A Long Day . . .

Or at least it seemed that way.

Jennifer, our office manager, came into my room and said she knew I was getting ready to leave in a few minutes, but wondered if I could take a look at a UPS update message on the Shipping computer before I left.

Confused, I looked at my watch and said, “But it’s only 10 til 3.”

She said, “No”. And when I looked at my phone, I saw it was 3:27pm, and I leave at 3:30.

Don’t know what happened with my watch, but now I know why the day seemed to be dragging.

But I did get the UPS update taken care of before I left.

Came across this fantastic Lego project that might interest Landon.

Lego Clockwork Solar System

It’s a clockwork version of the our solar system made from Legos.

And even more amazing, it’s 99.8% accurate. Check it out below

I mentioned after our Immersive Monet exhibition that we were told that Immersive King Tut would be coming this fall.

Immersive King Tut 2

And now we’re starting to see Facebook ads for it.

Looking forward to it.


Thought For The Day:

Courtesy of Our Son-In-Law Lowell

Texas Rain Gauge



August 3, 2009

Provincetown Bound…

Today we drove the 60 odd miles out to the tip of Massachusetts’ boot called Provincetown.

MA Map

Provincetown is a really beautiful area that reflects its long history.  It is where the Pilgrims originally landed in 1620 and signed the Mayflower Compact, though they later decided to settle across the bay at Plymouth.

A little known fact is that the Pilgrims were originally headed for the Virginia area, but stopped in Provincetown and didn’t want to go any further because they had run out of an essential provision…beer!

Provincetown

The tall tower is not a lighthouse as I first thought, but is a 252 foot tall brick monument erected in the early 1900’s to commemorate the landing of the Pilgrims in 1620.

Pilgrim Tower

We also visited the nearby Cape Cod National Seashore area looking out over the Atlantic Ocean.

Cape Cod Seashore

and the Old Town Lifesaving Station that dates from the 1800’s.  From here the rescue boats were dispatched to save crewmen on boats that had run aground nearby.

Old Town Lifesaving Station

The area is covered in Queen Anne’s Lace and Rosehips.

Queen Annes Lace

I did not realize that Queen Anne’s Lace is actually the Wild Carrot and has an edible root.  But it is also looks very similar to the Water Hemlock, which is deadly.  So be careful if you’re snacking.

Rosehips

Rosehips are also edible and a good source of Vitamin C and were used by sailors to prevent scurvy.

Heading home, we again passed by our rental house from 1972.

Falmouth House

The house was divided into 3 apartments. We lived on the ground floor, someone else lived in the basement, and the owner lived on the 2nd floor.

And here’s a picture of the McDonalds where Jan worked while we were here.

Falmouth McDonalds

It’s amazing these places are still here after almost 40 years.

We’re still looking for the efficiency apartment we lived in first.

Tomorrow we’re taking the ferry over to Martha’s Vineyard.


August 3, 2011

Prairie Dogs and Dinosaurs . . .

Today we opted for dinner and a movie.

After checking local reviews, we decided to try Country Kitchen, a national chain. They have locations in 22 states, but we’d never heard of them. But luckily for us, the reviews were right. I had a double cheeseburger and Jan had a Spicy Chicken Sandwich. Both very good.

As far as the movies go, we didn’t have a lot of choices – Cowboys and Aliens, Captain America, and The Smurfs 3D.

But two out of three weren’t bad. We saw Cowboys and Aliens last night and decided to see Captain America tonight. And we did.

We both really enjoyed C & A. Good story, with a lot of twists, great effects, and anyway, any movie with Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford, and big, nasty aliens, has got to be good.


This morning was a tourist day, so we started it off with breakfast at Country Kitchen. After all, if it was good for dinner . . .

And after a great breakfast, our first stop was Theodore Roosevelt National Park in Medora, ND, about 35 miles west of here on I-94.

After getting our National Park Passports stamped at the Ranger Station, and checking out Teddy’s Maltese Cross cabin on the grounds, we headed out on the 36 miles scenic loop around the park.

And of course the first thing that caught Jan’s eye were the prairie dogs. Lots and lots of prairie dogs.

Whole towns of prairie dogs, as a matter of fact.

Prairie Dogs 2

It’s like they have their own personalities.

Here, the wife is giving her husband a smooch before he goes off to a hard day of finding seeds, leaves, grasses, and roots, and also dodging hawks. Life can be rough on the prairie.

Prairie Dogs 1

These three neighbors had a spat over who went down the wrong burrow, and now they’re not speaking.

Prairie Dogs 3

The guy on the right just discovered he’s on camera.

Prairie Dogs 4

These two are getting ready to race. and the other is doing the “Ready, Set, GO!”

Prairie Dogs 5

And we did see some really beautiful scenery. This park is part of the Dakota Badlands and it shows.

TR Scenic Loop 1

TR Scenic Loop 2

TR Scenic Loop 3

There are several herds of wild horses in the park, and we saw quite a few.

TR Wild Hoses 1

And toward the end of our drive we also saw this female deer high up on a ridge grabbing a snack.

TR Deer

Leaving the park we headed back east on I-94 a few miles and stopped off at Painted Canyon, which is really just a continuation of Theodore Roosevelt National Park.

Painted Canyon 1

It’s easy to see why they call it Painted Canyon.

Painted Canyon 2

Painted Canyon 3

Painted Canyon 4

Again heading back toward Dickinson, but still within the park boundaries, we saw one of the several large bison herds in the park.

TR Buffalo 1

TR Buffalo 2

Passing through Dickinson, and going about 10 miles out the other side, we turned south on the Enchanted Highway and saw some really neat, very large, metal sculptures along the way.

This grasshopper was huge, but I kept looking for the giant seagulls.

Enchanted Highway Grasshopper

A pheasant family, complete with chicks.

Enchanted Highway Pheasants

And Jan got this great shot of a field of sunflowers.

Sunflowers

Again coming back into Dickinson we checked out the Dakota Dinosaur Museum.

Although not as extensive as the one we saw in Thermopolis, WY last week, they did have some interesting stuff like this cast of a T-Rex skull, found just 200 miles from here in Montana.

T-Rex Skull

And this very nice display area.

Dakota Dino Museum 1

This is a REAL Triceratops skull, weighing about 1500 pounds. The weight of these fossils is why most of the assembled skeletons you see in museums are fiberglass casts. They would weigh 10’s of tons and would be very difficult to suspend safely. It’s not really purple, it just looks that way under the light.

Triceratops Skull

And Jan and I both really liked their large collection of beautiful rock specimens.

Mica

Agate

Quartz

By the time we left the Dino Museum it was almost 5 pm, so we decided to check out a place several friends had recommended.

It turned out to be the Dakota Diner, and once again the recommendations were spot on. The place was jam-packed and really, really good.

After dinner we came back to the rig for a while and then headed out to see Captain America at the movies.

The movie, subtitled “The First Avenger”, was very well-done, and held very close to the original comic book origins. I hated it when they take a known character and then just completely change the storyline.

This Captain America movie is the final one that will unite Iron Man, Thor, and Captain America, along with other superheroes in next summer’s “The Avengers” movie.

Tomorrow . . . Fargo.  The city, not the movie.


August 3, 2012

An Unexpected Day Off . . .

First off, a price update on the Diesel Kleen fuel additive I mentioned a few days ago. One of our readers, Rod Ivers, alerted me to the fact that Wal-Mart carries it, and much cheaper. I paid $14 for it on Amazon, but Wal-Mart has it for $7.57.

Nice difference.

The rig skid went off pretty much on schedule, but we weren’t here to see it.

WE GOT THE DAY OFF!

Our Company Man decided to treat the rig ‘skid’ like a rig move, so no logging. Then about noon on Wednesday, he told us to not start logging again until 8am Thursday morning.

YAY!

Talk about a nice surprise. After we sat around for a while, stunned that we were both inside the rig at the same time, we got cleaned up and headed into San Antonio.

After some shopping, we ended up at one of our favorite places in San Antonio, the Magic Time Machine for dinner about 5:30. Our waitress this time, Tinkerbell, (in the past, we’ve had Wonder Woman, The Joker, and The Mad Hatter) asked if we’d ever eaten there before. I told her we’d been eating there since the early 80’s, probably before she was born. She said that then maybe her mother had waited on us since she worked there back then. Small world.

And talk about making us feel old.

We got home about 8pm to find the rig skid had gone off with no problems, but they were still trying to get all the surrounding structures back in place. I did get some shots of the two big cranes coming out through the gate. They just barely fit.

Crane 1

Crane 2

So, after a night of actually being able to sleep in the same bed together, we were back on the gate at 8am, or at least Jan was, since that’s her shift.

Oh well. Back to work.

The last few nights on the gate I’ve been checking out the thousands of free movies and TV shows on our Kindle Fire. Well, free if you have Amazon Prime, which to me is a must-have for any RV’er.

The free movies include everything from recent ones like “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, to classics with John Wayne, and some of my favorites like 1956’s “Forbidden Planet”, and 1960’s “The Time Machine”.

As far as TV shows, they’ve got everything from “The West Wing”, BBC’s “The Tutors”, “The X-Files”, “Mythbusters”, “Sons of Anarchy”, and “The Deadliest Catch”, to oldies like “Alf”, “The Greatest American Hero”, and “Fawlty Towers”. And in many cases it’s every episode from every season.

Check it out.

That’s about it for the latest episode of Life on the Gate.


August 3, 2013

Last Day in Elkhart . . .

I’m not exactly sure what this family is trying to convey, and I’m not sure I want to know.

Mooning Family Grapic

Since we travel tomorrow I had a few chores to take care of this morning. First up I got my Craftsman 150 PSI Air Compressor out of the back of the truck and spent about 15 minutes to top off a few of my rig and truck tires.

Air Compressor

This compressor is great. It’s not very big, but has no problem airing up rig tires to 110+ without straining.

Next up I wanted to scrub the carpeted mat that’s under my pilot chair, so I took it out to the picnic table, sprayed it down with Awesome and then let it soak for a while. Later I came back and scrubbed it with a big brush and then hosed it down. After it dried in the sun, it was spiffy clean and dry.

While we were coming down from the Soo Locks I noticed we were out of washer fluid in the rig so while we were at Wal-Mart the other day I picked up a gallon of the RainX washer fluid. I’ve this in both vehicles for a couple of years now and it really makes the rain bead up and roll off. The gallon jug just topped off both the rig and the truck so now I’m good to go.

Later, about 1:15 Jan and I headed out to see RED 2 at the Elkhart theater. We had really enjoyed RED when it came out in 2010 and RED 2 didn’t disappoint either. With Bruce Willis, Mary-Louise Parker, John Malkovich, Helen Mirren, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and Anthony Hopkins, you can’t go wrong.

And unlike R.I.P.D. yesterday, RED 2 made you snicker, chuckle, and laugh out loud all the way through. In fact the R.I.P.D. people should have gotten Jon and Erich Hoeber, the writers of RED, to punch up their script. This was a FUNNY movie. John Malkovich can make you laugh just by how he moves his eyes.

Even better I read that they’ve started working on RED 3. We’re really looking forward to it.

Coming home, we made a quick stop at CVS before getting back to the park and meeting up with blog readers, Marvin and Joan McClain. They just got in last night and we had planned to have dinner with them at El Maguey.

McClains-Marvin and Joan

We had met them previously, but this is the first time we’ve had a chance to really get to know them. And we had a great time talking with them and trading stories. In fact we didn’t leave until 2 1/2 hours later. Hopefully we’ll get to meet up with them again soon.

Tomorrow we’ve got a 330 mile trip down to Vandalia, IL to spend a few days with Jan’s sister Debbie and her family. Since we’ve got a long day, and we need to get diesel as we leave here, we’re heading out about 8pm. It will help that we’ll pick up an hour going back into Central Daylight Time.

Leaving Wilmington, OH


August 3, 2014

Heading South . . .

We got hooked up and pulled out, getting out on the road about 10:15. We took I-71 in toward Cincinnati, and then headed south on I-275. Normally we would have just stayed on I-71 until it hooked up with I-75 and we  crossed the river into Kentucky.

But we noticed the other day that part of I-71 was closed for construction for the next few days, so we avoided it by taking the long way around via I-275. About 130 miles down the road, we stopped off at the Pilot near Pendleton, KY.

This was the perfect fuel stop. When you pull into the Auto/RV entrance, the RV pumps are directly in front of you. So no twisting around trying to get lined up. My RV PLUS card worked perfectly, and I got about 50 gallons at $3.72 per gallon. They also had a long-handled scrubber/squeegee there so my windshield got sparkly clean too.

And it about 15 minutes we were ready to go. But before we hit the road again, we closed the windows and turned off the fans. The temperature in the rig was up to about 78° so we cranked up the generator and turned on the AC’s. We’re far enough south again that we’ll probably be doing this every trip day until we’re back in Houston.

My Silverleaf computer display said we’d gone about  400 miles and used a little over 50 gallons, so that’s about 8 miles per gallon. Lower than normal for us, but we’ve been in all this hilly country and it does take its toll.

About 25 miles before we reach our stop for the night, we passed back into the Central Time Zone where we’ll be for the rest of the year.

We pulled into the Singing Hills RV Park about 2:30 and got checked in and set up.

Singing Hills is on the road leading to Mammoth Cave National Park, but you have to know it’s here to get here. There are no signs out on the Interstate, or even along the road leading to the park. The only reason I found it was that it’s a Passport America Park and showed on a Delorme Street Atlas map overlay. At $18 for a Full Hookup site, it looked good, but we’ve been fooled before,  so it was off  to rvparkreviews.com to check it out. And it still looked good, so we had our stop. And  since it was summer time, and the Mammoth Cave area is tourist bait, I called and made a reservation this past Monday.

Singing Hills RV 1

Singing Hills RV 2

Turns out the place is a 44 site family-run park with all pull-thrus, perfect since we planned on eating in the rig tonight and not unhooking the toad.

Tomorrow we’ll make a 190 mile trip to Athens, AL to spend 5 days catching up with all my relatives there,  before heading down to spend a week in Gulf Shores, AL, where I grew up.

Really looking forward to seeing all the family.


August 3, 2015

Home in Alabama . . .

Several readers pointed out a problem with the Northgate RV Travel Park link I posted in yesterday’s blog. It’s fixed now.

As a disclaimer, I must point out that Northgate is owned by my relatives, but it’s still a very nice little park. Nothing fancy, no bathroom/showers, and no laundry.  Just level, gravel FHU sites, with good 50/30 amp power, great water pressure, and Wi-Fi.

It’s the perfect basecamp to explore the Huntsville/North Alabama/Southern Tennessee area.

I spent part of the morning troubleshooting a problem with the electric side of our water heater. We’ve been using the LP side for the last two weeks, due to the power situation at Cherokee Landing TT. But when we tried to switch back to the electric side yesterday, it didn’t work.

Found a 15 amp fuse for the 12V side and it was fine. Couldn’t find a 120V circuit breaker for it anywhere, so I called American Coach for some help. They said if it wasn’t  in the panel under the bed, it would be at the bottom of the drawer cabinet where the inside access to the water heater is.

So that’s my next place to check tomorrow. But since the LP side still works, I’m no in any big hurry. I do have an idea what’s actually wrong with it, but I want to do some more research.

A little after 4pm Jan and I headed out to have dinner at the Chili’s about halfway between here and Huntsville. It’s been a while since we’ve been to a Chili’s, but we were surprised to see how many new items were now on the menu. In fact we both went with something new.]

Jan went with their new Spicy Shrimp Tacos with Avocado.

Chili's Spicy Shrimp Tacos

Served with citrus-chile rice and  black beans, Jan said it was all delicious, maybe the best shrimp tacos ever.

As for me, the Smothered Prime Rib Burrito caught my eye.

chilisundergroundburrito

Stuffed with large chunks of prime rib, black bean salsa, three cheeses, and citrus-chile rice, and covered with two different sauces, it was really good, and very filling. By the time we finished, neither of us even thought about dessert, even splitting one as we often do.

Don’t know if it’s just this location, but besides the menu, Chili’s has really upgraded their interiors. Very nice inside.

Tomorrow we plan on heading over to Huntsville for some shopping and eating.


August 3, 2016

Gulf Shores Memories . . .

Our first day in Paradise (well, we like it a lot) started off with a morning of thunder, lightning, and rain. But it did really help to keep things cool.

In fact I don’t think it go much hotter than the mid-80’s, so that was really nice. Jan caught up on a couple of loads of laundry that had built up since we left Colorado River. But after the rainy start the afternoon cleared up with some sun, but still stayed cool. Very nice for our first full day here.

Around 3 we started talking ‘linner’, and even though we usually concentrate on seafood while we’re here. we have one other favorite – Hooter’s. But not just any Hooters. It’s the World’s Tiniest Hooters.

It even says so on their sign.

Hooters - Tiniest

It’s located right across the road from the beach, just east of the main beach intersection. And the reason it’s the tiniest, is that it’s actually a doublewide trailer, still on the wheels. So supposedly it can be towed away in case of an approaching hurricane, but I’m not sure how practical that would be.

We were lucky to get the last table, and a line started soon after. Like I said it’s a small place. And busy as they were, it took a while to get our food. But it wasn’t like we were in any hurry, just happy to be back on the road.

Jan got the Chicken Strip Cheese Sandwich on Texas Toast with Curly Fries, while I got my usual 10 wings, naked (no breading), all drums, with 911 sauce, which Jan also got on her sandwich strips.

Now 911 used to be their hottest sauce, which is why we ordered it. Well, except for the secret, off-menu ‘Elvis’ sauce that only some stores had. But after turning in our order, I was looking over the menu and discovered they’ve added a new sauce, “Triple Dog Dare”. Wish I’d known that before I ordered.

Guess it gives me something to look forward to next time.

Finishing up, we drove around for awhile, checking out all the new places that have sprung up since we were here a year ago. And for me, I remember long stretches of open beach that are now covered with wall-to-wall condos as far as the eye can see. But yet I still see places that were that were here more than 60 years ago when I grew up here.

Everything changes and and yet stays the same.


August 3, 2017

Heading Back Home . . .

After goofing off the morning, Jan and I headed out about 1pm to meet up with my cousin’s Anna Jean and Marjorie, and Marjorie’s husband Walter.

We had a great time talking about the past, and gossiping about other family members who weren’t there. That’ll teach ‘em.

Anna Jean, Marjorie, and my mother were first cousins, all about the same age and grew up together. So they always have new stories about my mother.

And  sometimes new photos too.

Mother in the Army

This one was taken in mid-1942 when my mother was an Army nurse stationed at Fort Benning, GA. This was before she was transferred to West Point.

This is another one from that time period.

Mother

We spent over four hours together and the time really flew by.

Anna Jean Marjorie Walter Jan

Anna Jean, Jan, Marjorie and Walter.

We finally said our goodbyes to everyone and headed out. Jan was getting pretty hungry and thinking about chicken, so we decided to try the nearby Zaxby’s. We had tried one years ago, but neither of us remembered whether we liked it or not. So we took a chance.

Zaxby's Chicken

And lucked out. Very good Chicken Strips and dipping sauce. Much like Raisin’ Cane’s.

Finishing up, we stopped off at my Aunt Virginia’s to say goodbye, before we headed by to the RV Park. Or at least to my Aunt and Uncle’s right next door.

I wanted to install LibreOffice on my Aunt’s laptop so she won’t have to buy MS Word, and also say our goodbyes here too.

Tomorrow we’ve got a 237 mile run down to the Benchmark RV Park in Meridian, MS, a very nice Passport America park.


August 3, 2018

Sold?

Well, as of about 1:45 this afternoon we probably sold the house, or at least I signed the contract and sent it back through DocuSign.

I say ‘probably’ since I won’t really consider it SOLD until the check is in our hands.

As it stands now we will close on or before August 24th. Come on ‘before’. We just want to be done with this.

Brandi and Lowell also got some good house-related news today. After the 54 page report from the inspectors on Tuesday, the owner has agreed to make the required repairs, so they’re still go for a August 31st close. Though theirs may also be a few days earlier. So we’ll all see, I guess.

I left the rig about 2:45 headed up to Katy to pick up my lovely bride for the weekend. Unfortunately I have to give her back to Brandi and Lowell Sunday afternoon and won’t get her back again until next Friday. But she’s having a good time with Landon so it all works out.

I got up to Brandi’s a little after 4, before Jan, Landon, Lowell, and I headed back out a little before 5 to meet Brandi at La Finca, our favorite local Mexican restaurant.

Also meeting us there were friend’s Chantelle, Eric, and Maddox.

La Finca Group

And of course the kids, Maddox and Landon, couldn’t be bothered to look up from their tablets.

La Finca Kids

I had my usual Marcos Taco Salad with Beef Fajita meat, and that’s a lot of meat in there.

La Finca Marcos Salad 2

Chantelle is a travel agent and we spent a good bit of time talking about our upcoming European River Cruise, probably next spring sometime. Right now we’re looking at one of the 15 day cruises along the Danube, running from Budapest to Amsterdam, or vice versa.

Plus as I said before, Jan wants to see London, Paris, and Versailles either before or after the cruise. But we’ll see how it all plans out. This will almost certainly be our one and only trip to Europe so we might as well make the most of it.

And on that note, we want to get by the Post Office this week to renew our passports. Don’t want to wait until the last minute and pay extra.

Tomorrow I’ve got to drop off a key for the house buyer and then we’ll probably have to rent another storeroom for a couple of months (yeah, right) so we can go ahead and get everything out of the house and then sort through it later.

We still got a lot of family photos, scrapbooks, and other stuff that we need to look at. Hopefully we can get another 5×5 unit close to our other one.


August 3, 2021

And now . . . Lambda?

Well, with the cooler temperatures, came a lot of rain, about 4” worth according to my rain gauge. And it was still raining this morning, so no coffee out on the patio. But on the plus we didn’t have to water anything.

We had planned to take Branson Scenic Railway train ride while we were there, but after a little checking we decided to skip it.

Branson Railroad F9 Locomotive

It seems that during December they only do the nighttime Polar Express Christmas train at 4:45pm and 6:30pm. So we would be trapped on a train full of kids wearing pajamas (and some parents too), hopped on free Hot Chocolate and Cookies, and on the way to pick up Santa Claus and bring him back from the North Pole.

Oh, and there will be Christmas Carolers and a Hobo, too.

Jan said, “Oh Hell, NO!

So we can cross that off.

With the rain letting up, we headed out about 1pm to first have lunch at Los Ramirez once again. Pechuga Rellena  and Beef Fajita Taco Salad.

Delicious!

Then it was on up the road to the big HEB on League City Pkwy for some things that our local HEB was out of. After that it was a stop by the office to pick up a couple of Amazon orders that came in, or were coming in. Since we got there and just waited in the parking lot, tracking the delivery on my phone, before the Prime van pulled in.

Next up before heading home was a quick stop at Kroger’s for a couple of prescriptions, for me this time. And once again Kroger’s Pharmacy Plan came through. The two prescriptions, that would have been $24 at WalMart/Sam’s, were a total of $6 at Kroger. One of them was on their ‘Free’ list, and the other one was only $6.

Nice!


Thought for the Day:

In my defense, I was left unsupervised. Again!

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