Dead & Alive . . .

As I have in the past when one of our vehicles is in the shop, I looked into renting a car from Enterprise. And I don’t know if it’s the holidays, or the economy, or a little of both, but the last time I rented a Malibu from them, it was about $265/week.

But right now it’s over $500/week.

Yikes!

A couple of weeks of rentals would probably make a big dent in whatever it’s going to cost to fix the Jeep.

I called Roland’s Precision Machining up in Alvin to confirm that they had gotten our Jeep and spent some time going over the problems with Roland himself. Said he’d called as soon as he knows something.

Tomorrow we’re heading up to Conroe to meet up with friend’s Debi and Ed Hurlburt at Vernon’s Kounty Katfish for lunch. Really looking forward to it.


Thought For The Day:

Wanted Dead & Alive


November 16, 2009

Heart of Dixie…

About 11:30 we drove over to Huntsville to eat lunch at a favorite Mexican place of ours called Rosie’s Cantina.  We first ate here last November and it’s still good.

Next we went by Sam’s Club and then stopped off at Petco to pick up some new collars for our cats, and also a new feeder.

Right as we got back to the rig, my Aunt Janice and her grandson, Harlan, showed up in the golf cart to say Hi.

A little later I went over to Janice’s house to talk with Glee, her daughter and my cousin, about a computer project she’s working on, and also get her computer working on Aunt Janice’s WiFi system.

About 5 pm I went back to the rig to bring my Jan over to Aunt Janice’s for a delicious casserole for dinner and had a great time catching up with the family.


November 16, 2010

Amazon and the Landon Cam . . .

And then our friends, Al and Adrienne called. When we called them back, we found they’re still in Fernley, NV which is about 30 or so miles east of Reno, where they’re working for Amazon at one of their distribution centers. Amazon hires about 15,000 people a year to work shipping out orders, and they like to hire RV’ers because they bring their own housing with them. In some cases Amazon pays for their site at the RV park.

They said it’s an interesting experience. Not sure exactly what that means. Hopefully we’ll find out more when we see them back in Tucson next year.

Proud papa Lowell sent this picture of Landon at his first full day of daycare. He looks like he’s not too sure about the whole thing, but there’s no way you’re getting a smile out of him, no way, no how.

Landon Picture Day

Brandi went back to work yesterday after her 3 month maternity leave, but she started putting Landon into half-day daycare last week to help him get used to it.

The daycare does have one neat thing, although it’s debatable how useful it is.

The Landon Cam.

They have two cameras that you can log into on the Internet. Normally Landon is in the middle crib on the right. Don’t know where he is now. You can’t pan or zoom the camera either. So you just have to hope he’ll be there when you look in.

LandonCam

Finally, about 12:45 pm we got to take our walk, and it was a perfect day for it. The sun was shining, the temperature was in the high 60’s and there was a nice breeze. Couldn’t be better for a nice walk.

I set the machine so we had coffee waiting for us when we got back, so that was nice too.

Later in the afternoon I went out and set the ladder up next to the slide to check out why it’s suddenly started leaking. I found a small tear in the inner seal. The heavy black rubber wipers look to be intact on all three sides, but where they join together at the corner, there’s a gap. I plugged it up temporarily with some rubber insulation and taped it over. Will have to see if that fixes the problem during the next rainstorm before doing a more permanent repair.

A little after 5 Jan and I headed over to Dickinson to meet Maria and Bob Sutton for supper at Monterey’s Little Mexico. Then, after dinner I drove Bob back to his house, while Jan and Maria drove down to La Marque to play Bingo at the Knights of Columbus Hall. They did it last Tuesday, and Jan really had fun, so she wanted to do it again.

She didn’t win anything, but she did come within 3 numbers of winning one of the big prizes where you have to fill in the entire card.

I went down to pick her up and we got home about 10:30 and were in for the night.


November 16, 2012

Jan said she wanted a Nooner . . .

Here’s my Friday blog that didn’t get posted yesterday due to computer problems,

Since this was our last day in Gulf Shores we wanted to eat at King Neptune’s Seafood Restaurant, another of our favorite restaurants in this area.

King Neptune's 1

We’ve been eating here for years, and although it’s on the main drag and popular with tourists, the lunch specials are very popular with locals. And besides being delicious, the prices are extremely reasonable.  Jan had the Roasted Turkey with Pecan Cornbread Dressing, Giblet Gravy, Cranberry Sauce, Mashed Potatoes, Deviled Eggs and a Biscuit. And Homemade Coconut Pudding for dessert. And all this was $4.95.

King Neptune's 2

I had Seasoned Shrimp with Pimento Cheese Grits, Sweet Potato Soufflé, Turnip Greens, a Biscuit, and dessert. All for $6.95. And these prices also included our iced tea.

Our total bill with tax was only $14.19!

And did I mention it was delicious. All perfectly seasoned.

Leaving King Neptune’s, and after a NAPA Auto Parts stop for some transmission fluid, we made our obligatory tacky gift shop stop at Souvenir City.

Souvenir City

This place started out as 8’ x 10’ hot dog stand in the 1950s, and now is a chain of shops all along the Alabama and Florida Gulf Coasts.

When we got back from lunch, Jan said she wanted a Nooner.

Unfortunately she meant a NAP!

So after she napped and I worked on getting everything ready to travel tomorrow, we headed out about 5pm to finish up our Gulf Shores visit the same way we started – with dinner at Lulu’s at Homeport, and as before, we finished off our meal by splitting an order of their Krispy Kreme Bread Pudding. Hmmm! Good!

On the way home we made a Wal-Mart to pick up the ingredients for Jan’s Heavenly Hash (Ambrosia). We saw on Facebook that the Galveston Bay RV Park where we’ll be staying this winter is having their Thanksgiving Dinner Sunday afternoon. And since we’ll be there earlier in the day, who can pass up another Turkey dinner. So the Heavenly Hash will be our contribution.

Tomorrow morning we’ll begin our two day journey back to Houston.

Here’s hoping the rig starts. Open-mouthed smile


November 16, 2013

Pay No Attention to that Man behind the Curtain . . .

or the inner workings of WordPress blogs either.

The other night I was working on the formatting of an ad that will be going up on my blog, and I was posting it as a private page so I could see how it would look online.

Then suddenly, after about 4 or 5 times, Live Writer and WordPress decided that I really wanted to post this to the whole world, or at least the 200 or so readers who get this blog by email. So that’s why some of you got a blog post entitled “Test-Page” with just an ad on it.

So, as Emily Litella says, “Never mind”.

The only real excitement today was getting hosed down, watered down, or maybe sprinkled on. Well, not sprinkled exactly. That implies a light shower.

This was more of a deluge. Maybe even of biblical proportions.

Semi-irregularly a water truck comes by to spray the road to help keep the dust down. The truck consists of a full size tanker with a big fan-shaped spray nozzle on the back that the driver can turn on and off from the cab.

I saw the truck turn off the highway and the water came on, spreading out around the rear of the truck. The first thing I noticed was how far out it was going, about 20 to 25 feet on either side, much wider than the 10 or so feet we usually see, so I began to get a little worried. But then as the driver in the cab came even with me, he gave me a thumbs up signal, which I took to mean he saw me sitting here and would turn off the spray right before it got to me and then turn it on again after he passed.

WRONG!

So I was yelling at the driver, closing my laptop, and grabbing up the logbooks and any other non-able-to-swim items, like Jan’s Kindle Paperwhite.

It seems at the last second the driver realized what was happening and pulled to the left as far as he could. Now this spray is not like a garden hose. Think more like a fire hydrant, but it does have a very sharp cut-off to the spray pattern. Lucky for me.

Because the driver swerved at the last minute, I was only completely soaked from the knees down. And I mean soaked. It was like I had just waded into the ocean up to my knees.

Well, I guess I needed Saturday bath anyway.


One week from today (Saturday) we will be at the Gate Guard Services yard here in Whitsett getting ready for the 280 mile trip back to Houston on Sunday. Jan’s so excited she can’t sit still.


November 16, 2015

Just Do It Yourself . . .

Well, it looks like we dodged a bullet on most of today’s rains, with it never getting very heavy, and pretty much over by 2pm. And even tomorrow’s ‘Heavy Thunderstorms’ have been downgraded to ‘Storms/Wind’. It would be nice to have it ‘downgraded’ to ‘Sunny’ for tomorrow, but that’s probably not going to happen.

But on the upside, this weekend is still looking nice.

Todd, our GGS service guy, came back to top off our diesel tank. I figured he’d wait until he came back on Sunday to service the generator, but he went ahead and did it today. He said he probably won’t be back on Sunday since our replacements, Donna and Joe Shelton, were experienced enough to get themselves hooked up.

Of course when you think about it, with everything already here, and set up and running, it’s no different than pulling into an RV park and getting hooked up.

I  had mentioned a while back that as of right now, we’ll be moving back and forth between the Lake Conroe TT park and the Colorado River TT park in Columbus, TX for the rest of the year, into next, depending on park openings down the League City area.

Since I originally set things up on a Friday for some reason, all of our 10 upcoming two week reservations start out on Friday. But since we’re leaving the gate this Sunday and going into Lake Conroe, I had to lop off two days of our reserved 14 days to make things come out right.

But I was thinking this morning that if I pushed everything back two days that it might make things a little easier in a couple of ways. First off, the traffic looping around the top of Houston on Beltway 8 should be a little lighter on Sunday, not that it’s usually that bad in the middle of the day when we travel. But maybe more importantly, by coming in on Sunday when a lot of weekend campers are leaving, it might give us a better choice of sites.

Anyway, rather than me starting at the last of my ten reservations and backing each one up two days, one after the other, going forward, I thought I’d just call Thousand Trails Reservations and let them do it.

Surely their sophisticated reservation software would be able to move all the reservations forward two days, automagically, all at once. But I quickly found that they would have to do it one at a time, just like me.

Geez!  I’ve seen cheap, badly-written campground software that would do this with no problem. So I ended up doing it myself, since the last time I let TT change a bunch of reservations, they screwed it up.

Sometimes the only way to get something done right, is to do it yourself.

Of course sometimes I screw it up too, but at least then I know who to blame.

One chore I forgot to tell you about yesterday was to check the water in our rig’s house batteries

Rig Batteries 1

I was immediately surprised to see how much dust from the trucks going by, had accumulated in the battery compartment. When we get settled in after our move this Sunday, I’ll pressure wash it to clean up. I also noticed a little corrosion on the terminals that I’ll take care of at the same time.

Because of the internal bracing in the bay it can be hard to get distilled water into the back set of batteries, so I made up this water hand pump using a well rinsed out windshield washer fluid jug and this Pennzoil Gallon Fluid Transfer Pump

Rig Battery Pump

This lets me put the hose nozzle in the cell opening and just pump to top it off. No fuss, no mess.

Battery Fluid Pump

I’ve given you a link to one on Amazon, but I think I got mine at Wal-Mart.

My engine batteries are sealed and on a swing-out tray above the house batteries. And since they’re sealed, they need no maintenance, just like the battery in our truck.

One less thing to do.

As far as today was concerned, I didn’t schedule anything major since the weather was supposed to be pretty rainy. But it actually didn’t turn out bad. So I took care of some small stuff that had been pushed down on my list by bigger stuff.

First up, I wanted to install some grommets on the floor mats in the truck. Unlike a lot of vehicles, our Dakota doesn’t have any way to fasten the mats down and they get scrunched up under the pedals after a time.

So I got out my Lord & Hodge Grommet Kit and installed two grommets on each mat like this.

Grommet Kit

When we get back to Conroe I’ll stop off at an auto parts place to pick up some of the screw-in hooks that will hold the mats in place.

I’ve also used the grommet kit to put some additional grommets in our canopy tarp here on the gate to be able to put tie-downs exactly where I want them.

Finishing up, I liked the paracord boot laces I made for my Red Wing boots so much, I made up a set for my steel-toed boots too. I started wearing these boots again a week or so ago when it was so cold and rainy, and my other boots got wet.

I hadn’t worn them since last year’s gate when we had to wear all the Frack gear, and I’d forgotten how comfortable they are. Especially considering they only cost about $30 vs. $175 for the Red Wings.

Boot with Lace Keeper

The only real downside is that they are a good bit heavier than my others, but I certainly feel light on my feet when I take them off.

FYI the little American Flags are called ‘lace keepers’. They keep your laces from gradually getting uneven over time. Most people are stronger in one arm than the other, usually on their ‘handed’ side, I.e. right-handed or left-handed. So they tend to pull harder with that hand than the other one, without even knowing it.. And so the laces gradually get mismatched in length.

But the lace keepers provide enough drag to stop that from happening.

And you can get them in hundreds of different styles, including military branch insignia, sports teams, car manufacturers, and many others.

A few years ago when we were on a drill rig gate, I was waiting to talk to the Company Man, along with another couple of guys. One of these guys was about 6’ 6’ and built like a pro linebacker.

I happened to look down at his boots and couldn’t resist a chuckle. Seeing where I was looking, he smiled at me and said, “My 6 year old daughter gave them to me for my birthday a couple of weeks ago.” And then I understood.

And I must say he did look resplendent in his well-worn boots, complete with large pink Hello Kitty lace keepers.

Hello Kitty

A Good Daddy.


November 16, 2016

A Beautiful Evening . . .

Several readers have recently asked about a couple of things that we use regularly and recommend.

The one I use most is one I mentioned the other day during my Splendide dryer repair. It’s the WORX Power Screwdriver

Worx Driver

It comes with two different cartridges contain12 bits of various types and sizes. You can also use standard screwdriver bits and well as drill bits. But the thing I really like about it is the torque it can generate. You literally will not be able to hold on to it if the screw stops. So it can power through just about anything.

The next one is our Porter-Cable 150 PSI Air Compressor.

Air Compressor

We bought ours in 2009 when it was being sold under the Sears name. I don’t use it as often as my WORX driver but it’s always worked when I needed it. Even more important it’s capable of airing up our rig tires to 105 psi quickly, and with no strain. And has done friend’s rig tires up to 120#.

As it stands right now Jan and I plan on making the 160 mile trip back to our daughter Brandi’s for Thanksgiving. And somewhere along that trip over and back we’ll reach a milestone.

Our 2004 Dodge Dakota will reach 250,000 miles, that’s a quarter of a million miles!  We bought the Dakota the end of 2007 specially to tow behind our RV, and at time it had 104,000 miles on it. According to CarFax it had been a T-Mobile supervisor’s truck and already had the bed cover on it. With 4WD, it was towable 4-down and perfect for our needs.

And incredibly, it also has another 75,000+ miles being dragged around behind the rig that doesn’t register on the odometer.

Even better is how reliable it’s been. Over the years, we’ve had to replace the AC compressor, the radiator and a water pump. Right now I need to replace the AC evaporator fan which I’ll do when we get back to Houston.

I’ll also put on a new set of shocks at that time, the second new set since we brought the truck. And that’s about it. ]

A really good truck. But then I’ve always had good luck with Chrysler products.

Around 4pm Jan and I headed out to have dinner once again at Bella Sera, our 3rd visit. We’re gradually working our way through the menu, and so far it’s all good.

We both started with salads dressed with their delicious Ranch, which Jan and I agree is probably the best Ranch dressing we’ve ever had.

Bella Sera Salad

And because we both liked their Chicken Soup last time, so this time we split a bowl as an appetizer, Still very tasty.

Bella Sera Chicken Soup

For our entrees, Jan went with the Bella Sera Chicken, the same dish I had on our first visit.

Bella Sera Bella Ser Chicken 2

With chicken, olives, capers, and sun-dried tomatoes in a white wine sauce over spaghetti, it’s a great treat.

I went with the Chicken Arribiatta, with chicken, red peppers, mushrooms, and onions in a marinara sauce, it was a spicy dish. Very good.

Bella Sera Chicken Arribiata

Then after a quick stop at Wal-Mart for a couple of ingredients for the Pasta e Fagioli soup Jan is making tomorrow, we were home for the night.


November 16, 2017

Porker Piglets . . .

I got several comments about the “Support Pig” in yesterday’s blog.

Support Pig

What’s next, Support Pythons, Support Piranha?

From the size, I guess it’s probably a Vietnamese Pot-Bellied Pig, but even in pygmy size it probably weighs around 100 pounds. So I guess she must be pretty fit to sling it over her shoulder and stalk off down the aisle like that.d

Of course that’s probably better than a Support Possum.

Support Possum

During the late 80’s, at the peak of the Pot-Bellied Pig craze, the story was that pig farmers in California would set up road-side stands selling baby Pot-Bellied piglets for $1000 a porker.

But it turns out that they weren’t really PBP’s, but just plain, ordinary pigs. So six months or so later, the buyers had a 500# sow in their living room. So you go from this little cutie

Baby Pig

to this.

Big Pig

Seems it’s time for a BBQ!

I guess I’m running behind the times since several blog readers commented that their recent credit cards have all been numberless on the front like my new PayPal card. But the new Chase Band card that I just got a month or so ago, still has the numbers of the front. So maybe I’m not the only one falling behind.

About 10:45 Jan and I headed up Hwy 6 to the Pearland area to visit our long-time friend Bonnie. Jan and Bonnie used to work together in the same hospital years ago and have kept in touch ever since. On our way we stopped off at the nearby Jason’s Deli to pick up lunch for us all.

While we were there, I got a call from my client that they were having some email problems, so when we left Bonnie’s about 3pm, we drove over to Clear Lake to stop in. Once there I rebooted the server and waited for everything to come back up.

And it didn’t.

No websites, no email, no nothing.

Oh, crap!

So crossing my fingers, I rebooted again. And this time everything came back.

Whew!

I’ve got to get rid of this thing. So back at it tomorrow morning.


November 16, 2018

Mystery Solved . . .

Today was another hardware day at work, so I never did get back on the Shipping program.

We did solve what was apparently a long-running problem though. There are two standard connectors found on the foot pedal controllers for the machines, one rectangular and one round like this.

Foot Pedal Round Connector

The problem was that some round connector pedals would work with some machines and not with others. But other pedals would work with those machines and not with the first group. So I was determined to get to the bottom of this.

Grabbing up several machines and several foot pedals, I started running tests by  swapping things around, And as I was told, some worked with some and not others. So then I started testing the pedals themselves.

The pedals are just simple microswitches, either on or off, with the switch wired between the two outer pins, while the center shaft is grounded to the metal case of the foot pedal. And an ohmmeter across the pins confirms the switch continuity.

But, confusingly so, other pedals that didn’t show continuity across the pins, worked just fine on some other machines. So, activating the pedal, I checked the continuity between each of the outer pins and the center ground pin. And that was the problem.

Just to be sure, I took apart one of the machines to double-check and found that these machines were wired with the ground pin being one side of the switch, while other machines of the same make and model were wired differently.

Nobody seems to know why this was done. And it’s not just on the machines from one manufacturer. But it does explain why someone can order a replacement foot pedal and some times it works and sometimes it doesn’t.

Tomorrow will probably be an errand day, WalMart for more stuff, Cracker Barrel to order Thanksgiving Cornbread Dressing, and a few other stops, as well as lunch somewhere along the way.

But a fun weekend anyway.


November 16, 2019

Another Long, Fun Day With The Family . . .

image

More Later.


November 16, 2020

Wanted . . .

I got my Jeep paperwork off to South Dakota via Priority Mail this morning. Since we’re still driving around with no tages, hopefully they’ll get it turned around pretty quickly, but then there’s the blizzard.

When I talked to Katherine at Dakota Post after she had helped me through filling out the necessary forms that I would need to send them, I asked her about the weather up there in Sioux Falls.

“Well, we’re kind of having a blizzard here.”

So then I said, “Well, it’s going to be 79° here today. What’s your high temp going to be?”

She laughed and said, “Just pick either one of those digits and you’ll be pretty close.”

Brrrrrr!


November 16, 2021

Four This Time . . .

A number of you asked how the DJO Bone Growth Stimulator is used, and how it works.

The unit generates a 70Hz electromagnetic field, a little above the 60Hz frequency used in household AC current. The 70Hz is at the center of the frequency band shown to accelerate bone growth.

That signal, generated in the control box, is fed into the coil of wire that’s mounted inside the plastic ring.

DJO Bone Graft Stimulator

It’s kind of a big electromagnet in a way. And it emits a magnetic field that extends out about 6 inches from the flat face of the coil which projects into the neck area. Actually the field projects out from both sides of the coil, but only the one side does you any good. Though I guess if someone else needed to use one, they could just stand back to back with you. Two for the price of one.

As far using it, the center of the coil is centered on the back of my neck and held in place with the straps draped around my neck. Then I just press the button on the control box and wait 30 minutes for two beeps.

When I used it this morning, I noticed that the unit is also logging the number of times it is used. When I used it for the second time, the display showed 001/002.

Of course, there’s actually no way to tell if it’s really working, I.e., generating a magnetic field since it’s completely quiet. So, just out of curiosity I may try to cobble together a field detector of some sort just to see it I got my money’s worth. Of course since the unit didn’t cost me anything, I guess I will, regardless.

Today at lunch I was able to tear open four Equal packets at one time for my Iced Tea. Double the two yesterday.

Again, it’s the little things.

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