Daily Archives: August 18, 2022

A Change Of Plans . . .

Jan and I headed into Webster about 12:30 this afternoon so I could get a haircut before our monthly Alvin Opry Group get-together, this month at Cheddars. Which was ironic since our very first one was at this Cheddars a year ago yesterday.

Jan was happy to see that they had brought back her favorite Key West Chicken and Shrimp.

Cheddars Key West Chicken & Shrimp 20220818

While I was unhappy that they had NOT brought back my favorite Chicken Enchilada Soup. So I decided to try their Chicken Tender Platter with the Hot Honey Sauce.

Cheddars Hot Honey Chicken Tenders 20220818

Very good, but not really hot.

We had a great time seeing everyone again, and we’re all scheduled for Saltgrass Steakhouse for next month. Already looking forward to it.

I mentioned in yesterday’s blog that we were having Landon’s Birthday party at the Rainforest Cafe in nearby Katy Mills Mall. Well, there’s been a change of plans.

Now it’s going to be at Andretti’s Indoor Karting & Games, also nearby.

Turns out that this place (there’s 8 of them around the country) is not a typical deal where you putt-putt around an oval, but uses high-end very powerful electric carts, sized for adults, with speeds of up to 35mph.

And when you’re sitting 6 inches off the ground, 35mph seems much faster.

Andretti's GoCart

And the layout is really something with a lot of twists and turns, and ups and downs.

Andretti's Layout

But it’s even more impressive when you see what it actually looks like in person.

Andretti's Track

Now that looks like fun. I may have to join in.

I was afraid however that the food would be your typical ‘snack bar’ cuisine, with day-old hot dogs, chips with melted cheese poured over them, masquerading as ‘nacho’s, or stale popcorn.  But with an on-site Chef, fresh-baked-daily bread, and everything prepared to order, Andretti’s menu is no slouch either.

Andretti Classic Burger

Now that’s a burger!

Thought for the Day:

When asked what quality he most wanted in a wife, Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, said that he wanted a wife with the ability to spring him from a third-world prison if necessary. Sounds like he’s led a much more interesting life than I’d imagined.

August 18, 2009

Climbing Mt. Washington and here a moose, there a moose…

We left Moose River Campground about 11 am and headed up US 2  toward Gorham, NH.

The road wasn’t too bad, a bit curvy, but OK,  and we pulled into the Walmart about 12:30 pm and set up house.

Gorham Walmart

Actually, when we Wally-dock,  there’s nothing to setup.  We don’t lower the jacks, or put out the slide.  The only thing we do is just unhook the truck so we can drive around.

We decided to try a place called Crabby Jack’s Mexican Café for lunch,  since we were hungry for Mexican.

Big Mistake!   The service was bad and food was worse. But what can you expect from New Hampshire Tex-Mex.

After our so-called lunch,  we headed down to Gorham’s Visitor’s Information booth to check out the sign that got Jan all giddy.

It said “Moose Tours”

After signing up for the 6:30 pm tour that evening,  I noticed a brochure on Mt. Washington.  I knew it was in New Hampshire,  but I didn’t know it was close by.

Turns out that it’s right down the road.  It’s about 8 miles to the base of the mountain,  and then about 8 miles to the summit,  all 6288 feet of it.

We decided we had plenty of time to do the mountain before our moose tour,  so we headed out.

And it is a heck of a climb.  During the 8 miles, you climb over 5000 ft.  And it seems like it’s straight up at times.

Mt Washington 1

But, although it was a little hazy,  the view was spectacular.

Mt Washington 2

The Mt. Washington Auto Road gave birth to the oldest man-made tourist attraction in the US.  When it was built in the 1861  (Yes, 1861),  it was called the Mt. Washington Carriage Road.  And stagecoaches took visitors to the top.

It’s still the same road, and not much improved, it seems.

And then in 1869 they built the Cog Train.  It runs on a train track with a cog track in the center that lets the train climb the steep grades like a roller coaster does…clack, clack, clack.

Cog Train 1

That little yellow dot is the train coming up the mountain.  It takes about an hour to come up and an hour to go back down.

It only takes about 20 min in your car.

Cog Train 2

“I think I can, I think I can…”

Cog Train 3

This gift shop building dates from 1878.  Note that it is chained down!

Mt Washington Gift Shop

And here’s why!

Mt Washington Sign

231 MPH !!!

I think they need more chains.

The new buildings are built to withstand 300 MPH winds.

And, of course, we got our official bumper sticker for our trip up.


I’ve seen these on cars before, and now I know how they got them.

Back down the mountain, about 6:30 pm we boarded our tour bus for our “moose tour”.

And we actually saw moose,  4 of them, to be exact.  2 sets of cows and calves.  No bulls, unfortunately.

These pictures were taken about 9:30 pm at night, lit by spotlight.

Moose 1

Moose 2

Moose 3

Moose 4

Moose 5

These moose were about 30 yards away at the time.

We also saw an osprey, 2 foxes, a deer, and 2 loons.

And some pretty scenery earlier in the evening


Tomorrow morning we head out to Bangor, ME for a few days before we trek further north to Canada.

Elkhart, IN

August 18, 2010

A Small Scare

Today turned out to be a lot busier and more eventful than we had planned, but it started out pretty normal though,

About 11:30 am Jan fixed sandwiches for lunch using a new Cranberry Horseradish Mayonnaise she bought the other day. Boy was it good!

Then after lunch I went outside to take off the last four cargo bay doors to take over to Michele at Phoenix Commercial Paint.

Jan decided to go with me since she wanted to do some shopping so off we went.

After leaving Michele’s we headed down toward Goshen because I also wanted to exchange something at the Tractor Supply Store down there. However about half way there we realized that I had forgotten the bag with the stuff in it.  Oh well.

And as on our last trip to Goshen, we ran into construction. This is getting ridiculous. A trip that should have taken about 30 minutes took us almost 50. It seems you just can’t go anywhere without something being rebuilt.

Our next stop was the Sam’s Club right down the road to stock up on essential household items, and then we headed home, by a different way to avoid the construction. And, of course, we ran into more construction. Different construction, but more of it. This time it took us over 20 minutes to go about a half a mile to get through it. There are only a few roads around here that head north and south and they’re all under construction. At same time!  Geeez! (Put in your own swear word here)

Later we decided it was time to go to supper so we piled into the truck and headed back down to Goshen. Can you see where this is going?  Yes, of course you can.

Even though we took a completely different route than the two this morning, guess what? More construction. This time we had to go three or four miles out of our way to get around it.

Now for the scare.

About half way to Goshen we got a call from our daughter Brandi. We were expecting one since Wednesday is the day she sees her obstetrician, and she always calls us with a report. But today the report was upsetting.

Instead of being on her way home, she was in the hospital. At her doctor’s office they found her blood pressure was very high, so high that they told her to go straight to the hospital.

She said she didn’t know anything else, but that they had her on an IV and were monitoring her. Jan told her to let us know when heard anything.

Hanging up the phone Jan went into a small meltdown, but quickly realized there was nothing she could do until we got more news.

We decided to continue on to our dinner destination, South Side Soda Shop and Diner

South Side Soda Shop

And I’m really glad we did, because the place was good enough to get Jan’s mind off the situation, at least for a few minutes.

South Side Soda Shop was featured on Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives” with host Guy Fieri, and it was easy to see why. The food was delicious, and they have some really unusual dishes, including Phillychili, chili served over pasta in a large ice cream sundae glass, and Spiral Fries.

Spiral Fries2

Spiral Fries are made by taking a large potato and cutting it in one long spiral string, dumping it all in a basket, and frying it up. It’s basically just one VERY long French fry. And VERY good.

I had a sandwich, and Jan had the Crab Cakes. And we both agreed how good it was. We will definitely go back. I want to try the PhillyChili.

For dessert we both had a piece of their award-winning pie. It wasn’t quite as good as we had at The Pie-O-Neer in Pie Town, NM  this past June, but it was good. You can read more about our visit to Pie Town here.

Leaving the diner about 6:30 pm Jan called our son-in-law Lowell to check on things since she didn’t want to disturb Brandi. Lowell was in the room with her and said there had been no change. Her BP was still high.

With the news still unsettling, we started talking about Jan flying back to Houston tomorrow. It’s 1300 miles, a two day trip by car, and a three day trip by RV. And because our cargo bay doors are off being painted, that’s not really feasible, anyway. We figured I’d stay here to take care of the cats and handle the repainting stuff and Jan would fly down for a week.

As we were discussing things, we stopped by OfficeMax on our way home as Jan wanted some new pens.

We got home about 7:45, and about 8 Lowell called with some good news, Brandi’s blood pressure was down, and they were thinking about sending her home and putting her on bed rest for two or three weeks until the baby comes. We were all very relived, but we told him Jan would be ready to fly down on short notice if needed.

Then about 8:30 our son Chris called and said things had changed and her blood pressure was back up and they were thinking about inducing labor tonight or tomorrow. So back in panic mode again. But at least, even though it’s still almost 3 weeks until her due date, the baby is already heavy enough to be full term.

Chris said they were going to decide about 10 pm what they were going to do. And a little about 10 Brandi called and said they had decided not to decide yet. They were putting her on a 24 hour monitoring program and would made a decision tomorrow night.

So we’re stuck in the holding pattern again. just waiting to hear.

I guess at this point, the old cliché holds, that no news is good news.

Indian Lakes Thousand Trails near Terra Haute, IN

August 18, 2011

Sliverleaf and Tuna Noodle Casserole . . .

It was really nice to be able to sleep until after 10 this morning. Even Jan didn’t get up until almost 9:30. We just sat around with our coffee and enjoyed the view out the front windows, and life in general.

Later in the morning I called the Blanford Post Office to confirm that I could get General Delivery there, and then called Terri at My Dakota Address to send our mail out.

Later in the afternoon I helped Jan go through some old magazines. She ended up throwing out over 30 pounds. Less weight, better fuel mileage.

For dinner Jan fixed a great tuna noodle casserole, one of our favorites.

Hey. What can I say? We’re simple folk.

Speaking of fuel mileage, I had a couple of readers ask me how I could figure it so accurately in a previous blog.

The reason is the Silverleaf VMSpc Engine Display.

Silverleaf 2

The Silverleaf VMSpc plugs into the diagnostic port underneath the dashboard and connects to my laptop that sits on the center console when we travel.

In my case I run two programs on the laptop: In the bottom section I’m running Delorme Street Atlas w/GPS. The top section is the Silverleaf display.

The really nice thing about the Silverleaf is you get to design your own panel. You can choose the instruments you want to display, where you want them on the screen, what color they are, and what they say. You can also set alarms so that if, for example, your battery voltage drops below 12 volts, an audible/visible alarm goes off on the screen.

Across the top, left to right, I first have the transmission gear indicator. The left ‘6’ shows what gear is selected on the console. The right one shows what gear the transmission is actually in.

Next, in order, are the tachometer, the turbocharger boost pressure, the instantaneous MPG, and the clock. Down the left side, the first four gauges are alarms for voltage, transmission temperature, water temperature, and oil pressure. Next are numerical gauges for the oil pressure, transmission temp, engine temp, and the total hours on the engine.

Starting from the top of the second column, CSPD shows the Cruise Control Set Speed,  next is the total miles on the coach (it had 62511 miles when we bought it), the miles we’ve put on the coach, and the fuel minder. It shows the miles left on this tank, the remaining fuel in the tank, and the recent MPG.

The next column starts with a speedometer. The neat thing about this is that the Silverleaf program allows me to set a modifier on the speedometer.

The tires (295’s) presently on my coach are bigger than the original 285’s. This means my dashboard speedometer is not correct. It reads 51 mph when I’m doing 55, for instance. But by adding a multipler to the gauge, it displays the correct speed.

Next are the generator hours. This lets me track the generator fuel usage at about 1 gallon of diesel per hour.

Underneath that, the green ball means the Cruise Control is set and engaged. If the ball was yellow, it means it’s not engaged, and a red ball means it’s turned off. Just to the right is the miles since my last oil change/filter etc., service.

Next is a vertical bar graph that gives me a instant picture of my engine performance, and below is the miles we’ve traveled so far this year. We’ll probably do another 2-3000 before we get back to Houston right before Thanksgiving.

The right hand column below the clock shows the battery voltage, the fuel rate, the engine torque, the Max Intake Manifold Temp, and the distance to the next rest area.

Lastly, across the bottom is the miles we’ve traveled so far today, and the miles we’ve traveled so far on this tank of diesel.

This last reading, coupled with the fuel used from the Fuel Minder gauge, gives me a very accurate reading on the MPG on this tank. In this case, we’ve gone 488.2 miles and used 52.5 gallons (150 – 97.5) of diesel. This gives me a average of 9.3 mph.

Driving 55 does save gas. From testing, I know that if I drive 65, my mpg drops to between 7.5 and 8 mpg. This difference in miles per gallon saves me about $1000 a year.

Just a note, the fuel usage is very accurate on the Silverleaf because the program actually counts the pulses in the fuel injectors, You can’t get any better than that.

Another neat feature of the Silverleaf is that if you ever get a Check Engine light, just use the Diagnostic drop-down menu at the top of the screen and it tells you the code AND what the code means.

It may seem like a lot of information, some of it not too useful, but it gives me an ongoing picture of my engine’s performance and let’s me quickly see any changes.

I hope this all makes sense. If you have any questions or comments be sure and let me know.

Last Day Of Our First Year Of Gate Guarding

August 18, 2012


As of 7pm this evening we’ve been told that we can stop logging at the gate. The rig is going to start moving tomorrow, and we’re free a couple of days early.

But the nice part is that we still get paid until Monday when we actually leave here.

We’re FREE!

August 18, 2013

Storm Shelters and Brake Jobs . . .

When we were driving over from Breaux Bridge, LA last Thursday, we came across this ‘Instant’ Storm Shelter. Just dig a big hole, drop in the shelter, cover it over, and you’re done.

The company, called Survive-A-Storm, makes a whole line of shelters from small panic rooms to community-sized shelters. If I was living in Tornado Alley, I’d want a shelter buried in the ground like this one. After all, it worked for Auntie Em.

Survive A Storm

Brandi sent over this photo this morning.

Landon Knows There's Another Present

Apparently Landon’s just sure there’s one more birthday present at the bottom of the bag. Kitty just doesn’t care.

About 1:30 Jan and I drove down to Chris and Linda’s for the afternoon. Chris had ‘volunteered’ to do a front brake job on our truck. A week or so ago, I started hearing a scraping noise from the front whenever I was braking, but since we were on the road pretty much constantly, I decided to wait until we got back to Houston to take care of it. The fact that Chris would be here to help out was strictly ‘coincidental’

Dropping off Jan, Chris and I drove over to O’Reilly’s Auto Parts to pick up some ceramic disc pads. I wanted to use ceramic because although they’re a little more expensive, they last a lot longer and won’t damage the rotors when they wear down. But all they had were the metallic brake pads so that’s what we went with.

As I had hoped, the brake job itself didn’t take too long. Jack up one side, put a jack stand under it, remove the tire and wheel, unbolt the caliper unit, retract the calipers, remove the old pads and install the new ones, and then put everything back together. Then rinse and repeat on the other side.


Of course, Chris was the one doing all the work, I just handed him tools and ‘supervised’. The only real problem was a balky hydraulic jack that didn’t want to lift the truck high enough to get the jack stand underneath.

I was happy to find that both rotors were still in good shape and didn’t need to be turned or replaced. I figured they would be since they were replaced during my last brake job three years ago.

After we (Chris) finished up, he got a shower, and then we entertained ourselves for a while watching P.J., their Black Lab. chase squirrels back and forth across the yard.

Finally about 5pm we headed right outside the subdivision to Barcenas Mexican Restaurant, one of our favorite places. We ended up spending a couple hours just catching up on everything. Nice. Then by 7:30 we were on our way home for the night. It was sure nice not to hear the noisy brakes anymore.

Tomorrow morning we’re going over to Brandi’s to pick up Landon and his other grandparents, Sonja and Lendell. We’re all going to have lunch together and then take Landon to a play area at Katy Mills Mall. Should be fun.

August 18, 2014

Where Am I . . .

After coffee and muffins this morning, I made a call to Jamie at Gate Guard Services to let him know we were in the area and available for a gate the first part of next week. He said he had several things in the works and would let us know. Otherwise call him next Monday. Sounds good.

In getting ready for our gate guarding, I ordered a couple of these Vent Fan Insulated Vent Covers to help keep the heat out of the coach when it’s 100+ degrees outside. On past gates you could feel the heat coming down from the vents, so hopefully this will help.

Vent Cover

Sunshield Vent Insulator

I haven’t found anything yet for the skylight over the shower, so I may have to put something together for that.

Our son Chris came by about 4:30 to say ‘Hi’ and show off his new Yamaha bike and trailer. He was on his way up to Inks Lake north of Austin, and just west of Burnet.

New Chris and New Bike 2

Nice ride. He and some of his fellow firemen are planning on taking a week-long bike trip out west this fall, and he’s trying to get in some riding time to get ready.

We had planned to be down in Webster tomorrow for Jan’s breast cancer follow up checkup, but she realized this afternoon that her appointment is Wednesday afternoon, not tomorrow.

Whenever we do go down, we’ll at least be cool. Brandi and Lowell offered us the use of their truck for the trip. Really nice of them.

I came across this new app (at least it’s new to me) on an app site called Where Am I? It’s simple but kind of neat.


It shows where you are, the address, the city, the zip code. and a lot of other info.

August 18, 2015

Now To Get It On The Roof . . .

Jan and I headed out about 10:30 for a trip into Houston, with our first stop at Schobel’s Restaurant in Columbus for breakfast. They do a great omelet, and good coffee too.

We planned to have dinner with Brandi, Lowell, and Landon about 5:30, but we were doing some shopping first.

I have been noticing for a while that my front Coleman Mach V AC was laying down on the job a bit. So I had been thinking about replacing it with a new one. I’ve been doing some research on different brands and models, and came right back around to Coleman. The two we have are original, so they’ve been going for 16 years with only a total of $30 of repairs. I had to replace the compressor start caps on both units, one in 2009, and the other in 2013. Not a bad record overall.

Being cheap, my first thought was to maybe do a little RRAN (repair and replace as necessary – a military aircraft term) on the units, probably starting with checking the Freon level.

RV rooftop AC’s are mechanically very similar to home window units. Which means they both come sealed, with no ports to access the Freon in the system. But you can use one of these to check the pressure and add Freon if necessary.

AC Saddle Tap

It’s a saddle tap and it’s made specially for tapping into sealed systems like window AC’s  and refrigerators. But the compressor also has a lot of miles on it, with the possibility of leaky seals, worn bearings, etc. And of course the whole thing could just die next week.

All that, plus the fact that I’d really like to upgrade the size, led me to the Coleman Mach 15 from PPL. It has 15,000 BTU, an 11% increase over our 13,500 BTU units. And according to the specs, it also has a 1/3 hp fan motor, the largest one in the RV industry, especially recommended with a ducted system like we have in our American Eagle.

I thought about also replacing the bedroom unit, but I think I’ll wait. Since it cools a much smaller area, it’s still doing a good job for now.

So we made a stop at PPL Motorhomes to pick up a new Mach 15 upper unit, along with a ducted, cooling-only, external thermostat, inside unit.

Now, how am I going to get this 110 pound unit up on the roof?

Our next stop was at the Toys R US near Katy Mills Mall to pick out Landon’s gifts for his birthday party this Saturday. We got him 4 different Lego sets, all superhero based. He loves both, so he should be pretty happy.

I also found this other neat Lego set, but Brandi said Landon didn’t watch The Big Bang Theory and wouldn’t know who they are.

Lego Big Bang Theory

We got back to Brandi’s about 4pm, and got in a little nap before Brandi, Lowell,and Landon showed up about 5. Then it was off to have dinner at Little V’s Vietnamese Bistro, one of our all-time favorite restaurants. You can’t believe how good their Shaking Beef Vermicelli is.

Finally, after getting our last Landon hugs,  and everybody else hugs, we headed back toward Columbus, getting home about 7:45.

So how do I get it up on the roof?

August 18, 2016

Zero G . . .

A number of you gave me gate guarding leads, and I really appreciate it. I’m going to start calling tomorrow, starting of course, with Jamie of Gate Guard Services fame.

And you never know. When I called him about this time last year, he didn’t have anything for us. But then he called us back two days later with our gate near Carthage.

Since not much happened today, I thought I’d update you on some of my recent repairs/upgrades.

Back in June, I replaced our dying/leaking water pump with this new Shurflo model I got from Amazon.

Shurflo RV Water Pump

It replaced one I installed in 2008, soon after we bought our coach. And this one is quieter, more powerful, and cheaper than the old one. In fact it puts out a better shower than a lot of park’s shore water.

Next is our new Zero G RV and Marine Hose that we got a few months back. I’d been waiting for someone to come out with a flexible hose that was drinking water safe, and the Zero G fills the bill.

However, unlike those ‘Pocket Hoses’ on TV, the Zero G doesn’t expand. It just gets soft and very flexible. So much so, that you can just wad it up in a ball.

Zero G RV Hose

It seems very heavy-duty, with a canvas feel, almost like a fire hose. I really look forward to traveling this winter and not having to wrestle with a regular hose when it’s 40 degrees.

I’m a really lucky guy.  I married a girl who likes military airshows, science fiction movies, and makes me take her to Hooters. And if that wasn’t enough, she also likes Battlebots.

We’ve really been enjoying the recent episodes on Thursday nights, amazed at some of the ideas that the contestants come up with, and enjoying seeing one of the robots coming apart in pieces and flying across the arena, or even catching fire and blowing up.

August 18, 2017

Back Home in Conroe . . .


Since we got into Poche’s RV Park last night and pretty much just collapsed without dinner, we were hungry this morning. So after we pulled out about 9am, our first stop was about 15 minutes away at the Cracker Barrel in Lafayette.

We’ve stopped here before, so we knew they have a number of long RV spaces in back, and we left the generator running for Miss Karma so she stayed cool and comfortable while we were inside.

Jan had her usual Old Timer’s Breakfast,

Cracker Barrel Old Timer's

while I tried their new Pecan Pancake Breakfast.

Cracker Barrel Pecan Pancakes

Don’t know what’s in these besides just pecans, but they’re really, really good, with a unique taste.

Our next stop was the Rest Area at the Texas border for a bathroom break, and then it was on to the Buc-ee’s in Baytown, 90 miles further along. I noticed yesterday when we stopped that they had diesel for $2.11, the cheapest I’ve seen recently, so I wanted to top off. That way we won’t have to worry about it when we headed over to Colorado River on the 27th.

Coming around the Sam Houston Tollway, we got on the Hardy Toll Road, missing the majority of the Houston rush hour traffic heading north and encountering only a few slowdowns.

We pulled up to the Lake Conroe TT ranger station right at 4:30 and got checked in. And found of course, the rules have changed once again. In the past I would just go ahead and pay for our days ($5/day since we’re out of our free days), and the $3/day for 50 amp, so $8/day, and then just call them with our site number after we got parked and set up.

But apparently not enough people were calling in with their site number, so they said they never knew what sites were open and which ones weren’t. So now they take and hold your driver’s license until you come back with your site number. Then they give you your license back, as well as your packet of information, which includes the site map.

So anyone coming here for the first time doesn’t get a site map showing them what sites are what, until after they’ve already found a site.

Am I missing something here?

I told the lady that we weren’t going to be going back out tonight, so since they wanted everyone’s site number quicker, did they still want me to call them with my site number like I always do?

She said, “No, just give it to us tomorrow when you come out.”

“But I thought you wanted the site numbers quicker, but you don’t want me to call you? I can just wait until tomorrow or even the next day?” She looked confused for a moment, and then said, Yes”

Am I missing something here?

I don’t think anybody thought this all the way through.

Plus, as busy as the ranger station can be with 3 or 4 RV’s checking in,  now they have every RV’er coming back again to the ranger station, so they’re essentially now handling twice as many people.

Am I missing something here?

I don’t think anybody thought this all the way through.

It does however look like they going to do a good job on the repaving, at least on the entrance area up to the Activity Center. They’ve taken the old asphalt up and have a hard gravel and dirt base underneath. If they don’t cheap out on the asphalt thickness and quality, it should last a long time.

But then this is ELS we’re talking about.

After getting unpacked and set up in G-37 and we rested up for a while, Jan decided that she did want to go out to get something to eat after all. So a little before 6pm we headed out for the Whataburger in Willis.

And of course I had to stop at the ranger station to get my driver’s license back. There were 3 RV’s lined up trying to check in, and four cars parked around trying to get their licenses back, and all of us crowded shoulder to shoulder into that small building.

Am I missing something here?

I don’t think anybody thought this all the way through.

August 18, 2019

Another Day, Another Project . . .

Our family get-together up at Brandi’s in Katy yesterday was kind of pre-birthday party party for both Landon and Miss Piper.

Landon’s upcoming 9th birthday is on August 20th. But his birthday party is scheduled for September 7th. Which also happens to be Miss Piper’s upcoming 26th birthday. But with everyone’s busy schedules, this weekend was the best time for all of us to get together together.

Chris, Linda, and Miss Piper came down Friday night, but Jan and I got there yesterday morning about 11am. And found everyone already in the pool, so Jan and I quickly joined them.

Everyone In The Pool

There’s enough chairs, swings, and loungers scattered around for everyone to take it easy.

Sherry and Piper

And our son, Chris, really had the right idea.

Chris In The Pool

About 4pm Brandi’s brisket was sliced up

Brandi's Brisket

and we all chowed down on it along with potato salad, baked beans, Mexico corn, and Hawaiian rolls. And of course, Brandi’s famous homemade Peach Cobbler with Blue Bell Natural Bean Vanilla ice cream.


Later we had the pre-birthday birthday cakes for Miss Piper and Landon.

Piper and Landon Brithday Cakes

Piper and Landon at Brandi's

Then Landon previewed his Halloween costume, going as Mr. Pug, which also happens to his YouTube site. He’ll also be wearing red Converse sneakers for that extra splash of color.

Landons Pug Morrison Halloween Costume

He’s up to 36 subscribers, but he’s always on the outlook for more.

Finally, after a great day with family Jan and I headed home about 7pm. Need to do this more often.

I mentioned the other day about modifying our Mr. Coffee to add a battery backup for the internal clock/delay timer so it doesn’t lose its settings when the power goes out. But last night I had another idea.

Rather than a battery backup, why not just add a WiFi module and let Alexa control the timer, and also allow us to start it brewing when we’re on the way home.

So I found this one on Amazon and ordered it.

Mr Coffee WiFi Module

WiFi Relay Module

Then this afternoon I started ripping our Mr. Coffee open to get to the control board.

Mr Coffee

I thought I had a piece of CAT 6 Ethernet net cable to use a couple of the fine wires to solder across the switch contacts to let the WiFi Alexa module start and stop the machine, but I couldn’t find any. So I’ll bring some home from work tomorrow.

Mr Coffee Upgrade 1

Mr Coffee Upgrade 2

Mr Coffee Upgrade 3

Another day, another project.