Daily Archives: August 28, 2022

A Makeup Day . . .

Lunch today was at Yummy Yummy’s, our local Chinese buffet. We thought we’d lost it during the WuFlu era after it closed down, but to our delight, it suddenly showed again.

They’re very good about keeping all the bins filled, and only bringing out small servings at a time.

Yummy Yummy

Then we made up for yesterday’s fun time with our friend Tricia, by making our HEB stop today, over at the one on SH96 in League City. Then it was home for the day.

This evening we binge-watched the last 4 episodes of Season 2 of Only Murders In The Building. And it turns out that I was right when I predicted the murderer right before Episode 7. My method in these things is to pick the person LEAST likely to have done it. And it seems I’m right more often than not.

Though I didn’t predict the assistant killer. This time.

Only Murders

And HULU has already greenlit Season 3, probably sometime in Spring 2023.

A Great, Funny Show. Already looking forward to it.

Thought For The Day:

AirHorn At The Ready

August 28, 2009

Canada, Oh, Canada!

Well, we had an uneventful trip from Houlton, ME 185 miles away to Moncton, NB (New Brunswick), Canada.

But first we had to have breakfast one last time at the Big Stop Diner. Jan’s hooked on their blueberry pancakes and I think they make a mean omelet.

After breakfast I gassed up the truck and we headed back to the rig to get ready to roll.

We headed out about 10:45 am, but first stopped back at the truck stop to top off the coach with diesel.  And I’m glad we did.

Gas and Diesel are about $1.00 a gallon more here in Canada than in the US.

Hopefully we can get back to the US before we have to fill up with diesel again.

About 3 miles after we left the truck stop we pulled up to Canadian Customs.  This is the fifth time we’ve gone thru Canadian Customs with no problems.

But I’m always worry because of the stories we’ve read about RV’ers going thru Customs and being selected for one of their random searches where you have to completely unload your coach so they can look at EVERYTHING!

But we were in and out in about 5 minutes.  WHEW!!!

About 4 hours later we pulled into Camper’s City RV Park in Moncton and got set up.  Actually it was 5 hours later, since when we entered Canada, we switched to Atlantic Standard Time, so we are now 2 hours ahead of Houston

Which means Prime Time TV runs from 9 pm to 12 Midnight.  And even worse, when we travel to Newfoundland, they’re on Newfoundland Standard Time which is a HALF HOUR ahead of Atlantic Standard Time.

Go figure!

About 5 pm we headed out to one our favorite places to eat – Boston’s Pizza.

And strangely enough, there are no Boston’s Pizza in Boston, MA.  We know, we checked.

So you would think, maybe it was started in Boston, Canada.  But you would be wrong.  There is no city named Boston in Canada.

Boston’s Pizza was started in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada in 1964.  Who knew?

Anyway, we always get a large pizza so we have plenty of leftovers to bring home.

Tomorrow we’re going to take a drive along the coast and see the sights.

Then Sunday we’re going to drive over to Prince Edward Island for a couple of days.

August 28, 2010

Piper and Landon

Jan should be in at 2 pm tomorrow afternoon. Hopefully it will be more on time than when Jan left here last Thursday. The flight was 75 minutes late leaving Chicago, so I’m going to take plenty of reading materials just in case.

I talked to Jan about 8:45 tonight. She was packing, getting ready to fly out tomorrow. These 10 days are the longest we’ve been apart since the early 80’s when I was working Shuttle Missions out at White Sands. I’m not good at doing the bachelor thing anymore.

Here’s the latest Landon photo, shown here being held by his aunt, our 16 year-old (soon to be 17, she will tell you) granddaughter Piper.

Two real sweeties.

Piper and Landon

The park is really filling up with the Rally starting Monday. It’ seems like most people are already here.

Here’s the park today.

Elkhart Rally 3a

And here it is a few weeks ago.

Elkhart 4


Elkhart Rally 1a

And a few weeks ago.

Elkhart 2

Big difference!

August 28, 2011

A Quiet Sunday . . .

Not much new today. Jan’s feeling a little better, not nearly as nauseous. So hopefully by tomorrow, she’ll be back to normal.

After our morning coffee and bagels, Jan settled in on the sofa with her Kindle while I mostly goofed off on the computer, while trying to get up the will to start ripping up the last of the carpet.

We had planned to Skype with Landon, Brandi, and Lowell this afternoon, but after waiting, Brandi called and said they were having problems with their AT&T U-verse Internet service so we had to put that on hold.

Finally later in the afternoon, I bit the bullet and crawled back under the steering wheel and started ripping out the last few stubborn pieces of carpet, while trying to ignore the screaming from my knees. They don’t like this.

Late in the afternoon a park ranger came by with a flyer and telling us that the water would be off starting about 7 am tomorrow while the nearby town of St. Bernice replaced a part on their water system. Apparently the park gets their water from the town. The also said we should boil our water for the next 48 hours afterwards.

My answer to this was to go outside, top off our 100 gallon fresh water tank, and take us off the park water. No problem.

That’s about it for now, just a nice, quiet, easy day.

August 28, 2012

Doing it all over again . . .

Today was pretty much a repeat of yesterday. And since yesterday was really nice, dittos for today.

One thing that made today better was that Jan baked cookies, her Almond Crescents, to be exact.

Jan had planned to bake them while we were on the road coming here Sunday, but that got cancelled when she woke up with a migraine. So today was her day to make it up

About 2pm Jan and I headed out for the afternoon. After dropping Jan off to get her hair done, I did some shopping at the local auto parts store.

Picking up Jan from the hair place, she checked out several nail places, trying to get a pedicure, but finally ended up making an appointment for tomorrow.

Finally getting back to the rig, we goofed off a while before finally heading out to dinner. We ended up at CJ’s HighMark, a really good restaurant located by a golf course. Along with our meal we spend a good bit of time talking about where we’re going later in the year.

And once again after dinner, we all set outside and talked, mostly about books we’ve read and authors we liked. It would have probably gone on longer, but the bugs came out and we went in.

Another nice day.

August 28, 2013

Not Much . . .

new happened today. We’re settling into the routine of a new gate, starting to learn names and faces of the regulars, and who’s who’s in the pecking order.

My night shifts from 11pm to 7am are pretty quiet. I usually don’t have any traffic between midnight and 6am. Then it picks up pretty quickly.

Today was a bit slower than yesterday’s 141, We only had about 95 vehicles come through. But that may change. Jan was told today that once they start fracking we’ll have about 100 sand trucks coming through every day, in addition to the regular traffic. Oh Boy!

But she was also told that all this might go through December, which means we would stay here until we leave for Houston right before Thanksgiving. Hope that works out, as we’d hoped to not move as much this year as we did last year, 4 times in 4 months.

Really glad we didn’t get the gate down the road that guards the railroad crossing. Even up here, about a mile away, the trains are loud coming through. I can imagine being parked about 30 feet from the tracks. The gate guards there just act as crossing guards for the tracks, helping the vehicles to cross safely, but some people just don’t listen.

The guard had one big truck stopped, and another truck came up behind him. The second guy apparently thought the first truck was just talking, so he pulled around and crossed the tracks, missing the oncoming train that he couldn’t see, by just inches.

So far this site has been pretty critterless. A lot of bugs, but nothing bigger. I did however hear some coyotes yipping late this evening, so there’s something around somewhere.

I got the misting system set up today, and it helped cool things down, although it was only about 95. It was 102 back in Webster, near where our home is, so every bit helps.

August 28, 2014

Our Temporary Home . . .

for now.

At least until we get a gate.

I called Jamie at Gate Guard Services about 9am for a last minute check to see if he had had anything come available in the last couple of days, but he said ‘Maybe next week’, with emphasis on the ‘Maybe’.

Oh well, heading west, it is.

Jan and I pulled out of our site at the Colorado River Thousand Trails about 9:30, got hitched up at the top of hill, and headed two miles down the road to the Citgo station.

Not wanting to give Hugo Chavez any more money than I had to (Yes, I know he’s dead. It’s the principal.) I took my card inside and asked for $200 worth. This would give me a total of about 70 gallons to make the 180 mile trip to Whitsett while running the generator for the AC’s.

The diesel pump was an old one and didn’t even have a credit card reader on it. And it didn’t have much of a readout display either. Most of the digits didn’t work, and the few that did pretty much seemed to be displaying random numbers.

But I figured ‘Hey, it’ll stop at $200’, right?

Citgo Display


She didn’t set the pump for $200 like I asked. She just turned it on.

So $285 later, I had a full tank . . . that I didn’t want. Damn!

Getting back on the road a little after 10, our next stop at the Luling exit Buc-ee’s to stock up on Cranberry Nut Muffins and Kolaches to tide us over for our gate guarding start. We love Buc-ee’s.

We pulled into the Whitsett Gate Guard Services yard a little after 2pm and checked in with Mark, the supervisor at the office. I noticed there was an empty RV available so we would have full-hookups while we wait for a gate. Nice.

Whitsett Yard 2014

Mark said the guy in the 5’er to our right is going out tomorrow, and we should have a gate in a couple of days, maybe even tomorrow. We’ll see.

Whitsett Yard 2- 2014

Whitsett Yard 3- 2014

The yard looks pretty much the same as last year, except less equipment trailers parked around. Which is probably due to the fact that things are so much busier down here this year.

About 6 Jan and I headed up to Pleasanton to have dinner at Chili’s. The place has been remodeled since last year and really looked nice. And the service was much better too. Maybe a new manager?

So tomorrow we’ll sit and wait. Hopefully not too long.

August 28, 2015

I Could Get Used To This . . .

Well, so much for ‘the gate will reopen at 8am’. Luckily Jan was already up and dressed when she heard the first truck rumble up about 6:55am, so she was outside in time. We were hoping for another ‘shutdown’ tonight, but unfortunately that didn’t happen.

We again had only 38 trucks through the gate today, and Jan had only one truck in between 6pm and 11pm tonight. And it tonight is like previous nights, I won’t have anyone until about 6am this morning.

I could get used to this.

But I’m sure things will speed up as soon as the actual fracking gets started. Which now could be a week or so, apparently. You just never know.

About 10:30 this morning I drove into Carthage for groceries and lunch. This is the first time we been this close to a town, or to a Wal-Mart anyway. With Carthage only 8 miles away, it makes a big difference in how long it takes to get done and get back.

For lunch I brought us back Whataburger, and also made a trash drop-off while I was there. Since they still don’t have trash trailer here at the site, I just took the the bag with me and asked the Whataburger manager if it would be OK to use their dumpster, and she said no problem.

I had their new Sweet & Spicy Bacon Burger which I really liked, especially once I ramped up the ‘Spicy’ part with some Moruga Scorpion chili powder. Jan had a double meat cheeseburger with Grilled Onions and really liked hers too. And I guess Whataburger is a favorite of the workers here too, since I’ve only seen them come back with Whataburger bags and not McDonald’s. And McDonalds is actually closer.

Jamie, our Gate Guard Services supervisor came by this afternoon to drop off our sewer trailer. We’ve just been using our rig tanks, but Jan will be happy now that she can do more laundry.

Jamie also dropped off a couple of pallets to span the small ditch in front of our canopy.


That’ll give us a walkway over the water in the ditch when it rains, and also makes it less steep for Jan when she’s going out to talk to the drivers.

But the big news today is that our canopy is now air conditioned. And it works great.

Canopy AC

I saw the window unit in our son Chris’ garage not being used and ask if I could take it with us. Since I knew we could end up gate guarding in south Texas where it is a lot hotter, I had planned to install it in the coach driver’s window to help with the heat. But up here, with our temps staying the low 90’s, and our new larger 15K AC unit, it isn’t needed. In fact the AC’s are even cycling on and off, and not running all day.

So this afternoon I decided to try it out just sitting on the table, and it works great. I’m getting 72° air out the vent, and I’ve not had any trouble with the hot air exhaust interfering with the operation.

Of course it’s not going to cool down the whole canopy area, but it’s really nice to have that cold air blowing right on you.

More tales from the gate tomorrow.

August 28, 2016

Drilling and Chilling . . .

Well, we’re off and running, or drilling, anyway. They finally spudded in (started actually drilling) sometime after midnight this morning and so far things seem to be going OK.

When I got up at 11 this morning, and after we had our coffee, I headed over to Bryan/College Station to pick up a few things, mainly the plywood squares to cover up the gaps in our pad timbers. Otherwise  one of us is going to step off in one and break an ankle and they’ll have to shoot us.

Plywood Squares

I also picked up a new tarp for our canopy, and I’m really glad I did. A late afternoon rainstorm showed that our old one, left over from last year, leaks like a sieve. So I’ll just put the new one on top of the old one and tie it down.

On my way back from B/CS I stopped off at a Whataburger to pick up a late lunch. I got our usual burger/fries/drink combo, but probably not again. Or at least no fries.

They don’t handle the 30 plus minute trip back to the site very well, and just end up cold and chewy.

Next time I’ll try to find a convenient Chicken Express to bring back for lunch, and see how well their Fried Okra travels.

Jamie, our GGS supervisor is supposed to be here tomorrow (Monday) to bring us more water, and me a hardhat, We didn’t start out with a full 500 gallons, only 350, so we’ll need more soon.

And I need a hardhat so I can take our trash onto the pad to put it into the trash bin.

Tomorrow begins our 2nd week on the gate, and so far it’s been pretty nice. We only had 43 vehicles come through the gate today, as opposed to yesterday’s 74. But a lot of that was big trucks hauling off the equipment used to build the rig. So I would expect 40 to 50 vehicles a day will be the norm.

Hope so.

August 28, 2017

More Rain Coming . . .

Here at the Lake Conroe Thousand Trails we’ve had very little rain today, and when we did it was mostly just a slow drizzle.

But according to some forecasts, now-Tropical Storm Harvey is supposed to move back out into the Gulf a little and then come back in over Galveston with as much as another 24” of rain.


They’re saying that so far Harvey has dropped between 9 and 13 Trillion Gallons of water on Texas.

Yikes again!

All of our kids are still high and dry so far. Certainly hope it stays that way.

Here’s a good link that shows Houston Traffic Road Closures and Speeds in real-time. Check it out.

Houston Traffic Overlay

The last two nights the temps have been dropping down into the high 60’s, and I don’t think the rig AC’s ever even turned on today. Nice.

One thing that the storm did was give me a chance to get back working on the remote control modules that I got about a month ago.

Remote Control for Slide and AC 2

Wireless 4 Channel Remote Control Unit

At less than $15 each, these units looked to be an inexpensive solution to a couple of problems I would like to take care of.

These have four separate independent channels capable to handling 20A from 12VDC to 120VAC. And each channel has both normally open and normally closed contacts. Plus there is a jumper that will set the unit for either momentary or on-off switching.

Remote Control for Slide and AC

Although I bought two, one for the slide and one to play with, I decided to actually use the 2nd one too. When we’re traveling with the generator on and both AC’s running, occasionally the generator will shut off, or sometimes, keeps running but the 120VAC output goes offline. And when this happens, the 120VAC output will not come back online if both AC’s are turned on.

So Jan has to get up and turn off one AC for about 15 seconds until the power comes back up. Then she can turn it back on and everything is fine. Now this doesn’t make a lot of sense, because when the AC’s lose power, the thermostats go into a two minute timeout to protect the compressor before they will allow the AC’s to come back on. So nothing should be putting a load on the generator at that point.

So before I tackle the slide remote control, I decided to set up a remote control on the rear AC. And it turned out to be very simple.

After putting 12VDC on the unit I pressed the Learn button on the circuit and then pressed the ‘A’ button on the remote. This synced the remote to that particular board and Load 1.

Then it was just a matter of wiring it all in and mounting it on the wall.

Remote Control Installation for AC

I picked up the 12VDC for the unit from the Floor Light switch on the wall, and then fed the control wires behind the wall up to the thermostat where I wired it into the system. Then a little double-stick tape mounted it in place.

Now before we travel I just turn the AC off at the thermostat and then use the remote to turn it off and then back on when needed.

And the blue glow makes a nice night light.

August 28, 2018

We spent this morning firming up our upcoming trip.

No, not the big one to Europe next year. This one is our Florida trip coming up in October. We’ve got long-time friends down in West Palm Beach, and long-time friends in Rockledge. And Seasons in the Sun RV Park in Mims, is kind of in the center of all that, so I made a 10 day reservation there today. They’re having a $129 per week special right now so it worked out great.

I also got going and coming back reservations at our favorite Poche’s Fish N Camp in Breaux Bridge, LA, where we always stay going east.

I had asked for Tallahassee area park recommendations on the blog last night and got several good ones, including one recommending Beaver Lake Campground in Quincy, FL, about 20 miles east of Tallahassee.

Plus, even better, it’s Passport America at $18.50 per night. The only problem is that they don’t take reservations for PPA. But when I called today they said they should have plenty of room so we’re good there.

I’m still waiting to hear back from the Escapees RV Park in Summerdale, AL, where we plan on spending 4 nights before we head further east, arriving in Mims on October 9th for our 10 day stay.

So as it stands now we’ll leave here on Wednesday, October 3rd and get back on Monday, October 22nd.

Of course that’s assuming I get the rig oil leak fixed. LOL

We headed out about 12:30 to check in with our friend Julie at the Monterey’s Little Mexico up in Pasadena.

Julie and Jan

We’ve known Julie for years when she worked at the Monterey’s down here in Dickinson, but since it’s never reopened after Hurricane Harvey, we try to get up there every month or so.

Coming back down to the Clear Lake area we made a Harbor Freight stop to pick up Security Bit Kit.

Security Bit Kit

A lot of the machines that come in for me to work on have some of these ‘secure’ screws to keep unauthorized fingers out, or at least fingers who are trying to repair a machine instead of sending it back to the factory. So this should take care of that.

Then it was on our way to my client’s office to pick up some Amazon packages that had come in, when a problem showed up.

As I was turning onto Bay Area Blvd, I suddenly had no power steering. My first thought was that the power steering pump had cratered. But also immediately the engine temperature started climbing. So now I’m thinking broken fan belt.

Getting to my client’s, I took a look and was surprised to find, not a broken serpentine belt, but a whole one that had jumped off the pulleys. This usually means that something froze, the AC compressor, water pump, power steering pump, or the alternator. All expensive $$$

But we lucked up this time since it turned out to the be cheapest, the idler tensioning pulley. It was locked up solid. But since I had no tools with me, I decided to take it right down the block to the Firestone Tire shop, which is about as far as I could get without it running hot again.

And 3 hours later, (they were busy) and $197.65 poorer, we were on our way back down to Santa Fe.

As another example of why I try to do all my own work, when we got home I priced a new pulley from O’Reilly’s and found it was $19.99, not the $65 that Firestone charged me. Plus they charged me another $65 for a new belt. A belt that I didn’t think needed replacing. It looked fine to me, with no cracks or tears. In fact I grabbed the old one to keep as a spare. And then there’s the $50 labor charge.

What can I say? I work cheap.

But while we were waiting we walked right next door to the new Aldi’s to check it out and pick up a few things to eliminate an HEB stop on the way home. Jan found what she was looking for, and I found something for me too.

Stonemill Carolina Reaper Paste

Readers know my propensity for hot stuff, and this was first chance to try the Carolina Reaper peppers. The Carolina Reaper may or may not currently be the world’s hottest pepper. Both the Dragon’s Breath and Pepper X supposedly are hotter, but there is some controversy as to whether or not they’ve been correctly rated.

Regardless, after the big buildup, and even bigger expectations, I was pretty disappointed. I tried it a small glob of it while we were still at the Firestone store, and wasn’t impressed.

It just wasn’t that hot. The label says the first ingredient is Carolina Reaper chilies, but it doesn’t give a percentage. So my guess is that it’s not very much. But I will say that it tastes really good with a nice bold flavor. Just not very hot.

Getting back to Santa Fe,  I dropped off our Priority Mail  passport renewals at the Post Office before finally getting home about 7pm.

A nice, but expensive day.

August 28, 2019

Mission To Mars . . .

Jan and I spent several hours last night working our way one by one through the 1113 names on our upcoming mailing list at work, trying to weed out all the garbage scattered around.

The problem is that the POS (Point of Sale) program we used is used for any kind of addressing, so our office manager tends to store other info in random fields. So all that had to be gone through and removed until we had a fairly clean list. I still have a few that need Zip Codes, but I can do that manually tomorrow.

Jan spent most of today making lists of her lists of things to see and do in New York City this December. We’ve already did a lot of the standard tourist’s stuff, like Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Chinatown, Sylvia’s in Harlem, Times Square, ‘Phantom of the Opera’, Empire State Building, the World Trade Center Site, Gramaldi’s Pizzeria in DUMBO, etc,.

We’ll probably want to see another play, but no idea what right now. I think Jan will probably want to repeat her visit with the Naked Cowboy.

Naked Cowboy 1

Naked Cowboy 2

Tomorrow we’re planning lunch again at Floyd’s Cajun Seafood up in Webster and then pick up a couple of prescriptions. And then a nice, quiet afternoon.

Thought you might want to check out this test flight of Elon Musk’s StarHopper, a test vehicle for developing the latest version of the Raptor engine.

The final version, much bigger of course, will be more powerful than the famous Saturn V that took us to the moon in 1969. In Musk’s case, he’s planning to use it to take us to Mars.

August 28, 2021

Well, Not Nearly As Much . . .

For the first time in a couple of days we were able to sit outside this morning with our coffee, but not for too long because of the very high humidity. But it was nice while it lasted.

But before I came back in I put the drain plug back in the water heater. I had removed it yesterday to drain the unit so I could patch the leak. Then inside, I turned the pump on, and the hot water side of the bathroom faucet open, I let it spit and sputter for a while, until the flow was steady. That meant that the water heater tank was full and that I could safely turn the power on and give us some hot water.

And after a few minutes of observation I still had a leak, but another leak, in another place. But a much smaller leak, actually just a dribble. It seems the area of corrosion is larger than I thought and was hidden under some more of the fiber insulation. But this smaller leak didn’t show up until the larger leak was stopped.

What’s kind of funny about this is that I think the water heater actually started leaking about a month ago. At least enough so that the carpet in the bedroom started getting damp.

But at the time, we had had about a week of steady rains, about 15 inches worth, and since the dampness stopped a couple of days after the rains, I figured it was just a small roof or window leak that only showed up with the heavy, steady downpour. But I’m thinking now it was just the first sign of the water heater leak.

However why it went away for a month, I don’t know.

I’ll check it out more tomorrow, but right now it’s very possible that the leak is small enough that we can live with it until I get a new water heater in.

The rest of the afternoon consisted of lunch at Gator’s once again with our usual.

Jan’s Strawberry Walnut Salad with Grilled Chicken, and

Gator's Bar & Grill Strawberry Walnut Salad with Chicken

my Blackened Chicken Sandwich with Bacon. And yes, there is a blackened chicken breast under all that bacon.

Gator's Blackened Chicken Sandwich 20210629

Then it was on to get haircuts, and then a stop at Home Depot and WalMart.

And home by about 4pm.

Jan and I’ve been binge-watching The Closer and Major Crimes, and down to the last 5 or so episodes of MC, we were not expecting what happen to happen. WOW!

Thought For The Day:

Remember, husbands are the best people to tell secrets to. They can’t tell anyone because they probably weren’t even listening to begin with.