Daily Archives: November 14, 2022

It Doesn’t Sound Good . . .

Going into work this morning, just as I got on the Interstate, I notice that the heater had stopped putting out warm air. But the coolant temp was fine. But not for long.

About the time I was into the section of I-45 without any shoulders, the coolant temp redlined. Since there was nowhere to pull over, I slowly nursed it off the Interstate and into a nearby Wells Fargo parking lot and turned the engine off and let it cool down.

But when I tried to crank it up again, it didn’t sound good at all. So I’m thinking blown head gasket, or worse. So I called Good Sam Roadside Assistance to a tow down to Joe’s Hwy 6 Automotive, my go-to car repair guy.

The tow truck showed up in 90 minutes right on schedule and I called an Uber for a ride down to Joe’s, since there were already two guys in the tow truck. Somehow I beat the tow, so I had time to brief Joe on the problem.

And it showed up a few minutes later, he immediately started checking it out. And the news was not good. Sounds like a major engine problem, and he suggested I take up to another place in Alvin to take a look at it.

So I’ll have it towed again tomorrow.

So now we’re back to using Old Smokey/Old Faithful until we get a better handle on things.

Tomorrow Jan will be getting her toes done, while I’m getting a haircut, with lunch beforehand at Torchy’s Tacos.

Thought for the Day:

When your wife says, “Do whatever you want!”, do NOT under any circumstances do whatever you want.

November 14, 2009

Tom Sawyer on the Mississippi…

Well, today was certainly better than yesterday.  And we got to travel thru 4 different states…AR, TN, MS, and AL.

We woke up this morning to a beautiful view of the Mississippi River from the rear of our coach.

We arrived at Tom Sawyer RV Park in West Memphis, AR after dark, so Jan had no idea how close to the water we were. She was really surprised when she stepped outside this morning.

Tom Sawyer 1

Later in the evening I kept hearing trains go by, but I didn’t remember seeing any tracks nearby. It turned out this is what I was hearing.

Tom Sawyer 2

Tom Sawyer 3

After enjoying the view we headed out about 9:30 am across the Mississippi thru Memphis, TN to Athens, AL, about 215 miles away.

It was a much smoother trip than yesterday. No problems at all, really.  We did stop for breakfast / lunch (it was lunch time, but we had breakfast) at a Huddle House restaurant in Corinth, MS.  Lucky for us, their parking lot was big enough for us to park the rig in back with no problems.

We pulled into Northgate RV Travel Park about 3pm, and got hooked up.  We’ll be here for a few days, visiting relatives here in Athens. And, lucky for us, one of my relatives owns the RV park.

We plan on staying here until maybe, Wednesday before heading down to Gulf Shores, AL for a few days, on our way back to Houston.

November 14, 2010

Hooter’s and Hot Sauce . . .

Today was the first day we’ve had in a few days with pretty much nothing on our schedule, so that was nice for a change. Of course tomorrow it starts back up again.

We started out with a walk around the park about 10:30. It was overcast and in the high 50’s so it was a nice time for a walk, not too hot.

Getting back to the rig I made coffee (a combo of Snickernut Cookie and Pecan Praline) and then we just enjoyed the view out the front window.

About 2:30 we headed up to Seabrook to have a late lunch at Hooter’s. We both ordered our wings (actually Jan gets the Chicken Strips) with their new ‘XXX Obscene’ hot sauce, which is now the hottest they have. But IMHO it’s still not as hot as Buffalo Wild Wing’s ‘Blazin’ sauce, or even their second hottest, ‘Mango Habanero’, which is my favorite because of the sweetness.

While we were there we got to watch the Houston Texans lose a then-tied game to the Jacksonville Jaguars with a deflected pass in the last couple of seconds of the game. Jacksonville had the ball and threw a pass to a guy in the end zone. A Houston defender jumped up right in front of the receiver and batted the ball away…right into the hands of another Jacksonville player just as he crossed the goal line.

Talk about your bad luck.

As usual Jan’s looking forward to her two favorite shows tonight, Amazing Race and Desperate Housewives.

Me, I go into the bedroom and read.

On another note, no reoccurrence of our generator ghost. Hopefully, the exorcism will keep him away.

November 14, 2011

Jimmy and Lulu . . .

While we’re here in Gulf Shores, we staying at the Gulf State Park right across the road from the Gulf. You can here the waves from here.

The sites here in our favorite area are along a large lake and are half circles off the road, so easy in, easy out.

Gulf State Park 1

Our rig door is about 20 feet from the bank, giving us a great view of the lake.

Gulf State Park 2

Gulf State Park 3

If we don’t keep Mister on his lease, he goes right down to the edge of the water. We think he’s gator hunting.

Gulf State Park 4


Brandi and Lowell sent us some photos of Landon at a park play area this weekend. Looks like he mostly had a pretty good time.

Landon at the Park 1

Landon at the Park 2


Check out those blue eyes.

Landon at the Park 3

Landon at the Park 5


Landon falls into the clutches of a predatory female. Brandi said he wasn’t too happy about the hug.

That’ll change someday.

Landon at the Park 4


About 3:30 Jan and I drove up to the Intracoastal Canal to have an early supper at Lulu’s at Homeport.

Lulu's 1

Lulu, or Lucy, is Jimmy Buffett’s sister and has had a restaurant in this area, first on Weeks Bay and now here in Gulf Shores, since the late ‘90’s.

Lulu's 2

With its great view of the Canal, Lulu’s is one of the most popular places in Gulf Shores. We’ve watched it grow, and almost double in size in the last few years.


The food is always great here, so the choice was hard. Jan ended up having a Shrimp Loaf, or Po-Boy, and I had the Shrimp and Oyster version.

But it was important that we leave enough room for our favorite dessert – Krispy Kreme Bread Pudding.

That’s right. Bread pudding made with Krispy Kreme doughnuts. It’s really hard to describe how good this is. It just melts in your mouth.

Krispy Kreme Bread Pudding


On another note, as it turns out I had another brush with celebrity growing up here. Well, pre-celebrity, actually.

A while back I read in one of Jimmy Buffett’s books that, growing in the Mobile area, he and his friends used to come to Gulf Shores and surf at Alabama Point.

If you surfed at Gulf Shores, you did it at Alabama Point because the crosscurrents generated by the Gulf entering Perdido Bay produce the highest non-storm waves in the area.

Jimmy Buffet is a couple of years older than me, and when I was surfing at Alabama Point with my friends, there was usually a group of older guys from Mobile and Fairhope there too. So I figure that more than once I was surfing along side Jimmy Buffett.

Who knew?

November 14, 2012

White’s By The Sea . . .

Jan and I have been really enjoying these days of just doing nothing. Reading, napping, watching TV, playing on the computer, pretty much nothing.

For lunch we had the last of our Lambert’s leftovers, and then it was back to doing nothing.

For dinner we met Jeannie and Eldy at Sea N Suds, one of only two restaurants here that is actually right on the beach (the other one is The Gulf, where we ate last night).


We started out with a dozen raw oysters, (Eldy got a dozen, too), then Jan had the Fish Sandwich made with fresh cod, along with the salad bar, and I had a bowl of gumbo (very good) and the Fried Shrimp Dinner. For their part, Jeannie and Eldy split the Seafood Platter along with the Gumbo.

Then we spent the next two hours just talking. Toward the end of our evening a couple at a nearby table came over and asked if we were RV’ers. When we said we were, they said they were too, and had a lot up at the Escapees Park in Summerdale.

As we sat and talked, we got to watch a lovely sunset over the beach. And from personal experience, the beaches at Gulf Shores are some of the most beautiful around.

Gulf Shores Sunset

But besides the good food and great views, this place has more personal meaning to me.

Where this condo and the Sea N Suds now stand was the location of my parent’s motel in the 1950’s.


Here’s an aerial shot taken about 1956. I remember seeing this photo, but hadn’t seen a copy for years. So I was very surprised to find a copy hanging on the wall  at the Sea N Suds when we were here in 2009. When I explained things to the manager, he let me take the photo back to the rig to scan it.


The “Tackle Shack” is now part of the Sea N Suds building. The pier, the longest on the Gulf Coast when it was built, was mostly wiped out during Hurricane Fredrick in 1979.

My parent’s motel was called ‘White’s by the Sea”, and here’s yours truly in front of the sign.


Tomorrow we’re going up to the Escapees Park in Summerdale to meet up with some friends, with a side detour by the Camping World.

November 14, 2013

Not So Fast . . .

or Not At All

And Jan says “Ten Days and Counting.”

After my rejoicing a week or so about the increased speed on our Verizon signal, it all went to . . .  well, crap. For this past week the Internet keeps dropping in and out, sometimes going to 1X, sometimes nothing at all. Other times it gets into this cycle where it will work for about 5 minutes, die for a couple of more minutes, and then work again. I’ve reported it, but no fix so far.

Like I said before, “Ten Days and Counting.”

Well, apparently we broke Jamie, our long-time Gate Guard Services supervisor here at the Whitsett office. We found out yesterday that he’s turned in his resignation and will be leaving at the end of the year. Bummer.

He goes out of his way to take care of his people and does everything he can to make this job a little easier. And he’ll go out of his way if necessary.

Earlier this year, about 7pm one Saturday evening, our generator just up and died. I called Austin, our support guy, and left a message. About 15 minutes later Jamie called and said Austin was off that weekend and he would take care of the generator. After asking me about the problem, he and his wife showed up about 20 minutes later. Turns out he was home cooking dinner when I called and dropped everything to take care of us

It turned out that the alternator had died, letting the battery run down until everything just stopped. He showed up with a new alternator and a new battery and had us going again in about 30 minutes. Now that’s support.

He’ll be missed.

On another note, I got polled by Gallup the other day. They called on the phone and spent about 15 minutes asking questions about my (our) life, some yes or no, others on a scale from 1 to 5, or 1 to 10. Sometimes, I guess as a control question, they asked the same question again, just worded a little different, with a different way to answer. Interesting.

November 14, 2014

Friday Update . . .

Still Busy.

Our drill rig has pretty much all moved out to a new local location about 8 miles away. Jan, bless her heart, confirmed that someone had Russell, the rig dog, and he wasn’t going to get left behind again.

Gate Guard Dog

And it looks like we’ll be gone before the frack gets started there. Good.

Still Cold.

The HIGH today was 40 degrees.

The canopy and all of our outside stuff are packed away and ready to travel, since it’s supposed to rain Saturday and Sunday.

We still have the truck parked out front and we’re working out of that. It’s actually pretty comfortable, since we have heat when we need it, and we’re out of the wind.

We hope to be on the road to the Lake Conroe Thousand Trails by Sunday noon. If possible, we’re going to stop at a truck wash in Huntsville to get all the drill mud and other dirt washed off the rig.

November 14, 2015

Chores Again . . .

With the weather still holding, though it’s supposed to rain a little tonight, I thought I’d take care of some more chores.

Although I had already put my leveler pads away, when I packing some other stuff away, I came across some heavy rope and decide it would make great handles for my pads. Originally I had used 3/16” nylon rope when I put the pads together, but I quickly found that with the weight of the pads, the rope would cut into my hands when I carried them. They worked great for their other function though, which is for me to hook them with the awning hook and drag them out from under the rig.

Since this was going to be a heavy duty drilling job, I got out my Black & Decker Corded Drill, one of three different ones I own.

BlackandDecker Dril

Besides the WORX Power Screw Driver I used yesterday, I also have this Coleman 18v Cordless Drill.

Coleman 18v Drill

I’ve had it for about 10 years or more, and though it came with two batteries, neither one will hold a charge very long any more. So I always have to plan ahead to charge the batteries before I use it.

But since I was going to be drilling six holes in six layers of 3/8” marine plywood, I figured I needed a little more long-lasting power.

I built these pads several years ago after a spur-of-the-moment purchase of several big pieces of 3/8” marine plywood that I found in the scrap sale area of a Home Depot. Enough for them to cut me out eighteen 18” squares, and it only cost me $5. What a deal!

I then glued and screwed them together into 3 six layer pads, and fastened two of these Camping World Jack Pads to each one for added protection from moisture on the ground. Here they are with the new larger rope handles installed.

Leveler Pad-New Handles

You can see the smaller, pinkish cords too.

Although they are heavy, they’re definitely strong enough to support the 12,000 pound weight on my front jack without breaking.

About this time, Billy dropped off my replacement transfer switch. Pretty fast service since it didn’t go out until this past Tuesday. Here’s what it looks like inside.


It’s really pretty simple, with two heavy duty 50amp contactors and a control board. (BTW a contactor is just another name for a relay, but generally means a heavy duty, high power one.)

When no power is coming in from the generator, nothing is happening. The contactor for the generator is open, and the contactor for the shore power is closed, feeding shore power to the rig. But when power comes in from the generator, the control board senses it and tells the shore power relay to open, and then after about a half second delay, the generator contactor pulls in, putting generator power to the coach. The delay is to be sure that if you’re still hooked up to shore power, then you don’t end up with shore power AND generator power coming into the coach at the same time, and feeding back into each other.

In my case there is some kind of problem with the control board, and it will only switch over WHEN we’re still hooked up to shore power. Which was a problem if we’re driving down the road and decided we want to run the AC’s. Then I have to start the generator, stop the coach, go back to the bedroom, and then lift the bed and push the contractor down with a big screwdriver until it locks in. I did this often enough that l just left the cover off the transfer switch.

I’ll ahead and install this new one in the next couple of days, probably Monday or Tuesday since it’s supposed to rain and I won’t be able to do a lot outside.

Right now our weather still looks nice for next weekend, so hopefully we won’t have to pack up in the rain. It’s not fun, and as soon as we get to the park I have to unpack everything and let it dry so it won’t mildew.

So we’re keeping our fingers crossed on the weather.

November 14, 2016

Charged Up. . .

After last night’s 12 hour shift on a gate, it’s amazing how fast the 12 hours off the gate goes by

I didn’t get home until about 7am this morning, about 10 minutes later than usual, due to the heavy fog covering the area. And the deer that kept wandering onto the road didn’t help things.

Jan was just getting up as I was getting home, so we talked for a little bit while I unwound. Then I was in bed by 7:30. Getting up about 11:30, I did some internet stuff until about 1pm when we headed out for lunch, and to hopefully pick an Amazon package that was out for delivery, but not yet delivered.

Our destination once again was Barth’s for Monday’s Chicken Fried Steak and Chicken Fried Chicken Lunch Buffet. Just as delicious as last time. At $8.50 for the meal and drink, you can’t eat at McD’s for that.

And while we were there, I got a text message saying UPS had delivered the package. Perfect timing.

Back home I went to bed for a couple of hours more sleep, getting up about 5pm, and then heading back out to the gate about 6pm. But this is going to be a short shift. Only 11 hours instead of 12.

They’re changing the gate over from a 6:30 to 6:30 shift to a 5:30 to 5:30 shift. I assumed that’s so that the day shift guy/girl can make the morning safety meeting on the pad. But I don’t know for sure.

When I got up Jan said that the bank had called and said that our bank cards had finally come in. We’ll probably go over to Karnes City tomorrow and pick them up.

One of the things that came in the Amazon order was a portable charger for our phones and tablets. I got it because it seems like I’m often getting caught away from home and away from the truck, with the charge my Galaxy S5 draining down. So if I leave it in the truck, I can just tuck it in my pocket and I’m good to go.

PowerCore 13000 Portable Charger

Anker PowerCore 13000 Portable Charger

It has over 2700 reviews with a 5 star rating. Very unusual, and better than the competition. It will charge our phones or tablets 3 or 4 times before it needs to be recharged. It’s about the size of a large pack of cigarettes and not as heavy as some I’ve seen. I’ll let you know how it works.

November 14, 2017

Stompin’ Grounds . . .

When I woke up this morning, Jan had flown the coop. But it was only down to Janice and Dave Evan’s nearby coop. They had come down from Conroe yesterday and are parked just a few spaces down from us.

Jan wanted to pick Janice’s brain about the Instant Pot, and also get some cooking tips and recipes.

After Jan found her way back home, we  headed out about 12:30 for the afternoon, with our first stop at Stomp’s Burger Joint over on 146 in Kemah. We’ve been eating here since 2011, and in fact it’s where we first met Janice and Dave Evans in December 2011.

After the fabled Tookie’s never reopened after Hurricane Ike in 2008, Stomp’s was opened in 2011 by some of Tookie’s ex-employees, duplicating much of the look, feel, and tastes of the original.

Then about a year later, Tookie’s itself was reincarnated by a new owner. But Stomp’s has continued to flourish and even grow. And some people think the new kid on the block is better than the original.


Jan got her usual Outlaw Burger with an 8oz. 100% Angus Beef patty, Cheddar Cheese, Grilled Chopped Jalapeno And Onions and Salsa Picante, Served On A Bun With Mayo, Lettuce, Tomato.

Stomp's Outlaw Burger

All of their patties are 100% Angus Beef, and ground and formed in-house.

I got the double-meat Hog Wild, with two 8oz 100% Angus Beef Patties, Mixed With Rendered Bacon And Topped With Melted Cheddar Cheese Served On A Bun With Mayo, Lettuce, Tomato, Onion, And Pickle. That’s 16 ounces of Angus Beef.

Stomp's Hog Wild Burger

I don’t even try to eat this by hand. It’s fork food all the way.

We also got an order of their Half and Half Onion Rings and Fries.

Stomp's Half and Half

Their onion rings are almost as famous as their burgers, cut, battered, and fried all in-house. Delicious as well.

Stuffed to the gills and more, we drove on up to Sundowner Canvas, also in Kemah, to see if they could do our new awnings.

They were kind of hesitant, but said they could do them if I furnished the filler rods. No problem since I planned to take all the old panels to them anyway, and the rods are reusable.

The only problem seems to be how busy they were and how soon they could get to them. The owner is supposed to give me call with timing and prices.

They did give me a scrap sample to bring home so I could hang it on the old awning and see what it looks like, color-wise.

And I think I nailed it.

This is what I photoshopped a couple of months ago.

Beauty New Awnings 468

And this is what I got today.

Awning Sample

The sample looks darker due to the sun going down over my shoulder, but up close it looks identical.

The sample is Sunbrella Ocean Blue, which I think will be perfect.

I just received my new PayPal Card, this one with the chip in it. And the first thing I noticed is that there are no numbers on the front any longer. They’re only printed on the back, and much smaller than usual. I guess it’s been years since anyone has hand-swiped my card, anyway.

PayPal Card New

Don’t know if this is the new norm, but it’s the only card I have like this.

In other news, Surf’s Up . . . on Lake Tahoe?

Lake Tahoe Surfing

Every fall the southeasterly winds come down off the Sierras and kick up 3 – 5 foot waves all across the lake. Running from one end to the other, they just keep building, making for some great surfing. Very cold surfing, wetsuit-cold surfing, but great surfing, nevertheless.

Back to work tomorrow, with more phone time with Godaddy, I’m sure.

November 14, 2018

Medical Updates . . .

Not much of a blog today. Just some medical updates.

I was at my 2:15 ophthalmologist appointment this afternoon by 1:50, but they were really overloaded. Or at least my doctor was.

So I didn’t get called in from the lobby until a little after 3pm, only to end up sitting in a waiting room with 10 other people for another 30 minutes or so. Finally about 3:30 I was called into a treatment room where a tech ran some tests on my eyes.

Then the Dr. came in, spent about 10 minutes looking at my eyes through various machines, and then asked for my eyes to be dilated. Then it was back out into the waiting for another 45 minutes for the drops to take effect.

Finally I was called back in, and after looking at my eyes again for a few minutes, said I was going to have to make an appointment to see him at his other office where he had some different instruments. So I was finally out of there by about 5:30 and on my way home, with another appointment for Dec. 18th.

The problem with my left eye is that it can’t be corrected to better than 20/60, while my right eye is 20/20 corrected with glasses. The doctor said it’s most likely a slightly warped cornea, which can be corrected with a temporary contact lens that would mold it back into shape.  But he wants to be sure, hence the new appointment.

Jan and I both seem to have come through getting our Shingrix shingles shots with no real side effects. Just some swelling, tenderness, and heat at the injection site. But it’s mostly passed. So it’s good so far.

I’ve actually been kind of disappointed with the results from my extreme tanning session yesterday.

PDT Extra Crispy 468

Although it was tingly, hot, and sensitive yesterday, not much is happening today. It’s not even red or peeling. Just feels like I got a little too much sun. But I guess we’ll see over the next couple of days.

November 14, 2020

Alvin Opry Redux . . .

Last night Jan and I attended our first Alvin Opry performance since last January, and it was good to see a lot of old friends. And what was interesting is that, despite the majority of regular patrons being our age, or even older, as far as anyone could tell, no one had succumbed to the WuFlu. Though a couple of people had contracted it, they had recovered in just a few days with no problem.

Alvin Opry Group 20201113 470

By the time we said our goodbyes and got on the road home after a great performance, Jan had an epiphany. Or maybe it was just hunger pains.

Or more likely, it was the memory of how back in the old days of the Alvin Opry a bunch of us, including some of the performers, would all go out and have a late breakfast after the show. And since Jan decided tonight was going to be a ‘cheat’ night, she wanted ‘sweet and gooey’ pancakes. So we headed back over to our usual Denny’s for our late-night treat.

Now this is unusual for Jan, since she’s not normally a night person, but she was gung-ho tonight. I think the pancakes were calling her name.

Sitting there in the busy Denny’s with more and more people coming in, we were talking about the first time Jan got a taste of the late-night life. It was in the Montgomery, AL, probably in the mid-70’s, and I had been out of town for some reason.

Getting back late, I talked her into going out about midnight for breakfast at the nearby Sambo’s. And after we ordered she looked around in amazement at the crowded restaurant.

“What are all these people doing up this late?”, she asked. Laughing, I explained to her that not everyone fell asleep by 8pm like she did, and that there was a whole ‘nother world out here at night. Shift workers, truck drivers, and a lot of drunks leaving the bars early, all were in the crowd.

And tonight, true to her word, Jan got the ‘sweet and gooey’ she wanted, with the Cinnamon Roll Crunch pancakes, along with eggs, bacon, and fruit.

Denny's Cinnamon Crunch Pancakes

The fruit being a pretense of sticking with our diets, since it replaces the Hash Browns.

Hey, every bit helps.

For my part, I got the Salted Caramel and Banana Cream version, also with eggs, bacon, and fruit.

Denny's Salted Caramel Pancakes

Another fun day.

November 14, 2021

Slow, But Steady Progress . . .

I’m seeing slow but steady progress with my condition. Everything, especially my hands and fingers, seem to be working a little better.

Still no real pain, so I’ve avoided my prescribed pain medication, Tylenol with Codeine. But I did take a prescribed muscle relaxer yesterday afternoon to see if it would do anything about the tightness across my back.

Big Mistake!

I should have heeded the warning on the label MAY CAUSE DIZZINESS all in bold caps. It did reduce the tightness a little, but not enough to offset the severe dizziness that I had for about the next 12 hours.

I won’t do that again. From now on just a couplie of regular Tylenol now and then.

Houston Physician’s Hospital where I had my procedure done is just a couple of doors down from our favorite King Food. So Jan got some hot and sour soup to bring home for me to have, so I had a couple of cups of that today and some peanut butter right out of the jar. The first thing I’ve had since lunch yesterday at the hospital. And that seemed to fill me up pretty good.

Tomorrow I’ll get a shower for the first time so that will be also the first time I get to take my collar off. Just have keep the incision area dry.

And then if I’m still feeling up to it we’ll probably go out and grab a bite to eat just so I can get out of the rig a little bit and move around.

That’s about it for today.

Once again, thanks for the outpouring of concerns. It is much appreciated.