5229 . . .

I had my last Physical Therapy session today, at least for a while.

The last 3 sessions have just consisted of Jennifer, the tech, watching me do the same series exercises I’m dong at home, with no new ones added. At it costs me $20 a session for this.

So I’m going to take a break for a month or so and just work on my own. And save the $80 a month.

Finishing up a lttle before 2pm, I just went right next door to have lunch at King Food once again.

Yeah, I know we were just there this past Sunday, but it’s that good, OK?

Gas prices have been all over the place recently, but mostly trending lower. This past weekend, the Buc-ee’s and the Sam’s Club, just south of us in La Marque, both had regular for $3.03

Yes, #3.03!

Then yesterday it was up a little to $3.08. But today, while Sam’s still has it for $3.08, Buc-ee’s has jumped to $3.21.

While up in Webster, Sam’s and Costco are both locked in at $3.29.

So where it goes from here is unknown. But hopefully down.

Jan and her new Chromebook are both doing fine up at Brandi’s. Jan was able to get it connected to their WiFi and is really enjoying it.

A couple of days ago I ordered Jan a set of Wireless Bluetooth Headphones like these to use with her Chromebook.

Wireless Bluetooth Headphones

Not only are they wireless, but they can also be used wired.

I also noticed that they had both an FM radio and an MP3 music player built-in, but didn’t pay much attention to it.

And when I tried them out, I really liked them. They connected very easily to both my phone and my desktop with no problem.

And then I noticed the Micro SD Card slot and discovered that it was for the MP3 player. So grabbing a 32GB SD card I copied a couple of songs over to it and gave it a try. And it worked great, cycling through the songs and then starting back over.

So pulling the card back out, I plugged into my desktop and began copying our entire music library over to it.

All 5229 songs, totaling a little over 24.5 GB’s. Yes, GB’s.

That’s every LP record we’ve every bought, every DVD, and all songs that we bought and downloaded directly from Amazon. All converted to digital MP3 format over the years.

We did have music that we bought on cassette and even 8-Track. But we later duplicated all those on DVD.

So now we have our entire music library in one pair of headphones.

Neat!


Thought For The Day:

Different Dads

Chicopee, MA


August 9, 2009

High School Friends and Memories…

Today we spent the day with Jan’s high school friend, Joan, checking out old memories.

We started off with breakfast at the Blue Sky Diner, not an old memory, but still good.

After breakfast we headed over to what used to be base housing at Westover AFB when Jan lived here, which was 1962-66.

When Westover downsized a while back, the old base housing was sold off to a private investor and turned into condo’s.  And they looked good.

Here is the front of the unit that Jan and her family lived in.

Jan's Base Housing

The front door is to the left inside the alcove to the left of the garage.

Here’s the back side.

Base Housing 2

After driving past where Joan’s parents used to live, we headed over to Chicopee Comprehensive High School, where Jan and Joan went to high school.

Chicopee Comp 1

But this is not the school building that Jan and Joan went to.  That one was torn down in 2007 and replaced with this one.

Chicopee Comp 2

The old building was located where the new football field is located.

Chicopee Comp 3

I think Jan was kind of shocked to find her old school replaced, since it was brand new when she went there.  In fact, her class was the first one to attend all four years there.

Next we drove over to nearby Springfield where Jan attended church.

Church

Then, after dropping off a prescription at Walmart, we drove over to the Yankee Candle Store in Deerfield.

This store is really something, and they sell a lot more than just candles. And it’s the size of a small shopping mall all by itself. Jan had a field day stocking up on decorations and knick-knacks for Halloween.  And she bought a couple of candles too.

By this time we were getting hungry, so Joan suggested Spaghetti Freddy’s, a restaurant that’s part of the Union Station complex in Northampton, MA.

And a great suggestion it was. We had a wonderful Italian meal and dessert.

After dropping Joan off at her house,

Joan's House

we headed back to the coach where we’re parked at Windy Acres KOA park.

Windy Acres RV Park

More reminiscing tomorrow…

Elkhart, IN


August 9, 2010

Rainy Day Monday…but then it got better !

Today started off as a cloudy, rainy morning, but things got better as time went on. By later in the afternoon it was warm and sunny. Very nice.

Jan got up around 9am, but I slept in a while longer, a good while actually.  But Jan like the ‘ME” time it gives her, and I’m perfectly happy to help out by sleeping late.

About 11:30 I talked to Michele Henry of Phoenix Commercial Paint, who was in the park and wanted to come by and check out the body work and repainting we want to get done on our rig while we’re here.

P1050638a

P1050639a

Most of the work is on the cargo bay doors, and after talking, we decided it will be easier for me to just take the doors off and bring them to her shop three or four at a time. So I’m going to take the first set over this Thursday.

After lunch, and fighting off a headache, I took some aspirin and went back to take a nap.

Then about 5 pm, we drove up to Edwardsburg, MI to Lunker’s, one of the largest fishing, hunting and outdoor stores in the country. And they have a very popular restaurant there, as well. 

I mean, where else can you get an Elk, Ostrich, or Buffalo Burger?

After dinner and back at the park about 8, we drove around among the rigs, checking out all our neighbors before saying our goodnights and heading in for the evening.

More tomorrow…

WI & IL


August 9, 2011

Carlock . . .

After a quiet restful morning we finally left the Janesville, WI Moose Lodge about 11 am, heading for Kamp Komfort RV Park in Carlock, IL about 160 miles away.

The trip was pretty easy, a little windy, and with the usual Illinois bad roads as soon as we entered the state. And in this case, the worse one was a toll road. At least it was only $2.85.

It never got hot enough to have to use the house AC’s, but when we got here I found the front AC wouldn’t come on. The rear one works fine, and cooled us down with no problem.

Not only does the AC not come on, but neither does the fan by itself, which means the unit is not getting power. I checked the breaker and it’s fine.

So it looks like I’ve got some troubleshooting to do after we get to Vandalia tomorrow.

We pulled into Kamp Komfort, a just west of the Bloomington/Normal, IL area, a little before 2 pm and got set up.

This is a very nice park, and even with all the tall shade trees, the satellite works fine.

Kamp Komfort 1

Kamp Komfort 2

We had planned to do the dinner and a movie thing again, but after getting here we decided to just stay in and Jan fixed dinner here.

Tomorrow we’ve got about 140 mile trip to the Vandalia, IL for a week for our family reunion, and our first time with Landon since February.

Yay!

Back Home In Athens, AL


August 9, 2013

Cat Food . . .

When we were at the Timber Trails Campground up in Vandalia, IL the other day, there was a newish rig parked next to us for the first day or so. On the side was a small door labeled ‘Cat Food’, but unfortunately I didn’t get a photo. But I did wonder why anyone would store cat food in an outside bin. Then

DOH!

A door labeled ‘Cat Food’ is where you feed a (Cat)erpillar engine its diesel.


Today was pretty much a rest-up day after the long trip yesterday, just sitting around enjoying our coffee and the view of the green pastures surrounding us. We can see goats, cows, geese, ducks, chickens, and even pigs. And of course, Dottie the RV park dog, who comes out to visit every new arrival.

Later in the morning we saw my 2nd cousin Luke come by on the riding mower trying to finish up before the approaching thunderstorm arrived, but he didn’t quite make it. There’s always tomorrow.

Unlike yesterday, today’s rain only lasted about 30 minutes before the skies cleared up. Glad it wasn’t as bad as before.

One of the chores to do this afternoon is to disassemble the Fantastic Vent Fan in our bathroom. First I wanted to find out why the motor stalls while lifting the cover. It sounds like a gear is slipping inside the motor drive housing, but I first wanted to be sure the lid lift mechanism wasn’t binding or sticking.

But after removing the motor, I could operate the lid manually with a pair of pliers with no problem, so that wasn’t it. This leaves the motor drive itself, which is definitely possible, since I replaced the same one 3 or 4 years ago for the same reason.

I also wanted to clean the fan and the housing from the accumulated dirt before putting it back together. But I’ll have to wait until I take a further look at the motor and see if I can take it apart.

A little before 5pm Jan and I headed out to have dinner at one of our favorite places here in Athens, Catfish Cabin. Don’t know how they do it 400 miles from the ocean, but they have some of the freshest seafood around. And their hushpuppies are fantastic. As soon as you sit down they bring you a big basket of them, hot out of the fryer. YUM!

Coming home we stopped in at my Aunt and Uncle, Jan and Ed Calvin’s house which is right next door to the RV park. It was good catching up with everyone since we were here last year. All my aunts and uncles are in their 80’s and 90’s so I don’t want to miss out on any time with them.

Tomorrow, more family time, I hope.


Gulf Shores, AL


August 9, 2014

A Shucker’s Dozen . . .

After a quiet, easy day, resting up from yesterday’s almost 400 trip, we headed out about 5pm to have dinner at a new place, at least for us. Called Ginny Lane’s Bar & Grill, it’s located on the Intercoastal Waterway at The Wharf, a shopping/entertainment area in Orange Beach. They had really good ratings on Yelp, and even better, $6 a dozen raw oysters, our favorite.

Since we had the Seafood Platters last night, and couldn’t finish it all, we decided to go a little lighter tonight. So we started out with a dozen oysters on the half shell for each of us.

Ginny Lane's 1

Sorry, I forgot to get a picture until I was done. We noticed that we both received what’s called a “Shucker’s Dozen”. Like a “Baker’s Dozen”, it means you order and pay for 12, and they throw in a extra free. Nice.

I noticed on the menu that they listed a Sriracha Aioli for another dish, so I asked for a bottle of Sriracha to try with my oysters along with the cocktail sauce and horseradish they furnish. It was really, really flavorful and added a lot to the oysters.

For our next course, Jan had a delicious cup of Shrimp and Artichoke Bisque, and I went with their Seafood and Sausage Gumbo. Again, really good.

Wrapping up a great meal, Jan had the Strawberry Shortcake,

Ginny Lane's 3

and I tried the White Chocolate Bread Pudding. Really good, and I had enough to take home.

Ginny Lane's 2

A really good meal, and we weren’t completely stuffed. Perfect.

Ginny Lane’s is really good, and it’s now on our list of great Gulf Shores restaurants.
Leaving the restaurant, we drove around the beach area for awhile, checking out all the changes since we were here two years ago. A lot of new condos, new stores, and new restaurants.

I think I liked it better in the old days.

One of the places we drove by was some beach front property my parents used to own at Orange Beach.

Beach Property 1

At one time, my parents owned this 300 foot / 6 lot section of beachfront, all the way down to where the condo is now. Then in the early 70’s they traded four lots to a builder in return for him building them two beach houses on the remaining two lots, which they then rented out.

Later, sometime in the 80’s my parents sold one of the cottages. Then in 1993 after the death of my father, my mother sold the remaining one.

The people who bought the first cottage, tore it down to build a modern-looking two story home. The couple who bought the second cottage also wanted to build new, but they bought a lot right behind theirs and moved the cottage about 100 feet away to the new location.  This is it now.

Beach Property 2

Then they build a 3 story brick home on the beach front lot. At that point there were 6 homes along here.

Then in September 2004, Hurricane Ivan passed through the area, bringing a 27ft. tidal surge up over the sand dunes.

And then there were none. And it still remains that way to this day.

And the original cottage that my father designed and had built to his specifications, with strapping and framing reinforcements, is the only thing still standing


About 8pm tonight I started getting emails and phone calls saying that Jan and I had gone viral on the Internet.

Again.

Yahoo Roller Coaster

And this time we made Yahoo. Here you can see the entire Yahoo montage

This was taken in 2009 at Busch Gardens in Tampa, FL. I posted it on our blog at the time, and then somehow it was picked up by the Awkward Family Photos site. It made the rounds all over the Internet, and we had friends telling us that they had seen it online.

In one case, a friend’s son was in class the last day of school, and the teacher was killing time by showing some stuff from the Awkward Family Photos site. He finished up by saying “And this one is my very favorite.”

And our picture popped up. After a double-take, the son spoke up and said, “Hey, I know those people.” And the class roared.

Here’s the full picture.

CheetaChase3a

As I always say, One of us is having fun. The other one isn’t.

Jan won’t admit it, but the Cheetah Chase is the ‘baby’ coaster at Busch Gardens. It’s in the kiddie area with the Merry-Go-Round and the Bumper Cars.

Gulf State Park, Gulf Shores, AL


August 9, 2015

Something New, Something Old . . .

The park really started thinning out today as people headed home after the weekend. I had really expected it to be a lot busier this weekend, but many schools start this next week, and this weekend is Alabama’s Sales Tax Holiday.

Every year Alabama cancels Sales Tax on pretty much anything related to Back to School, I.e. clothes, computers, school supplies, etc., so there was a lot of shopping going on. Too busy to camp, I guess.

Around 2:45 Jan and I drove down toward Orange Beach for something new and something old. The ‘new’ was to have linner at Wintzell’s Oyster House, a local chain where we’ve never eaten. With almost a dozen locations around the state, Wintzell’s has been around since 1938, but most of that time was with a single location in Mobile. It’s only since the 80’s that they’ve expanded.

Wintzell's 0

Actually the last time we ate here, this was a Ruby Tuesday, but that was a number of years ago.

Jan and I both started out with really good salads, hers with Bleu Cheese dressing and mine with Jalapeno Ranch, both dressings homemade and delicious.

Wintzell's 1

For our entrees, Jan tried out their Blackened Cajun Shrimp Pasta,

Wintzell's 3

which she said was one of best pasta dishes she’s had. So much so, I thought she was going to lick the bowl when she was done. But I guess propriety won out.

I went with something I haven’t had for a good while, mostly because it’s the first time I’ve seen it on a menu in a long time, the Low Country Boil.

Wintzell's 2

With Boiled Shrimp, Conecuh Sausage, Corn, and Red Potatoes, it made a great meal.

In fact we’ve decided to eat here again before we leave here on Thursday. It was that good.

Leaving Wintzell’s we drove on down toward Alabama Point, check out old haunts and new businesses. My parent’s owned a number of pieces of property down here at one time, and it’s always interesting to see what’s being built, rebuilt, or torn down.

We did make a stop at Tallulah’s Treasures, an Orange Beach gift shop that’s one of Jan’s favorites. We’ve been coming here for years, and Jan always finds a couple of trinkets she likes.

Our last stop before heading home was the something ‘old’: Ron Jon Surf Shop. Although it’s a new store in Orange Beach, only opening a few months ago, it’s something ‘old’ for Jan and I.

Ron Jon's

I used to rent boards from the Ron Jon’s in Cocoa Beach in 1967. At that time it was a hole-in-the-wall place about 25 feet x 40 feet, and filled with surfboards. Jan and I came here a couple of times when we were dating, and the place was so crowded with boards you could hardly walk around.

Now the Cocoa Beach location is two stories tall and covers 4 acres.

And I doubt you can still score a little ‘alternative’ tobacco from the guy in the back like you use to.

Times change, I guess.

On To Athens, AL


August 9, 2016

Heading North . . .

Since we had a 375 mile to up to Athens, AL today, we were up at 6:30am and I was pulling out by 8 with Jan following in the truck. We were going to get diesel at the Wal-Mart on Fort Morgan Rd. and, although we’d filled up there before, we scoped it out yesterday to be sure we could still get in and out.

But all the planning was for naught. When we pulled into the parking lot, the diesel pump area was blocked off with cones because workers were redoing the canopy over the station.

Crap!

So I headed on up to Foley to Dodge’s to fill up there.  We gotten diesel here before, but they were 6 cents a gallon higher, so Wal-Mart was my first choice.

Once we were done we got hitched up and were back on the road a few minutes after 9am, right on schedule.

One thing that slows this trip down is that you’re pretty much just putt-putting along on mostly two lane, stop and go roads for the first 60 miles until you finally get on I-65. Then we just stay on 65 until we get off at the RV park exit 307 miles later.

We started running into some rain just south of Montgomery, most just light drizzle interspersed with only a few minutes of heavy rain.Then it was alternating rain and sunshine all the way to Athens.

We got in to the Northgate RV Travelpark about 3:45pm, said Hi to my cousin Wes, and then got parked and partially set up, just plugging in shore power for now. Since we’d only had a breakfast sandwich before we left, and then just peanut butter crackers along the way for lunch, we wanted to get an early dinner.

So about 4:15 we headed out to Catfish Cabin, our usual first night dinner spot here.

Catfish Cabin

I guess it’s strange that we come 375 miles from the Gulf Coast and then have more seafood, but Catfish Cabin does it great, getting in fresh seafood daily. And they do a really great job with the basket of homemade hushpuppies they bring out when you sit down.

Catfish Cabin Hushpuppies

Jan usually gets the Cabin Platter with a whole catfish, shrimp, oysters, and a baked potato,

Catfish Cabin Cabin Platter

while get the Combination Platter with catfish fillets, oysters, fried shrimp, boiled shrimp and a stuffed crab.

Catfish Cabin Combination Platter

Getting back to the rig, I finished hooking everything up and got the satellite set up and working.

Tomorrow we’ll start trying to get together with everyone. Looking forward to it.


August 9, 2018

The Last Time . . .

At least I hope if is.

Today was another ‘errand/chore’ day, and luckily for me, it’s also my last full day of being Janless for a while.

Tomorrow afternoon after work I’ll drive up to Katy to pick her up from her Landon-sitting duties and then bring her home after we all have dinner together. It’s a good thing because both me and the cat are lonely.

Once I was up and had some coffee in me, I went outside to caulk some spots on the rig’s passenger side windshield. It had separated slightly at the top and rain would leak in.

This has been a problem ever since our blow-out in May 2015. The ironic thing though is that the windshield wasn’t damaged during the blow-out, but during the repair process.

They used one of these 10 ton lift jacks pick up the front of the rig about 4 feet off the ground so that they could remove and replace the damaged 150 gallon diesel tank.

10 Ton Lift Jack

And as they were letting it back down, the passenger side windshield cracked. They replaced it a couple of days later, but it’s never been quite right since then.

In fact I suspect that by lifting the rig like this it may have torqued the frame because the glass has never quite seated right since then. In fact I later even checked the part number of the new windshield to be sure it was the right one.

I’ve had a couple of glass places look at it and they all say it’s in no danger of falling out, so now I just want to stop the leaks once and for all.

Someone had recommended this Great Stuff Multipurpose Black Sealant. It’s very sticky, stays flexible, and resists UV rays.

Great Stuff Black

So I thought I’d give it a try. Since the stuff expands about 50% I just sprayed a line of it on top of the gap and then once it expanded, I use a popsicle stick like a spatula to spread it into the opening and smooth it over. I’ll come back later when I know it’s good and dry and use a razor blade to level off any bumps or protrusions. But I guess I’ll have to wait for the next rain to see how it works.

Or there’s always the hose. We’ll see.

About noon I headed up toward the house to try once again to move some stuff from the house down to the new storage unit in Dickinson. My previous attempt was foiled by a rainstorm, but today looked to be clear. But looking over the stuff the other day, I saw it would be easier to move all this stuff if I had a hand truck. And after finding out that I could buy a hand truck cheaper than I could rent one for just 4 hours, I decided a stop by Harbor Freight was in order.

Yeah, like I need an excuse.

And besides a nice 700# capacity hand truck for $38, I also found a cut-off tool on sale for $26.

Harbor Freight Cut-Off Tool

I’ve had a couple of rusted bolts on the rig that I want to cut off, so I grabbed this too.

Finally getting to the house, I loaded up the truck and headed back down to the the storage unit and dropped the stuff off.

Only about 10 more loads to go.

I did a couple of things today that I hope I’ve done for the very last time. I paid the power bill for the house, and told the yard guy to mow it one more time.

For the last time, I hope.

See You Soon, Sweetie!



August 9, 2020

Geniac and Oysters . . .

I mentioned before that in trying to find the problem with our rig’s taillights, brake lights, and turn signals, I’m working with two different set of schematics, one set from Spartan, the chassis manufacturer, and another set from the American/Fleetwood, the coach manufacturer. And not only don’t they always agree,  but sometimes they’re just plain wrong. For instance, this one.

Rig Marker Lights Red

Now I’ve only been doing electronics and computers since I was 10, but I don’t think the circuit outlined in red is ever going to work. I mean, you’re going to need a power source in there somewhere between the two grounds. And this is not the only mistake I’ve found.

And, yes, I was fooling with computers in 1958 when I was 10. But a lot different from what you think about today. My computer looked like this.

Geniac Board

It was a Geniac analog computer that you could program and make sound, add numbers together, play games, etc.

My parents got it for me for Christmas that year from an ad like this.

Geniac Ad

Here’s some more info on the Geniac computer.

And then 7 years later, I was writing programs in Fortran IV on an IBM 360 computer at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN.

Doesn’t really seem that long ago.


August 9, 2021

A Big Day . . .

We were outside again this morning, enjoying the coolish weather and the bunch of new hibiscus blossoms that showed up this morning.

Three Hisbiscus Blooms

However it seems kind of inconsiderate that all the blooms didn’t bloom on the same side so I could get them all in the photo. But I did get this closeup.

Hisbiscus Bloom CloseUp

We’ve got a big day tomorrow.

We’re meeting Brandi, Landon, and his BFF Sophie first at the famed Cleburne Cafeteria for lunch at 11. Then it’s on right down the road to the Houston Museum of Natural Science, first for their special Pompeii exhibit.

It starts with a 15 minute 4D movie and then you move into the exhibit itself with hundreds of actual artifacts from excavations at Pompeii.

Pompeii Exhibit

And of course, dinosaurs.

Victoria T-Rex

Just the thing for a pair of almost-11 year old’s.


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