Daily Archives: September 23, 2022

Two Amazon Firsts . . .

We had two Amazon returns this week, kind of unusual for us since we don’t return a lot of things.

The first first was one I’d heard about before, the Returnless Refund.

I mentioned the new Halloween shirt that Jan had ordered last week.

Broomstick Shirt

Well, we should have listened more to the reviews that said the shirts run small. Jan said hers was a little snug so I ordered her one size larger and then tried to return the first one.

But maybe because it was a clothing item, they immediately returned my money and told me to keep the shirt.


The second first was a set of reading glasses for Jan. When they came in, she didn’t think they were strong enough so I ordered the next strength up. And then went to set up a return on the originals, expecting to be told to drop it off at a nearby UPS store. But instead I was directed to leave it at an Amazon locker location, in this case a locker outside a CircleK/Valero convenience store near the office.

Getting there I found them outside the store, and using the pin number they gave me, I punched it into the keypad. A little door on the left side popped open and I inserted the package and closed the door. Then the screen beeped and said, “Thank You, Greg White.”

Amazon Lockers

Isn’t Technology Wonderful.

Tomorrow looks to be Denny’s for Ultimate Omelets and WalMart.

Thought For The Day:

Whatever Works, I Guess.

Telsa Generator

Better Just Hope He Doesn’t Get Rear-Ended.

September 23, 2009

Muffins and Cappuccino…

The Landing Campground is right along the old Erie Canal, and is very popular with seasonal campers. The many old trees make it a very scenic place to park.

The Landing

We left The Landing about 11 am for the 160 mile trip to the Niagara Falls area.

About 2 pm we stopped at a Tim Hortons for muffins and cappuccino.  We arrived at Sleepy Hollow Lake Campground about 3pm and got settled in.

After a nap Jan fixed a great meal of the leftovers Joannie sent home with us yesterday.

Tomorrow we’re going to start touring the Niagara Falls area. We’ll be here until Saturday so we’ve got plenty of time.

September 23, 2010

Rig Cleaning Day. . .

Brandi sent this photo out and says Landon is smiling. He does look pretty happy. Sleepy, but happy.

I think it’s probably because he just filled his diaper and he knows someone’s going to have to clean it up.

Smiling Landon

Today was Rig Cleaning Day.

Jan’s sister Debbie and her husband, Jim, will be here on Sunday to spend a week.. So Jan went into cleaning mode.

We did find out one interesting fact, however.  Beer makes a great tile floor cleaner.

We had a bottle of Alaskan beer we had brought back from there as a souvenir. Unfortunately, our souvenir bottle broke on the tile floor in the kitchen. In cleaning up the broken glass and wiping up the spilled beer, we found it did a great job in cleaning the floor.

Who knew?

We left for Ryan’s, one of our favorite buffet places, about 4:45 pm. Jan and I both love their fried chicken, and decided tonight was the night for some. We also hoped to see Helen, a waitress there that we’ve know for about 10 years. We actually followed her down to this Ryan’s in Texas City. We used to go to the one in Webster TX, but when it closed, Helen moved to one in Texas City, and so did we.

But, unfortunately, we picked one of the two nights she wasn’t there this week. We’ll have to try again.

We got back to the rig about 6:15 and got ready for a great night of new TV shows.

September 23, 2012

Buick Jet Engines?

Picking up where we left off yesterday, visiting the The National Museum of the United States Air Force, this next aircraft is the Convair B-36.

The B-36 was the largest mass-produced piston engine aircraft ever made and had the longest wingspan of any combat aircraft ever built. It was also the only combat aircraft propelled by both piston and jet engines.

B-36 Bomber

6 prop engines and 4 jet engines. Also known as ‘6 Turning and 4 Burning’.

The B-36 was slow and could not refuel in midair, but could stay aloft as long as 40 hours. It was so big it even had 6 bunks and a crew dining area.

Moreover, its phenomenal cruising altitude for a piston-driven aircraft, 50,000 ft. put it out of range of all piston fighters, early jet interceptors, and ground fire.

The photo below shows the relative size of the WWII B-29 and the B-36.

B36 B29

It was operational from 1949 to 1959 when it was finally replaced by the B-52, which debuted in 1955.

This is the A-7D Corsair II ground attack plane. I used to work on these when I was a DOD contractor.

A7D Corsair II

And this is the A-37D Dragonfly. Built by Cessna (yes, Cessna) it was originally the T-37 light trainer, but was outfitted as a combat aircraft during the Vietnam War.

Another aircraft I worked on.

A37 Dragonfly

This is the Canberra B-57B light bomber. I worked on these at Otis AFB on Cape Cod during the early 70’s, although I was working on the RB-57 reconnaissance versions and the EB-57 electronic countermeasures version.


The Canberra was actually a British design built under license by the US. Designed at the end of WWII it was originally slated to have piston-driven prop engines which accounts for the mid-wing nacelles. But it was switched over to jets before it went operational.

It’s also the only plane I ever worked on that had Buick (yes, Buick!) jet engines. Until I saw these, I never even knew Buick made jet engines.

B-57B engine

This is the B-58A Hustler, the first US jet bomber to cruise at supersonic speeds, in this case, over 1300 mph.


The B-2 Stealth Bomber.

B-2 Stealth Bomber

This is the fabled U-2 spy plane,

U-2 b

U-2 Spy Plane

which was replaced by the SR-71 Blackbird spy plane.

The SR-71 still holds the records for both altitude (over 85,000 ft.) and speed (almost 2200 mph) for an air-breathing engine (I.e. not a rocket). It is however, rumored that the Blackbird was easily capable of exceeding these public records when needed.

I got to work on one these one time when I was at Otis AFB.


The museum also had a great collection of missiles and rockets, from the Jupiter to the Minuteman, and more.

Museum Missiles

If you like planes, this is a museum for you. Check it out.

Dayton Air Museum Overview

Now catching up on today.

Mister spent the morning laying out in front of the rig catching some rays. This is one lazy cat.

Mister Catching Some Rays

We later spent some time driving around the area, checking things out.

Finally heading home, we passed a number of barns with quilt patterns painted on them.

And we had the bonus of two deer at the first one.

Barn Quilt 1

Barn Quilt 2

Barn Quilt 3

Getting back to the park area, we decide to have dinner again at Sherman House Restaurant & Inn, the great German restaurant we ate at last week.

Tomorrow morning we’re heading out for a two day trip to the Thousand Trails park in Hersey, PA. We’ll overnight about half way at a Cabela’s in Wheeling, WV.

September 23, 2014

Spiders and Snakes . . .

Well, I think Fall may officially be here. Yesterday was 89 and 69, while today was sunny and 82, and tonight it’s supposed to be 56°. Looks like it ‘s heater time here on the gate.

Then it seems to be mid-to-high-80’s and mid-60’s as far as the eye can see. Or at least for the 10 days they’re willing to take a shot at forecasting.

And maybe the cooler weather will take out the last of the few mosquitos we’ve had. They really haven’t been bad, considering the scummy pond right behind the rig. That’s probably due to the dragonflies, frogs, spiders and snakes that live back there.

As I figured they did not skid the rig today. In fact, as of right now (1am Wed) they’re still drilling, So if they plan to skid tomorrow as they now say, they’d better finish up soon because there’s a lot of prep work to do before they can skid.

It’ll be interesting to see what happens tomorrow.

They apparently had a traffic jam up front today, with rigs lined up all along the 1/4 mile out to the highway. They were bringing a lot stuff into the first rig, and there was no room for everyone. The other gate guards starting sending some of them down here to park and wait until they got called, but there’s no room down here, except on the pads. And the pads didn’t want them either. So they would head back up front. There are four rigs along this road. We have two, and there are two more up front. It can get crowded when everyone’s busy.

Piper ended up back in the hospital for a while yesterday. She started having a LOT of pain in her wrist, so Linda took her to the Emergency Room. The doctor looked at it and told her there was nothing wrong, it looked OK and was going to send her home. But Piper stood her ground, and said something’s wrong, and insisted on an X-Ray. At first they said No, but Piper put her foot down and they finally gave in. Then a little bit later, the sheepish radiologist came out and said it looks like you’ve got an infection in there. Guess they didn’t get it all cleaned out after the accident.

Anyway, Piper ended up in the hospital getting IV antibiotics for a while.

They should learn you don’t outstubborn Miss Piper. She’s a White.

Piper is working toward being a Nurse Practitioner, by going the EMT, EMT2, Paramedic, Nurse, Nurse Practitioner route, working as she goes. Sounds like she knows her stuff.

Landon playing T-Ball this year, and yesterday was his first game.

Landon at T-Ball

Looks like he’s got the look and style down. I especially like the sunglasses.

Jan and I had originally hoped to get the day off tomorrow, but it looks like it’s not going to happen. The two downsides to gate guarding in this area is no place to receive mail and packages, and most importantly, there are no relief guards here either.

Down in the Whitsett area where we were for the previous two years, there were a number of people who did nothing but relief guarding and they were always booked up.

September 23, 2015


I can only figure that Amazon must be blog readers, since after I complained that my order which was placed last Saturday night, and came in on Tuesday, the one I placed this Saturday night, actually an hour or so earlier, was scheduled to come in on Wednesday, today.

But then last night, Tuesday, I got a text message saying it had been delivered, a day early. Hmm! I wonder if a drone was involved.

And tonight when I came out at 11pm to relieve Jan, Billy, our landowner’s son had made his part of the delivery process (He’s nice enough to let us use his home address for our Amazon stuff). So the first thing I did was to tear into the box because I wanted to play with my toy. Well, I should say ‘toys’ because I also got another Mighty Mule Driveway Alarm system, but I’ve already played with that toy.

No, this one was my new KJL Cree LED 900 lumens Flashlight .

Flashlight 900 lumens

At 900 lumens, it’s 3 times as powerful as the CREE UltraFire we use now. And I was looking forward to being able to really light up some of these very dirty, almost unreadable tags that come thru here, especially on the big trucks. So I quickly got it out of the box and inserted the 3 AAA batteries I had waiting for it.

And all I can say is WOW!  On tight focus, this thing will light up trees over 100 yards away. It wasn’t that long ago that to get this kind of power you’d need one of those big handheld spotlights that plugs into your cigarette lighter, and guys down south use for ‘jacklighting’ deer.

So, I LIKE it. Now I just need an incoming truck to try it out on.

Speaking of lights, we have a clock mounted on the canopy frame right in front of us, but it’s hard to read at night without using a flashlight. So I got one of those 12v LED auto accent lights and hung it over the clock. And it works great

Clock Light

I’ve got it plugged into a 12v power supply that’s on the table behind me, so no batteries to worry about.

The road dust problem has been getting worse and worse since we’d had no rain to speak of in the last week or so, so our Company Man sent the water truck by for us.

Water Truck

This will knock it down for a few days at least.

Tomorrow is Mister’s 10 day checkup for his diabetes problem.  The twice a day insulin shots I’ve been giving seem to be helping him a lot, but we’ll know more tomorrow after his exam.

September 23, 2016

Well, That’s Better . . .

Today was pretty nice, with temps in the low 90’s, partly cloudy, and a nice breeze.

Even better, it was combined with a fairly slow day with only 39 vehicles coming through. The low traffic count was probably helped by the fact that all the sales critters know that Pete, the Company Man, is back from his two weeks off.

Unlike Billy the CM who was here for the last two weeks, Pete only allows sales calls on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday. But Billy just lets them all come in, anytime.

This makes our job easier too, since we don’t have to screen them out. And they will lie to you.

So, all in all, a very nice day.

Coming home from groceries yesterday I stopped to take a photo of what could possibly/hopefully be our new home in the next month or so.

Our New Home

It’s just a mile and a quarter back down the road toward B/CS from here and looks like it’s got plenty of room for a pad on the left side there. You want to be on that side if possible so you’re on the driver’s side as they enter, though we have been on the right side a few times.

But we really don’t know what’s going to happen yet. Historically this oil company apparently doesn’t use gate guards, and like last year’s gate near Carthage, we’re actually here because the landowner wanted us. So we don’t know if we’ll be asked to move with the rig or not.

The last time we followed a rig, was our first year down in the Whitsett area about 60 miles south of San Antonio. We followed a Marathon/H&P rig for almost 4 months until we left in August.

And of course we have no idea what’s going to happen here after the rig moves out. Completion, workover, coil tubing, fracking right away, we don’t know yet. As far as we’re concerned, all we want to do is be on a gate until first part of December. So we’ll have to see how it goes.

As usual.

My new TP-LINK N900 2.4GHz or 5GHz Dual Band PCI Express Adapter showed up in the mail today, but too late for me to install it before I went on the gate at 1pm.

TP-Link Wi-Fi Card

So it had to wait until I got up about 10pm.

As you want to do anytime you remove a card and replace it with another one, before I started, I right-clicked on Computer on the desktop, selected Properties at the bottom, and then Device Manager at the top.

Then I clicked on the Network Adapters entry and found the Wireless LAN Card listing. Then I right-clicked on it and selected Uninstall Drivers, but told it to leave the old drivers on the computer, just in case.

I do this because there’s always a possibly that the new card is dead, or just bad. If I haven’t deleted the old drivers then I can just pop the old card back in the computer and I’m back in business.

But if I’ve deleted the drivers, then I’ll have to either dig up the 3 year old Driver CD (Yeah, right!) or download the old driver from the Net. But of course I’ll have to use another computer to do this, because I now don’t have a  working Wi-Fi card.

So plan ahead.

Now I could shut down the computer and replace the card. In this case, after removing the old Wi-Fi card, I installed the new one in a different slot to allow more clearance for the little antennas, since the new card has three instead of  one.

Putting everything back together, I powered it up and inserted the supplied little Drivers mini CD in the drive. And a couple of minutes later I had the display window that showed me the Wi-Fi sources that it could see.

The first thing I noticed was that I could now see a lot more signals. And looking closer the DC Wireless_2 signal that I wanted to connect to, now had 4 bars instead of just 2.

Well, that’s better.

So as happens a lot of time in this kind of stuff, it was a combination of two problems – I just needed a better antenna and a new Wi-Fi board.

One thing I’ve noticed about this Wi-Fi access point is that like a lot of ‘company’ sites, it has Content Blocking. These services keep a blacklist of unacceptable sites that you are blocked from visiting.

So . . . no porn for you on company time.

But the algorithms they use to select the sites for blacklisting lead to some funny problems. Like not being able to access a breast cancer site because it has . . . you know. . . breasts on it. Or not being able to visit the Smithsonian Museum site because the home page is promoting a new exhibit of those evil guns.

But closer to home, the other night I was on a political forum site and was directed by  a link to an article about the BREXIT posted on the BBC.com site in England, and I got this:

BBC Blocking

So what’s the problem with the British Broadcasting Corporation, too many rig workers streaming reruns of Downton Abbey? Or what?

And the other strange thing is that they have disabled, but not ‘officially’ blocked Facebook.com. When you go to Facebook.com, you get this:

Facebook Blocking

So what, now they’re against funny cat videos too?

For some reason, they’ve just blocked Facebook’s DNS address, which is that string of numbers you sometimes see online like this:

Every website, every server, and every computer, even yours, has a separate, unique address on the Internet. It’s how every thing knows where to go, like a phone number.

In this case, for Facebook the DNS address is, or at least one of them is. Most big sites have multiple DNS addresses for redundancy.

So why they’re doing it this way, I don’t know. Maybe to keep the complaints down, so they can say, we’re not ‘blocking’ it so it must be your problem.

Tomorrow I’ll spend some time fooling with the Yagi antenna, seeing if I can find that elusive 5 bar signal sweet spot.

And on a final note, tomorrow is also Blue Moon BBQ Saturday.

It oughta be an official holiday.

September 23, 2017

They’re Right !

Well, I did leave the rig today after all. I took a bag of garbage about 50 yards down the road to drop it in.

I did try to flag down the park lady who mowing the grass, but she was too far away. I’m still trying to pay for our stay here, but no luck so far.

I  did finally did flag her down a little later and told her I had a check already made out for what I thought was the right amount, 11 days x $14.50 = $159.50, but she said she’d check it out and let me know. If she’s not in any hurry, neither am I.

I came across a website recently that’s a big help for me, though it might not be something you need. It’s called www.uptimerobot.com.

It let’s you monitor up to 50 websites, checking every 5 minutes to see if the sites are up. If one goes down, you get an email telling you. Then you get another one when it comes back up, which also tells you how long the site was down. Handy for yelling at your ISP about website downtime.

Even better it’s free. And if you need to monitor more than 50 sites, or want your sites checked every minute instead of every five, it’s only $5 per month.

Check it out!

Several readers commented on yesterday’s blog about how much Jan’s 2nd grade photo looks like Landon, and these are people who have only seen Landon in photos on the blog. And they’re right.

Previously a number of readers have commented on how much Landon and I look alike at that age. And now this.

Blog reader (and friend) Tricia said this.

“I always thought that Landon looked like you, but I after seeing that picture of Jan, I see some resemblance there too.  It’s funny how he can look like both of you, since you don’t look anything like each other!

Genetics is an amazing thing.

For example scientists recently announced that according to genetic DNA studies, all blue-eyed people (including me) are due to a genetic mutation in a single common ancestor, dating back to about 6000 years ago.

September 23, 2018

Got’er Done . . .

The weather decided to cooperate this afternoon, so about 1pm I went outside to finish up my battery install.

Since I would be shutting off all the12v power to the coach, I wanted to have everything prepped for the change-out as quickly as possible. This is because the 12v not only runs the lights, etc., but it also powers the AC thermostats. So shutting off the 12v shuts off the AC’s too.

Luckily it wasn’t really hot this afternoon, so after shutting off the house battery disconnect right by the door,

Rig Battery Disconnects

I disconnected the battery cables and pulled the old batteries out. Which turned off to be easier said than done. These 6v batteries weigh almost 70# each and it was hard to get them dragged sideways so I could then lift them out. And then I did it again for the second one.

So now I was ready to install the new ones, right? Nope.

These new batteries are wider than the old ones, and so the spacers molded into the plastic tray bottom to hold them secure were in the wrong place and needed to be removed.

Battery Tray Separator 1

So using my Multipurpose Oscillating Tool, I sliced off both spacers off flush with the bottom of the tray and I was good to go.

Battery Tray Separator 2

So now I had to brute-force the first new one into place, a little easier at about 56#. Once in place I hooked up the cables, including the ones to add the second battery, and turned the rig 12v back on and got the AC’s running again, much to Jan’s appreciation, even though it was only about 15 minutes.

Rig New Battery 1

Now all I had to do was struggle the last battery into place and hook up the cables paralleling it with the first one.

Rig New Battery 2

And after tightening down all the connections and spraying everything with Strike-Hold, I was finally done.

Since the original hold-down frame for the old batteries no longer fits, I’ll have to come up with something else to lock them down.

So one chore checked off the list, and a whole bunch still to go.

September 23, 2019

Still Raining . . .

Since we’re going to the seeing Downton Abbey tomorrow afternoon, I had planned on using Thursday afternoon to crawl under the rig and connect everything back up so I can crank up and raised the levelers.

Then I’ll have to see if I can get back underneath and take it all apart again, hoping that I can reach the adapter with my hand and tried to turn the shaft or push in the pin to release it.

I hadn’t done it before because of all the rain we had last week. Although it’s dry under the rig of course, but I would have to lay down in the muddy grass to get under there. So I was hoping that it would have dried out by then, But no such luck, as it poured down again today, maybe harder than it did last week, at least around here.

So that’s all on hold for now.

On the way home today I stopped by Costco to gas up and found the price at $2.07, 10 cents higher than it was last week, I guess due to the attack on the Saudi Arabian oil processing plant. But from what I hear they’re pretty much back on line so it should be going back down soon. Especially with the end of summer.

Jan and I have been going over things we want to do when we’re in NYC this December. We already did a lot of the ‘touristy’ things when we were there with Brandi and Piper in 2009.

Brandi and Piper in NYC

Things like the Empire State Building, Ellis Island, Statue of Liberty, SOHO, Harlem, Chinatown, Times Square, etc.

One of the things we’re looking at is a nighttime Hudson river dinner cruise like this.

Bateaux NYC Dinner Cruise

Bateaux NYC Dinner Cruise Inside

We’re also looking at another bus tour to complement the one we did in 2009, but we’re still checking those out.

In addition, we also want to see a Broadway play, but again haven’t narrowed it down yet, We did see Phantom of the Opera the last time and really enjoyed it.

September 23, 2021

Do The Time Warp Again . . .

About 10:30 Jan and I headed north to meet up with Debi and Ed Hurlburt at the Golden Corral up in Conroe, our first time back at a GC since we moved down here in October 2017. And it was just as good as we remembered.

Great Fried Chicken, Mashed Potatoes, Veggies, and of course, the fantastic desserts. Jan was only disappointed that it was not yet pumpkin pie season at GC.

We had a great time seeing Debi and Ed again, and we’re looking forward to next time.

Coming home about 2:30 we make a detour over to the Trader Joe’s in the Montrose area so Jan could pick up some stuff that Jan had seen on YouTube.

Haven’t never been there, I just put the address into the GPS and off we went. So we were very surprised when we got close and saw this.

Alabama Theater Sign

Turns out that the Trader Joe’s is living in the old Alabama theater, a place we haven’t been to since the early 80’s.

Built in 1939 in the Art Deco style it was the nicest theater in Texas for a while, but like many downtown movie houses it had started to go downhill. And by the early 80’s its claim to fame was hosting the Friday and Saturday Midnight Showings of Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Rocky Horror Picture Show

We took the kids (Chris was about 13 and Brandi was about 8) up there to one of the shows several times. Pretty much at the end of its lifetime, it had the perfect seedy atmosphere for the show.

In fact a couple of years later, the theater closed and it became a book store. Until 2013 when it became a Trader Joe’s.

Alabama Theater

It was nice to see that they retained a lot of the beautiful Art Deco style touches.

Very nice!