Daily Archives: January 7, 2023

A Retro Day . . .

A very fun and busy time up at our daughter Brandi’s today, but we got back late so just the retro stuff on tonight’s blog.

More tomorrow.


Thought For The Day:

Apparently not your Average Bear.     And where’s Boo-Boo?

Black Bear Bear 2


January 7, 2011

Toys and Tea Rooms . . .

Another early morning started when we left the rig about 9 am heading up the road to Webster for Jan’s 9:45 dental appointment.

While she was there, I ran some errands, ending up at EPO (Electronics Parts Outlet), one of my favorite places to explore.

They have computer stuff, electronic parts and tools, science kits, and best of all,

TOYS…lots of Toys!

And as Jan says, I can resist anything but temptation. I saw a new helicopter that I just had to have. It’s a new 3 channel model that has both gyro-stabilizers and an accelerometer, so it’s very stable and easy to control.

And a lot of fun to annoy the cats with. Of course sometime the cats annoy it back.

I’ve lost several copters that way.


You can see it fly here.

As I was leaving EPO, I got a call from Brock’s Car Care telling me what they’d found on my truck. And as I suspected, a stuck brake caliper was the problem. So the caliper, pads, and rotor on the right side had to be replaced. But because of the higher pressure in the brake lines caused by the stuck caliper, this caused the left side to stick and grind down the pads and the rotor on that side too, though not as bad.

Brock’s said the total would be about $650. So next I called my extended warranty company to see what they would be able to take care of.

And the answer, as I suspected, was pretty much nothing. They ended up paying $70 of it.

Which was 1 brake caliper. Apparently they pay for the bad part, but not anything the bad part damages. Huh?

Oh well, I’d been trying to remember to cancel them anyway. This just gives me incentive.

I’d originally got the warranty free for the first year when I bought our 2004 Dodge Dakota in December 2007, and then kept it going since then. But this is the first time I’ve used it, because nothing has gone wrong so far, just maintenance stuff.

Jan was done about 11:30 so after picking her up we drove over to Jason’s Deli for lunch. Jan loves their Muffalettas and Broccoli Cheese Soup, and I really like their Southwestern Chicken Chili, so we were both happy.

Finishing lunch, we headed home to the rig. While Jan feed the birds and then sat outside with Mister and enjoyed the nice weather, I went back to finish flushing out the water heater, now that I got the drain plug off.

I use one of these wands to do a better job of flushing it out. It goes on the end of your water hose and lets you get up in there and get all the ‘gunk’ out. You’d really be surprised how much stuff comes out.

RV Water Heater Cleaning Wand

One more job on my pre-flight checklist done.

We left out again about 3pm so Jan could meet Lowell and Landon at Landon’s pediatrician’s office.

Brandi had noticed a lot of wax in Landon’s right ear and wanted to get it checked out. Jan was along for moral support and to help manage all the bags, bottles and carriers that seem to accompany any moving of Master Landon. He has his own ‘posse’.

It turns out that Landon does have a slight ear infection, so the doctor prescribed an antibiotic to take care of it.

I left them there while I went by Home Depot to get some more Teflon tape and then by Sam’s Club to pick up our prescriptions for the month.

Then I headed over to the house to wait for them. On the way I got a call from Brock’s saying my truck was ready. But I had to wait for Jan get there so I could go get it.

After Jan got there and we got our truck, we drove over to Texas Tea Room to supper. Then it was finally back home for the night.

January 7, 2012

It’s Dead, Jim . . .

Thought I’d start off today’s blog with a little musical interlude.

Here’s “Sweet Georgia Brown” on 3 Guitars and A Tractor, in German, no less.

“Sweet Georgia Brown” on 3 Guitars and a Tractor.

After coffee this morning I got back on my truck’s power window problem. I wanted to pull out the motor – regulator combination and see if it can be repaired, or will need to be replaced.

First I had to get the glass out, by removing the trim strips from the window edge,

Door Removal No Trim Strips

Door Removal Trim Strips

and then the front window guide inside the door.

Door Removal Glass Track

After removing the two bolts at the bottom of the glass, I was able to carefully lift the glass out of the door and set it aside.

Door Removal Glass

Then 5 more bolts and I was able to pull out the motor and regulator combination. It took a while to figure out how it works,

Door Removal Motor and Regulator

but finally I found the culprit.

This piece of plastic had broken off, letting the the cable that raises and lowers the glass, wear thru the plastic guide and snap off.

Door Removal Culprit

I spent some time trying to figure out if it could be repaired, but it quickly became obvious that if I did fix it, it wouldn’t last.

So my next step was to order the replacement from Amazon that I found yesterday. Hopefully it will be here toward the end of next week.

In the meantime, while I’ve got the door panel open, I’m going to take a look at a problem with my door lock. The key unlocks the door, but does not turn off the alarm. I fixed it once before, but I haven’t had any luck this time. I may have to replace the lock, and if so, now would be the time to do it.

Tonight was Jan’s night to get together with her former coworkers like she does every year. This year it was at Café Adobe up in Webster, so I dropped her off a little before 5:30, and I headed over to one of my client’s office to work on configuring his new computers and router.

I picked up Jan about 8:15 and we finally headed home after another busy day.

January 7, 2013

Depots and Door Switches . . .

Today started out slow but ended up being fairly busy.

My first job was to get outside and caulk the roof seam right over the window next to my computer desk. We’ve had a lot of rain since we got here at Galveston Bay RV Park right before Thanksgiving. And during the last several downfalls, I’ve started to get some water leaking in down the inside of the window.

So I got out my ladder and my trusty caulk gun and went at it. The seam I was trying to seal is where the roof rolls down and meets the vertical side. I had caulk part of this a couple of years ago, but as it turned out it was a length of the original caulk that had a lot of voids and holes in it. I caulked about 2 feet of the seam, and we’ll see how it does over the next several days.

The reason I wanted to get the problem fixed today is that we’re expecting 4 days of solid rain.

My next task was to call Westland Sales out in Clackamas, OR. I need a new door switch for our Splendide washer/dryer. Lately it has developed an intermittent problem of not wanting to open at the end of wash or dry cycle. Sometimes it will open immediately, sometimes it takes overnight.

So a new switch was needed. When I talked to Westland, the tech said it’s a known problem with this model and he was surprised it lasted this long. A new one will be about $80 and will go out First Class today. I always have gotten great service from Westland.

Luckily I will be able to replace the switch from the front and won’t have to pull the washer out of the cabinet.

About 3:30 Jan and I headed out for dinner and some errands. Our first stop was at a local feed store where we were finally able to find Jan some deer corn. Or at least we will find it there when we go back tomorrow afternoon after their shipment comes in. So hopefully that is taken care of.

Our next stop was at the TGI Friday’s across the Interstate from Baybrook Mall. We haven’t been there for several years and thought we’d try it again. Don’t know why we haven’t been back more. We’ve always enjoyed it and this time was no exception.

Then it was right down the road to the Home Depot for a return. When I bought caulk last week, I thought I was buying one tube of clear and one of white, but ended up with two of white. Guess they were mixed up in the bins

Our last stop was at Kroger’s. Jan’s going to make a big batch of veggie soup tomorrow and wanted to get a fresh onion and some garlic, along with a few other things.

Hot soup sounds great for these next few cold rainy days.

January 7, 2014

Peaks and Fountains . . .

We’re both pretty much back to normal this morning (well, as normal as we get, anyway) , and after 4 days at the rig, Jan was starting to get cabin fever, so about noon we headed up to Clear Lake. Our first stop was Twin Peaks for lunch at Jan’s new favorite place.  Mine too, but don’t tell her that.

Twin Peaks 6

She had her Spicy Hot Chicken Ranch Sandwich, while I had a cup of their really good Venison Chili and an order of the Average Joes, the mini sausage dogs with spicy mustard, and chopped onions and jalapenos. A great meal.

Twin Peaks Average Joes

And of course it wouldn’t be Twin Peaks without our lovely server, Lauren.

Twin Peaks 4

Our next stop was Bed, Bath & Beyond for a couple of things. A blog reader said that they had a good K-Cup selection, and Jan wanted to check out their bed sheets

They did have a large K-Cup selection but nothing that really caught our eye, and Jan didn’t find any sheets she liked, so our next stop was at a client’s office to install some updates.

Then it was off to Sam’s Club for a few things before heading over to our son Chris’ house to pick up Jan’s Mary Kay order that had come in yesterday.

Heading home, we stopped off at the Victory Lakes Wal-Mart for a few things. And I finally found some K-Cup Hot Chocolate.

Cafe Express Hot Chocolate

It was Café Express by Green Mountain Coffee, so we thought we’d give it a try.

We got home about 5:30 and then about 7:30 I fixed Jan and I some of the K-Cup Hot Chocolate to have with some of the cookies she bought.

The Hot Chocolate turned out to be pretty good, but I doubt we’ll buy it again. It’s more expensive in K-Cup form, and compared to the Swiss Miss packets, it’s more work.

With the packets, I can microwave enough hot water to make a cup for each of us at the same time, but the K-Cups have to be done sequentially. Plus if you follow the directions, you’re supposed to run a cup of just water through your brewer to clean it out after you make the hot chocolate. Just more trouble.

One thing I did figure out is that why the all the K-Cup hot chocolates seem to have both sugar and sucralose (Splenda) in them. Some of our blog readers, as well as some online reviewers don’t like the taste of sucralose and wonder why they put both in the K-Cups, but not the packets.

I think it’s because it won’t fit if you sweetened it only with sugar. I took an empty K-Cup pod, cleaned it out and then try to pour a packet of the Swiss Miss into it. And it overflowed the K-Cup. By a good bit.

Artificial sweeteners are much sweeter per weight than sugar, so they use as much sugar as they can, and then finish it off with Splenda. A bad break for people who don’t like Splenda or NutraSweet. Personally I can’t tell the difference between sugar and Splenda or NutraSweet, but Sweet N Low taste bitter to me. Different strokes, and all that.

It looks like the freezing weather is gone for a while so I hooked us back up to shore water this morning. It did get down to about 27 degrees last night, but tonight’s supposed to be in the 40’s.

However it was much colder last night up in the Katy area where this fountain froze over.

Katy Frozen Fountain

You’d think we were up north, or something.

January 7, 2015

Moving On, Again . . .

Today was our day to oscillate back over to the Colorado River Thousand Trails near Columbus, TX., our second two-week stay here this season.

Since we only had about a 2-1/2 hour trip over from Conroe, we didn’t need to leave very early. So about 8:30 we drove down to the nearby Cracker Barrel for breakfast. CB usually has great coffee and today was no exception. Perfect for a 40 degree morning.

And as sometimes happens at CB, Jan found a $35 blouse she really liked, to go with our $22 breakfast. Funny how it works out that way.

So is CB a gift shop with a restaurant attached, or a restaurant with a gift shop attached?

We pulled out of the Conroe TT about 11:30 and after a very smooth trip, pulled into our site at Colorado River a little after 2pm. And we once again got our favorite site, A2. And apparently we really lucked up with that. The ranger said that the couple who had been in this spot had just left this morning. and a week early.

Lucky us.

Getting parked and set up, I did get to try out the new leveler pad / awning hook tool that I made. My homemade pads are very strong, but pretty heavy. And normally I use the awning hook to push and prod them into position. But if the ground is rough, then the awning hook flexes and bends instead of pushing and prodding. So I’d been thinking about coming up with something a little stronger.

So a couple of weeks ago when we were going through stuff in our storeroom, I came across a metal mop handle with a screw-on mop head,

Leveler Pad Hook 1

and this got me to thinking about how I could use it.

Remembering the extension poles I’ve used with rollers to paint ceilings, it seemed  like the threads were pretty similar. So when I was in Home Depot the other day I picked up a small foam paint roller, being sure to get the heaviest one.

Leveler Pad Hook 2

And as it turned out, the threads were a perfect fit.

Leveler Pad Hook 3

And removing the roller gave me a hook that is strong enough move the pads around with no problem, and it’s still a great awning hook too.

I love it when a plan comes together.

January 7, 2016

A New Hack?

When I got up about 11 this morning, Jan was knee-deep in spring (winter?) cleaning in the rig. She had things emptied out from all the cabinets in the kitchen area, and was scrubbing them out, before cleaning the contents, and then replacing everything.

Thus there was no walk for us today. But it looks like it should be OK for tomorrow morning, so we’ll see how it goes.

While Jan finished up with her cleaning and putting stuff back where it goes, I worked on blog and website stuff. I’ve learned to only help Jan with this stuff when she directly asks me for help. Otherwise, it’s almost guaranteed that I’ll put something back where it doesn’t belong.

My Next Hack: Our daughter Brandi gave us this really nice bathroom soap dispenser for Christmas.

Touch Free Smart Soap 2_thumb

Bath & Body Works Touch Free SmartSoap Automatic Hand Soap Dispenser

It works great and there are a lot of different scent refills available online. But it has one almost certainly designed-in fault. It seems to spit out about twice as much soap as you really need to wash your hands.

Of course, if you’re the soap manufacturer, that’s exactly what you want it to do to sell more soap refills at $14.95 a pop.

So what I want to do is to figure out a way to change the amount of soap that comes out. And to do that I see two different possibilities. First I can try to change the actual amount of soap that comes out, based on how long the pump runs. And it’s a fixed amount, not dependent on how long you have your hand under the spigot.

Or I can try to hack the circuit so that the pump only runs as long as your hand is in place. Since the timing is possibly  hard-wired into the circuit, it may be easier to just bypass the timing circuit altogether, and wire it up so that the pump only runs as long as your hand is in front of the sensor.

So in the next few days, I’ll take it apart and see what I find. I’ll let you know how it goes.

I’m still trying to track down a new glass/LED screen for my  son Chris’ Galaxy S5 smartphone. As I recounted last weekend, when trying to replace the cracked glass, I found the underlying LED screen was also cracked. So now I’ve looking for a new screen combo, but I’m finding a lot of the one for sale are not OEM, but some 3rd party parts. And the online reviews of these are not very good.

So now I’m shopping around for an original Samsung model, with a decent price, and a quick delivery time. Hopefully I find something soon.

Tomorrow afternoon we’ll be getting together with some other RV friends, meeting them at the great BBQ buffet up at Peter’s BBQ up in Ellinger. Really looking forward to it.

January 7, 2017


We had 24° forecasted for Kenedy last night, but here at the rig it went down to 22°. Tonight’s looking like 25°, so not much warmer then either.

Today’s high was 43°. but tomorrow’s looking up with 55/40, and then 73/56 on Monday. So nice. So we should be able to hook back up to shore water tomorrow.

One thing I also do during cold weather like this is turn on the light in the water bay. Since it has a regular incandescent bulb and not a LED, it provides a modest amount of heat, actually raising the temp about 10 degrees, enough to safeguard the pipes from freezing. We’ve had the coach down to 6 degrees so we shouldn’t have a problem. But safe is as safe does.

Our last gate was Tues. night/Wed. morning, so I texted Todd this morning to tell him we’re bored and ask what’s on the horizon gatewise. He said they’re waiting on a number of gates to start up. Just waiting for the Company Men to call. Here’s hoping.

Jan and I tried to like last night’s 2 hour premier of Emerald City, a retelling of the Wizard of Oz, we really did.

We normally like stuff like this. Grimm, Once Upon A Time, Sleepy Hollow, etc. are all favorites of ours, so we had high hopes for Emerald City. But we only lasted 20 minutes.


When they referred to the show as a ‘reimagining’ of the Wizard of Oz story, we didn’t realize that they would ‘reimagine’ Dorothy as an illegal immigrant from Mexico who steals drugs for Auntie Em from the hospital where she works, and kills the Wicked Witch of the East by running her over in a police car she stole. And Toto is a German Shepherd police dog.

Oh, and the Wicked Witch of the West runs a brothel.

In hindsight, it’s amazing we lasted the entire 20 minutes.

Of course they did the same thing a couple of years ago with Once Upon A Time in Wonderland, which was a spin-off from Once Upon A Time. By the time they got through with it, it was not only ‘reimagined’ but also unwatchable.

Which is probably why it only lasted one season.

But we did really enjoy the season premiere of Grimm. Really sorry that it’s the last season.

We had thought about heading down to Beeville this afternoon and catch the 4pm showing of Passengers, and then have dinner at a well-recommended German place. But inertia kept us at the coach. So maybe tomorrow.

For dinner tonight we had our leftovers from La Fonda on Main a couple of days ago, Jan added some of her delicious homemade Nachos.

All really good.

January 7, 2018

What A Burger!

Jan continues to get to get a little stronger every day. And again we both appreciate all the well-wishes from100’s of friends and blog readers. Thanks.

We’ve had a number of emails from readers concerned that Jan was taking Cipro and now Levaquin, and the possible side-effects from them.

First off Jan has taken both of these for short periods of time in the past with absolutely no bad effects whatsoever. In addition, name one antibiotic that doesn’t have bad side-effects for someone.

I’ve also read several times that if aspirin were developed today it would be a prescription drug due to all the bad side-effects that some people have from it.

So we appreciate everyone’s concerns, but so far she’s doing fine.

I took the panel off the microwave today trying to fix a nagging problem. When you use it 2 or 3 times in a row the microwave power will shut off. The timer keeps counting down and the turntable keeps spinning, but the interior light goes off and it stops cooking.

If I push in on the panel the light comes back on and it starts cooking again. But the longer it is used the harder you have to push in on the control panel.

I’m pretty sure that problem is with the microswitch that senses whether or not the door is closed and latched. When I reach in I can wiggle the switch, so I’m pretty sure that it is the problem.

But the way it is mounted behind the frame it’s hard to get to, so I used Gorilla Tape to try and lock it down in place. And in testing, it did three 3 minute runs heating water with no problem, so we’ll see how it works out.

About 2:30 Jan and I headed over to I-45 and the Victory Lakes area to eat at the Whataburger there. This time, along with our burgers, we each got a salad.

Jan got the Garden Salad while I got their Apple & Cranberry Chicken Salad.

Whataburger Apple & Cranberry Salad

Both salads were really good and we have enough left over for dinner tomorrow.

Heading back toward home I stopped for gas at the HEB. Don’t know what’s really going on with the gas prices, but since the week before Christmas the price has jumped 26¢ up to $2.19. Ouch.

Then we made a quick stop at the nearby Jason’s Deli for a cup of their Broccoli Cheese Soup for Jan’s lunch tomorrow while I’m at work.

January 7, 2020

Little Crunchy Meat Nuggets . . .

Jan had her dermatology appointment at 1:30 which only took about 45 minutes, so then we were back onto the other side of I-45 to have lunch at Black Bear Diner once again.

Jan got her new favorite, the Chopped Steak & Eggs, which is actually a breakfast item. But she gets it without the eggs, potatoes, and biscuits. Instead she gets is with their Seasonal Veggies and a Side Salad.

Black Bear Chopped Steak

Lately I’ve been getting their Sirloin Steak and Eggs, but this time I went back to my old fav, the Bacon Cheeseburger Salad.

Black Bear Bacon Cheeseburger Salad 3

Really filling and only about 850 calories. I always remember to tell them to do the burger part as Medium, because the first couple of times I got it, the meat was Well-Done, i.e. hard and crunchy little meat nuggets.

But it was delicious this time.

Then it was back to the other side of the Interstate again for some WalMarting. We checked out their wings, i.e. chicken drums for our Air Fryer, but they didn’t have any drums, or wings, for that matter.

So we’ll check back again, or it’s off to HEB again. But we have enough for our dinner tomorrow night, so we’re good for now.

Since we started RVing almost 13 years ago, we’ve always had one of these Day Clocks.

Analog RV Day Clock

It has performed yeoman service all these years, including a couple of falls. But a few days ago it quit working. I assumed it just needed a new battery, but it was for naught.

It was dead.

In other words, to paraphrase –

It has passed on!  This clock is no more!  It has ceased to be!  It has expired and gone to meet its maker!  It’s bereft of life. It has kicked the bucket. It has shuffled off the mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the choir invisible!!


But since we’ve found over the years that it is pretty easy for us RV’ers to lose track of the day of week, I went to look for a replacement, and remembering this is 2020, I decided to go digital, so I ordered one of these that came in this past Friday.

Digital Day Clock

Digital Calendar Day Clock

Jan really likes it, it’s easy to read from across the room, or across the rig, I guess, and  you can make the text either yellow or white, and we chose yellow. It really stands out.

It was only after I ordered it and we got it, that I noticed that it was specifically designed for Dementia and Alzheimer’s patients to remind them what day it is. Hopefully it will keep working a lot longer in case we actually need it for that.

But you never know.

Replacing the MicroSD card in my GPS was successful, and it was working fine after I downloaded about 5GB of replacement map data. Glad I got it working again.

I’ve had this one since 2011 and I wasn’t looking forward to replacing it, mainly because I didn’t really like any of the new ones.

January 7, 2021

Gentle Gonging . . .

Jan and I headed up to League City about 1pm to have Turkey & Dressing at Cracker Barrel, it being Thursday, after all. And it also helped that we had a gift card for CB given to Jan as a Christmas present by Sonja and Lendell, Lowell’s parents.

Then after Jan got her Turkey fix we headed back down to the Santa Fe area for a PO/Dollar General stop, finishing up with coffees from Cowboy Coffee.

Getting home I finally had a chance to assemble Jan’s Wind Chimes and then we sat outside in our new chairs and enjoyed the view and the gentle gonging of the chimes.

Patio with Chimes and Chairs

We’re coming up on a year with our Rubbermaid storage shed and I’ve been very happy with it. It survived the Texas summer with no fading or warping, and in fact it still looks brand new. Very nice.

When we got the Jeep I couldn’t mount our Garmin GPS like I did in the Dakota. There just wasn’t room. But with a little research I found this one that works great.

Jeep Garmin GPS Mount

GPS Gooseneck Mount

It works great and it was only $14.

The Echo Dot is normally only used on long trips to listen to music and news without having to keep finding a new station. To keep it connected I just hotspot it to my phone, and it works great.

Tomorrow night we’ve got another Alvin Opry show, so probably not much of a blog then.