Daily Archives: August 27, 2022

Well, I Always Thought She Was Real Too . . .

Although it rained last night, this morning was fairly clear, at least when we left for our lunch up in Webster at the Texas Huddle Grille. We were meeting up with long-time friend Tricia.

Tricia was originally a computer client starting back in the late 90’s/early 2000’s. I took care of both her business computes and her home one. She was another client that was a referral from another referral, though neither of us really remembers where she heard about me.

But somewhere along the line, she became a good friend, and we get together regularly.

Jan got her usual bunless Mushroom Cheddar Burger with the Grilled Veggies and a side salad.

Texas Huddle Cheddar Swiss Keto 20220626

I, of course, got what brought me here in the first case, the PB&J Bacon Cheeseburger, now with the Flaming Raspberry wing sauce, in addition to the regular Grape Jelly. And of course a vigorous sprinkling of my Caroline Reaper flakes.

Texas Huddle PB&J Burger with Flaming Raspberry

We always have a great time talking, joking, and laughing with Tricia. So much so that when we took a break and checked the time, it was almost 5pm. And we got there at 1:30!

So much with doing Costco and HEB after lunch.

Tricia at Texas Huddle 20220827

Looking forward to seeing her again soon.

When Jan was talking to Brandi the other day, she mentioned that Landon was taking typing at school, and his teacher was amazed that he’s already doing 80wpm.

My thought is that he’s been using a keyboard a long time, probably since he could sit up in front of it. And he hasn’t slowed down since. Here he is at this latest setup.

Landon's New Computer 2021

Of course starting computering early seems to run in the family. Here’s Piper at around 18 months playing Doom on my computer.


Shooting demons and monsters in an underground installation on Mars, she would bang the mouse down on the table as she fired, shouting DOOM! for each one.

Piper at 18 months with compter - 500
Every now and then she would say, “PaPa, mouse dead…Again!”

And here she is at about 6.

Piper at 6 with Computer - 500

Back to typing, after hunting and pecking since I was programming in Fortran at Vanderbilt, typing up punch cards, sometime in the late ‘80’s I decided it was time for me to learn to touch type.

So getting a copy of Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing, the premiere typing program at the time, I spent my two vacation over Christmas learning to touch type. I spent two to three hours a day working on it, and by the time I went back to work, I could touch type.

They did such a good job marketing the program, I always that Mavis Beacon was a real person. A famous typing teacher, or something. As apparently did a lot of other people, some even saying they remember meeting her, or seeing her being interviewed on TV. But she was completely made up. The woman pictured on the cover was a perfume saleslady at Saks Fifth Ave. in Beverly Hills.

But whoever she was, she taught me to touch type.

Tomorrow, probably Yummy Yummy for lunch and then HEB.

Thought for the Day:

“A committee is a cul-de-sac down which ideas are lured and then quietly strangled.” — Sir Barnett Cocks

August 27, 2009


Today is our last full day in Maine and the US for a while.

Tomorrow we drive about 2 miles east and we’ll be in Canada.  Then we have an 185 mile trip to Moncton, NB.  We’ll stay there for 3-4 days while we explore the area around there, including probably an overnight trip to Prince Edward Island, while leaving the rig parked in Moncton.

After that we’ll see if we need to do anything about dodging Hurricane Danny.

Today was a ‘get the rig ready to roll’ day.  I added a charge wire to from the rig to the toad.  This will keep the battery in the truck from running low while we’re traveling.  Apparently in real hilly country, the auxiliary braking system in the toad operates so much that on long travel days it runs the battery down.  The charge wire supplies power from the rig to the toad to keep its battery charged.

When we enter Canada tomorrow we’ll lose an hour since we’ll be now be in Atlantic Time.

More tomorrow from Canada…

More From Elkhart

August 27, 2010

More Landon

About 5:30 Jan called from Houston to let me know how things are going down there. She said it will be hard to leave Landon, but she’s anxious to get back home.

Speaking of Landon, Lowell sent this photo of the three of them taken right before they left the hospital the other day.


And then later, Brandi sent this one.  Looks like he thinks everyone is being too loud and won’t let him sleep.

 Landon Morrison

Sunday I’ll pick up Jan in Chicago coming back from Houston. I can hardly wait.

August 27, 2011

Work, Work, Work, Part 2 . . .

Well, Jan’s not much better today. Still under the weather with a queasy stomach. We had hoped to get together with Jan’s sister Debbie today or tomorrow, but it now looks like that’s not going to happen.

More chores. First up was to finish gluing the foam rubber back on the 2nd armrest from Jan’s chair. Unlike the arm yesterday, the wooden frame on this one was in good shape so I didn’t have to repair it, just glue the foam back in place and put the cover back on.

Next, I wanted to install the new Pioneer DEH-23UB radio/CD player that I bought a couple of weeks ago.


It didn’t turn out to be very difficult since it used the same power connector and mounting as the old one. The nice thing about this new one is that it not only allows you to plug in an external audio source, but you can also plug in a USB flash drive with MP3 songs on it and  the radio will play them.


Our daughter Brandi called about 1:15 to let us know that the toys we sent Landon had arrive and he was crazy about them. She said he’s pretty much walking everywhere now and getting better at it all the time.

After that I got back on pulling up carpet. It’s really hard getting it loose from the corners, the stuff just doesn’t want to come up.

Later in the afternoon, and fed up with the carpet I took a nap for an hour or so.

I really like naps.

Jan talked to her sister Debbie about 8pm to let her know she still didn’t feel well enough to do any thing tomorrow.

August 27, 2012

Landon’s On The Run . . .

it’s off to work I go.

First off, Lowell sent this photo of Landon playing at the beach. He certainly seems to be having a good time.

Landon at the Beach 5

It was really nice to be able to sleep in this morning for the first time in a long while. I actually didn’t get up until 10am. Of course, I didn’t go to bed until almost 2am.

Jan woke up on the 2nd day of a migraine, not as bad as yesterday, but she describes it as a ‘washed out’ feeling.

A Pipeline Gate Near Whitsett, TX

August 27, 2013

A New Record . . .

Our first full day on our new gate and we’ve already set a record. We had 141 vehicles come though today. Our previous high score last year was 128.

We’re on a fracking gate, but they also have a couple of rigs getting ready to “spud in” (start to drill) back there too. I suspect once they get all their equipment moved in and the setup done, things will quiet down a bit. I hope.

The GGS guys came by to fill our 550 gallon water tank this morning, a little after I went to bed (7am). In the rush to get us over here and set up, they brought it over empty, and we just used our rig water for a day. A little later, Austin, our GGS support guy, came by to replace our vehicle alarm bell, which had died overnight.

Remember those old service station bells with the hoses you drive across? Well that’s what we have, with the hoses stretched out about 100 feet in each direction. When you have a problem, normally it’s a leaky hose, but this time it was the unit itself. Austin carries spares of pretty much everything, so it was a quick fix.

While he was here, I had him turn up the juice a bit on the generator. With both AC’s running, we were getting 108 volts on one leg and 110 on the other. Pretty low and not good for the AC’s. And if we turned the dryer on at the same time as both AC’s were running, it dropped the 108 voltage below 105, which means my Progressive EMS would kick off because the voltage was too low. I had him turn it up to about 120 which should be fine.

Later, when I get a chance, I’ll go out and play with the frequency setting on the generator. It’s running at about 58.5 Hz according to my Kill-A-Watt, which means our bedroom projector digital clock runs slow. I’ll just take my Kill-A-Watt out to the generator and tweak it a little and get it closer.

Speaking of the Kill-A-Watt, every RV’er should have one of these.

Kill-A-Watt 1

P4400 Kill A Watt Electricity Usage Monitor

They’re less than $20 and show voltage, amps, watts, frequency, and KWH. It’s on my Ten Things Every RV’er Needs list for the seminars I used give at rallies.

Sometime in the next few days, after things settle down here, I’ll probably go to the same every 2-4 days posting schedule that I did last year. It’s hard to do much with “a lot of vehicles came in and a lot of vehicles left”.

August 27, 2014

A Really Big Family . . .

Jan and I headed out about 9:30 for the two hour trip down to Webster, for probably the last time until November. Since it looked to be a little cooler today, we were looking forward to the trip.

Getting down there, our first stop was a client one, checking out a couple of things while I was still in the area. Luckily I can fix most problems remotely, no matter where I am.

After stopping for gas, we drove over to King Food to meet our son Chris and our granddaughter Piper for lunch. Unfortunately our daughter-in-law Linda was working and couldn’t join us. But it was nice to have a chance to get together with Miss Piper since she had to work this past Saturday and wasn’t  able to attend Landon’s birthday party.

After lunch we all went back to Chris’ so he could fix a couple of things on my truck that he has the tools for. While we were there, Linda showed up from work so we got to see her too.

Getting our hugs and goodbyes, Jan and I headed back to Columbus with a quick stop by the bank on the way. Happily we were able to get on the way by about 3pm, which meant that we were ahead of the Houston going-home traffic. Otherwise, our two hour trip could have been a three hour trip.

Coming through Columbus, we made an HEB stop for a few things to hold us over since we don’t know what our gate situation is going to be for the next few days.

We plan to head out tomorrow, but we don’t know where . . . Yet!  Right before we leave here about 10am, I’m going to call Jamie at Gate Guard Services to see if he’s going to have a gate for us up in the Huntsville/Madisonville area. If so, we’ll head his way.

Otherwise we’ll head down to the Gate Guard Services yard near Whitsett, TX.

We’ll see how it turns out.

Jan and I were watching one of those “Couples Buying an RV” shows the other day and heard the statistic that over 800,000 couples are full-time RV’ers in the US. I’ve heard various figures for this over the years, but most of them are pretty close to this, making this a pretty big family.

I guess this means we’ve just still got a lot more friends to make.

Gate Guarding Near Carthage, TX

August 27, 2015

Shut Down . . .

For Tonight.

A little after 7pm, an hour after I went to sleep, the night Company Man came by on his way out, telling Jan that they were shut down for the night, and would resume at 8am tomorrow morning. Too bad we didn’t know we were going to have the night off a little earlier.

It sure would be nice if they went to a twelve hour shift for a while.

One thing really nice about this gate, well, maybe this area, is the weather. And by weather I really mean the temperatures. Unlike south Texas, where it was 107° on one gate today, our high was 91, and the low last night was 63°. In fact it was cool enough, that because of the slight breeze, I came in and got a long sleeve shirt and a pull-over cap

The landowner came by a couple of days ago and said if we wanted, we could hook up to the water well that’s about 50 feet out in front of our rig.


It’s coming up from about 450 feet, it’s ice-cold, and tastes really good. And it’ll save Jamie from having to bring us water as well as diesel. The only problem is that I don’t have quite enough hose to reach it, so I’ll pick up another 50 foot one when I go into town, probably tomorrow.

Unlike several past gates, here we’re far enough away to not have to worry about noise and fumes.


We can see the site from here, but not hear it or smell it, which is really nice. We’ve been so close at other gates, including last year, that I could literally throw a rock and hit the rig.

As it stands right now, I’ll go into Carthage tomorrow to scope out the town, I.e. find the Wal-Mart, and pick up some supplies. I’ll probably also bring back lunch for us.

We still don’t know when the actual fracking will start. I don’t think they do either.

Gate Guarding In East Texas

August 27, 2016

Any Minute Now . . .

We’re finally starting to settle in to Gate Mode as far as our sleeping hours.

A lot of couples do a 12 on, 12 off kind of thing, but that just doesn’t work for Jan and I. We split our shifts up with Jan coming out at 7am with breakfast and then relieving me. I sleep from 7 to about 11, and then I come out with coffee and sit a while.

After doing Internet Stuff, I come back out about 1pm and then work until 6pm, while Jan does her computer stuff and naps. Then at 6pm Jan comes out with supper and then she works until 11pm. Finishing up, I then work until 7am.

Rinse, Lather, Repeat.

So I work 13 hours and Jan works 11, and I sleep about 4 hours twice a day. A lot of people ask about this sleeping schedule, and all I can say is that it works for me. I can do it 3 or 4 months at a time with no problem.

The rig spent most of the day loading drill pipe onto the derrick, letting it hang of the side so it’s ready to go as fast as they drill.

Hawkwood Rig 10

One thing that was neat was that two truck drivers remembered us from 2 years ago at our North Zulch gate, which is only about 15 miles from here.

Our Internet here is still pretty sucky, but before I fool with putting up our Wilson booster, I’m going to see if I can get on the site’s WiFi. It’s showing 5 bars so it should be a good connection, but I’m going to wait for them to start drilling before I ask.

We had 74 vehicles come in the gate today, a lot of them trucks coming in to pick up equipment, cranes, bucket trucks, etc., that were used to set up the rig and aren’t any longer until it’s time to tear it back down.

That’s about it for today. More tomorrow.

August 27, 2017

Now That’s More Like It . . .

Well, after yesterday’s lack of rain here in Conroe, about 1am this morning that all changed.

Like you’d flicked a switch it started pouring down, heavier than any time in the last couple of days. And it continued the rest of the night and into the daylight. If it’s not pouring down hard, it’s still a steady heavy drizzle, and it really hasn’t stopped.

All of the news anchors keep comparing this storm and the resultant flooding to Tropical Storm Allison in 2001. But it seems like everyone has forgotten about Tropical Storm Claudette in July 1979.

Never a hurricane, Claudette came into the Gulf after crossing over Cuba. Then proceeding across the Gulf of Mexico, it came on land near Houston and stalled. For the next couple of days rain just poured down without stopping.

On July 25th It dumped 42” of rain on Alvin, TX, southwest of Houston, a record for 24 hour rainfall in the US that still stands to this day. Many other cities south of Houston had totals over 30”.

Here’s a traffic cam photo at I-610 just south of I-10 east of Houston

Harvey Traffic Cam

Those traffic signs are normally 20 feet above the road, which shows how deep it is over the roadway.

About noon I decided to drive around the park to see how it was faring around here. I was curious about the low area along the small creek, (or ‘crick’ as we say in Alabama) as you come down the hill from the Ranger Station.

Harvey Lake Conroe Entrance

But except for the orange cones, which several trucks drove right past, everything looked good.

Lake Conroe was definitely over its banks.

Harvey Lake Conroe Lake

I thought that might be an RV in the flood waters, but it turned out to be a pontoon boat with too tight an anchor rope. Hope it doesn’t get pulled under as the water rises.

Harvey Lake Conroe Lake Pontoon Boat

I heard later in the afternoon that the COE was going to start releasing water from the lake to lower the level.

This Great White Egret seems to be the only guy that’s happy about all the rain

Harvey Lake Conroe Egret

When I got back to the rig I checked my  homemade rain gauge. I set this kitty litter bucket out just after midnight Saturday morning and I don’t know when it overflowed, but the bucket is 16” tall so there’s been at least that much rain here since then.

Kitty Bucket Water Level

I dumped it out about 2pm, so we’ll see how much more we get.

Last minute update before I posted the blog at 11pm. We’ve had another 5 inches of rain in the last 9 hours.

A little before 3pm we got a text message from the Lake Conroe TT saying that there was a break in the 8” water main feeding the park and that the water would be off until further notice. Glad I topped off our fresh water tank the other day.

Just now, about 7:30, we got another text message saying the water line break had been repaired. Yay!

There have been dueling recommendations between state and local authorities about whether or not to call for a mandatory evacuation of low-lying areas of Houston. Especially since the last evacuation of Houston was an unmitigated disaster all by itself.

In late August 2005, Hurricane Katrina slammed into the New Orleans area. With around 1800 fatalities attributed to the storm, it was a real shock to the Gulf Coast. So when just a month later, Hurricane Rita initially made a beeline for Houston, mass panic ensued.

Originally forecast as a CAT 5, the strongest Gulf storm on record, Rita scared the crap out of a lot of people. And about 2.5 million of them headed north out of Houston on I-45, all at the same time, creating the largest gridlock in US history.


Rita Evac 1

Rita Evac 2

More than100 people died in the evacuation. Drivers were stuck in traffic for more than 20 hours, and heat stroke struck down dozens. A bus carrying nursing home patients caught fire, and 24 died. People ran out of gas just sitting in the gridlock and fights broke out along the roadway. It was described as ‘a hellhole.’

And then, still out in the Gulf, Rita downgraded itself to a CAT 3 and made a 90 degree turn to the right, missing Houston almost completely, ultimately coming on land around the Texas/Louisiana border. Down in the Clear Lake area, we got no rain whatsoever, leading to this famous photo.


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

Meanwhile in Texas

August 27, 2018

Don’t Mix Them Up . . .

Our travel agent, Chantelle Nugent, has done a fantastic job booking our upcoming European jaunt. And it got even better today when she sent over a tentative itinerary for the Paris/London part of our trip.

The hotels look great, and the tours of Versailles, the Louvre, Stonehenge, etc. are exactly what we want. She’s arranged everything, including private transport between trains, planes, and hotels.

243 Days and Counting !

Our good friend Chris Yust over a list of 12 Mistakes Tourists Make In Amsterdam. And I think #1 is kind of interesting.

1. Don’t Confuse A Café and A Coffee Shop.

At a Café, you can get a pot of coffee. But at a Coffee Shop you can a pot of, well . . . Pot. Coffee shops in Amsterdam are where you go to buy legal cannabis, er, pot.

Don’t Mix Them Up.

August 27, 2019

A Big Surprise For Jan . . .

Work was just work on Monday. Still trying to get the mailing list straighten out for the Ad card that needs to go out.

The highlight of the day was the fact that coming home I saw the Now Open sign on the new Black Bear Diner that’s down in our area. So I called Jan and told her to get dressed, that we were going out to dinner.

Black Bear Diner is one of our favorite places that we always eat at out west , so we were happy to see one show up in Katy near Brandi last year. And now we’ve got one right down the road from us.

Black Bear Bear

Although we both love their breakfasts, Jan went with a bunless burger with a side salad and fruit,

Black Bear Jan

while I stepped up mine with Steak and Eggs.

Black Bear Greg

Both really good. Glad to have them in the neighborhood.

And today, Tuesday, went like this.

Despite the fact that 10 hours into our 12 hour flight home from London this past May, Jan told me that if I ever surprised her with a trip/flight like this again, she’d rip my arm off and beat me to death with it, I did it again.

Nothing like living dangerously, I always say.

But I think I did good.

Jan has always talked about visiting New York City during the Christmas season, so Monday morning I put in a call to our resident travel agent/friend Chantelle Nugent to put us a package together. And working her usual magic, by the afternoon she had 3 choices for us to check out. And all 3 were in our favorite stomping ground area, Times Square, just a block or so away.

I had originally thought about waiting to surprise her with the trip either on her birthday the end of October, or our 52nd Wedding Anniversary the end of September, but everything’s cheaper the earlier we book, and I didn’t want to have to worry about reservations, etc., the closer we got to Christmas time.

So I took a chance and surprised her with it this morning. And since I still have both arms AND I’m still alive, I guess it was OK. In fact she said she had tears in her eyes.

Yep, I did good.

We are scheduled to leave on Southwest from Hobby at 6:30am on Thursday, December 5th and we’ll return on Southwest leaving La Guardia at 4:55pm Tuesday, December 10th.

We’ll be staying at the Hotel Riu Plaza New York Times Square, which is only about a block and a half off Times Square, right in the heart of Manhattan.

Hotel Riu Building

Hotel Riu Dining Room

Hotel Riu Room

And even better, both breakfast AND dinner are included. Though probably we’ll only have breakfast there. But the option is always nice.

Jan and I spent two weeks in NYC in July 2009 passing through on our Newfoundland trip.

NYC 2009 Times Square

Somewhere in the middle we brought both Brandi and Miss Piper up to spend a week with us.

NYC 2009 Piper and Brandi at Bubba Gump's

Hard to believe it’s been 10 years. And we’re really looking forward to doing it again.

August 27, 2020

Hurricanes, Past and Present . . .

Hurricane Laura Update . . .

First off, Jan and I want to thank everyone for the phone calls and emails from friends concerned about our safety.

And as I said in last night’s blog (actually 2am this morning), as far as we were concerned here south of Houston, about half way between downtown Houston and Galveston Island, there was no hurricane at all.

No wind, no rain, no power outages, and bright and sunny this morning.

And despite all the dire predictions of devastation from winds and storm surge over the seawall in Galveston, they pretty much escaped also.

On the island, some tidal flooding creeped into low-lying streets and wind shook the trees, but the island had virtually no damage, Mayor Pro-Tem Craig Brown said. Brown is acting as mayor.

Of course, unfortunately for the people in East Texas/West Louisiana, that wasn’t true. They got hit hard.

But one thing I haven’t not been able to reconcile is how they’re figuring the storm’s wind speeds. I was watching the Weather Channel around 1am when Laura came ashore. All evening they had talked about Laura’s 140-150 mph winds as the storm eye-wall crossed the Louisiana coast line.

But the Weather Channel was regularly displaying a screen with wind speeds and gusts of all the surrounding towns, including Cameron and Lake Charles directly in the path of the storm.

And I never saw any speed higher than 100 mph, or a gust higher than 117 mph. Note that the screengrab below is as the eye is coming onshore.

2020-08-27 21_46_44-Weather Channel's Stephanie Abrams Dodges Hurricane Laura Debris

So what’s up with that.

But whatever the wind speeds, it was devastating to the Texas-Louisiana border area. Our prayers go out to them.

August 27, 2021

Well, I Had Hoped For An Easy Weekend . . .

Well, I had hoped to have a easy weekend, but Jan called me about 2:30 and said she could hear water running from under the dresser area in the bathroom and the carpet was getting damp in the bedroom right next to the bathroom. So I was on my way home right then.

Based on where Jan said she was hearing the water from, I was pretty sure I knew where the leak was – our water heater, which is located under the built-in 4 drawer dresser.

Getting home, I turned off the shore water, and then removed the bottom two dresser drawers and bottom panel, and, while I watched with a flashlight, Jan turned on the pump.

And a stream of water squirted out of the side of the water heater covering. So I cut away the cardboard enclosure, pulled aside the fiber insulation, and had Jan turn on the pump again. And this time I could see where the water stream was coming from.

Directly out of a hole in the side of the tank itself, just from where the arrow is pointing.

Water Heater Leak

It looks like there’s been some sort of corrosion going on in the whole area, but the only leak is by the arrow.

While I was thinking over the problem I went online to check out new water heaters. What I have in the rig is an Atwood GC10A-3E, which is no longer made. But it has a replacement, a GC10A-4E, but no one in Houston seems to have one in stock.

And the places that do have it available, show about a week or so delivery time, so I started thinking about a temporary (week-long) repair. So I dug out a tube of J-B Weld Steel Reinforced Epoxy Putty to give it a try.

JB Weld Epoxy PuttyAfter turning off the electric power to the unit, I drained all the water out and let everything dry.

Then I use sandpaper to rough up the entire area, and then used alcohol to clean any grease off and let it dry again.

Next I cut off a chunk of the putty and kneaded it into a even dark gray color and carefully pressed it into place, making sure to cover the entire corroded looking area just in case.

Water Heater Leak Repair

This stuff sets up in 5 minutes and cures hard enough to drill in an hour, so you can’t dawdle.

It will stand up to 900 PSI and 350° temps so a water heater shouldn’t be a problem. I’ve even repaired leaking car radiators with this stuff in the past.

Even though it should be ready tonight I decide to wait until tomorrow to check it out. I’ll let you know.

I went ahead and ordered our Wings Over Houston AirShow tickets yesterday. And though in the past we had always just got the General Admission tickets, the ones where we have to lug in our own chairs, etc., this time we got seats in the Prime Viewing Area, right in the center of the seating area, and that includes Prime Parking near the seating area.

Wings Over Houston 2

And since we have assigned seating, we had to pick a firm date, so we’ll be going on Saturday, October 9th.

Now just hoping for good weather.