Or Longer . . .

Tomorrow I’m taking Jan up to Brandi’s in Katy so she can Baxter/Jack-sit over the Labor Day weekend while Brandi et al. are taking a trip. They’ll be back Monday night, but as of right now, how long Jan stays is kind of open-ended.

Tuesday morning Brandi has a Federal Jury Duty summons, so she could be gone only one day for that, or months if she gets sequestered on a long trial.

They’ll be leaving about 9am or so, and after stopping for lunch at the El Pollo Loco along the way, we’ll be there by about 2pm. Then after getting Jan all set up I’ll head back down to Santa Fe.

So it’s just me and Karma for the next few days. Or longer.

And then week after next, from Sept 11th thru the 15th, Brandi’s got a Business Conference out in San Diego, so Jan will be back up there then, this time Landon-sitting.

Ever notice how these ‘conferences’ are always in places like San Diego, Miami, or Las Vegas. And not in places like Detroit, Pittsburgh, or Newark.

Why is that?


Thought For The Day:

Took All Our Jobs


September 2, 2009

McLobster and Pizza…

Today is our only full day in Antigonish before we head east toward Newfoundland so we wanted to drive around a bit to see the area.

On our way out of town we decided to stop at the McDonald’s drive-thru for a breakfast sandwich.  We also wanted to see what this was.

McLobster

But we still don’t know.  They only had the breakfast menu posted at the drive-thru.

So, Canada gets McLobster, and we just get McRib?  What’s up with that?

We then headed back northwest to the town of Pictou.

Pictou is known as the “Birthplace of New Scotland” as it was here that the first wave of Scottish immigrants landed in 1773.  And of course, Nova Scotia means New Scotland.

It’s kind of hard to describe the scenery here, and the pictures just don’t do it justice.  It’s rolling hills of forests and farms falling away to rocky cliffs that overlook the North Atlantic.

Road to Pictou

Here’s a Googled pic of Pictou from the air.

Pictou

East_River

After wandering aimlessly for a while just admiring the view, we headed back to Antigonish for dinner at Boston Pizza.  We always get a large pizza just so we’ll have leftovers.

Arriving back at the park, I decided to spring for the $3.50 to get the cable turned on at our site, since I couldn’t the satellite working because of a large tree in the way.

And surprise, the channels are pretty clear. Unusual for an RV park.


September 2, 2013

Ahhhh, Cool Air . . .

Since we got a water delivery last night, our misting system was working again today, and it really makes a difference in keeping us cool. Officially we only hit 97 here, but our local temp was 102 for a little while before settling back down to around 99 for most of the afternoon. Still hot, but really not too bad.

I was able to arrange to have our defective Coleman canopy replaced by Amazon with no problems. They’re sending out a new one, which should be here Thursday. Then I’ll pack up the old one in the new box and they’ll pick it up from the office whenever I tell them it’s ready to go. The usual great service from Amazon.

With our replacement canopy on its way, I was beginning to wonder if I’d have anything left to send back to them after today. There was a very large thunderstorm area down around Corpus this afternoon, but our only result was some dark clouds to the south and a strong southern wind. VERY strong.

And with the two broken struts the canopy is not at its best in high winds. Without the rigidity, the sides tend to want to torque over and bend, almost collapsing the whole thing. A couple of times I actually had to hold the southern side down to keep things under control. But luckily, as sundown neared, the wind finally died down, and our canopy lived another day.

Brandi and Lowell have been in New Orleans this past weekend while Landon stayed home with Aunt Sherry. But she was not expecting to come home and find that Landon had turned to piracy.

A sleepy pirate, but a pirate none the less.

Sleepy Pirate Landon

Pirates was the theme of Landon’s recent 3rd birthday and I guess he had some party favors left over.

Finally, in one of those headlines you just have to love, you have this one. Global Warming Expedition Foiled by Ice. To quote, “It’s just ice, ice, and more ice.”

This is what happens when you tempt fate by organizing an Arctic expedition to highlight the perils of global warming; the worst Arctic ice conditions in more than 20 years.


September 2, 2014

Should We Stay, or Should We Go . . .

So we went.

Talk about your ups and downs!

After starting coffee this morning I walked over to the office about 9:15 to see if Mark had anything coming up for us. He said nothing definite, but you never know.

Then about 9:40 Diane called me from the office and said they had a gate for us, and it was close by, only 7- 8 miles from the office. Sounded great so I told them we’d be ready to pull out in 45 minutes to an hour.

About 10:25, about 5 minutes before we were ready to crank up and pull shore power, Diane calls back and says the gate has been cancelled.

Bummer!

But knowing something could come up any time, we left everything pretty much ready to travel. Only thing I did was put the satellite dome back out and put out the window awnings.

And what do you know, about 1:45 Jamie called us from Madisonville with another offer. He had a gate for us near Madisonville, starting tomorrow (Wednesday) if we wanted it. It’s a long term gate, apparently not too busy, just sign people in and out, and tell them to watch the speed limit. Told him I’d call him back in a few minutes.

Jan and I talked it over after I checked out the route. Looked to be about 300 miles, (better than the 450 miles to Shreveport he offered us last week.) Figure, yeah, it was 300 miles but we would be working starting tomorrow, and we don’t know how much longer it would be before we got a gate in Whitsett. Plus Jamie said this gate would last our entire anticipated time (end of November) so we wouldn’t have to move around. So we decide to go for it. And after checking the route out some more, we decided to got ahead and get on the road today, and not wait to start out tomorrow.

So I called Jamie back and said we were on our way and would see him tomorrow. Then I headed over to the office to tell them we were leaving. And as I walked in the door to talk to Mark, Diane waved and said, “Bye.” Turns out Jamie had already called them to let them know he was ‘poaching’ us. Glad we weren’t leaving Mark in a lurch though, since there was another couple in the yard also waiting for a gate.

So right now, Jan and I are parked for the night at the East View RV Ranch near Georgetown, TX. We did 175 miles today, with about 125 tomorrow.

EastView RV Ranch

It was an easy trip with some rain on and off, but nothing too bad, and some one-lane construction on I-410 around San Antonio.

We’ll head out tomorrow about 9am. It sounds like our gate is somewhere on FM39 south of North Zulch, which is west of Madisonville on US190.

Apparently Jamie is going to give us directions directly to our gate tomorrow morning.

So we’ll see how it goes.


September 2, 2015

A 12 Hour Gate?

Well, that’s what it’s turned out to be the last few days. The last truck leaves before 6pm, and the first one doesn’t come in until after 7pm. But during the day we’re pretty busy, actually a little busier than when we were going 24 hours.

Monday was our busiest day so far with 41 vehicles coming in, but then Tuesday was our slowest day with only 21. The difference being that Monday we had two crews here, the ones that had been working this past week and were finishing up, and the new crew that was coming in to do their thing. And Tuesday looked to be just the new crew.

Today was back up to 32, but a lot of that was just the same guys going in and out, bringing equipment, including a number of fluid trailers. We’re still hearing the frack will start sometime next week, but that’s only a rumor. So we’ll just have to wait and see.

Although it may seem strange, even with no nighttime traffic I’m still staying outside all night just like my normal schedule. One, it’s nice out here, and two, with the frack starting up soon, I don’t want to get off my sleep cycle and then have to get back on it when we get 24 hour busy again.

Both our new AC’s are still working well, the new Coleman 15K on the roof, and the window unit that we’re using under canopy outside. With the low 90’s temps we’ve been having, neither one is having to work very hard.

The last couple of days we’ve had power line people in here working on the high-voltage lines that are just off to our side.

Power Lines Carthage

They’ve painting some of the towers and spraying weed-killer around the tower bases and along the fence lines. These lines are probably 200,000 volts or more, and could be as much as 800,000. I was told they come from a power plant north of here and run all the way to Houston, and that’s over 180 miles.

At every gate guard site we’ve had for the last four years, we had coyotes in the area. It always seems that around 3 in the morning, different groups start yipping at each other, kind of a bark, that goes back and forth. Don’t know if it’s a wakeup call, or maybe just checking in to see what the other group caught and killed for dinner last night.

But out of all these times I’ve heard them, last night was the first time I’ve ever heard the stereotypical coyote howl, the one that goes with the picture of the coyote on the top of a mesa howling at the moon.

And it does send shivers down your spine.


September 2, 2016

Stood Up Again . . .

At 94 degrees, yesterday was the hottest we’ve had here so far, and then today was the coolest so far at about 86 degrees. So maybe Fall starting to make a little appearance.

And I’m not sure if it’s connected, but yesterday, at 85 vehicles, was our busiest day so far, and today was our slowest day, at 66 vehicles. Of course, neither one is bad compared to past gates where we’ve had 200+ trucks, or even two years ago, where we were doing 400 to 500 vehicles a day.

We did have about 30 minutes of heavy rain, thunder and lightning this morning after I had gone to bed. Jan said one crack of thunder seemed to be right overhead, and it was loud enough to even wake me up, But the new tarp I put over the old, leaky one held up just fine, with no leaks.

Well, about 3:30 this morning I swapped out my two Winegard satellite domes to see if the intermittent Guide data problem would reappear. And it didn’t. So now I’m not sure what actual problem is, or when it will reoccur.

The problem went away as soon as I put my old dome back in place, and hasn’t returned. I didn’t change anything else, or even reboot the receiver. So now I guess I just wait and watch.

This afternoon I found out how Blue Moon BBQ got its name, when Toni Moon, the owner, came thru to deliver some food to the Company Man’s office. I told her how much we enjoyed their BBQ, and that I’d be there tomorrow morning because I wanted to try their HotShots. She said to get there early since they run out fast.

As I mentioned before, HotShots are large fresh jalapenos, stuffed with 3 cheeses and chopped brisket, and then wrapped in bacon and cooked over the pit.

Can’t wait to try them.

Our first Amazon order from here is supposed to be delivered via USPS tomorrow, so we’ll see how it goes. Then we’ve got a Jet.com order coming in next week sometime.

If those work then Tuesday I’ll call American Coach and order a new screen door latch plate. This is the part that is mounted on the door jam that the latch on the door engages. Ours broke recently which means we can’t leave the main door open and the screen door closed. Otherwise Karma might try to make a break for it.

Well, Jamie stood us up on our water delivery, again. First he was going to be here last Monday or Tuesday. Then it was first thing this morning, and later, it was between 3 and 5 this afternoon.

Now it’s early tomorrow morning. But we still haven’t had to switch over to our rig water tank yet, so we’re fine. And I know Jamie stays busy trying to cover guards in East Texas, Louisiana, and Oklahoma.

But it is fun to kid him.


September 2, 2017

The Magic Oven . . .

It seems like the Jetson’s automated kitchen is getting closer. Well, maybe except for Rosie, the robot maid.

Miele, a major European appliance company has announced the Dialog Oven, to go on sale in Europe starting in 2018. Another article can be found here.

Cooking with electromagnetic waves, the frequency allows the cooking energy to be beamed more directly into the food, allowing you to put veal, tomatoes, and zucchini all in a pan, place it in the oven, and in just a few minutes, it all comes out perfectly done, all at the same time. This because the energy can be beamed in different directions, cooking some items more than others.

Or say for some reason, you need to cook a piece of cod frozen inside a block of ice.

Magic Oven

And in just a few minutes, the cod is cooked perfectly, but the ice doesn’t melt.

Now I’m not sure why you’d want to do this, but it’s a neat trick.

The only party pooper on this new oven right now is the price . . .  about $9500.

Of course that’s less than the $54,000 (in 2016 dollars) that the first Amana Radarange cost in 1947. And it was almost 6 feet tall, weighed 750 pounds, and was water-cooled.

Things have come a long way. I saw one at Wal-Mart a while back that you could hold up with one hand, and only cost $49.

After a long nap-filled afternoon we met Ed and Debi Hurlburt over at the Fish Pond Restaurant at 5:45 for dinner.

Jan was really glad they suggested the Fish Pond because she’s really been wanting their Chicken Fried Steak again.

Fish Pond CFS 2

Normally it come with the gravy on it, but since one of us ordered theirs on the side, we all got it on the side.

Ed and Debi - Fish Pond

Since we just had dinner with Ed and Debi this past Wednesday at China Delight, we were able to reduce our normal 3 hours dinners down to only two hours.

A real improvement.

Saying our goodbyes and heading back to the park, we made a quick stop at the Willis Walgreen’s for a few things.

As we left the park earlier we noticed that the Code3 Large Animal Rescue people had pulled out and moved on.

Code 3 Animal Rescue

Probably moved over to the west side of Houston where it’s still flooding.

Tomorrow I’m going to get the ladder out of the truck and caulk a couple of small leaks around the top right windshield gasket. It didn’t lead all the time during Harvey, just when the wind was blowing from a certain direction.


September 2, 2018

Perfect Day For A Swim . . .

At least for some of us.

It was pouring down rain when Jan and I headed up to Brandi’s about 10:30, and it continued to come down hard until we turned onto the Sam Houston Tollway.

We did stop at the Santa Fe Valero for gas on the way for $2.47. It’s nice to see the price coming back down. I actually seen prices in the area for as low as $2.31, but just not when I need it.

We got to Brandi’s about 11:45, about 20 minutes earlier than her previous house. So, nice for us, and also for her drive into work.

Brandi had fixed us a really good lunch of street tacos, with smoked pulled pork, red onions, fresh cilantro, cheese, and salsa, along with Deviled Egg Potato Salad. Really delicious!

Then a while after lunch we all headed out to the pool for swim time. Well, most of us, anyway. After nagging me about swimming, Jan sat this one out, but at least she got her feet wet.

Brandi's Pool Party 3

The dogs, Miss Kitty and Mister Baxter, are not too sure about the whole ‘pool’ thing either.

One thing kind of unusual is that their pool is filled with salt water, and doesn’t use chlorine, or a lot of other chemicals, Just salt, and muriatic acid/baking soda to balance the pH. So the water is soft, and doesn’t burn your eyes or turn your hair green.

Brandi's Pool Party 1

It’s also very buoyant. Sometimes it’s hard to keep your feet under you. But it feels great on your skin.

Brandi's Pool Party 2

It was a perfect day for being in the pool. It was very overcast, and at about 80°, very comfortable. In fact they were heating the pool a little, keeping it at about 90 degrees. And the heat will be really nice this winter.

Coming home about 4:30 we made a quick WalMart stop before getting back to the rig about 6pm. A really nice day, and it looks like we’ll get do it again after Landon’s birthday party next Saturday.

Tomorrow, since my client’s office is closed, I’m going top off the rig engine with oil and the ran it at high idle for an hour or so, or at least until I see some leakage. Since we’re parked on gravel, I’m going to put down some plastic drop cloth sheeting underneath the engine area to catch any drips and make it easier to see any leaks.

After that, it’s either BBQ or Steak for Labor Day.

Decisions, decisions.


September 2, 2021

Big John Can Be Yours. . .

According to the tracking, our new Atwood water heater is here in Houston as of this morning, so I’m hoping it will be delivered by UPS tomorrow morning. That way I’ll have the long Labor Day Weekend to get it installed.

Jan and I headed out a little after 1pm to have lunch at The Catch up in the Almeda area. And as we passed the Monterey’s in Dickinson, they had a new banner up saying they were now training people and to check back next week. Getting close.

It’s about time. It’s only been 4 years since Hurricane Harvey flooded it out.

At the restaurant both of us had our usual, the Grilled/Blackened Catfish with 4 Shrimp and Grilled Green Beans.

The Catch 20210902

And of course, the free margaritas. Well, margarita, singular. I just get one, this time Strawberry-Lime, and Jan has some too.

I was talking to the manager about getting one of these down in the Clear Lake area, and he said they were actively looking. And when I mentioned a couple of possible locations, the old Eggcellence and the old Slim Chickens, turns out that they were actually looking at both of those locations. Fingers crossed.

SpaceX has a new droneship out in the Atlantic. Called A Shortfall Of Gravitas, it will be the first fully-automated landing vessel. Both of the other ones, Just Read the Instructions, also in the Atlantic, and Of Course I Still Love You in the Pacific, have to be towed into place and serviced by a crew stationed on a nearby ship, and then towed back to port.

Love those names.

But A Shortfall of Gravitas is self-powered, and leaves port on its own, sails itself in position, and then comes back to port all by itself. However for the first couple of trips it will be closely monitored by a close-by service ship.

And in addition, SpaceX has configure two new multipurpose recovery ships, to be used to recover the Crew Dragon capsules returning from the Space Station with our astronauts. So what else would you name these ships but . . . Bob and Doug.

What else?

And for A Shortfall of Gravitas’ first mission, how about a night landing of a Falcon 9 booster?

Big John is up for sale. And he can be yours for a high bid of a little less than $2 million.

Big John Triceratops

And Big John is big. At 8 meters, he’s the biggest Triceratops ever discovered. He lived in what is now South Dakota about 66 million years ago when he was swept away in a flood.

Wonder how he would look next to Jan’s Flamingo Flamboyance?

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