chopped brisket, then wrapped in bacon and cooked on the pit.

Really looking forward to Saturday now.


August 31, 2017

Nana To The Rescue . . .

Although Fall doesn’t officially start until September 22, according to the forecasts for next week, it’s sneaking in a little early. And it’s going to help all the folks who still don’t electricity for AC’s, and probably won’t by next week either. Although it hit 90° today, and we’re looking at 91° tomorrow and Saturday, Sunday the temps start dropping until were looking at the low 80’s/high 70’s by next weekend. But even better we’ve got nighttime temperatures in the low 60’s/high 50’s.

Very, very nice.

There’s been a lot of talk on Facebook about the new Trails Collection membership now being offered to Thousand Trails members. If you haven’t noticed the link on your TT members page, it’s at the bottom of your Account Information On the face it looks to be a good deal, but as seems to be usual with TT deals, there’s a few gotchas.

The Trails Collection is $199 per year and gives you access to 106 TT and Encore parks, with 13 on the list having an extra $20 per night.

Trails Collection Map

As you can see, the new parks are mostly clustered in 8 areas around the country.

Now for some of the fine print gotchas.

1. Your Trails Collection membership runs concurrent with your TT membership. And if you buy it at another time, it’s not prorated. So if your TT membership renews April 1st,  and you buy your TC membership on February 1st for $199, then when your TT membership renews in two months later, you owe another $199.

2. You can stay for two weeks at an Affiliated Park but you can not then move to another Affiliated Park. So you can’t go from park to park under the TC plan.

If my current Thousand Trails membership agreement allows me to go park-to-park among the Thousand Trails preserves, will I be able to go park-to-park among the Affiliated Resorts in Program?

No, if you stay more than four nights at an Affiliated Resort in the Program, you will need to wait seven days before visiting another Affiliated Resort in the Program.

But then the question comes up, can you move directly to or from a TT park to an Affiliated Park. And that’s where it gets a little fuzzy. Based on this paragraph in the Frequently Asked Questions, you can’t.

Can I go directly from a Thousand Trails preserve to an Affiliated Resort in the Program? Likewise, can I go directly from an Affiliated Resort in the Program to a Thousand Trails preserve?

No, if you stay more than four nights at an Affiliated Resort in the Program or a Thousand Trails preserve, you will need to wait seven days before visiting another Affiliated Resort in the Program or a Thousand Trails preserve.

So this morning I put in a call to TT to ask about just this fact and here’s what Latoya said.

If your TT membership presently allows you go to got park to park, then you can go directly to/from an Affiliated Park to a TT park.

When I ask why the website doesn’t say that, she said she was told that it was because the majority of TT memberships are now Zone Passes, and they don’t allow park to park.

Big surprise.

Jus to double-check, I asked again, “So there are now more Zone Pass members than regular TT members”, and she said yes.

When I asked her why they didn’t clarify this difference in the FAQ file, she said she didn’t know, but she wished they would, since it’s the most asked question by callers.

3. No matter how far ahead you can book a park under your TT membership (for us it’s 210 days), you can only book 60 days under your TC membership.

4. Finally, good luck actually booking a TC park, as there are only about 10 sites at each park reserved for TC members.

Our daughter Brandi called this afternoon to see if Nana could babysit Landon next week. The Houston Independent School District (HISD) announced today that school will not start back until Monday week, the 11th, so they need someone to watch Landon next Tuesday through Friday.

Talk about throwing Brer Rabbit in the Briar Patch.

So I will drop her off sometime Monday afternoon and pick her up probably Friday afternoon. And it looks like it will be just me and Karma next week.


August 31, 2018

All Aboard!

After all the struggles of two old fat guy getting the new 88# AC into the through-the-wall over our heads, we discovered we had a dud.

Like many new appliances, this AC had one of those built-in GFCI modules on the end of the power cord, and ours is bad. The Reset and Test buttons are loose and the power light on the module is dead.

So the company is sending us a new one, which we should get sometime next week. But unfortunately they’re not sending out two young, burly guys to remove the old one and install the new one.

We asked.

So we get a second shot at heart attack territory.


August 31, 2020

In Case You Missed Out The 1st Time Around. . .

Starting November 5th, you can now buy your own, updated C-64.

C-64

The New C-64

• The games carousel has 64 pre-installed games including classics such as California games, Paradroid and Boulder Dash, with new additions (including Vic20 games and more) available as a release day online firmware update.
• Connect to a 720p TV or monitor via HDMI for a stunning HD experience.
• Save your progress at any time.
• Via USB, add your own games/programs, update the firmware, and connect your own devices.
• Functions like an original C64 or Vic 20 computer, or play any of the included 64 games in the games carousel.

And it’s only $129.99.

A really great deal since when the original debuted in 1982, it cost $595.00, about $1600 in today’s dollar. But the price quickly dropped to the $200-300 range, or even less, and by the time it was discontinued in 1994, it had sold over 15 million units.


August 31, 2021

Microsoft Says Happy Birthday To Me . . .

Jan and I headed up to Webster about 1pm with our first stop at the local Harbor Freight for a new pop-rivet tool for work. Some of the epilators I work on are plastic-riveted together, so to work on them I have to drill them out and then rivet them back together when I’m done.

Then it was on up to The Cookshack for a rematch, or at least a shot a the two-levels hotter version of the AMF hot Chicken Tenders. But unfortunately it was not to be, because though the owner had told me he had a AMF heat level hotter than what I had last time, he apparently hadn’t shared it with anyone there, since according to them, AMF was AMF, and there were no ‘levels’.

And the owner wasn’t there today. Bummer!

So Jan got the Shack Salad,

The Cookshack Shack Salad

with Grilled Chicken, Avocado, Dates, Almonds, Goat Cheese, Cherry Tomatoes, Corn & Champagne Vinaigrette. But Jan got hers without dates or corn.

I just got the 5 Chicken Tenders, 4 Tenders at Texas Hot and 1 at AMF. And this time I had to sign the Waiver for the AMF version.

CookShack Waiver-1

According to the waiver, the AMF is combination of Carolina Reaper, Trinidad Scorpion, and Ghost Peppers, with a Scoville rating of 2.8 Million units.

I love some of the possible symptoms:

Temporary Loss of Hearing and Sight
Loss of the Ability to Speak
Cause You to Become Dizzy or Faint/Pass Out

Sounds like my kind of fun.

The Cookshack 5 Chicken Tenders

I got as my side their Texas Caviar, a mixture of black-eyed peas, corn, black beans, green peppers, and tomatoes. Very good.

FWIW I don’t think that this AMF tender was as hot as my first one, but it could just be that my mouth is still numb from last time.

Finishing up lunch, we stopped off at the office to pick up a package and then it was on over to Sam’s for a couple of things, and then home.

In apparent recognition of my upcoming birthday, Microsoft has announced that they will be releasing Windows 11 on October 5th. You can go to the link here to find out if your computer will be able to run it.


Thought for the Day:

‘If it’s stupid, but it works, It AIN’T stupid!’

  

  

Torchy’s . . .

Jan decided that she didn’t need her Toesies done today so it was just on to our local Torchy’s Tacos.

Jan got her favorite Brushfire with

Torchy's Brushfire

Jamaican Jerk Chicken, Grilled Jalapeños, Mango, Sour Cream & Cilantro With Diablo Sauce On A Flour Tortilla.

While I got my favorite taco, The Republican (they also have a Democrat Taco if you lean that way)

Torchy's Republican

with Jalapeño Cheddar Sausage, Pico De Gallo, Cheddar Jack Cheese & Poblano Sauce On A Flour Tortilla.

Seeing something new on the menu, I got an order of their Mexican Street Corn with

Torchy's Street Corn

Grilled Corn Topped With Ancho Aioli, Cotija Cheese, Cilantro, Dusted With Red Chile Powder And Served With A Lime Wedge.

We also got an order of another old favorite, their Chips and Queso with Chorizo,

Torchy's Queso

and Topped With Guacamole, Cotija Cheese, Cilantro & Diablo Sauce.

For dessert we again tried something new on the menu, their Lil’ Nookies,

Torchy's Lil Nookies

With Fried Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Dusted With Powdered Sugar & Topped With Cherries.

Really, really good. We’ll definitely be back.

Then it was on to the office for what should have been a 5 minute stop that turned out to take over 30. I was just supposed to take care of sending out an invoice and changing out a keyboard that someone (are you listening, Jennifer?) spilled a chocolate protein drink in it. Just the reason I always keep spare keyboards and mice.

But then my client found a bunch of other stuff that just couldn’t wait until tomorrow.

Finally though, we were on our way over to WalMart, Sam’s, and finishing up at Costco, where I got gas for $3.05, the cheapest I’ve gotten recently, though I have seen $2.99. However the Buc-ee’s/Sam’s Club rivalry down in the La Marque area is giving us $2.97.


Thought For The Day:

Dear Vegans


August 30, 2009

Lighthouses and Wind Farms…

Today was the start of our 2 day Prince Edward Island road trip. We decided it would be easier to just leave our rig in Moncton and drive the truck over.

We left Moncton about 10 am for the 75 mile drive to Canada’s smallest province. Lengthwise, it’s about 160 miles from one end to the other.

But first we had to cross Confederation Bridge to get to the Island.  The curved, 8 mile long bridge is the longest in the world crossing ice-covered water and is considered one of Canada’s top engineering achievements of the 20th century.

And it’s a very beautiful bridge, too.

Confederation Bridge

And they’re really proud of it, too!   It’s a toll bridge, but they don’t charge you to enter the island, they charge when you leave.

And it costs $42.50 to get off the island!

Once we were over that shock, we decide to head toward the west and north ends of the island.

The first town of any size we cam to was Summerside.  Passing a nice-looking Chinese buffet restaurant, we decided to have lunch at the Jade Garden.

This is the 2nd Canadian Chinese restaurant we eaten at, and it’s apparent that Canadian Chinese food is a little different from American Chinese.

They only seem to have Won Ton soup, no Hot and Sour, which is our favorite. And they have egg rolls, but they also have something like a small fried burrito that has egg roll ‘stuff’ in it.  What the real difference is, I don’t know.

I mean, you’d think we were in a foreign country, or something.

After lunch, we continued on what was called the North Cape Coastal Drive, which winds around the coast and up to the northern tip of the island.

The first place we came to was the West Cape Wind Farm, one of several wind farms scattered around the island.

West Cape Wind Farm

We were starting to get a little low on gas, and finding no gas stations along our route, we headed about 10 miles back toward the center of the island to fill up.

Rounding the West Cape area and now heading north, we traveled along the coast to more great scenery.

West Cape Cliffs

West Cape Cliffs1

Now working our way north, we finally reached the North Cape at the tip of the island.

This lighthouse and wind farm look out over the Atlantic ocean and the red cliffs show the effects of the ocean waves.

North Cape Lighthouse

North Cape Cliffs

North Cape Cliffs 2

North Cape Cliffs 3

By this time it was getting late so we headed back down the main road down the center of the island to the capitol of Charlottetown where we where going to spend the night.

We got a room at a Holiday Inn and then went out for supper to a place downtown called Sim’s Steakhouse & Oyster Bar.

We had a dozen raw oysters (Up here they called them ‘Fresh’,  not raw), and a couple of appetizers. The food was really good.  But the service was abysmal.  We were there almost an hour and a half,  just for appetizers.

Tomorrow, we’ll do some of the Anne of Green Gables area,  and then the other side of the island.


August 30, 2011

Last Day at Horseshoe Lakes . . .

Today is our last day here at the Horseshoe Lakes Thousand Trails Preserve north of Terre Haute, IN. Tomorrow we leave for Elkhart, IN about 230 miles away. So we decided to have one last fling of dinner and a movie, or rather, a movie and dinner.

We left the rig about 12 noon and headed about 25 miles south to Terre Haute to catch the 1 pm showing of “The Help”.

I don’t know to say about this movie . . . except that it was really, really, good, one of the best movies we’ve seen in a long time. It’s set in early 1960’s Jackson, MS at the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement, and tells the story of the black maids that raised the children and cleaned and cooked for the while population. In a way it’s kind of an American version of ‘Upstairs, Downstairs” of PBS/BBC fame.

Well worth a trip to the movie. I dare you to see it and not get teary-eyed. Well recommended.

After the movie we stopped off at the Honey Creek Mall next door to visit the Radio Shack for some new cables.

Then it was on to a nearby Buffalo Wild Wings, only to find that it had closed yesterday for remodeling, and would not reopen until this coming Saturday. Bummer!

So after looking around the parking lot, we ended up at Outback, one of our favorite steak places. And although I like their steaks, I was happy to see their wood-grilled pork chops back, so that was what I had.  Good!

After dinner, and before heading home, we stopped off at Wal-Mart for a few things. Then it was home to start getting ready to travel tomorrow.


August 30, 2013

A Slow Day . . .

Today turned out to be a really slow one, but probably the calm before the storm. We only had 58 vehicles through the gate. But Monday is when all the fun is supposed to start. They will begin fracking on the two wells here, and we will get 100+ sand trucks coming through, in addition to the normal traffic.

First thing this morning I called Galveston Bay RV Resort to confirm our usual Sunday before Thanksgiving arrival. Lauralee already had us on the books, but it’s always good to double-check.

My next call was to Coleman Outdoor Products, the maker of our 13 x 13 canopy. When we received it from Amazon last week and tried to set it up, it just would not work right.

Coleman Canopy struts

And in continuing to fight with it, two of the cross struts snapped in half.

A little more investigation showed the problem. On all four sides, one set of the connectors where the struts crossed had not been tightened down. This allowed the struts to twist and bind as we tried to pull it open. And this torque caused the hollow struts to break at the weak point, which was where the hole was drilled through. I was able to repair the struts with Gorilla Tape and get it erected, but it’s still a little wonky. So I called Coleman to get some replacement struts under warranty.

But they wouldn’t give me any struts. In fact they wouldn’t even sell me any. Apparently their lawyers have decided it would be too dangerous for a customer to unscrew two bolts, replace the damaged strut, and tighten the bolts down.

I’m beginning to agree with Shakespeare.

I was told I could send the canopy back under warranty and they would send me a new one free – with a two to three week turnaround. YEAH, RIGHT!

I’ll check tomorrow, but I’m pretty sure Amazon will send me a new one and let me return the damaged one in the new box. Hope so.

I finally got tired fighting with the low voltage problem on my generator. Apparently the regulator is bad and it will not keep the voltage high enough. So when I went over to get a bag of ice I stopped off at the office and told Jamie my problem.

He said that as soon as the guys get back from another run, he’d have a brand new one out to us. And two hours later he did. Great support.

The new one is holding 120 volts with no problems, and the AC’s are working better too. Nice.

This afternoon the water guys were running a new water line around behind our site and down to the fracking pond to help them keep it topped off.

Whitsett Water Hose 1

Each reel holds 200 meters of 10” hose, and they just drive along and spool it off.

Whitsett Water Hose 2

You see these hoses running along a lot of roadways in this part of the country.

Whitsett Water Hose 3

We have a flare stack about 300 yards down the road and pretty much every night we get a fireworks show.

Whitsett Flare Stack

Whitsett Flare Stack 2

The flame is about 50 feet high and you can feel the heat even from 300 yards away.


August 30, 2014

The Future of Gate Guarding?

or Still No Gate.

But like I said yesterday, I’d be surprised if we get a gate before Monday or Tuesday because of the Labor Day Holiday. But who knows.

Early in the afternoon, we got a new neighbor in the spot left empty by the couple moving out to their gate yesterday morning. The new couple said that Austin had told them to head over this way, and that there were plenty of gates coming up.

Austin is a support tech for Gate Guard Services. In fact he was ours for a while last year, so I hope he knows what he’s talking about.

Later in the afternoon, I went across the Interstate to the Exxon station for a few things, including an ice cream treat for dessert. Later for dinner I fixed us grilled cheese sandwiches with chips and jalapeno cheese dip. Simple, but good.

When I was going over to the Exxon station, I saw these parked over at the side of the lot. I’ve seen pictures of these being used by other gate guard companies, but I didn’t know GGS was using them, or going to be.

Gate Guard Future

I really like the look of that AC on top. Would have been great with those 108° days we had last year. And the 30° and sleeting days too.

As far as how busy the Gate Guard business is now, this is the support trailer lot last year. Row after row of the generator trailers, water trailers, and sewer system trailers.

Gate Guard Lot 4a

But now, not so much. The lot is almost empty.

Gate Guard Lot

Hope it bodes well for us.


August 30, 2015

Nothing . . .

Pretty much nothing happened today,

Trucks came in, trucks went out. That was about it. And we only had 30 of them, anyway.

They did bring in another crane and they have them up together in kind of an ‘A’ configuration. Haven’t seen that done before like that, but I assume it’s because they’re trying to lift something that’s too heavy for just one.

Tomorrow I’m going to run into Carthage and pick up a couple of things I forgot on Friday, and I’ll probably bring back lunch as well. Don’t know if we’ll do Whataburger again, or maybe try a Mexican place that our friends and fellow gate-guarder’s Lynette and Gregg McHenry recommended. We’ll see how our tastes run tomorrow.

It is nice to be this close to town so that making a spur of the moment trip is easy. At all of our other gates it was 45 minutes to an hour just to get into town. Here it’s 10 minutes.

In fact we’re so close that for only the second time in our gate guarding career, Wednesday Jan is going into town on her own to get her haircut. At previous gates, with distance and sometimes bad roads, she’s been very leery of heading out on her own, in case she has car trouble or something.

In 2012 when we were on our second gate, she did go into town with the wife of another gate guarding couple who were right down the road from us, but that’s been it. This should cut down on the gate fever problem.

For some reason my get-up-and-go didn’t even show up this morning, so I didn’t work on the water heater problem and I didn’t dig out my pressure gauge to check the pressure on the well.

No problem. It’ll all still be there tomorrow.

Or the next day.


August 30, 2016

We Have An Address!

I’d been trying to figure out how to have packages delivered to us here at the rig. First I checked to see if Amazon had a locker available in the Bryan/College Station area, but they didn’t.

Amazon Lockers are facilities around the country, kind of like those private mailbox places, that Amazon has set up so you can have packages delivered there to pick up. But no luck with that.

So my next idea was to call the Hearne, TX Post Office to see if we have an actual address here. And it turns out we do, and I didn’t need to call the PO after all.

Tony, our landowner, came by a few minutes ago and I flagged him down to ask if this road has an address. The road to his house goes straight, while our pad is a left turn about 75 feet off the highway, In fact you can easily see both our rig and the drill rig from the road.

He gave me the address, and said he gets UPS and FedEx packages all the time, and that there shouldn’t be any problem with USPS stuff either,

Life is Good!

I don’t know if I mentioned it earlier, but we’ve been having a lot of problems with our DirecTV satellite feed. We get regular messages on the screen saying that we have not received any guide information in 1, 5, or 10 hours.

And the guide information tells your receiver what channels you are supposed to be getting. So if you don’t get any guide info for a long enough period, you suddenly have NO channels available.

We had seen this problem occasionally before, but now it’s getting to be much more frequent, and much more annoying. I suspect it’s my HD receiver, because twice in the last week, I’ve looked up to see it rebooting all on its own. I’ve sometimes seen this happen before, with they send down a software update for the receiver, but never this often.

But before I call DirecTV I want to eliminate everything else on my end. So tonight I’m swapping out my new Winegard Satellite Dome with my old one. Regular blog readers will remember that several months ago while we were staying at the Lake Conroe Thousand Trails, I found a Winegard Dome sitting on the ground by  the dumpster as we were throwing away our trash. So I quickly scooped it up, thinking maybe I could possible use it for parts if I had a problem with mine.

As usual, Jan just rolled her eyes, thinking he’s dumpster diving again. I told her it wasn’t really ‘diving’ since I didn’t have to crawl in the dumpster to get it.

Well, since it didn’t have a power cord with it, I used mine to power it up and check it out. And, amazingly it worked fine. So rather than swap it back, I just left it working and stowed away my old one. So I’ll change out the domes and see if it makes any difference.

If I then still have the problem, next I’ll swap out the cables from the dome to the receiver. At that point, if I still have the problem, I’ll know it’s the receiver, and then I’ll call DirecTV.

I find it best to not give them too many choices of things that can be wrong.

There’s also a possibility that this is a problem on their end, not sending me the correct data, so I’ll ask about that too. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Friend and blog reader Carol Burt had a couple of questions about yesterday’s gate guarding blog that I’ll answer here for everyone.

Can that rolling septic tank back flow like normal sewers can without backflow protection? I see a hose going in at the top, which kinda’ makes sense….but still, I wonder could it back flow through your black tank and up into your house?

Blue Moon Gate Support Trailers

Carol, if you follow that green hose from the top of the big tank, it leads to a smaller green tank. That tank is what we connect to with a standard RV sewer hose connection.

Inside that small tank is a FloJet Macerator, operated by a float valve, that pumps the sewage up into the big tank, and then turns off. So the macerator itself acts as a backflow preventer, with the sewage not able to flow back through the pump.

Is the Ginny (generator)  loud? Seems awfully close to y’all?

It is a little closer than usual, due to the confines of our wooden pad, but with the TV on, you can’t hear it. And back in the bedroom, you can just barely hear it, but since we use a White Noise Generator when we’re sleeping, we can’t hear it at all.

We’ve pretty much settled down into the routine now. In fact both today and yesterday we had the same number of vehicles, 78. So not bad at all.

Tomorrow it’s Blue Moon BBQ for lunch. YUMM!


August 30, 2017

Orange Beef and Little Debbie . . .

Well, the rains have moved on from the Houston area, but the flooding continues in many places due to overflowing dikes and levees.

And in some places, the flooding is unfortunately deliberate. The Corp of Engineers has had to release water from the Barker and Addicks reservoirs which caused flooding in areas that hadn’t flooded from the storm. But the reservoir release was necessary to prevent the levees from failing and causing even more catastrophic flooding.

Again, damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

And here, according to the official Lake Conroe Kitty Litter Rain Gauge, we had at least 28” of rain here at the park.

Kitty Bucket Water Level

Accuracy not guaranteed.

in case you didn’t bookmark it before, here’s the link again that shows road closures and flooding in real-time. Just refresh the page as necessary to see the changes.

Houston Traffic Overlay

Houston Traffic Overlay

I had a couple of comments and emails with questions about my use of the Wireless 4 Channel Remote Control Unit, wanting more info about how to wire it up for their use.

Remote Control for Slide and AC 2

So if you have any questions about these modules, just let me know.

A little after 4pm Jan and I headed into Conroe to meet up with Debi and Ed Hurlburt at China Delight, our favorite local Chinese place.

Debi and Ed Hurlburt 2

Jan and I again both had the Spicy Orange Beef.

China Delight Beef with Orange Peel

Delicious and big enough servings that we had more to bring home than we ate there.

As seems to be normal with our Hurlburt get-togethers we once again spent over 3 hours for dinner. It’s amazing how much we can find to talk about each time.

Coming back to the park, we again saw these Code 3 Animal Rescue trucks that are staging here at the park.

Code 3 Animal Rescue

But rather than rescuing dogs and cats, they’re handling horses and cows. Don’t know where they’re putting them though.

Wrapping up, regular readers know that Jan has a thing for pumpkin . . . anything pumpkin. So when we were at Kroger’s yesterday she grabbed up these Little Debbie’s

Little Debbie Pumpkin Spice Rolls

Later, as I was waiting to check out, I read though the ingredient list on the back of the package.

Little Debbie Pumpkin Spice Rolls Ingredients

Note that the word ‘Pumpkin’ does not appear anywhere on the list.

I guess it you parse it correctly, the box says they’re ‘Pumpkin Spice Rolls, not Pumpkin Rolls. And it does have pumpkin spices in it – cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. But I think the reason they’re pretty tasty is that the first two ingredients are Corn Syrup and Sugar.

But I still think Little Debbie is a liar.


August 30, 2018

PaCons or Pee Cans?

Once I had some coffee in me I raised the bed and then the engine cover so I could clean the area around the rig’s engine oil filter.

A couple of weeks ago I bought a small 1 gallon sprayer from WalMart, a great deal at only $5.00.

Flo Master Sprayer

So today I filled it with water and added a double squirt of Dawn and  a couple of scoops of Awesome Orange and shook it up.

Then I sprayed down the oil filter area and let it soak in for a while. In the meantime I called Cummins Tech Support to see what they had to say. What they told me reinforced what I already thought about the engine oil filter.

The Tech said one of three things probably happened. Either the filter was installed without the gasket, or the filter was installed with the new gasket without taking the old one off, or the filter was installed using the old gasket and not the new one.

Finishing up with Cummins, I used my mini-Fire hose nozzle to rinse off the area.

HISC Spray Nozzle

I’ve had this for several years and it is like have a small pressure washer on the hose end. I got it a while back at an RV rally, but it’s cheaper on Amazon.

I  went through about 4 iterations of spray/soak/rinse, going from this

Rig Engine Cleaning 1

to this.

Rig Engine Cleaning 2

Much cleaner.

We’re busy this weekend, but since I’m off on Monday, I’m going to top off the engine oil and run the diesel at high idle for a while, maybe an hour, and see if I get any leakage around the filter. Either way I’ll call RV Mobile Lube to take a look at the problem, since they changed the oil and filter back in May, and we never had a leak before that.

Later, about 12:30, Jan and I headed up to Clear Lake for an afternoon of errands, with lunch thrown in. Our first stop was my client’s to drop off the adapter I built up for the AC install.

Then it was down El Camino to have lunch at our favorite East Star Chinese Buffet. Always great! Then it was on over to Sam’s Club for some things, but mainly for a visit to the optometrist there.

It’s about time for new  glasses for both of us, plus it’s coming up on time to renew our South Dakota driver’s licenses. We can do it by mail, but since we’re not there to look into the DMV’s little vision thing for the eye test, we have to have an optometrist/ophthalmologist fill out a form certifying that we can see to drive.

We already knew Jan had cataracts, but it turns out that I now have them too. Or maybe not ‘them’, but ‘it’. I now have a noticeable one in my left eye, and an almost unnoticeable one in my right eye.

Jan has had hers for several years, but they were waiting for hers to get big enough for them to want to take them out. And it looks like this year may be the time.

So now we’re both seeing the ophthalmologist in November.

Coming home, we detoured over to Kemah so Jan could pick a couple of essential oil vials that Bodhi Oils made up for her as a migraine remedy. Next it was a quick Lowe’s stop and then on to the nearby HEB.

Jan had some things on her list she was looking for, but I found something for me too. I wander through the coffee area and found this.

HEB Lola Savannah Texas Pecan Coffee 3

What caught my eye was the actual chunks of pecan in the clear bag.

HEB Lola Savannah Texas Pecan Coffee

Something else that caught my eye was, though it was $9.99 for the bag, it was a full 16 oz. bag, and you don’t see that very often now days.

Turns out that Lola Savannah is a local Houston company who specializes in custom blends using mostly natural ingredients. Like the Texas pecans in this coffee.

I’ll let you know about it.


August 30, 2021

Well, That Was Close . . .

I’ve gotten a couple of interesting emails the last few days.

The first one purports to be from Godaddy saying I need to click the blue link to confirm my Godaddy login credentials.

Godaddy Malware

To help confuse malware scanners the message is actually a jpg picture. And if you look at the metadata of the email message, it actually from yikes_it_sykes@optus***.com.au, which is probably a spoofed address anyway, and certainly not Godaddy. And the Follow Here To Confirm Now link goes to https://buymeds247online.***/kindex.***

Also not Godaddy.

And the second one is a little more fun. And all the grammar/spelling errors are original.

Hi)))

I have unlock one of the porn sites which you are using. I have videos when you watching extra content. I have records on which you are satisfying yourself. Your lovely moments on the screen and self-satisfying. It is clear that your family find this videos ugly.

If you need prooves, send any message to me and I will send your videos to someone from your address book. Im not kidding.

Only one time Im offer you within 48 hours , Send 0,020 BTC to my wallet: 18nSMqzjeX6nXCTEBUxyCzseeaTA6zDaqJ

If you will not make what I have ask, Your lovely people will get this records. All about you is not secret for me.

I was updated by notification about mail opening.

Keep your mouth, Im looking for you. I will not stop, it is should be clear for you.

Videos will be deleted as soon as I will receive payment.

Beware.


BTW in case you’re interested, 0.02 Bitcoins is $959.98.

Jan asked if people really fall for things like this, and I said just people with a guilty conscience. So if you send out 10,000 emails like this a day, and only one falls for it, that’s a pretty good take.

While I was at work this morning I thought I’d check out the Amazon ad for the Atwood GC10A-4E water heater I was looking at ordering, I remember yesterday when I looked at it, the listing said there were only 3 left in stock.

And then this morning when I checked there was only 1 left. So I decided not to procrastinate anymore, so I put my order in. $642 + $53 tax, with free shipping.

Atwood GC10A-4E Water Heater

Then a little later in the afternoon, I checked again on the listing, curious to see if I really had bought the last one. And I had. At least the last one for $641.

The new listing for the same item said there were 13 available, but at the new price of $818 + $6 shipping.

Really glad I didn’t put off ordering it any longer. Looks like it should be here in the next 5 days or so.

I spent most of the day at the office working on repairing a machine, or at least finding that the problem was a bad power switch, and replacing it. But as usual with these machines, the problem is actually getting to the switch since they tend to cram things into these machines as tightly as possible. But I did get it done by the time I left at 3:30.

Tomorrow I’ having a rematch. We’re going to have lunch at The Cookshack once again, and this time I’m going for the full blown AMF, two levels hotter than I had last time. So we’ll see how it goes.


Thought for the Day:

I didn’t say it was your fault, I just said I was blaming you.

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