Bridges And Caviar . . .

We were going into Webster this morning for my Physical Therapy, but ended up going in about 30 minutes due to a ‘perceived’ problem at work. I say ‘perceived’, because it wasn’t really a problem. My client just wasn’t doing it like I told him.

And wrote down for him.

Today was my 4th Physical Therapy training session, again with Jennifer, the same trainer I had last time. We ran through my standard set that I’ve been doing at home, and then added a couple of more short ones.

Finishing up a little before 2pm, we drove over to The CookShack for lunch. It’s been a few months since we’ve been here, and we’ve been missing their chicken.

Jan had the Shack Salad, with Grilled Chicken, Avocado, Dates, Almonds, Goat Cheese, Cherry Tomatoes, Corn and Champagne Vinaigrette, and a separate Chicken Tender.

Cookshack Shack Salad with Tender

I took the simple route with 5 Tenders, Texas Hot, of course, and a side of Texas Caviar.

CookShack 5 Tenders

Texas Hot is their hottest standard version, with AMF their super-duper, sign-a-waiver version. I’ve done AMF twice, both versions, 1 & 2, but it was more for the challenge, not for a really good meal.

What they call Texas Caviar is made up of Black Beans, Corn, Red Peppers, Purple Onions, Tomatoes, and Cilantro.

All really good as before.

Finally we headed home for the night.

In one of yesterday’s past blogs, I mentioned my past troubles on the Atchafalaya Basin River Bridge over in Louisiana, on I-10 between Breaux Bridge and Baton Rouge. 18.2 miles long, it spans the Atchafalaya Basin, the nation’s largest river swamp, containing almost one million acres of America’s most significant bottomland hardwoods, swamps, bayous and backwater lakes.

And gators. Lots and lots of gators.

Originally the speed limit on the bridge was 55mph, but somewhere along the line, they increased the auto speed limit to 60, while keeping the truck limit at 55mph. And supposedly making them stay in the right lane.

Of course like most speed limits, the bridge limits are mostly ignored, by both cars and trucks.

But since there were 269 crashes on the bridge in 2021, with 2 deaths and 89 injuries, authorities have decided to crack down on speeders.

By timing you crossing the bridge with cameras at each end.

If you make the 18 mile trip in less than 18 minutes, you get a ticket.

An expensive ticket.

Effective August 1, 2022, the Atchafalaya Basin Bridge carrying I-10 is now a “highway safety corridor,” per a recently signed law. As a “highway safety corridor,” the standard fine for speeding of $175 would double to $350 following a one-time warning. Subsequent speeding violations would result in $1000 fines.

Anyone who makes it across the 18 mile long bridge in under 18 minutes would been in violation of the 60 m.p.h. speed limit for passenger vehicles and the 55 m.p.h. speed limit for trucks.

So no more doing 70+.


Thought for the Day:

Monkeys and Circus


August 2, 2009

At Home in Buzzard Bay…

Today was a travel day.  We moved about 140 miles east to Buzzard’s Bay, MA on Cape Cod.

The trip was smooth and uneventful for a change.  Traffic was light and the roads were pretty good.

After we got settled in, we headed down the Cape toward East Falmouth where we used to live.

I don’t know if I mentioned it before, but Jan, Chris and I lived here in 1971-72 while I worked for the Department of Defense at Otis Air Force Base.

We were really surprised that we were able to find one of the houses we lived in while we were here.  It’s still there, and I think it looks better now than it did then.

We also think we’ve found the McDonald’s that Jan worked at while we were here.  We’ll have to check it out further to be sure.

We’re still going to be looking for the efficiency apartment that we rented for a while.  It will be interesting to see if it still exists also.

After our little time trip back to 1972, we stopped off at Seafood Sam’s for supper.  I had the Lobster Bisque and the Lobster Salad Roll, and Jan had the Mac and Cheese with Lobster Chunks Casserole.  It all was good.


August 2, 2010

Like Being Back Home . . . In Elkhart

We started out the day by hanging around the rig enjoying a quiet morning. For the first time since February we don’t have to be anywhere for over a month.

Fantastic!

About 11:15 we headed out to El Maguey, our favorite Elkhart Mexican restaurant. And we were happy to find that it was just as good as when we left here last November.

After a delicious lunch we drove over to a WalMart near Goshen. According to the Walmart website they were the only WalMart in the area to stock the cranberry oatmeal that she likes. Unfortunately the website was wrong and they didn’t have any. But amazingly, we found other stuff to buy. Who knew?

Parking at the WalMart we encountered this older American Tradition, from the same manufacturer as our Eagle. Based on the body style and the fact it doesn’t have any slides, I think it’s a ‘96 or ‘97. Still looks good, though.

OldAmericanTradition

Right next to the Tradition was something we had heard about last year. Many of the WalMarts here in Amish country have covered areas for the horse and buggies.

AmishBarn

Although I don’t think this one is an Amish buggy!

AmishBarn2

I found it really funny to see that an Amish mother and son, who were walking into the store after parking their buggy, were wearing bright orange Crocs.

Leaving the WalMart, we drove across the street to one of our favorite stores, Tractor Supply Company. Jan was looking for a magazine she likes called “Countryside”, but the new issue wasn’t out yet. I did find a neat Tractor Supply T-shirt, though.

Coming home, we decided to take the scenic route and avoid the Interstate/Toll Road.

Big Mistake!

It seems like every road around here is under construction, including ones that were under construction when we were here last October. It took us over an hour and 15 minutes just to drive the 20 miles back to the rig. I think we must have gone through at least 6 different construction zones/detours.

The Toll Road is looking better!

Getting back to near the park,  we noted how different this stand of trees looked from last October.

Today.

More FoliageSummer

Last October

More Foliage

For supper we had left-over hot wings from Quaker Steak and Lube, and chips with dip made with a mix Jan bought at the Rally in Louisville.

In Elkhart, IN


August 2, 2013

Missed It By That Much . . .

We woke up this morning to heavy rain and a lot of thunderboomers that lasted most of the morning, but by early afternoon it had all faded away to just a heavy overcast.


I’ve heard of houses on stilts, but RV’s?

He better hope a strong wind doesn’t come up.

RV on Stilts 2

Jan and I headed out to Mishawaka about 1:45pm. We were planning on seeing a movie, R.I.P.D., that started at 2:50, but we left earlier than normally necessary because there was a wreck at Exit 69 on the I-90 Toll Road that was blocking traffic in both directions. But since we were getting on at Exit 92 and off at Exit 93, I figured we should be OK. But I added extra time anyway. And I’m glad I did.

When came over the hill to our Mishawaka exit, the traffic was backed up as far as we could see, ending right after our exit. If we’d been 5 minutes later, we would have been blocked from our exit and stuck on the Interstate, behind 14 miles of backed up traffic.

We really wanted to like R.I.P.D. (Rest In Peace Department). The concept of a Police Department that retrieves evil ‘deado’s from the earth and returns them to the afterlife is a fun concept. But it just didn’t click. We didn’t dislike it, but we wanted more. It was close.

Other movies like Ghost, Ghostbusters, Men in Black, and Betelgeuse took similar off-the-wall concepts and made them hits. But the common thread in all these movies was humor, a lot of humor. Don’t get me wrong, R.I.P.D. had humor. Jeff Bridges as an 1880’s Wild West U.S. Marshall was great. And Ryan Reynolds held his own as the “rookie”. But overall, it was a miss. A near miss, but a miss still.

Leaving the movie, we stopped off at Sam’s Club to pick up a prescription that wasn’t ready the other day. Then it was on to a nearby Famous Dave’s BBQ for probably the last time this year. They don’t have any down in our area, so we wanted to get in one more shot. Since we’d had popcorn at the movie, we weren’t super hungry so we split a rib platter along with an extra side. The ribs were delicious, and even after splitting the platter, we were too full for the Bread Pudding that we usually split.

Heading home, we saw that the Interstate was now clear, making a lot of drivers happy.

Tomorrow we’ll get ready to travel on Sunday, and maybe take in another movie, RED 2, at the local theater.

Then El Maguey for dinner.


August 2, 2014

Told Ya!

Today is our last day here in Ohio for this year.

And after a nice, slow morning, we headed back over to Lebanon, OH to check out some of the shops and old homes. But what we found was a large street fair and car show going on the downtown.

So after avoiding the $5 and $10 parking lots, we finally found a parking spot and walked around for an hour or so, checking the shops, stands, and, especially, the cars.

This is one that I haven’t seen before. It’s a very nice 1929 Essex. Made between 1918 and 1932, Essex started out as a Hudson Automobile subsidiary, before becoming just another model in the Hudson line in 1922.

In fact, by 1929 Essex was third in sales behind Ford and Chevrolet.

Lebanon 1929 Essex

When I caught a glimpse of this one as we drove by, I thought it was a Chevy, but when I got close, found it was a 1933 Plymouth.

Lebanon 1933 Plymouth

This photo doesn’t do this 1939 Ford Coupe justice. It looks white in this photo, but it’s actually a deep lustrous pearl. Coats and coats of pearl lacquer.

Lebanon 1939 Ford Coupe

This beauty is a 1948 Buick luxury touring model, and even has power windows.

In 1948!

Lebanon 1948 Buick

This 1976 Stutz Blackhawk is the first one I’ve ever seen in person. Manufactured from 1971 to 1987 by the Stutz Motor Company, the body was handcrafted in Ghia in Italy and then shipped to the US where it was mated with a GM chassis and engine.

Lebanon 1976 Stutz Blackhawk

The body had 22 coats of hand-rubbed lacquer that took six weeks to apply. The Blackhawk was so prized that they were reserved years in advance. In fact, Elvis Presley outbid Frank Sinatra for the first one. And at one time Elvis own 4 Blackhawks.

Other notable owners included Lucille Ball, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lewis, Liberace, and Willie Nelson. The Shah of Iran reportedly owned twelve of them.

Although very popular with the rich crowd, they were finally done in by changes in US auto safety laws.

This is a 1951 Chevrolet Coupe pulling a 1976 Jayco camper.

Lebanon 1951 Chevrolet

I like the period radio on the shelf.

Lebanon 1976 Jayco

After driving around a while longer, we stopped off at a nice used bookstore for a while, before ending up at the Acapulco Mexican Restaurant about 4pm. This is the same place we ate at this past Tuesday with the Boggs family of The Boggs Family Ministries, and it was so good we had to do it again.

Jan had her Pollo Loco and I had the Carnitas Acapulco, both the same as last time.


Under the heading, See I Told You They Were Good For You, a recent study shows that the main ingredient in chili peppers, dietary capsaicin, significantly decreases the chance of colorectal and bowel cancer, lowers blood pressure, boosts memory, and increases longevity as much as 30%.

And all y’all thought I was just crazy.

Not saying I’m not, but I was right about this.


August 2, 2015

A Trifecta of Bad . . .

Jan and I pulled out of our site here at Cherokee Landing Thousand Trails about 9:45, bidding a not-fond adieu to probably the nicest bad park we’ve ever stayed at, especially for two whole weeks.

We’ve certainly stayed in worst places, much worse in fact. But only for one night, not fourteen. But as nice as the basic park is, I.e. wooded sites, but still with satellite access, fairly level, quiet, and not much traffic, overall it sucked.

Cherokee Landing is a Trifecta of Bad. Bad power, bad water pressure, and bad Internet. I’ve already mentioned the ‘fake’ 50 amp pedestals, consisting of a 50 amp receptacle connected to a 30 amp, actually three 30 amp breakers in series between the main breaker panel, the ‘real’ 30 amp box, and the ‘fake’ 30 amp box.

And, believe it or not, some people actually end up paying an extra $3 per night for this ‘50’ amp service, though we didn’t have to.

As far as the water pressure, according to my pressure meter, we were getting between 15 and 20 psi, the lowest I’ve ever seen at a park. To be sure it wasn’t just our site, I tested the sites on either side of us with the same results.

The pressure was so low that if I turned our Oxygenic shower nozzle upside down, the water wouldn’t even fountain up, but just run down the sides. So after a day or so of this, we started just using our internal water and our pump. Much better. But it would take over an hour to refill the 100 gallon tank from the shore water because of the low pressure. Just pitiful.

I realized I can’t really blame the park for the bad Internet, but it was just one more thing that was a constant irritation.

OK, so I’m finished ranting now.

As we had planned, we pulled into the Cracker Barrel in Corinth, MS about 10:30 to have breakfast. Although they had RV spaces, they weren’t big enough for us to fit. So we parked across about 6-8 spaces along the very back of the lot. Luckily they have a really big parking lot, so we weren’t putting anyone out. We of course left the genset running to keep Mister comfortable while we were eating.

Finishing up, we were back on the road about 11:30 for the last  115 miles. I did get a chance to see my new AC voltmeter in action.

AC Voltmeter on the Road

As I said, I can see whether or not the genset is running from the dashboard, but not that the transfer switch is putting power to the coach. So this let’s me monitor that.

We pulled into the Northgate RV Travel Park about 1:45 and got set up. We’ll plan on being here until Thursday visiting relatives. Then it’s on to Gulf Shores for a week.

Really looking forward to both visits.


August 2, 2016

Two Disappointments in a Row . . .

Finishing up on yesterday’s adventures, we pulled into Hollywood Casino RV Park a little after 1pm. And that was pretty much the high point of our entire visit.

Following the signs I parked in front of the office and went in to register. Or tried to. There was a small well-worn piece of paper on the door saying the office was closed, and to use the phone in the laundry room around the corner to call the casino hotel front desk to check in.

The phone was a direct line, so the first dozen or so times I tried, I just got a busy signal. But finally it rang through to the front desk, where I was told, “Front Desk. Please hold.”

And I did, for the next 10 minutes or so. Until I hung up and started over. And then just repeated the same scenario.

Finally giving up, we drove around to find a empty site. Which wasn’t a problem because it was only 25% full, if that.

Unlike last night at Poche’s, all the sites here are back-ins, so we found a nice site, got unhitched, and backed in. My plan was to hook up shore power so I could turn off the generator that was running the AC’s, and then drive over to the Casino and check in. But turns out the pedestals were padlocked.

Hollywood Casino 1

So I drove over to the Casino, stood in line, a long line, and finally got checked in. Turns out that they didn’t even have my reservation correct. The had us coming in today, and not yesterday. Even though I made the reservation online and had my confirmation email on my phone.

But it didn’t matter since the park was pretty empty anyway. The only reason I even made a reservation was because they were so full when we were last here in 2009. But a lot has changed since then.

By the time I got back to the rig, the security guard had unlocked the pedestal so I got plugged in. Like last night, I didn’t hook up water or sewer. Just that much less to do.

In fact, I didn’t even set up the satellite dish, since there was nothing we wanted to watch or record that night, so we just read and computered.

About 4:15 I called the shuttle to take us over to the Casino. But it turns out that there is no more shuttle. It’s now a security guard in a Chevy Malibu.

As we on our way through the park, I noticed that the entire park had a slightly run-down look, with unmowed areas and little or no edging around the pads.

Hollywood Casino 2

It was a really nice park, so it’s a shame to see it let go like this.

Once in the casino, our first stop was the Player’s Services desk to get our Rewards Cards. The last time we were here we each got $25 of slot cash on our cards, but not this time.

Zip, Zero, Nada!

Next we headed upstairs to eat at the Epic Buffet, a misnomer if there ever was one. We remembered this as being a good buffet, but no longer. It was now more on the level of a mediocre Golden Corral. And the advertised Asian and Cajun food areas weren’t even open.

Monday night was supposed to Ribeye Steak night, but it was more like Small Thin End pieces night. They were about 3” square, tough and chewy, and even Jan thought they were way overdone.

And for Jan that’s saying something.

The one redeeming thing was the big pile of boiled shrimp. Very fresh and crisp. It was really good, and I ate more of that than anything else.

Butt the really bad part was the price – $20.99.

Our favorite casino buffet, at Boulder Station in Las Vegas, at $9.99, has much, much better food at less than half the price.

A real disappointment.

Coming back to the rig, in the Chevy Malibu again, the security guard mentioned how they gotten rid of the shuttle, as well as a lot of other cutbacks. And it really shows.

Guess the gambling bug has lost it’s glitter around here.

Getting back to today, we were hitched up and on the road to Gulf Shores, AL by 10am. Rather than get back on I-10, we decide to take the scenic route by staying on US90 as it follows along the Gulf beach for about 35 miles. We stayed on this until we got to Ocean Springs, MS where US90 moves inland. Back on I-10 we passed through the Mobile tunnel, and getting across Mobile Bay, we got off at SR59 which took us all the way to Gulf Shores.

We pulled into the Gulf State Park a little before 1pm, and I went in to get registered. And got a big, big shock.

We stayed here last August, although in the different, slightly cheaper area, and we paid about $250 for the week. So I was really stunned to find a week this year was $380.00! That’s almost $60 a day.

Now I know they’ve added $35 a week ‘Resort Fee’, but where did the rest come from?

Gulf State Park Site 483

In contrast, Luxury RV Park, where we stayed in 2008, is just as close to the beach (a couple of blocks away) as Gulf State Park, and it’s only $240 a week.

So from now on, it’s Luxury RV for us.

But things got better when we headed out to have dinner at Desoto’s Seafood Kitchen. As usually we got the Seafood Platter, with Flounder, Shrimp, Oysters, and Crab Claws.

Desoto's Seafood Platter 2

For sides, Jan got their delicious Sweet Potato Casserole with Pecan pieces and the Fried Green Tomatoes, while I got the Casserole and French Fries. It’s always great, and this time was no different.

It almost made up for the Gulf State Park.

Athens AL


August 2, 2017

The Great American BBQ Tour . . .

I spent a good part of the morning working on the mobile site for the new website, trying to get everything to line up correctly.

The Godaddy Website Builder program automagically generates a mobile site on its own, but it needs to be tweaked, sometimes a little, and sometimes a lot. But I can’t really finish it up until I get the last website corrections from the client. So it’s hurry up and wait. As usual.

Later I put in a call to my cousin’s Marjorie and Anna Jean to set up a get-together tomorrow afternoon.

About 3:30 Jan and I headed down to Decatur to have dinner at Big Bob Gibson’s BBQ. Often listed as one of the top 5 BBQ places in the US, several walls are covered with their awards and certificates.

Big Bob Gibson's Awards

And even their red BBQ sauce and their white BBQ (for chicken and turkey) are award winners too.

Big Bob Gibson's BBQ Red Sauce

Big Bob Gibson's BBQ Red Sauce 2

Big Bob Gibson's White Sauce

Jan got the BBQ Chicken with Mac N Cheese and Green Beans,

(Sorry. No photo. Hers came out blurry)

while I had the 2 meat Combo with Ribs, Pulled Pork, BBQ Beans, and Potato Salad.

Big Bob Gibson's Combo Plate 2

Very, very good, making it very obvious why they’ve won so many awards.

And of course we had to finish up with some of their famous pie. Jan got the Coconut Cream,

Big Bob Gibson's Coconut Pie

while I got the Lemon Cream

Big Bob Gibson's Lemon Pie

This makes the 3rd installment on our Great American BBQ Tour, with one more to go – the Sonny’s BBQ in Brandon, MS, where we’ll stop for lunch on Saturday on our way home.

Coming back to Athens we drove around for a while checking out places we used to live.

This is the house my parents bought when we moved back from Colombia, South America in 1963. It was brand new then, and it still looks pretty good.

36 Sandra Lane House

I attended the 10th grade at Athens High while we lived here, and then the next year I went off to Columbia Military Academy for my Junior and Senior years.

Greg CMA photo

See, I did have hair back in the day.

Jan and I, and our son Chris, lived here for a while before we moved to Beaufort, SC .

115 Hammonds St House

Again, it still looks pretty good.

After we’d been here a while I got on with a DOD contractor and we moved to Beaufort, SC where I worked at the MCAS (Marine Corp Air Station) at Parris Island. I was working on avionics and radar systems on F-4B, C, D, & S Phantoms.

Marine F-4B Phantom

In some cases we were stripping out all the avionics, electronics, and the engines, testing everything, and then putting it all back together again.

Getting back to the park, we went next door to visit my Aunt Janice and Uncle Ed. Their son Wes runs their RV Park here. And they have a lot to do with Jan and I getting together.

Ed was a veterinarian, and he and Janice lived in Sanford, FL in 1967 where he had his practice. I came down to visit for a while, and saw an ad for a job over in Titusville at Florida Wonderland, a local amusement park there. And that’s where Jan and I met.

Tomorrow will wrap up our last full day here in Athens before we head home on Friday.


August 2, 2018

And The Bidding Is On . . .

Tomorrow I’ll drive up to Katy to pick up Jan for the weekend, before Brandi, et. al. come back down and pick her up again for next week.

Then I should have her back for good Friday week.

I don’t know what’s happened with the gas prices recently. The price has been jumping all over the place. When we left on our trip June 21st, the price of unleaded was around $2.95, and then when we got back 2-1/2 weeks later, it had dropped down to about $2.55. Then it dropped a few more cents a week, finally coming down to $2.47. Which it was when I went to work one morning,  planning on getting gas on the way home.

But by that afternoon it had popped up to $2.54 where it still is today. So who knows.

I mentioned last night that I was going to get with a real estate lawyer to go over some questions I had about a few sections of the Texas Real State Commission contract that I wasn’t clear on.

Well, it looks like I’ve save myself several hundred dollars. I found a 2+ hour YouTube video that goes over the TREC contract in detail, paragraph by paragraph. And so far I’m about 45 minutes into it. Hopefully I’ll be able finish it up tomorrow.

I just got off the phone with the guy I mentioned I was waiting for in last night’s blog. And we have a new high bid, higher by $1500, AND he said he’ll put down $5000 in earnest money, rather than the $200 the previous bidder had promised.

Keep those bids coming in, guys.


August 2, 2020

Well, That Was Easy . . .

Based on what I had heard I thought it was going to be a pain, but it turned out to be pretty easy.

The first thing I did was to unplug our DirecTV DVR from the satellite dish. And then I called DirecTV to have them suspend our service. I was expecting to be turned over to Account Retention or some such office. But I was able to do it all just by talking to the computer.

When I told them I wanted to suspend my account, they said I could suspend it for at least one month but no more then six months. So to make it nice and even I chose December 31, 2020. And that was it.

Easy Peazy!

And the reason I disconnected the satellite from the DVR first is that when they turn off or suspend your service, they also shut off your DVR so you can’t play back any of your previous recordings. So since we still have movies and old shows we might want to watch, this will keep it working.

Later Jan and I headed up to Clear Lake about 1pm to first have lunch at Snooze. Jan had her usual Bravacado Toast,

Snooze Bravocaod Toast 3

while I went with the Classic 3 egg breakfast.

Snooze Classic Breakfast 3

Then it was over to WalMart for a prescription and some supplies before finally heading home about 4pm.

Yesterday we had a late lunch at Los Ramirez Mexico once again. Jan always gets the Pechuga Rellana, a grilled chicken breast over a bed of grilled shrimp and broccoli, and covered in cheese.

Los Ramirez Pechuga Rellana 3

And I tried something a little different with the Spicy Beef Fajitas with Charro Beans.

Los Ramierz Spicy Beef Fajitas


August 2, 2021

A Cool Front . . .

Several readers wondered about how the new sprinklers worked on our hibiscus tree watering system.

Hibiscus Sprinklers

The little red caps let you adjust how much water comes out, changing from just a slight drizzle to spreading out over a foot on each side. Perfect for this.

Readers will remember how I ordered these 24” and 30” high Flamingos from a Facebook ad,

New Facebook Flamingos

The ad said they were made in the USA and shipped from California.

What I got were these 8” tall, broken flamingos, shipped from China.

Wrong Flamingos

While I’m trying to get my money back through PayPal, I’ve been trying to at least salvage these by gluing them back together. But with no luck so far.

I’ve tried Super Glue, Gorilla Glue, Contact Cement, and several others. But so far I haven’t found anything that will stick to whatever resin these are made of. I guess next I’ll try to drill a small hole in each piece and try to piece them back together that way.

Looks like the I-40 bridge that crosses the Mississippi at Memphis, and was closed in May due to a major structural failure, has finally reopened.

Finally, looks like we may be getting a cold/cool? front coming through over the next couple of days. While our recent temps have in the low/mid 90’s, tomorrow’s high is supposed to be about 86° with a low in the mid-70’s. Nice.

Only In Texas

Of course it sure seems like we’ve had cooler summer than normal anyway. So far we’ve not had a single temp in the 100’s, or even the high 90’s. And that’s reflected in our power bills this year vs last year. Maybe our usual summer temps moved out west for this year


Thought for the Day:

Have you ever wondered if the dollar bills in your wallet were ever tucked in some stripper’s G-string? I guess that explains the glitter.

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