Daily Archives: September 4, 2022

Got The Bleu’s . . .

About 1:30pm I drove over to our local Lowe’s to pick up some hardware for a project I’m working on, and the coming home, I stopped off at the Whataburger to pick up one of their Bacon Bleu Cheeseburgers and a large Fry to go.

Whataburger Bacon Bleu Burger

I asked for extra Bleu Cheese because last time it was a little skimpy

This ranks right up there as one of my two favorite burgers. The other one being the PB&J Bacon Cheeseburger at Texas Huddle.

Texas Huddle PB&J Burger with Flaming Raspberry

YUM!

Now all I need to do is to get Texas Huddle to add Bleu Cheese to their PB&J Burger. Or to get Whataburger to add PB&J to their Bleu Cheese Burger.

Or both.

Rob, our park owner, officially took possession of the adjoining property just south of us on September 1st, where he’s planning to add more RV sites. But the previous owners seemed to have left their trailer behind, and I was wondering if he was going to have it hauled away. Though I’ve heard that the success in moving old trailers like this is somewhat sketchy.

But yesterday I noticed that all the doors and windows had been removed.

Petticoat Juncton Trailer

So now I thinking that he’s going to bring in one of these hydraulic excavators to rip it apart

Hydraulic Excavator

and then haul off the pieces.

It’ll be fun to watch.


Thought For The Day:

Yeah, Banning Plastic Straws and Grocery Bags Is Going To Fix This Problem!

frame357

The United States’ contribution is pretty much lost in the noise.


September 4, 2009

“Ferry cross the Mers… uh…North Atlantic…”

Today was our last day in Louisbourg for a while.

Tonight at 11:00 pm we catch the car ferry for the 15 hour, 325 mile trip to Argentia, Newfoundland.

However, unlike some RV’ers, we’re not taking our coach over.  Jan said “No way I’m putting my home on a ferry.  Those things can sink. I’ve seen it on the news.”

So we’re leaving the rig in Louisbourg and taking the truck on the ferry, and we’ll stay at B&B/motels for the 3-4 days we’re in Newfoundland.

We went out for breakfast about 10 am and ended up sitting next to another RVing couple from VA.  Gene and Chris had just spent two months in Newfoundland and gave us a lot of good tips.  Hopefully we’ll meet up again sometime.  Nice people!

About 3 pm we left for North Sydney, Nova Scotia, where the ferry dock is. 

We  wanted to drive around the area,  do some last minute shopping,  get gas, and then eat supper before we boarded.

Although we didn’t sail until 11 pm,  we had to be checked in and in line by 9:30, or we would lose our reservations.  And, after taking care of all our chores, we ended up getting in line about 7:30, along with a lot of other people who were already there.

Ferry

They board all the commercial stuff first and then the cars.  We finally started moving onboard about 10 pm

Ferry Loading

Ferry Loading 2

After entering the ship on Deck 1, we drove up a ramp and parked on Deck 3.

Ferry Loading 3

By about 10:30 pm we were up on the passenger decks with our stuff. You have to bring everything with you that you’ll need for the trip from your vehicle because you’re not allowed to go back to it during the voyage.

We had reserved two seats in the sleeping area that reclined and had footrests. It turns out to have been a mistake because they were very uncomfortable. We would have been better off to have just stayed in the regular seating area. Those seats also reclined, but didn’t have footrests. But they were much more comfortable.

After grabbing a late night muffin snack in the cafeteria, we settled in for the night.


September 4, 2010

Beverly Hillbillies No More . . .

Well, today we went from this…

Beauty Cargo Bays

to this.

New Doors

Now there’ll be no more pointing and snickering.

Michele Henry of Phoenix Commercial Paint did a fantastic job on my doors. The finish looks like it’s a foot deep. Now I may have to have the rest of the coach done next year so it match the beautiful new doors.

Michele said people are already making appointments to have their coaches repainted a year from now. So if you’re still thinking about getting your rig painted get your reservation in now.

But before I picked up the doors from Michele, Jan and I headed over to Mishawaka to pick up our prescriptions and some other stuff at Sam’s Club.

While we were there I saw these great new fold-up chairs. They’re really big and comfortable, and have 6 cup holders and an insulated cooler built in. They come in red or black, and are about $100. You could really get lazy in one of these, but I’m not sure it would fit in one of my bays. These are big chairs!

Big Chairs 4

As we were leaving Mishawaka, we decided to grab lunch at one of the many roadside BBQ stands set up this weekend. There was a Notre Dame football game right down the road in South Bend, and a lot of churches set up stands along the road.

We had ribs and rib tips, macaroni salad, and bread, and let me tell you, Deacon White (the name on the stand) makes some fine BBQ, and a really good sauce.

Then, just as we were finishing up, Michele called and said she was at the shop and I could come over.

I made two trips for the four doors so there would be no chance of them banging together. Wouldn’t want to spoil Michele’s nice work.

They went back on pretty easy, and only took about 15 – 20 minutes.

And, as I said, Boy do they look great.

About 5 pm Jan and I drove over to Middlebury to eat at Das Dutchman Essenhaus, a great restaurant with somewhat of an Amish/Country theme. The food is great and the pies are fantastic.

essenhaus07

Many of the waitresses are Amish, and they have Amish buggy rides in the large parking lot. And they certainly needed the large lot today because the place was jam-packed. We had to wait for over 20 minutes to get seated but it was well worth it.

You can get your meal either off the menu, or order it family style where they just keep bringing you food ‘til you pop.

Having popped the last time we were there, we just ordered off the menu this time.

Coming home, we stopped off at Walmart to get some groceries, and then it was home for the night.

See you tomorrow.


September 4, 2013

Chicken . . .

No, not that kind. The one in Alaska.

You know, the one that’s named after the State Bird of Alaska, the ptarmigan. The only problem was that when the town got its first Post Office in 1902, nobody could agree on how to spell ‘Ptarmigan’ so they went with Chicken instead.

Everyone could spell that.

Today’s blog is about Chicken for two reasons. It’s in the news, and we were there in Chicken 5 years ago today.

It’s in the news because a couple of weeks ago an EPA SWAT team (huh?) descended on the 17 residents of Chicken to check for Clean Water Act violations. (once again, huh?) The heavily-armed, body-armored-wearing EPA agents swarmed over the many small family mining claims in the area, to check their gold mine holding ponds. There were more agents than residents.

They said they were heavily armed because the Alaskan State Troopers told them there was “rampant drug and human trafficking going on the area”. The State Troopers deny they ever said any such thing.

I think some people just wanted to play with their shiny new toys.

And any ‘trafficking’ would be pretty obvious. There’s only one road through there, the Taylor Highway. There’s nowhere else to go. To even get to Chicken, you drive 75 miles from Tok, on a lane and a half wide, gravel road, trying to avoid the moose running across right in front of you. And even worse, they don’t look both ways before they run right out in front of you.

Tok is the first Alaskan town you come to after you enter Alaska on the Alaskan Highway, and itself only has about 1200 people. It’s too small to even have a Wal-Mart. And that’s small.

From Tok to Fairbanks is over 200 miles, and to Anchorage is over 300 miles. So these agents, made up of EPA, the FBI, Coast Guard (more huh?), Department of Defense (even more huh?), the Alaska Department of Public Safety and the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, had to drive 300 miles to Tok, then 75 miles to Chicken, and apparently, another 40 miles out to Boundary, the last town before you enter Canada.

All for nothing. No charges, state or federal, have been filed. Your tax dollars at work.

This is Chicken.

Chicken AK 1

And this is Chicken.

Chicken AK 2

And this is Chicken.

Chicken AK 3

And this was what Chicken was here for. The gold dredge, called Pedro, abandoned in place once the gold ran out.

Chicken AK 4

Not much to make such a fuss over. But it all makes for some real pretty scenery.

Chicken AK 5

Chicken AK 6

Chicken AK 7

And this is Boundary, the last ‘town’ on the Taylor Highway before you enter Canada, about 4 miles away.

Boundary AK 1

Boundary AK 2

Boundary AK 5

That’s all there is to Boundary. But again, the scenery getting there is great.

Boundary AK 3

Boundary AK 4

And concerning all the “rampant drug and human trafficking going on the area”, like I said, there’s nowhere to go. If it was coming from Tok, the only place it can go is through two border crossings into Canada. And the same two border crossings in reverse.

There’s only one road in and out.

Like I said, shiny new toys.

Thought I end this Alaskan-themed blog with some pics of the multitude of beautiful flowers that you see everywhere. 24 hours of daylight does wonders for the plants.

AK Flowers 1

AK Flowers 2

AK Flowers 3

AK Flowers 4

AK Flowers 6

AK Flowers 7

And here’s a few other beautiful things.

Our daughter Brandi, who visited us in August of 2008,

Brandi Alaska

and our granddaughter Piper, who visited us in July of 2008. And of course, my Sweetie. Like I said, beautiful things.

Piper Jan Alaska

And of course, every Alaskan blog has to end with a moose picture.

AK Flowers 5 Moose


September 4, 2014

Head’em Up, Move’m Out . . .

Well, things got a lot busier today. Yesterday we had 61 vehicles through the gate. Today we had 130. And it’s going to get even busier.

This is the view straight in front of us.

North Zulch 1

We were originally told this was going to be a frack pond.

WRONG!

This is a new pad site for a drill rig that will be coming in tomorrow or Saturday. So that should liven things up. AND we have a frack starting up sometime soon.

Last year on the frack site where we were at, we had two days of 300 vehicles coming through the gate. That will keep you jumping, believe me.

But with the bad comes the good, hopefully.

Drill Rigs and Fracking usually means catering trucks coming through. Which usually means we eat really well. So here’s hoping.

Here’s what our setup looks like.

North Zulch 2

The tree provides a lot of shade, enough so that the AC’s actually cycle on and off during the day. Imagine that. Of course as I said yesterday, the tree also ‘shades’ our view of the DirecTV satellite, so it’s not all fun and games. And I still haven’t found my longer cables yet. I haven’t needed them in several years, so I may have tucked them away really good.

One thing nice about this site is that we have our own trash trailer so I don’t have to schlep bags of garbage down to one of the pad sites. And this morning the Company Man sent us a load of pea gravel to cover up the muddy spots around our site. Very nice.

Something else nice is that the water trucks come by 2-3 times a day. Really keeps the dust down.

About 2:30 this morning I was in the middle of a cow stampede. About 2 dozen cows came running down the small farm road to our left, crossed the main road, and then ran along the dirt embankment in front, and disappeared into the woods. Don’t know what it was, but something sure had them spooked.

For dinner tonight Jan fixed a great batch of Nachos, with a new twist. Nachos are one of our favorite ‘gate foods’ and we have them a couple of nights a week.

Normally Jan makes them using Tortilla Chips, Jalapeno Bean Dip, Shredded Mexican Cheese, and Jalapeno Slices. But she discovered we were out of the Bean Dip, so she opened a can of Hot Chili Beans, mashed them up some, and spread that on the chips. Covered with Shredded Cheese, and Jalapenos, and sprinkled with cumin, chili powder, and ground habanero spice, and popped in the microwave, you’ve got a great meal.


September 4, 2015

Jan was Giddy . . .

All afternoon.

I put in a call to Jamie, our GGS supervisor, this morning to update him on our supposed upcoming schedule here on the gate. I also ask him, that since we had been a 12 hour gate all this week, if it would be OK if Jan and I took a couple of hours off this evening to have dinner in town and do the weekly shopping together. I told him that we’d already cleared it with the landowner, and he had even recommended a place to eat.

Jamie said, “no problem”, so we were good to go, and as I said, Jan was giddy all afternoon. It’ll be her first time to leave the gate since we got here August 25th. She did say that this gate is so nice, so far, that she’s really not getting gate fever like at past locations.

With something to look forward to, the afternoon went pretty fast, and Jan came out about 5:30 to relieve me so I could come in and take a shower before we headed out. While I was inside, the last vehicle left. In fact they’d been the last vehicle since 2:30 when everyone else left.

I had been checking with everyone else as they left today, to find out if they were working this weekend. And although as I mentioned before, some are off until Tuesday, it looks like a few will be working this weekend. Bummer!

It does seem like most or all will be off on Monday, so we may try another night out then.

We did close the main gate as we left, and I set it so that I would know if anyone had opened it while we were gone.

We had planned to eat at KJ’s Whistle Stop Restaurant, the one recommended by our landowner, but we couldn’t find the place. It’s certainly not where Yelp, Google Maps, etc., says it is. They’re supposed to have a really good Friday Night Buffet, and fantastic pies for dessert. Jan later got directions from a lady at Wal-Mart, and I guess it’s moved, because it’s nowhere near where the Internet thinks it is.

So instead, we ended up at the Longhorn Country Restaurant right on the main drag. We’d been wanting steak, so this worked out fine.

We both started out with salads, and it was obvious that the dressings were homemade. Very good salad.

Carthage Longhorn Salad

While Jan had a Sirloin, I had my usual Ribeye, which was really great.

Carthage Longhorn Steak

What the photo doesn’t show is how thick this steak was, over an inch in places. The other thing that made this really delicious was how hot it was. I always get my steak medium rare, and most times it’s plenty warm, but not hot. But this one was still sizzling when they brought it out. I assume that they cooked it until it was rare, and then put it over the flames, because the outside edges were charred just like I like it.

Somebody here knows how to cook a steak.

For dessert, we splurged and didn’t split one. But in hindsight, we should have, as we were both too full afterwards. But it was a ‘good’ full.

Jan went with the Strawberry Cheesecake after she saw a waitress walk by with a piece.

Carthage Longhorn Cheesecake

Me, I can’t pass up Bread Pudding, so that’s what I got.

Carthage Longhorn Bread Pudding

Jan loved her cheesecake, and after trying a bite, I could see why. But I was so-so on the Bread Pudding. It tasted delicious, but I was put off by the fact that it had peanuts in it.

Not crushed and sprinkled on top, which might have been good, but there were actually peanut halves cooked into the pudding, which gave them that slightly mushy texture, like boiled peanuts, which I do not like at all.

I think next time, and based on the steak, there will be a next time if possible, I will have the Cheesecake.

One thing I really also liked on the table was the buckets.

Carthage Longhorn Buckets

Every restaurant should have a bucket on the table. No, not the one with the peanuts in it, although that was good, but the empty one.

Since there are no ashtrays in restaurants anymore, you have no place to put your trash. You know, all the trash like empty sugar packets, empty cracker wrappers, used lemons, butter pat papers, jelly containers, even the little wrappers on your silverware. It all just piles up in your own personal trash heap.

More buckets, please.

After that great dinner, it was on to Wal-Mart for groceries. Like a lot of small towns, this Wal-Mart SuperCenter is a ‘mini’ SuperCenter, I.e. it has a full grocery department, but it only has one entrance, not two like the regular ones.

The other part of ‘mini’ is the selection of stuff. It seems to only be about 2/3 of normal. So you may not find a particular brand or size that you find at other ones.

We first encountered these ‘mini’ ones down in Kenedy, TX a couple of years ago. One guy shopping there said, “It’s like a real Wal-Mart, only smaller.” And he was certainly right.

Getting home we found the gate we left closed was undisturbed, so that was good. But getting back into the rig, we found a problem.

We have no12 volts in the bathroom so the overhead light and the shower light don’t work. We have it on one side in the kitchen and on the other side in the bedroom, but not in the bath.

The water pump and the water heater still work, but the bathroom vent fan doesn’t. And for that matter, neither does the vent fan in the kitchen. So I guess that’s a problem for tomorrow.

Probably a fuse, but who knows. Just part of the RV life.


September 4, 2016

¿Cuál es tu nombre?

Today begins our 3rd week here at Blue Moon Gate, another slow day with only 37 vehicles coming through our gate, just a few more than yesterday’s low count.

I spent part of the afternoon working on our bell system, trying to fix a leakage problem. Gate Guard Services supplies us with one of those old fashioned bells like they used to have at gas stations a while back.

Lengths of rubber hose  are laid out across the entrance and exits and are connected to a bell. When a vehicle drives over a the hose, the increase in air pressure in the hose causes the bell to ring. The only problem with this is that after a couple of weeks of being run over by 80,000 pound truckloads of oil rig stuff, the hoses are either so flatten that they don’t generate enough air pressure change, or they’re just plain leaking.

Then I have to splice in sections of new hose, but for some reason I’m still having a problem with the one that alert us that a vehicle is leaving the pad. So I may just set up one of my Mighty Mule Driveway Alarms to fix that problem once and for all.

I mentioned yesterday about the new, ‘better’ WiFi system being installed on the pad, since the Company Man was going to let us use it. I noticed that the datacom people had put a couple of antennas up on a pole, and when I got a closer look today, they’re the same Wilson directional antennas that I use on my Wilson booster system.

Blue Moon Gate WiFi Antennas

And I may still need to set mine up, since the new, ‘better’ system only gives me one bar of signal and my devices won’t stay connected. So we’ll see.

The high note of the day was that we got fed again, this time with a setup in the Safety trailer with a serve-yourself spread. They had Shredded Brisket, Pulled Pork, Potato Salad, Beans, and buns laid out, and you make your own.

Blue Moon Gate Labor Day BBQ

I went down and made Jan and I both a sandwich of each, and a big serving of Potato Salad. I didn’t get any Beans because the Styrofoam containers they furnished didn’t have any divisions in them, so it would have just all run together. It was only later in one of those ‘Doh!’ moments that I realized that I should have just spooned the Beans into another container.

I made the sandwiches big enough, and thick enough that we just ate half of each one, so we’ll have another meal tomorrow.

And it was really good BBQ, too.

About 3 we had another squall line come through, giving us about 30 minutes of heavy rain, thunder, and lightning. And the lightning part means the rig shuts down for the duration, and everyone goes inside.

I guess you can’t be too careful when you’re working on a 200 foot tall lightning rod.

I have been constantly amazed over our 5 years of gate guarding how many drivers don’t speak English. I mean, not even enough to understand, “What’s your name?”.

So I have to resort to ¿Cuál es tu nombre? ¿Primero? ¿Apellido?

That’s “What’s your name? First? Last (or Surname)?”

Luckily we lived in Colombia, SA when I was a kid, so I can normally stumble through making myself understood. I do have to be careful sometimes because Colombian Spanish is not the same as Mexican Spanish which is not the same as Spain Spanish. And each one has its own idioms.

For example, you’ve probably at times had Pico de Gallo at a Mexican restaurant. Well, ‘Pico de Gallo’ translates to ‘rooster beaks’. Supposedly it’s called that because of the little pieces of red tomatoes and white onions in the mix. Of course it really could be rooster beaks, I guess.

And don’t even get me started on Portuguese. It’s just enough like Spanish to get you either slapped or shot, depending on the situation.


September 4, 2018

That Was It . . .

Later, about 1:30, Jan and I headed out, with our first stop at the nearby Los Ramirez Mexican Restaurant for lunch. We first ate here about 10 days ago, and were amazed at how good the food was, and how CHEAP it was.

And y’all know how much I like CHEAP!  And CHEAP and GOOD is even better.

And since it was so good the first time we did it exactly the same as last time. Jan got the Pechuga Rellena with a Grilled Chicken Breast stuffed with Grilled Shrimp and Broccoli on a bed of rice with Charro Beans and half a sliced Avocado.

Los Ramirez Pechuga Rellana 2

All this for only $7.99.

And I went the same way again too, with the Beef Fajita Taco Salad.

Los Ramirez Beef Fajita Taco Salad 2

Really, really good, and only $5.59 on the Lunch menu. Like I  said CHEAP and GOOD.

Our next stop was at a Capital One branch to get some papers notarized, and check out some account details. Then we made a drop-off at the Salvation Army and an Amazon package pick-up at my client’s.

And after a P.O. stop we got home about 4:30. Another busy day.


September 4, 2020 

If It Was Built On A Thursday . . .

Well, I was back on the phone with both Spartan and American Coach this morning trying to reconcile the different information I’m getting from each of them. In many cases the schematics I’m getting from each of them of the same system don’t agree with each other.

And then there’s things like this.

Now, I’ve only been dabbling in electronics for about 60 years, but I’m pretty sure that that relay is never going to work. A Ground at both ends and no battery in the middle just won’t cut it.

One thing I’ve run into over the years working on RV’s is finding where things are actually located in the rig. Years ago I was helping a friend troubleshoot a problem with the brake lights on his 2005 Winnebago Vectra.

The brake bar light up high on the rig worked fine but the actual brake lights didn’t. So I downloaded all the schematics and found a relay that looked like it could be causing the problem. So I went looking for it. And looked. And looked. And looked.

Giving up, I finally put in a call to Winnebago Tech Support. And here’s how it went.

“Well, if it was built on a Thursday, then Larry liked mount the relay here, but if it was Jerry then he liked to put it there.”

“And Jim liked to put liked to put it over there . . . unless it was a Monday and he was a little hungover, then he would put it back there.”

And yes, that’s literally how the conversation went.

Since my friend wanted to get on the road, I built up a relay circuit box to drive the brake lights directly from the brake bar light and he was on his way.

I heard from him several years later that when he was having some other work done on the rig, they found the missing relay hanging from a socket underneath the dashboard, nowhere near where it was supposed to be.

And it was bad.


September 4, 2021

Monterey’s Is Back . . .

After getting somewhat caffeinated this morning I started checking out what I was going to have to do get my old Atwood water heater out of its hole in the wall and the new one in its place.

Inside looked to be pretty easy.

Atwood Water Heater Inside Connections

The two water line connections were easily loosened, and it would just be a matter of changing out the 3 power connections, using new wire nuts, of course. And as far as I can tell the unit is just sitting on the plywood platform and not fastened down.

I may have to fiddle with the water piping though since I’m not sure if the inlet/outlets match up between the two units. But it shouldn’t be a real problem.

Outside it was a little more difficult. There’s just the wires for the 12VDC that feeds the gas part of the water heater, and the gas connection.

Atwood Water Heater Outside Connections

Since the gas was turned off in the rig I wanted to just loosen the fitting to forestall any later problems.

Problem!

I could not loosen the fitting. Either the copper tubing to the left of the fitting started to bend, or the elbow going into the gas valve started to loosen. Even rapping on the fitting didn’t help. So after messing with it for awhile, I sprayed it with PB Blaster and moved on to unpacking the water heater.

At first glance after opening the box, it looks like it’s packed in Styrofoam, wrapped in bubble-wrap, and held together with plastic straps.

Atwood Water Heater In The Box

But the Styrofoam is actually the insulation around the water heater, and the straps just hold it all together. I wonder though how many people have cut the straps and removed the Styrofoam thinking it was part of the packing material.

I begin to wish that there had been some Styrofoam packing materials, rather than just the bubble-wrap, when I lifted the unit out of the box and a loose screw fell out on the patio.

Atwood Water Heater Shipping Problems

Turns out that the loose screw that I’m pointing to near the center came out of the heat deflector vent up at the top and also made the green wire ground connection. Easily fixable and not really a problem.

But the unit is dented at both the top right and bottom right, and the gas valve piping should not be at an angle like that. But the shipping box is in perfect shape, with not a dent or mark on it, making me wonder if if went in the box this way.

The dents are really just cosmetic and won’t show, and I think I can straighten out the gas line, but I won’t know if it actually works until I install it. Which I’m going to go ahead and do.

But I am going to contact the 3rd party seller on Amazon and register a claim in case there is a problem with it.

So we’ll see how it goes tomorrow.

About 2pm we headed out to have lunch at Los Ramirez and then, after a stop at a local lumber supply place for a tube of caulk for the water heater door panel, we drove up the feeder toward the HEB on FM646, and were happily surprised to find that after 4 years, and Hurricane Harvey, our local Monterey’s Little Mexico was finally open.

I say ‘surprised’ because their sign indicated that they wouldn’t be open until next week. And though we normally only have one real meal a day, we decided to come back about 6pm for a light dinner.

Monterey's Dickinson 1

When we got there we found a 30 minute wait and a full parking lot. And unlike other Monterey’s this one has a completely new look, with really nothing indicating it is a Mexican restaurant. No flags, no banners, no streamers, no multi-colored lights. Just the open, industrial look that seems to be popular now days.

But the food was as good as always. I got my usual bowl of Chicken Tortilla Soup,

Monterey's Dickinson Chicken Tortilla Soup

and then we shared a large order of Beef Fajita Nachos.

Monterey's Dickinson Fajita Beef Nachos

Really good, and we’ve already decided we’re going back on Tuesday.

Getting back home about 7pm, I found that the PB Blaster had done its thing, and I finally was able to loosen the gas fitting. So it looks like tomorrow’s changeout it on.


Thought For The Day:

“I have gleefully cultivated the ability to carry a grudge until it dies of old age, then have it stuffed and mounted someplace where I can admire it at regular intervals.”

  

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