Rinse, Lather, Repeat . . .

Once again Karma can’t figured out where Jan is, and why she’s not here.

She sits on the floor staring up at the sofa where Jan normally sits. Then after that doesn’t work, she will jump up on the sofa and nose around in case she might have missed here there somewhere.

Then Karma will jump down and sit in front of me, looking up at me like I’m supposed to go find Jan.

Rinse, Lather, Repeat.

Our daughter-in-law Linda sent over another photo of the new hot tub addition to their backyard.

Chris' New Hot Tub

Really, really nice.

And another nice thing is the the house that Miss Piper and Derek have been remodeling over in Taylor, TX, a little northeast of Austin.

Piper New House 1

Piper New House 2

Piper New House 3

Piper New House 4

Really beautiful.

Apparently all they’ve got left now is the upper cabinets in the kitchen, and then the floors to finish up.

And on the Brandi front, Baxter and Jack were always fighting over the dog bed. So Brandi and Lowell pulled out an old corduroy bean bag chair and repurposed it as a new dog bed.

And now it’s big enough for both of them.

Jack and Baxter in Bean Bag Chair


Thought for the Day:

You're Fluffy


August 8, 2009

Good friends and Old Times…

We got up early after a night of Wally-docking (That’s staying in a Walmart parking lot).

We decided to have breakfast before we left so we drove over to a place called Yolks, that just serves breakfast and lunch.  Very good.

After coming back from breakfast we walked over to Walmart (a short trip across the parking lot) to do some shopping and pick up our prescriptions.  Having them at Walmart really makes things easy as we move about the country.

After puttering around the coach, we headed out around noon for Northhampton, MA to visit a high school friend of Jan’s.

We expected the 100 mile trip to take us about 2 and 1/2 hours.  Instead, due to heavy traffic and congestion, it took almost 4 hours.  It took us a hour and 10 minutes to got 13 miles at one point.

After getting setting up here at Windy Acres RV park, we headed over to Joan’s house in South Hadley, about 13 miles away, to have pizza.

And both the pizza and the company were great.

I hadn’t seen Joan since 1972 and Jan hadn’t seen her since 1976, when she came up for her 10th reunion. But it was good to talk over old times.

Tomorrow we are getting together to drive around the area.


August 8, 2011

Transformers . . .

Since we only had about 200 miles to go today, we didn’t leave Pine Grove Campground in Shawano, WI until almost 11.

We were heading south to Janesville, WI where we planned to spend the night at the local Moose Lodge. And since we would only have 20 amp power, the later we got there the cooler it would be, since we would not be able to run the AC’s without starting the generator.

But it was overcast all the way along today, and was pretty cool when we got here about 3:30. And even better it was supposed to be in the low 60’s tonight.

This Moose Lodge is really nice, with a big parking lot and plenty of room to maneuver the rig. As I said we only have 20 amp electric but that’s plenty with this cooler weather.

Moose Lodge 1

And the view is nice, too.

Moose Lodge 2

About 4:30 we headed out for another dinner and a movie night.

Dinner was at Red Robin, one of our favorite burger places, and after a quick stop at Wal-Mart, we went to see the latest Transformers movie, Transformers: Dark of the Moon.

We had seen the first two, and wanted a complete set. We both liked it, although sometimes the action was so fast it was hard to tell who was fighting who. But the special effects were fantastic. It’s really amazing how they can make giant transforming robots look as real as the car they’re standing next to.

Tomorrow we’ve got another short trip, about 165 miles to the Bloomington/Normal, Illinois area. Hopefully it’ll be nice and cool like today.

Finishing Up Our First Year of Gate Guarding


August 8, 2012

Six and Counting . . .

That’s not how many days we have left here, it’s how many flat tires I’ve had here since April.

Oh, and two new tires, because two of the flats couldn’t be repaired. And to make it worse, I had road hazard insurance on both tires, but with Discount Tires. And the nearest one is in San Antonio, 75 miles away. So no help there.

I think from now on, I’ll just start getting all my tires from Wal-Mart since they’re everywhere. I’ve used Discount Tires in Houston for years, but since we’re on the road all the time now, Wal-Mart might be a better choice.

Hopefully we’ll get through the next week and a half without another one.

Next up: A new Landon video, taking his 4 Wheeler for a spin in a nearby park.

Under the heading of why the US Post Office is going broke, check out the tracking data from a small computer fan I ordered off of eBay. It was shipped First Class with Tracking, and apparently is somewhere in orbit over Texas.

Processed through USPS Sort Facility
2012-08-08, 00:07:00, SAN ANTONIO, TX 78284
Processed through USPS Sort Facility
2012-08-07, 13:28:00, DALLAS, TX 75398
Depart USPS Sort Facility
2012-08-07, 00:00:00, DALLAS, TX 75398
Processed through USPS Sort Facility
2012-08-06, 16:04:00, MCALLEN, TX 78501
Depart USPS Sort Facility
2012-08-06, 00:00:00, SAN ANTONIO, TX 78284
Depart USPS Sort Facility
2012-08-06, 00:00:00, MCALLEN, TX 78501
Processed through USPS Sort Facility
2012-08-05, 21:58:00, SAN ANTONIO, TX 78284
Processed through USPS Sort Facility
2012-08-04, 21:20:00, SAN BERNARDINO, CA 92403
Dispatched to Sort Facility
2012-08-04, 14:37:00, MURRIETA, CA 92563
Acceptance
2012-08-04, 13:39:00, MURRIETA, CA 92562

Note that it got from Murrieta, CA to San Antonio, TX in one day. Good so far.

Normally at this point I would have gotten it the next day.

But for some reason it next went to McAllen, TX, then back to San Antonio, then back to McAllen. After that it apparently went through Dallas twice before ending up back in San Antonio today.  I’m actually looking forward to seeing where it will end up next.

On the Food front, we’ve had two great meals in two days. Yesterday being Tuesday, of course it was Chile Rellenos from Galindo’s. Unfortunately next Tuesday will be our last meal from there before we hit the road. Bummer!

Then today it was a surprise catered Steak Dinner here,  And as usual, really, really good. The steak was tender and juicy, and the beans had big chunks of sausage in them.

Catered Meal - Summit Casing

And we hear there might be another meal coming in the next few days.  YAY!

I was reading an article the other day about how more and more people are not wearing watches anymore because they always have the correct time on their cell phones and it got me to thinking about my first digital watch in 1975.

It was a Sinclair Black Watch, and it was available as a kit.

Yes, a kit!

It looked like this when you got it.

Black Watch Kit

And if you put it together right, it looked like this.

Black Watch

According to the article a lot of people had trouble with them, but the only trouble I remember having was that the holes on the case where the wrist band attached kept wearing out and the band would come loose.

Of course it probably didn’t hurt that I had been building electronic kits since I was about 12, and when I was working as a DOD contractor in the early 70’s, they sent me to the NASA Certified Soldering  School in Cherry Point, NC.

I also built our first color television, a Heathkit 25” GR-2000 console.

Heathkit Color TV Chassis

When I finished it looked something like this, although I built my own cabinet. But it was in the same Mediterranean style.

1974-Zenith-TV

Hey, I’m a geek. What can I say.


August 8, 2013

Four States in Eight Hours . . .

Getting ready for our long 400 mile day, we were out of Timber Trails Campground at 7:45 this morning heading the 10 miles into Vandalia to get diesel at the Wal-Mart. 34 gallons and $135.00 later I hitched up the truck and we drove the rig over to the Denny’s on the other side of the Interstate to meet Debbie, Jim, and Tana for one last breakfast together.

After saying our goodbyes for this year, we were back on the road a little after 10. It quickly became obvious that we were going to have to run the generator and the house AC’s to be comfortable, as much for the humidity as the temperature.

Then, before we could even get out of Illinois, the humidity caught up with us in the form of rain. Lots and lots of rain. In fact the rain never really let up for the rest of the day, even though when I checked the weather along our route through Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Alabama this morning, it all looked fine.

And to make it even more fun, we had road construction. Lots and lots of road construction. Just miles of single lanes and orange barrels. Throw in a wreck that had traffic backed up for about 5 miles, and you’ve got the makings of a real fun day.

When the rain slacked a little, Jan decided she wanted to drive for a while so she took over for a couple of hours, and she did great, even in the pouring rain. But she was a little leery about driving though Nashville traffic in all the lane, so I took it back over a little outside town, and drove the rest of the way.

We got into my cousin’s Northgate RV Travel Park in Athens, AL, about 10 miles south of the Tennessee border a little after 6pm. Since the park office was already closed, we just found a site and got parked. All I did at that point was plug in shore power and unhitch the toad, before we headed out to Cracker Barrel for dinner.

Thursday is Turkey and Dressing day there, and Jan didn’t want to miss out. They often run out of it toward the end of the day, and in fact, as we were leaving, they had taken it off the menu board.

Getting back to the rig about 8, I finished setting us up and we settled in after a very long day.

Tomorrow, reconnecting with my relatives here.


August 8, 2014

Beach Bound . . .

Since we had a 370 mile trip down to Gulf Shores today, we had planned to be on the road by 9:00, but in a pleasant surprise, my great-niece Stahlie and her mother Helen and brother Luke showed up to say goodbye.. We really enjoyed hearing Stahlie’s stories about her and her sister Darby’s recent visit to China, and what‘s going on in her life now.

So it was well-worthwhile getting on the road a half hour behind schedule. Leaving the Northgate RV Travel Park, we were back on I-65 in about half a mile and heading south. We made a pitstop about an hour and a half down the road, and while there, I checked the Birmingham Sigalert page for traffic problems as we passed through. When I had checked about 7 am there were a number of red areas, but they had dissipated by the time we got there.

A little south of Montgomery we ran into about 5 miles of heavy rain, but it cleared up pretty fast, so it didn’t really cause any problems. We did see signs of more rain further south that we missed out on.

Just as we turned off I-65 for the last 50 miles or so to the beach, the generator quit. I had been expecting it since I knew we were getting down to that level of diesel in the tank. But we quickly decided we didn’t want to drive the last 50 miles without any AC. So a few miles along the way, I pulled into a Love’s to get some  more AC fuel.

The diesel pumps were pretty busy so we had to wait about 10 minutes for a lane to open up, but we were done pretty quickly  and back on our way. And cool again.

We pulled into the Gulf State Park RV Park about 5:30, and got checked in and set up. We’re not right on the water this time, but we are right across the street from it.

Gulf State Park 2014-1

Gulf State Park 2014-2

After resting up for a while, Jan and I headed out for dinner at one of our favorite local places, DeSoto’s Seafood Kitchen. We’ve been eating here for years and it’s always good, and tonight, very crowded.

DeSoto's Seafood Kitchen

We had to wait about 40 minutes for a table, but it was worth it. And in fact, on a  Friday night with only a couple of beach weekends left before school starts, everything down here is crowded.

Jan and I both ordered our usual, which is the same for both of us.

DeSoto's Seafood Platter

The Seafood Platter, with Crab Claws, Shrimp, Oysters, and Flounder, all fresh and delicious. And our sides were Fried Green Tomatoes and their fantastic Sweet Potato Casserole with glazed pecans.

The Flounder was really, really good, and we both had plenty of everything to take for later.

This is the first time we’ve been here during the season in a while and I had forgotten how crowded it can be. The last two times we were here it was November, and the time before that, in 2009, it was March. So this time was a shock.

Tomorrow will be a do-nothing, goof-off day except for going out for dinner at another of our favorite places.


August 8, 2015

Throwed Rolls . . .

I spent the morning working on a few things around the rig that needed repairing. Makes me really appreciate the picture someone posted on Facebook saying, “RV’ing Is: Visiting Beautiful Places and Fixing Things.” Tell me about it.

About 2;30 Jan and I headed up to Foley to have linner at Lambert’s Throwed Rolls. And as we expected, we had a little over an hour wait. But unless you want to get there at 10:30am, it’s always an hour or so wait.

Lambert's 1

When they open the doors at 10:30, the place immediately fills up. From then on it’s an hour wait pretty much until they close. And it was still an hour wait when we left a little after 5pm.

We always enjoy the “Pass Arounds”, especially the Fried Okra.

Lambert's 2

They also have Fried Potatoes and Onions, Black-eyed Peas, Boiled Cabbage, and several other items, but these require a plate. The Fried Okra doesn’t.

Jan usually gets the Fried Chicken, and she did this time too.

Lambert's 3

That’s two large breast-wing combinations. This way half of it comes home for later.

This time I got the BBQ Pork Steak, with White Beans, Turnip Greens, and Applesauce.

Lambert's 4

That steak is an inch thick and delicious. And big enough so half that went home as well.

And of course you can’t forget about the ‘Throwed Rolls” And, yes, they do throw them. Think delicious yeast rolls, hot out of the oven and bigger than a softball flying overhead. I’ve seen four in the air at the same time, some traveling more than 30 feet.

And if you miss one, look out because a replacement is on its way. One time I saw them toss six rolls to a little boy before he finally caught one, and it made his day.

Missing one is embarrassing, but catching one can be painful. As it said, they’re hot out of the oven, too hot to hold, actually, so you drop it on the table as soon as you can.

One nice thing about Lambert’s is that the prices are very reasonable. Jan’s two big pieces of chick and two sides was $12, and my Pork Steak with three sides was $13. So $6 and $6.50 since we took half home. And of course there’s all the Pass Arounds and Hot Rolls you can eat.

Or catch.


While his parents are in Costa Rica, Landon and his Grammie Sonja got some cake baking down. Looks like Landon is right in there helping.

Landon and Sonja Cooking 3

Landon and Sonja Cooking 2

Landon and Sonja Cooking 8

Landon and Sonja Cooking 6

And of course he gets the first taste. Looks like an early birthday cake.


August 8, 2016

Last Day in Paradise…er…Gulf Shores

We didn’t have coffee this morning when I got up at 11 since we planned on having an early lunch at Lulu’s at Homeport on the Canal.

We left the rig for Lulu’s about 12:30 with a quick stop at the Wal-Mart on the way for gas. Gas there was $1.97 a gallon, while right around the corner on the main drag it was going for $2.15.

Big difference for half a block.

The reason for the early lunch was this graph from a Google search. The blue graph at the bottom shows how busy the place is at various times of the day.

Lulu's Time Graph

We wanted to beat the crowds if possible, and it certainly worked, getting a water-side table on the deck.

Lulu's Deck

For those who don’t already know, Lulu is Lucy Buffett, Jimmy Buffett’s younger sister. After working in the Hollywood movie industry for years, and loving to cook, she came back to the Gulf Coast area in the late 90’s and opened a combination bait shop/outdoor burger joint/bar on Fish River near Mobile.

Losing her lease in 2003, she loaded the whole kit, kaboodle, and bar onto a barge and hauled it all down to its present location on the Intercoastal Waterway at Gulf Shores. And every year it seems to get bigger. And now she’s open a new Lulu’s over in Destin, FL

I wonder if Key West is next?

We started out with order for the Fried Green Tomatoes with their delicious homemade Remoulade sauce.

Lulu's Fried Green Tomatoes

Jan comes here for their Blackened Shrimp Tacos. She says theirs is the best around, even better than the ones at Outrigger’s in Seabrook, TX.

Lulu's Blackened Shrimp Tacos

I usually get either the Half and Half Seafood Platter, or today’s choice, the Half and Half Shrimp and Oyster PoBoy.

Lulu's Half and Half PoBoy

You can’t see it in this photo but there’s a bunch of fixings off the bottom of the photo, tomatoes, pickles, onions, etc. By the time you put in all together and slather on the tartar sauce, you’ve got a real two-fisted meal. Really good.

While we were eating, I watched a large group board their cabin cruiser at Lulu’s dock and head down the Canal.

Lulu's Boat

You could probably buy 2 or 3 RV’s for what that costs.

For  dessert we always split a piece of Lulu’s Krispy Kreme Donut Bread Pudding.

Lulu's Bread Pudding

But this time we were just too full, so we got it to go.

Finishing up our meal, and after Jan perused the gift shop, we decided to drive down Fort Morgan Rd to check out a couple of RV parks down that way, as a possible replacement for Gulf State Park for next year’s visit.

And we found a really nice one, Island Retreat RV Park. The price is certainly right at $211 a week, but I’ll have to check it further on RVParkReviews.

Island Retreat RV Park

We drove all the way down to Jan’s namesake fort, Fort Morgan. I say hers, because the fort is named after one of Jan’s direct ancestor’s, Daniel Morgan, a Revolutionary War hero.

Jan’s mother was a Morgan, going all the way back to Col. Morgan Morgan, one of the first settlers into the Virginia area. In fact Morgantown, WV is named for her family.

Of course, she’s also related to the famous pirate/privateer/buccaneer Capt. Henry Morgan, of Captain Morgan Rum fame.

That certainly explains a lot.

Tomorrow we’ve  got a 375 mile trip up to Athens, AL to visit my relatives for a few days, so we’ll get an early start.

Really look forward to seeing everyone.


August 8, 2018

Once And For All . . .

Luv Ya Sweetie!

I spent most of the morning ‘degunking’ a laptop that my client brought in for me to look at.

He said the email didn’t work, but that was an easy fix and the least of the problems. He had changed the email password on the same account on a computer at work, so all I had to given it the correct password and off it went. But it hadn’t been been online since early 2017, so it was 37,201 emails behind. Which took about 3 hours to update.

He gets a lot of Spam.

While that was going on, I uninstalled his expired Norton Anti-Virus and installed AVG Free. Next up I downloaded and installed both CCleaner and Glary Utilities to ‘degunk’ things but I didn’t run them until the email update was finished since using them often requires one or more reboots.

And when the email was finally done, it took about 6 or 8 run-throughs of both CCleaner and Glary before everything was cleaned out. My client said it was running faster now than he ever remembered it.

For a long while, and every time I work on our Splendide Washer/Dryer I’ve been unhappy with the way that the dryer vent hose connects up with the dryer. The Splendide, which is made in France, does not have a standard 4” flange like American units. where the hose slips over the flange and then is held in place with a circle clamp like this.

Circle Clamp

Instead the Splendide output looks like this.

Dryer Vent Hose Repair 1

And it’s sized so that the 3” hose that the rig uses just slips inside the ring. There is no way to fasten it down. The Splendide manual mentions something about a ‘special flange’, which nobody seems to know anything about. In fact the Splendide people out in Washington state have never seen one either.

In addition to the ‘flange’ the manual also mentions using duct tape to hold the hose in place. And that’s how mine came from the factory, as well as the 3 units I’ve worked on for friends. But the duct tape solution has a problem.

Over time the tape dries out from the heat, the glue hardens, and the hose can actually fall off. So every time I pull out the unit for another repair job, I try to come up with a better way to connect the hose.

But it wasn’t until a couple of days ago, as I was walking through A/C Duct area in Lowe’s, a piece of sheet metal caught my eye. It was a 3” to 2” duct adapter like this.

3 to 2 Duct Adapter

And it looked like it would be good fit.

So yesterday I pulled the washer back out of its cubby and tried it out. And the reducer was almost a perfect fit over the outside of the washer flange. But to make it a little tighter and seal it better, I did wrap a couple of turns of Gorilla Tape around the flange.

Dryer Vent Hose Repair 2

Then  with it in place I put a couple of sheet metal screws through the adapter and into the plastic flange.

Dryer Vent Hose Repair 3

The 2” end was a perfect fit for the inside of the 3” vent hose, and a circle clamp held it in place. In hindsight, and the next time I have the unit out, I’ll put a couple of pop-rivets through the clamp and hose into the adapter to make it even more secure.

Dryer Vent Hose Repair 4

So now hopefully, once and for all, that problem is fixed.

Tomorrow, if the rain holds off, I’ll be able to move some stuff down to the new storage room and get a couple of things done around the rig.

Hopefully.


August 8, 2019

An Impactful Blog . . .

I was out at the crack of noon to take a look at the rear brakes on our truck. But first I raised both front wheels to check for a dragging  sound.

Along with the grinding sound coming from the rear brakes I can also hear a dragging noise when the truck is moving slowly. But I wasn’t sure if it was coming from the front or the rear. But when I spun both front wheels I got no noise, so it’s all coming from the rear.

So after cooling off inside the rig and hydrating some, I went back outside to take a crack at the rears. But I didn’t get very far.

When I tried to loosen the first lug nut with the wrench, it wouldn’t budge, even when I stood and jumped on it. So I pulled out my cheater piper and tried it. And after jumping on it. I got it loose, and well as all the others.

Except one.

When I tried that one, the wrench would slip, because the lug nut was slightly rounded off. I even tried a 3/8” drive socket of the correct size, but it slipped too.

WTH?

I lay this directly on Discount Tires, since they’re the last ones that worked on this when they sold me the tire last year.

There was no need for them to tighten the lug nuts like this. If I was at the side of the road and didn’t have my cheater pipe, I couldn’t change the tire, regardless of the rounded off nut.

Somebody needs to have their impact driver confiscated.

I’ll go by Discount Tire this weekend and get them to get it off. And also pre-loosen the lug nuts on the other side, just in case.

After getting cleaned up, Jan and I headed up to the Clear Lake area so I could first get a hair cut. But that didn’t work out either.

My usual barber shop, Esthela’s, was closed, with no reason why. Just the Closed sign. I started using this place about 30 years ago when it was Lou’s, but he retired a couple of years ago, and one of his barber’s, Esthela, bought him out.

So I hope there’s not a problem. It’s hell to break in a new barber.

And getting all your haircut records transferred is never easy either.

So we decided to head back down to our area to eat at Chili’s. But since I was low on gas, we detoured into the Costco to fill up. And it was nice to see a price of $2.16 on the pump.

Before we parked at Chili’s, we drove by the nearby location of the new Black Bear Diner to check it out. We were surprised to see how big it’s going to be, and it will be needed due to how busy they will be.

At Chili’s we went with our usual favs, a bowl of their Chicken Enchilada Soup for both us,

Chili's Chicken Enchilda Soup

and a Grilled Chicken Caribbean Salad to go with.

Chili's Grilled Chicken Caribeean Salad 2

Tomorrow night we’re going to Alvin to first have dinner at Monterey’s and then attending the Alvin Opry to see a long time favorite, John Mark Davis.

Really looking forward to it.


August 8, 2021

The Big Dipper . . .

It was a little warmish this morning so we didn’t have our coffee outside, but a little later in the morning I went outside to replace my leaking radiator overflow hose.

I had noticed that I kept having to add coolant a little often than I had expected, but never saw any obvious leakage. At least until I had to pull the tank to replace the ignition coils last week and found the overflow return hose was splitting apart at the bottom of the tank where it couldn’t be seen.

So yesterday I stopped off at O’Reilly’s yesterday to get a new section of hose. And, as it turned out, the hose was free. The guy said he found a scrap piece at the end of a reel, so he just gave it to me.

Radiator Hose Replacement

You can see where the old hose on the bottom right is split apart.

It did take a little maneuvering to the new hose installed on the nozzle underneath the tank since I couldn’t see, and could just barely feel it. But finally getting it in places I topped off the tank with coolant and I was done.

Repaired Radiator Overflow Tank

However I will monitor the level over the next couple days to be sure any air has been worked out of the system, so I may have to top off the coolant level a couple of times.

While I was putting the coolant jug back in our Rubbermaid storage shed, I took a few minutes to look it over.

Rubbermaid Storage Shed 20210808

It’s about halfway through its 2nd Texas summer and I was happy to see that it still looks brand-new. What looks like a sag in the roof is normal. It’s caused by the fact that the front section is on rails so that it can slide back over the back part, allowing you to stand up in at least part of the shed.

About 2pm Jan and I headed over to the FM646 Denny’s for what seems to be our weekly Ultimate Omelets. Always delicious

After lunch our next stop was the Verizon Store across I-45 on the HEB side, but found this one closed on Sundays. I had want to get them to take a look at Jan’s Text Message problem.

Basically she can’t send or receive any.

I had originally thought it was a problem with her old S5 phone, and hoped the problem would go away when she moved up to my S8+, but the problem followed her account. But so far I haven’t been able to convince Verizon of that, so that they keep having me reset things on the phone. Saved for another day.

Then after an HEB stop for a few things it was home by about 4pm.


Thought for the Day:

Woman like silent men. They think they’re listening.

 

  

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