Please Pass The Eel . . .

Where were you 59 years ago today?

I was in 10th grade Advanced Trig at Athens High School in Athens, AL, and we started hearing crying, and even a couple of screams out in the hall.

We had just moved back to the States from Colombia, South America, and at that time we had no TV’s at home because the stuff we had stored when we moved to Colombia had not been delivered yet, so that night my Uncle Theo called a friend who owned the local Western Auto who opened it up about 10pm to sell us a TV.

And we stayed glued to it for the next several days, and even saw Jack Ruby shoot Lee Harvey Oswald on live TV.

 

Well, Amazon did it again. Or maybe, didn’t do it again. Two days in a row.

Once again they mis-delivered my package to same RV that they mis-delivered my package yesterday.

What part of #7 don’t they understand?

RV Site # 7

 

How Eels Almost Became the Thanksgiving Main Dish

Eels for Thanksgiving

So Eel & Dressing?

 

It’s probably always better to pack your cat in your carry-on bag.

Cat In The Bag

Cat found in luggage at New York airport didn’t belong to the traveler, TSA says

And yes, the cat was fine.


Thought for the Day:

“Only two things are necessary to keep one’s wife happy.

One is to let her think she is having her own way, and the other is to let her have it.” – President Lyndon Johnson


November 22, 2009

Last Day in Paradise…

Today is our last full day in Gulf Shore for a while. It will probably be this time next year before we’re back.

About 11 or so we headed out to have lunch at one of our favorite places here, Lulu’s.  Lulu is Lucy Buffet, whose brother Jimmy is a little more well known.

Her place is right on the Intercoastal Waterway with a great view of passing boats and tugs.

Lulus

And the food is great too!

Jan had the Jerked Chicken Salad Sandwich and I had the Buffalo Chicken Quesadillas. And we always save room for dessert.

And the dessert is great!

Jan and I split the Krispy Kreme Bread Pudding, made, of course, with Krispy Kreme Doughnuts as the bread.  MMMMM!  MMMMM!  GOOOD!

Before going back to the rig, we decided to drive down West Beach to see what was new.

The first thing we saw was this sign.

Mouse Sign

What’s up with this?  Now we’re worrying about mouse habitat?  Don’t they sell traps for that?

Nearby we got these great pelican shots. They were all sitting on large pipe, paralleling a bridge, just feet from the road and the inlet bank.

Pelicans Gulf 1

Pelicans Gulf 2

If you haven’t figured it out yet, Jan is crazy about pelicans…and moose…and flamingos…and octopus…octopuses…octopi…whatever.

Heading back toward the rig, we stopped off to walk down to the beach.

Gulf Waves

A lot of nice waves due to the storm last night.

Getting back to the rig, I got the satellite dish set back. Hopefully no more high winds tonight.

Next I wanted to check the water level in the coach batteries. I tried to check them at least once a month, and the last time I’d done it was about a month ago while we were in Elkhart, IN.

Upon opening the compartment door I immediately noticed a problem with a battery cable.

Battery 1

The lead connected the two 12 volt banks was broken off.  At first I thought it had burnt thru.  But on looking closer I was able to tell that it was probably broken off by age and vibration.  Something similar happened back in June with a control wire on my starter solenoid.

Due to the remaining length of wire I could see I would probably need to replace the entire wire. And this would be difficult on a Sunday afternoon.  And we would need the batteries tomorrow night when we Wally Dock in Breaux Bridge, LA on our way back to Houston.

Thinking about it for a minute, I decided to do this.

Battery 2

I used one of my jumper cable sets to temporarily make the connection until we get back to Houston and I can make up a new cable.  I think it should hold OK.

About 5:30 we drove back down the beach to DeSoto’s Seafood Kitchen. They always have great food, but we especially like one of their sides, Sweet Potato Casserole with Caramelized Pecans. You almost want to just order a whole plate of it.

Tomorrow we will start back toward Houston, stopping in Breaux Bridge, LA about 300 miles from here, so we’ll get an early start, probably about 8am.


November 22, 2010

Landon and the Cows . . .

Our day started early, and with two problems. Brandi called to let us know Landon was not feeling well and she was taking him to the doctor. She wondered if Jan could babysit today so Landon wouldn’t have to go to daycare.

And, of course, Jan said ‘Sure!”  More Landon time.

But the second problem was that despite her eagerness to Landon-sit, Jan was in the second day of her usual 3-day migraine sequence. But she took another Imitrex which helped a lot and we were on our way to Brandi’s by about 10:15 am.

The doctor said Landon just had a slight head cold and would be fine. She told Brandi to just stop and get some Triaminicin for him.

I got this picture of him after we got there.

Landon - Sick Day

One thing we’ve found out about Landon since he’s been in daycare the last two weeks, is that apparently he’s crazy about cows.

They actually start showing babies Landon’s age (3 months) flash cards with large pictures of animals, and telling them the names. They have about 20 different animal cards, and when the girl would show Landon a cow, he would start laughing and giggling. But only for the cow.

She thought maybe she was imagining it so she got another girl to try it, and Landon did exactly the same thing.

Strange!

While Jan was Landon-sitting, I visited a couple of clients, and then on the way back to Brandi’s I stopped off and picked up the HoneyBaked Ham we’ll take up to Shawna’s for Thanksgiving.  While I was out and about, our friend Gina called to check in. She was in town for her sister’s memorial service and wanted to get directions to a favorite restaurant of ours, Floyd’s Cajun Seafood.

I also stopped off at Sam’s Club to picked up some more Imitrex for Jan, and a couple of pumpkin pies for Thanksgiving too.

After Lowell got home, Jan and I headed over to Jason’s Deli for supper. She had her favorite Turkey Muffuletta  and I had a bowl of their great Southwestern Chicken Chili.

We got home a little after 5 pm.

That’s about it for today.


November 22, 2011

4-Wheel Drive No More . . .

Our morning started off with a move from site 72 where we’d been since Sunday night, to site 4 over in front of the office. Since we were only going about 100 yards, we didn’t have to pack things away as much as normal, and we had no problems at all.

We can move into the waterfront site this Friday if we want, and then move again on Dec 10th to a better site. But we’ve been burned before when we waited and waited to someone to leave, and they kept re-upping.

So we’ll have to decide what we’re going to do.

About 12:30 I headed out to check in with one of my long-time clients. They’ve got 5 computers that need cleaning and updating, and some problems with a home entertainment system that I need to sort out. So this will keep me busy for several weeks.

Brock’s Automotive had called earlier and said my truck was done, so about 3:30 I headed over there to settle up with them, and then Jan and I will pick it up later this evening.

As it turns my previously 4-wheel drive truck is now a 2 wheel drive truck. The damage to the front transaxle was more extensive than thought. It wasn’t just one axle bracket that had broken, but the transaxle case mounts had snapped off which is why the whole thing had dropped down on the skid plate. In fact, if the skid plate hadn’t been there, it probably would have fallen to the pavement.

When I first talked to Brock’s I mentioned the idea that, since the truck is 7 years old and has 178, 000 miles on it, with another 47,000 miles being towed, I really didn’t want to put several thousand dollars into it to fix this. So I ask them about the possibility of just disconnecting the two drive shafts, leaving me with just 2-wheel drive. As it is the last time we used 4-wheel drive was in a snowstorm driving from Billings MT to Sturgis SD in 2008, so I don’t think we would miss it.

And once the full scope of the damage was found, it was obvious that the entire transaxle/driveshaft assembly would have to be replaced. When Brock’s started checking around they found that a used one was $800 – $1000, and a new one was $3200 #$%#@# dollars. With another $1000 or so for labor.

No way! (I would have put ‘Jose’ in there, but you never know what’s not politically correct anymore)

So for $375, they removed the transaxle and driveshaft assembly, and threw in an oil and filter change. You can’t beat that.

Still driving Lowell’s truck, I headed back to the rig, stopping off to fill it up with gas, before picking Jan up and heading back up to Clear Lake.

Our first stop was Rudy’s BBQ on I-45 in Webster. We’ve always enjoyed eating at Rudy’s in the Austin area, and while we were gone this year, they built one here.

Next, we stopped by Brock’s to pick up our truck while Jan drove Lowell’s truck back to Brandi’s with me following in ours.

Brandi, Lowell, and Landon are heading up to Oklahoma tonight to spend Thanksgiving with Lowell’s parents, so we said our goodbyes and then headed down to La Marque so Jan could meet our friend Maria and play bingo.

I then ran some errands and was back down to La Marque to pick her up at 10 pm.

Unfortunately she didn’t win anything this time. Maybe next time.


November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving . . .

thanksgiving-turkey9

This morning started real early for some of us. Landon gets up very early, 6am this morning, so no one stays asleep long. Lowell went down to the local Starbucks and brought us back coffee so that helped some.

And yes, Starbucks was open from 5:30 to 9 this morning, and Lowell said they were pretty busy, too.

Jan and Brandi, with Lowell and I helping, got the green bean and broccoli casseroles started, with Jan also working on the cornbread dressing.

We sat down about 1pm for a Thanksgiving meal of HoneyBaked Ham and Turkey, Cornbread Dressing, Mashed Potatoes, Green Bean Casserole, Broccoli-Cheese Casserole, Heavenly Hash, and Rolls.

Thanksgiving at the Lake

Then for dessert, we had the Pumpkin and Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pies we picked up from Brother’s Bakery and Café yesterday on our way into town. We pretty much all stuffed ourselves silly, of course, but boy was it good.

Then after lunch we all spent a good bit of time sitting on the dock just enjoying the sun and the nice breeze. And of course Landon’s antics as he ran around.

Landon at the Lake 1

Landon at the Lake 2

Landon at the Lake 3

About 6:30 we all headed into Marble Falls to see the Christmas Walkway of Lights they have set up along the banks of the Colorado River.

The last time Landon was here he was only about 4 months old so it was all new to him. And he really enjoyed it, pointing at everything and naming them.

Marble Falls Lights 1

Marble Falls Lights 3

Marble Falls Lights 4

Marble Falls Lights 5

Marble Falls Lights 6

photo

Landon had so much fun tonight we may have to take him back again.


November 22, 2013

Almost Done For This Year . . .

Today was our last full day here on the gate, and it was really pretty quiet.

And cold.

Actually very cold. The temp finally inched its way up to about 42°, but didn’t even hold that for very long. And the 20 mph didn’t help out at all.

So while I started breaking things down outside (with frequent inside trips to warm up) Jan handled the gate by just coming out when a vehicle came though. And it certainly helped that we only had about 40 vehicles today.

A lot of people stopped off to say goodbye, and some with more “lovely parting gifts”, in this case a couple of beautiful ribeye steaks. How about a new tradition – Steak for Thanksgiving?

I picked up the truck from the repair shop about 3pm, and it cost about what I thought – a little over 4 gate days. The repair guy said the water pump was the original one, so not bad for a little over 208,000 miles. Our truck, a 2004 Dodge Dakota, had 101,000 miles on it when we bought it toward the end of 2007, so we’ve put another 107,000 on it in the last six years. And that doesn’t include the 60,000 miles that we’ve towed it behind the rig.

Once I got the truck home I could really start loading things up, and by about 7pm and after stopping for supper, pretty much everything was done except for taking the canopy down. And we’ll do that tomorrow morning.

The reason we didn’t finish it up tonight is that it started to SLEET!  I’m sorry, but I didn’t come back to south Texas for the winter to have SLEET! 

We plan on heading over to the Gate Guard Services lot around 10 am tomorrow after our relief arrives. A blog reader, Jim Mossman, commented yesterday that he might be our relief. If so, we look forward to meeting them.

That’s about it for gate guarding this year. Next up, home to Houston for holidays with the kids and grandkids. YAY!


November 22, 2014

Happily Ensconced . . .

We pulled out of our site at Omega Farms RV Park about 10:15. Then it was on to Livingston, about 50 miles away. We wanted to get an early start because of all the bad weather that’s supposedly coming our way this afternoon and evening.

And after an easy hour and 15 minute trip through the rolling countryside, we were quickly and happily ensconced on Chris and Charles Yust’s lot, right next to their rig here in the Escapees Park.

Then after some ‘catching up’ time we all headed out to Chris and Charles’ favorite Mexican place, La Casita.

La Casita - Livingston

And it was the perfect ‘trifecta’; close by, cheap, and good, especially the salsa, with a real ‘smoky’ chipotle taste. Jan had the Beef Fajita Nachos, while I had the Beef Fajita Lunch Plate, both very good.

After a nice ‘after lunch nap’, Chris and Charles and I spent several hours going over changes and updates to their C and C RV Insurance website. We’re adding several new products, as well as online quote forms, and more.

By the time we wrapped up for the day, it was after 6pm and time for dinner, so it was off to Florida’s Kitchen, another of their favorite places.

Florida's Kitchen

And it was easy to see why. Or maybe, taste why.

Written up in Texas Monthly, Florida’s is known for their ribs and their fried catfish. And luckily for Jan and I they have a Sample Platter with some of both, plus two sides and hushpuppies, perfect for Jan and I to split. And that left us enough room for ‘takehome’ desserts of Italian Cream Cake and Chocolate Pie for later.

The food here is well worth the rave reviews. Hopefully we’ll be able to come back to both places.

Under the heading of ‘Our Future Van Gogh’, Brandi sent over this picture of Landon’s latest artwork. She said he drew this from scratch in about 10 minutes. Drew, not traced, not colored in. Drew.

Landon's Turkey

Wow! Not bad for 4 year old. In fact, much better than a lot of the ‘modern’ art I’ve seen. Thought it does look like some of the NBC Peacock slipped in.


November 22, 2015

Off the Gate . . .

We were up about 5:30am for our last morning on the gate for this year. When I checked the outside temp, it was 30°, a little colder than the 33° that was forecast. In fact when I went out about 20 minutes later to turn the lights on, everything was covered with a thick last of frost.

And of course on our last  day here, the workover crew has to change everything up. Normally the first one doesn’t come in until about 6:15am, but today he showed up about 5:50, just what we needed this morning while we’re trying to get on the road.

But as the other mornings, the last guy was in by 6:40 so I was able to get back to finish up packing, mostly a combination of both ‘leaving the gate’ stuff and normal ‘pack up and leave the RV park’ stuff.

But it all was complicated by layer of frost covering all the stuff I had positioned outside to be packed away this morning. I set some things out in the sun, or at least out where the sun would be when it got up over the trees, hoping to thaw things out.

Giving up for a while I went inside to finish up putting away the TV’s and other regular travel day stuff. Then taking a break, I made coffee and Jan heated us up some Sausage and Egg biscuits for breakfast. While we ate we talked about all the stuff we planned to do in our post gate time. Back at work, and finding the stuff outside a little less frosty, I finished up stowing everything away from the gate.

I had planned to move our rig out of the way between 8:30 and 9:00, expecting our replacements to show up around 10. This would let them pull straight into the site and get hooked up. But I guess anxious to get started, Donna and Jim showed up a little after 8am.

One funny thing that did happen, at least funny to us, was that they first went to the wrong gate, the frack site up the road, guarded by two women, Brenda and Patsy. So Jim and Donna pull up and tell them, “We’re here to replace you.” Apparently there was a look of surprise and panic on the other guard’s faces until they got things straighten out.

We spent the next 45 minutes or so getting them briefed on what to expect here, and then I got the our rig pulled off to the side about 9:15, allowing Jim and Donna to pull their camper into our old spot.

The first problem I had was trying to wrestle a frozen power cord into the electrical bay, kind of like throttling a python with your bare hands, but finally I got it stuffed in and the bay door shut.

Then as soon as I started backing up, I kept getting a ‘Jacks Down’ alarm. I knew the jacks were up, so I figured the system was just a little low on fluid, and the cold weather probably didn’t help either. Normally when you get an alarm like this, it means that you need to add hydraulic fluid to the reservoir, and this seemed to be the case today, since I didn’t have any more problems with it after we got on the road.

In 24 hours our gate went from this,

New Old Canopy

to this,

Last Day on Carthage Gate

and then to this.

Sheltons on the Gate

We were hitched up and on our way by a little after 9:30, taking SR 315 south until we picked up US259. In Nacogdoches we turned onto US59 which took us through Lufkin and on to Livingston, home of the Escapees RV Club. Then a series of FM roads and SR roads took us through the countryside into Willis and then across I-45 and to the Lake Conroe Thousand Trails.

Lucky for us, we got the last 50amp site in our favorite ‘E’ ring, so we were happy about that. We’ve been here enough times that it seems like a home base for us. Kim, the head ranger even said, “Hello stranger, where have you been?”

But I bet she says that to all the guys.


November 22, 2016

That’ll Teach Me . . .

Just as soon as I told you how much I liked my PowerMax Power Converter that I got from Amazon, it cratered.

Well not completely. It’s still putting out 13.2 VDC and keeping the house batteries charged with no problems. But it’s no longer running through its 3 voltage level cycle.

When it’s first plugged in, the power converter starts up in ‘Boost’ mode at 14.4 volts to quickly bring a battery up to full charge. It then switches into ‘Standard’ mode at 13.6 VDC. This mode is where the converter stays when there is a steady drain during normal use.

When there is little or no drain, the converter drops back to ‘Trickle’ mode at 13.2 VDC, and then toggles back and forth between ‘Standard’ mode and ‘Trickle’ mode as needed. By itself that’s fine and dandy. But I need more.

Because the isolator between the house batteries and the engine batteries only pulls in above 14.0 VDC, that means that the engine batteries only get charged when the converter is first turned on and is in ‘Boost’ mode. And since the converter normally stays on all the time when we’re on shore power, that means that the engine batteries weren’t being kept charged.

But I had a plan. (I always have a plan. Often three or four of them) My idea was to just put the power converter on a heavy-duty timer. Initially I set the the timer to turn the converter off  for 30 minutes (the minimum the timer allows) every 8 hours. After a couple of weeks, I backed it off to powering off only twice a day. And that’s the way it’s been for the last two years. This keeps the engine batteries topped off with no problems.

Until a few days ago. Coming in the rig I noticed that the engine voltmeter was showing only about 12.4 volts, lower than it should be. Thinking maybe there was a timer problem, I restarted it manually. With no luck.

The power converter was stuck in ‘Trickle’ mode at 13.2 volts and would never run through its cycle. I even unplugged for a couple of hours, but that didn’t help either. So this morning I put in a call to PowerMax to see if there was any thing else I could check. Turns out, No.

Right now I’ve got my auto battery charger keeping the engine batteries charged, while I see about getting the converter replaced. When I purchased the converter from Amazon in December 2014, I did purchase an extra 2 year warranty for only $9.90. Seems like a really good deal now.

My next call this morning was to the McDonald’s in Cuero, TX to see if they were going to be open Thanksgiving morning. Finding out that they would be, we’ll stop there for a breakfast sandwich on our way to our daughter Brandi’s in Katy for Thanksgiving.

Then it was outside to install my new Sylvania SilverStar Ultra headlight bulbs. Unlike many vehicles where you can access the bulb sockets from under the hood, with our Dodge Dakota the entire headlight assembly has to be pulled by removing 3 bolts from around the outside of the lens.

Headlight Replacement

One thing you need to watch with these halogen bulbs is that you don’t touch the glass with your fingers. The grease from your fingertips will burn black and create a hotspot, cracking the glass. If you do it accidentally, use an alcohol-soaked cloth to clean the glass.

I finished up by adding a quart of oil to the truck. Even at almost 250,000 miles it only uses about a quart every 1000 miles, pretty much the way it’s been since day one.

A little after 4pm Jan and I headed out to have dinner at Bella Sera once again. We’d always heard how good their pizza was, so this time we wanted to give it a try.

Bella Sera Pizza

We got the large (16”) Meat Lover’s Pizza, adding mushrooms to the pepperoni, Canadian bacon, hamburger, and Italian sausage. We always get the large so we have leftovers.

Jan and I both agreed that this was probably the 2nd best pizza we’ve ever had, second only our number 1 favorite, Grimaldi’s. The only thing Bella Sera misses out on is the coal-fired brick oven that Grimaldi’s uses. You can taste the difference.

Before heading home, we made a Wal-Mart stop to pick up a prescription for Jan, gas for the trip, and finished up with a carwash to get all the dust and grime off before our trip on Thursday.


November 22, 2017

A Safe Ride . . .

As I mentioned in last night’s mini-blog, I woke up under the weather yesterday, and if I hadn’t had so much going on, I would have stayed in bed a lot longer.

So about 11:30 I was on my way up to Katy to pick up Jan from her Landon-sitting gig, where she’d been since Sunday afternoon. But now it was time to drop Landon off at his mother’s office along the SH Tollway and then head back to Santa Fe. But we did make a lunch stop at Taco Bell along the way, with Jan getting a Cheese Quesadilla, while I got a small order of Nachos Supreme, and London got an order of Chips and Queso. All good.

After dropping off Landon about 2:30, Jan and I headed down to the Clear Lake area. We were meeting our friends, Janice  and Dave Evans, at the Floyd’s Cajun Seafood in Webster. They were worried that we wouldn’t want to eat there again since we’d just been to the one in Katy on Sunday. We told them, No problem. It’s hard to get too much Floyd’s.

Since we weren’t supposed to meet until 4:30, we first made a stop at the local PO to see if I could track down a missing Amazon package. It was supposed to be delivered on Monday, but for some reason they tried to deliver it to the office on Sunday.

When that didn’t work, they were supposed to redeliver it on Monday, but it was a no-show. So a stop at the PO was in order. And wouldn’t you know it, while I was talking with the mail lady at the PO, I got a text saying the package had just been delivered.

Since I didn’t get the the usual text saying it was out for delivery, this was a surprise. So our next stop was at work to pick it up. Then since we still had some time to kill, we made a Staples stop so Jan could find some Christmas note paper for her Christmas cards.

Then finally it was on to Floyd’s Cajun Seafood where Jan had her usual, her favorite Chicken Fried Chicken.

Floyd's Chicken Fried Chicken

They always serve the gravy on the side so you can dip or pour, as you like. And of course along with their Sweet Potato Fries.

Janice and Dave are heading out this coming Monday so hopefully we’ll be able to get together once more before they leave.

After a good meal and a great time, we were on our way back to Santa Fe with only quick stop at the HEB for gas.

I woke up feeling a lot better this morning, so I headed off to work at my usual 10am. But it was a pretty quiet day so I was able to catch up on some stalled projects.

Since Chris and his family are mostly working tomorrow, we were getting together at the Cheddar’s in Webster at 7pm tonight, so about 6:30 we headed out. But we didn’t get far.

About halfway there, still on FM646, we suddenly heard a loud flapping from the rear of the car. At first I thought it was a flat, but the truck was still driving fine, so not a flat. We drove about 1/2 mile or so and pulled into a Citgo station.

Getting out I checked all four tires, all just fine, and even got down and looked underneath. Still nothing. So then I had Jan drive back and forth in the parking lot and then it was easy to find the problem.

A large piece of the outer tread had come loose and peeled back on the passenger rear tire, leaving the inner part still holding air.

Tire Flap

After calling Chris to let him know we weren’t going to make it, I decided to try out my new roadside assistance service, SafeRide.

A few months ago when my Good Sam ERS expired, I decided to switch over to SafeRide, sold by Chris Yust of C and C RV Insurance. I had been screwed over by GS with their billing, and SafeRide offered more services at a better price, and had excellent reviews. And it was easy to see why, if my experience was any example.

I called SafeRide at 7:08. It took me about 6 minutes to give them all my info since this was my first call. So that took me to 7:14.

Then at 7:19 I got a call from the service guy saying he would be there in about 10 minutes. In the meantime I was directed by a text message to a website map that showed where the service guy was, and giving an animation of his truck moving on the map as he got closer.

SafeRide Graphic

Really neat!

And right on time, at 7:30 he (Rex) pulled up. Accompanied by his girlfriend/wife?, they got right to work. While she was lowering the spare from underneath the truck, he got out the floor jack and loosened the lug nuts.

As soon as the spare was down and out of the way, he jacked up the truck and removed the bad tire. Then noting the spare was a little low, he added air before installing it on the truck. A couple of more minutes and he was done.

When we pulled out of the Citgo station, it was 7:52, which meant from the time I called until we were on our way was 44 minutes. Surely a record.

Great service!

Figuring Chris and his family were already or almost done, we decided to just head up 646 a couple of miles to have dinner again at Pho 20

I don’t know how the owner knew we were coming, but she was sitting at one of the outside tables waiting on us. (Actually she was listening to music on her headphones.) And as before we got the personal treatment.

We started off with the House Crunch Salad again, but this time pre-split into two separate bowls for us.

Pho 20 Half Crunch Salad

Then it was on to their really good Shrimp Spring Rolls with Peanut Sauce.

Pho 20 Shrimp Spring Rolls

I again got the Jalapeno Chicken, but this time had them leave out the green peppers and add more jalapenos. Las time I found that the green pepper taste was a little overpowering.

Pho 20 Jalapeno Chicken

Jan, however, switched up and got the Curry Chicken which she really liked and said she’ll have it again. Always a good sign. However I was enjoying my dish so much I forgot to get a photo of hers.

A really great meal, and once again we left with a food gift from the owner. Very nice people.

Tomorrow, with Brandi and her family in Dallas, and most of Chris’ family working, Jan and I will be doing the Cracker Barrel thing some time in the afternoon. Looking forward to it.


November 22, 2019

Missed It By That Much . . .

So Close !!!

When I put in our daily 11:45 morning call to Dix’s Diesel Center, I got some really good news. Sam, the dispatcher, said the mechanic was waiting on some (a?) gasket(s) to fix oil leak problem. He didn’t know which one(s) it was, but I’m assuming it was for the oil cooler, which attaches to the the side of the engine block and feeds the oil through the filter that is mounted to it.

Cummins-8.3-350-ISC-Oil-Filter-Adapter-1_thumb

Cummins-8.3-350-ISC-Oil-Filter-Adapter-2_thumb

That gasket is about the only thing left in area of the leak, so it’s where I was going to look next. The only problem I foresaw was how I was going to get to the 11 bolts holding it in place. The cooler is mounted so far up on the side of the engine that they would be hard to reach while lying on the ground underneath the rig. And you can’t really get to them from under the bed because it’s back under the firewall area separating the bedroom and the engine compartment.

But it does look doable if the rig was on a lift, or over a pit, where you could stand up and reach the bolts that way.

However, all my good cheer was for naught, because when we went by Dix’s about 4pm, we found that the needed gaskets had no yet come in, and probably wouldn’t before the end of the day. And though, even if the parts did come in, and there are a couple of mechanics working tomorrow, Saturday, there won’t be anyone in the office to cash us out until Monday at the earliest.

So, missed it by that much.

However Jan is still due at Brandi’s on Sunday so she can Landon-sit until Wednesday while he’ out of school and the dogs/cat-sit until next Sunday while Brandi et. al. are out of town. So we’re meeting them Sunday afternoon in Columbus to hand her off to them.

Hopefully I’ll be back in Santa Fe back then, though Jan is worried about how I’ll do backing the rig into our spot at Petticoat Junction RV Park.

But I doubt I’ll have any problem.


November 22, 2020

Now To See How It Sleeps . . .

With Brandi, et al., heading up to Oklahoma to have Thanksgiving with Lowell’s parents, and Chris’ wife, Linda having to work on Thanksgiving, Jan and I are on our own for this Thanksgiving.

So Cracker Barrel it is.

But when I asked Jan when she wanted to to, at 11 when they started serving TG dinner, or later in the afternoon, she said “Neither.”

“So you don’t want to eat around all those people?”

She said it wasn’t that, since we eat out all the time. She just didn’t want to have to eat that early, or wait in line for an hour or more if we wanted to eat later in the afternoon.

So ‘call ahead and pick up ahead of time’, it is.

But when I used the CB app to try and place my order, it gave me a Order Error, saying that orders at this location could only be placed between 11:59 pm and 12:01 am, in other words, the 2 minutes around midnight.

Now that’s a tight timeframe.

Next, I tried to call the store itself, and after getting switched around a couple of times, I placed my order and said I wanted to pick it up at 3 pm on 11/23, this Tuesday. But I was told that I couldn’t pick it up at 3. However, I pick it up at 2:15 or 5:45.

Obviously this is something new, since we’ve picked up stuff for Thanksgiving and Christmas a number of times and never had a time restriction like this.

But it explains why the app didn’t work. If you don’t happen to pick an open timeslot, it won’t let you order.

So Tuesday at 2:15 it is.

A few days ago we ordered a new mattress topper for our bed here in the RV. Our old 2” one seemed to be wearing out and getting thin in places, so I ordered a 3” one this time.

Inside the cover it looks like this.

New Mattress Topper 1

Hopefully it will be a lot cooler than our old one. And couple with Jan’s new Moose Quilt, it looks like this.

New Moose Quilt


November 22, 2021

Decollared, And A Big Gnarly Scar . . .

I had the follow-up appointment for my recent cervical spine surgery this afternoon with my neurosurgeon. Well, actually his P.A. (Physician’s Assistant), Alexandria.

She seemed a little surprised at how well I was doing only 10 days out from the surgery, especially since I had never had to take any Tylenol/Codeine pain medication. So well, in fact, that that she told me I didn’t have to wear the “collar of shame” until Friday as I was originally told, but could stop wearing it right then. And of course that meant that I can drive again. Yea!

I can also stop doing the breathing treatments, using the AirLife Spirometer that I brought home from the hospital.

Airlife Spirometer

But I will have to keep doing my daily 30 minute Bone Graft Stimulator treatments for the next 6 months.

Plus I can now go back to taking all my daily meds, including my Anti-WuFlu Quercetin/Zinc/D3. Just no more low-dose aspirin for 3 months. And I can’t take Advil until then, either. But everything else is OK.

She then went ahead and pulled the Steri-Strips off my incision, giving me my first view of my Big Gnarly Scar. She was also happy with how well it was healing.

Big Gnarly Scar

I will wear it proudly.

And it looks like that Brandi may be using Dr. Wang in case she also needs cervical spine surgery. Yes, she’s an hour away up in Katy, but Dr. Wang is rated as one of the top-rated Neurosurgeons in Houston. So worth the drive.

Because of this, Brandi had an appointment with Dr. Wang next Monday. Hope it goes as well as mine did.

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