Upscale . . .

Originally we had planned to have lunch at Gator’s this afternoon, for the Thursday special, Fried Catfish. But in a last minute change, Jan decided she wanted to have lunch at Kelley’s Country Cookin’ in Alvin once again, so we could also check out the new pOpshelf location nearby.

Jan got the Stuffed Chicken Breast, which comes with 3 sides.

Kelley's Stuffed Chicken Breast

And Jan likes their Broccoli & Cheese Casserole so much she got 2 of them.

They do breakfast all day so I got the Chili & Eggs with Grits.

Kelley's Chili & Eggs

Both really good, so I think Kelley’s is back on our list again. In fact, we’ve scheduled our Alvin Opry group get-together there next month.

Next up was to check out the nearby pOpshelf.

Basically pOpshelf is a very upscale Dollar General, and in fact is owned by them.

pOpshelf Alvin

It seems to be their answer to fiVe BEL°W.

Funny thing about fiVe BEL°W is, that until we visited one last year, I always they were a dress shop for size 5 and below women’s clothes.

pOpshelf has a much lighter, open look than a typical Dollar General,

pOpshelf Interior

with most items between $3-$5, though I saw a couple of electronic items priced as much as $12.

The biggest difference between pOpshelf and DG is that, except for snack stuff, they don’t carry any food items.

Jan found a number of things she liked, and I founded a couple too.

We both agreed we like pOpshelf better than fiVe BEL°W, and that we’ll be back. And it doesn’t hurt that it’s right down the road from Kelley’s either.

Check it out!

Finally coming home, we made a quick HEB stop for a few things before getting back to the rig about 3:45.

A very nice day, once again.

Thought For The Day:

This hurts to just look at it.

Lavatory Fail

January 19, 2011

Welcome To Texas . . .

Well, guess what?

This is what the Weather Channel calls ‘Mostly Sunny”.

Told you they lie.

Welcome To Texas!

Dark Sky

But at least it was dry enough to finish installing the three wheel well flanges.

This is what I started with —

Wheel Well 4

And this is how they looked when I was finished.

New Flanges

The last one, on the driver’s rear, went on with no problems whatsoever. However the first two, on the passenger side, were more problematic.

The problem was that the holes in the brackets mounted on the coach didn’t match up with the pre-drilled holes in the flanges. It almost looks like they were hand-fitted and drilled.

It would seem that they would have a jig to mount the brackets so they would match up with the holes already drilled in the flanges, but I guess not.

Flange Bracket 1

Flange Bracket 2

Michele Henry at Phoenix Commercial Paint did a fantastic job on the doors and the flanges last year in Elkhart. So if you’re in Elkhart, IN and need anything from a touch-up to a full body paint job, Michele’s the one. In fact, even if  you need a paint job and you’re not in Elkhart, it’s worth the trip.

The clouds finally went away just in time for the sun to go down. But I did get these photos of the two types of pelicans in the area. This is one of our local brown pelicans.

Pelican and Friends

And these are white pelicans. It’s the first time I’ve seen them this year. They look a little orangey, but that’s from the setting sun.

Now the sun comes out.

White Pelicans

On another note I had been looking for another hose splitter to replace my old one that cracked and started leaking. I like using one so I can keep two hoses hooked up, one to supply the coach and one for a hose and spray nozzle. But I never found one I really liked since they all restricted the water flow, cutting down on the water pressure in the coach.

Then I found this one at Home Depot and I really like it. It’s a Vigoro High Flow Dual On/Off Valve and it was just what I was looking for. If you need one, check it out.

Hose Divider

January 19, 2012

I Love The Internet . . .

We’ve reached the point where you can find the answer to just about any question, as long as someone, somewhere, knows it.

For example, when Jan and I got our pills refilled recently, we each had one prescription that was filled with a different looking pill than our previous refills. So, wanting to be sure that we got the correct prescriptions, my first thought was to make a trip back to Sam’s Club. My second thought to go to Google and type in “How to ID pills”

Turns out, there’s a App for that, or at least a website right here – Pill Identifier.

You just type in the 2 characters on one side and the 3 characters on the other like “IG 248”, and you have your answer, along with the manufacturer and any warnings.

And as it turns out, both of our prescriptions were correct. Just different manufacturers.

I left the rig about 1pm for an afternoon of client stuff. My first stop was Fry’s Electronics to look for the new computer and LCD monitor we talked about yesterday. They had a nice deal on a Dell that looks pretty good, so my next stop was to my clients to get the OK, and also do some set up work.

Since one of the computers I’ll be replacing runs the UPS shipping software, I’ll have to double check what it will take to move the database over to the new computer.

I also started downloading the 425 MB file for the 2012 version of the UPS software which took about 30 minutes. I’m not sure yet whether I’ll upgrade the old computer to the 2012 version before moving the database to the new computer. I’ll call UPS Tech Support tomorrow and see what they suggest.

As I was finishing up, my client decide he wanted another monitor for one of the new computers I installed last week, so that makes two I’ll need.

Finally leaving the office, I stopped back by Fry’s to pick up about $1100 of computer and monitors before heading back toward the rig.

On my way I checked the Gas Buddy app on my Droid to find the cheapest nearby gas. Found  a place right down the road for $3.15 which was a pretty good price. Then leaving the gas station I called ahead to Monterey’s Little Mexico for a pickup order of Tortilla Soup, Queso, and Chips to take home for supper. Sure does seem like we eat here a lot, doesn’t it.

On another note, while I was walking thru Fry’s I noticed a toy called “Geneactor”, some sort of action figure. That kind of rang a bell, but I just couldn’t place it. But on the way home, it hit me.

It reminded me of my very first computer, the Geniac. A little Googling and I found this. (Did I mention I love the Internet?)


It was a mechanical analog computer that I got for Christmas 1958 when I was 10 years old. It was made of a Masonite board and 6 Masonite wheels, along with a lot of wires, switches, and lights. I spent hours building and programming it, even writing my own programs, which on the Geniac, meant moving wires around.

But it started me on my career path. Six months later I had my ham radio license, and six years after that I was programming on a building-sized IBM 360 at Vanderbilt University using Fortran II and punch cards. I’m not sure that punch cards were all that big a step up from moving wires around, but the IBM 360 certainly looked a lot cooler anyway.

January 19, 2013

Cheesecake and Hello Kitty . . .

We didn’t do much this morning, but it sure was nice.

After our morning walk we just sat outside, drank our coffee, and watch the birds in and around the bayou. Mister laid out with us too, where he found a nice sunbeam to stretch out in.

About 1:30 I headed over to a client’s house to drop off a flash drive with the data that I pulled off a HD that I took out of an old computer that had died.

I got back to the rig about 3:30 just in time to turn right back around to take Jan up to the Cheesecake Factory at Baybrook Mall. She was having her yearly get-together with some of her coworkers from the last hospital she worked at before she retired and we hit the road the beginning of 2008.

I dropped her off at about 4, but the dinner wasn’t until 5:30. She got there early so she could get in line for a table for a group of six. They were already on a wait at 4pm so she just had to get in line since they don’t take reservations. But since she had her Kindle with her, she was just fine waiting.

After I dropped her off, I headed over to our storeroom to drop off the floor dolly that I used to work on our washer/dryer, and then picked up Chris’ mechanic’s creeper so I could use it to work under the rig.

My next stop was at the house so I could kill some time while I was waiting for Jan. They were having such a good time that she didn’t call me to pick her up until about 8. I think there were too many Long Island Iced Teas involved.

Heading home, we gave her friend Barb a ride to her home down in League City. In one of those ‘small world’ moments, Barb said her brother was an RV’er, and she was telling him that she had some friends(us) who were RV’ers too, and that we had a blog where we chronicled our travels.

Barb said her friends had spent last summer oil rig gate guarding in South Texas. He said one of the blogs he read had done that. In comparing notes, they figured out it was us!

Her brother sounded really impressed and told Barb, “I can’t believe you know Greg and Jan”.

Jan didn’t get your name, so if you’re Barb’s brother, leave us a comment and let us know.

Finally, wrapping things up for today, a 5 year old Pennsylvania girl laughingly told a friend at a bus stop she was going to shoot her with her soap bubble gun. Check it below:

Let’s Ban Imaginary Hello Kitty Soap Bubble Guns!

An adult overheard the “threat” and the 5 year old ended up being searched, interrogated by school officials to the point of crying, and all without her parents present. Later a teacher scolded her in front of the class and told her the police might come after her. Afterwards she was suspended from kindergarten for 10 days for making “terroristic threats”

She now had a lawyer to help her.

Don’t you feel safer now?

January 19, 2014

It’s Alive !!!

Jan and I headed out a little after 10 AM to meet our friend’s Bob and Maria at the IHOP up in Kemah. Getting there at 10:30 we had hoped to avoid the usual Sunday morning rush, but that was not to be. We found a large crowd outside and a 30 minute wait inside. So after a few minutes we decided to adjourn back down TX 146 to the breakfast buffet at La Brisa.

They do a great breakfast buffet with omelets, waffles, tamales,enchiladas, bacon, sausage, barbacoa, biscuits, fresh fruit, fruit juices, coffee, etc., and more. A really good meal. And for only $11, too.

We laughed and talked for almost two hours before we finally said our goodbyes and headed home.

First thing we did was to let Mister out on his leash. He loves this weather and likes to spend the whole day outside. One of his favorite places is this tub that has some old coats in it.

Mister in Tub

Most of the time he follows the sun as it moves over the coach. I think he would stay out all night if we would let him.

The laptop with the Conduit Search problem has now been completely resurrected. After removing the malicious software I was left with a machine that still would not connect to the Internet, at least though Internet Explorer or Google Chrome. Windows Mail however could still send and receive email.

Sometimes fixing these things is just a matter of not giving up, just slogging away and trying one thing after the other. And finally something worked.

Then once I had this problem fixed, I was able to finish cleaning out the gunk and updating everything. I’m sure Tricia will be glad to get her laptop back tomorrow.

And I’ll be glad to see it go.

January 19, 2015

Well, It’s Finally Fixed . . .

After two days, and three hours on the the phone with Godaddy, and 28 emails back and forth to Indonesia, I (we) finally figured out what the website problem was. And as is usual in these things, it was something very simple

One folder full of files, buried inside of a bunch of other folders, did not have the correct permissions set. The folder was apparently ‘glitched’ somehow, so that you could write a file into that folder, but you could not then later delete that file.

Normally if you have write permission in a folder, you also have delete permission. But this folder was broken. So we ended up copying all the files out of it into a new folder, deleting the old one, and then renaming the new one to the correct name. And that fixed it.

After that was done, I called Moen about my continuing kitchen faucet problem. And they once again stepped up and are sending me an entire new spray nozzle. This should fix the problem since there’s nothing left to replace. And according to the tracking number they sent me, the part shipped out today.

I spent the afternoon working on a few other projects, before our friend Randy came by and picked us up about 5:30 and we headed up to La Grange to the Fayette County Country Music Opry. Randy had seen a flyer about it at the park office and was going, so we tagged along.

This Opry is held on the 3rd Monday of every month at the local Knights of Columbus Hall, which from the size of it could fit just about everyone in La Grange.

Fayette County Opry 1
They had chairs set out for about 500, and as you can see, it didn’t come close to filling the place up. And there was even more room behind me.

The show starts at 7:30 but they open the doors at 5:30. One reason for this is that they have hamburgers and drinks available and a lot of tables set up around the sides, so people show up early and sit around to eat and talk. Which is what we did.

And as you can see, the place was pretty full by the time they started.

Fayette County Opry 4

The show kicked off right on time, with a couple of numbers from the band, before they brought out Keith Magel, known as The Texas Piano Man. We seen Keith several times in the past at the Alvin Opry, so it was good to see a familiar face.

Keith Magel

Keith puts on a funny show with a lot of Floyd Cramer, Jerry Lee Lewis, and many others, and with a lot of honky-tonk and boogie-woogie piano thrown in.

The show format is very similar to the Alvin Opry, with the performers doing 3 or 4 songs for the first set and then an intermission. Then on the second set, everyone does 2 or 3 numbers, with everything wrapping up about 10pm.

The second performer up on stage was a real show stopper, 17 year old Sierra Cecil.

Sierra Cecil 3

And man, what a voice. One of her idols is Patsy Cline, who had a 4 octave vocal range. An online article about Sierra said she can match that note for note.

Sierra Cecil 1

And based on one song she sang, Blue Bayou, I can believe it.

When Jan and I hear someone singing Blue Bayou, we always compare them to Linda Ronstadt’s version with the high note at the end.

Sierra Cecil 2

But when Sierra started off, and not knowing then about her range, I thought she was too low to be able to hit it. But after the first verse, she jumped an octave and kept on going up, and then nailed the high note at the end.


The next performer was also new to us, Pat Schlesinger.

Pat Schlesinger

Pat, who does Western Swing, also put on a very good show, with a lot of humor, and is another one who can really belt out a tune.

One thing I found interesting is that the sound man sits in the audience and runs the sound board from his iPad. I wish I could have gotten a look at his setup.

The show wrapped up about 10pm, and we got home a little after 10:30, after a very nice time. Hopefully we’ll be able to do it again some time.

Tomorrow is our last day here, and as it stands now, we’ll head back over to Lake Conroe on Wednesday. But maybe we’ll get a last minute reprieve from Galveston Bay RV Resort.

January 19, 2016

One Out Of Two . . .

With the beautiful weather this morning, it was perfect to walk, and also perfect to try out my new toy, an armband holder for my Galaxy S5 phone, that I got right before we left Colorado River on Sunday,
Phone Armband_thumb[3]

Armband for OtterBox Galaxy S6, Galaxy S5, Note 3 and others

Since I use the Runkeeper app to track our walks, I normally hold it in my hand, but that gets old after a while. So I got one of these.

One thing to be aware of, besides getting one that fits your phone, is to get one that will fit your phone if you use a case, like the Otterbox that I have. Otherwise, you’ll have to remove it from the case every time you want to use the armband.

I did have to map us a new route here at Conroe, since we’re walking further now, but using Google Maps Satellite View, it was no problem. Like in Colorado River, I found a split route that would allow us to take a break and have our coffee and breakfast bread partway through.

Our first part was the complete outside loop of the park, which covered 1.01 miles, leaving us back at the rig for a 20 minute or so break for breakfast, before heading back out again. This time we walked a new route for us here, a loop down to the marina area and back. Then once there, we sat at the waterside for a few minutes, enjoying the view out over the lake.

Lake Conroe Marina 3_thumb[1]
This photo looks back over the new Reserve area, where they’re selling modular homes, starting from $70,000.

Lake Conroe Marina 2_thumb[1]

Finishing our walk, we did 1.65 miles, up from our previous 1.52 miles. And even better we dropped our minutes per mile down to 25:45, a new best.

Getting back to the rig, we sat outside for a while, just enjoying the sun. But once inside it was back to work, with my first task to remove the cracked hinge from the rig screen door that I removed yesterday. Turned out to be a pretty quick job, just loosening six bolts with my socket set, and it was done.

Once I got it off and turned it over, it was easy to see the whole problem. The hinge is cracked in two places.

Rig Screen Door Hinge 1_thumb[1]

But on the plus side, both cracks are on welded edges, which hopefully means that it can be re-welded if necessary.

So my next thing was to call Colaw RV Salvage in Missouri to see if they have any replacement hinges. And after I finally got through to the right person, I was told that they didn’t sell the hinges separately, but only attached to the door.

Well, if it wasn’t too expensive, I guess I could use a new screen door too. But I quickly found out that he wasn’t talking about just the screen door, but the entire RV door assembly, I.e. the outside main door, the screen door, and the complete door jam and frame.

Rut Roh!

Knowing this wasn’t gonna happen, out of curiosity I asked what the cost of an entire door assembly was.

$350 and up!  Yikes!

As I said, not gonna happen.

So now it was on to Plan B, getting the hinge bent back into shape and re-welded. Now to find a welder here in the Conroe area.

And finding one out on west side of Conroe, I decided to combine a visit with dinner at Vernon’s Kuntry Katfish, a favorite local place of ours. We had planned on stopping by the welding place on the way, but it turned out that this welding place was a commercial dealer, specializing in welding pipelines and oilfield equipment. Well, one out of two . . .

So it was on down the road a little bit to Vernon’s. We both ordered the 3 piece Katfish Dinner (FWIW we got 4 pieces each) and sides. Jan got hers with a side salad, and a loaded baked potato, and I got mine with the standard fries, pinto beans and Cole Slaw.

While you’re waiting on your meal, they bring out a plate of hushpuppies and really good pickled tomatoes as an appetizer.

Vernon's Katfish 1_thumb[1]

And when your meal comes out, it’s just as good. The catfish is tender and flakey, with crunchy, flavorful crust.

Vernon's Katfish 2_thumb[1]

Really good, and we’ll go back. Soon, I hope.

One other thing that came in with my phone armband was my new Square reader. You’ve probably seen the Square credit card reader used in many small business, connected to a smartphone or tablet.

I use mine when I’m working with computer clients who wish to pay by credit card. So I always have on in my truck just in case. But this new one is an upgrade.

Square Reader_thumb[2]

It allows me to accept the new, soon-to-be-mandatory ‘Chip’ cards, as well the even newer wireless pay methods, like Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and several others.

So now I guess I’m ready until they come out with something new.

January 19, 2017

No Reprieve . . .

from the Governor. (Or Todd, anyway)

So as of right now (1:30pm) we’re still going into tonight’s gate, even now when they’re shutting down.

First up, a couple of corrections.

The photo of the waterbuck on last night’s blog was NOT taken by me. I just grabbed one from the Internet. I did try to get a shot with my phone, but the waterbuck passed me like I was standing still and was gone before I could get a shot. So all I got was a blurry picture with nothing in focus.

Waterbuck can run over 40 mph while vehicles are limited to 15 mph on that road, so it was gone in a flash. The only reason I even knew it was a waterbuck was the distinctive white ring on its rear end.

Second, a few days ago when I was talking about the new Scan & Go app for Wal-Mart, I said the only store it in use now was in Rogers, AZ. Blog reader Cathie Laurent corrected me saying it was probably Rogers, AR, which makes more sense. Thanks, Cathie.

Our lunch meal at Bella Sera was just as delicious as usual. Jan had her favorite Chicken Florentine,

Bella Sera Chicken Florentine

while got mine, the Bella Sera Chicken with ripe olives, capers, and sundried tomatoes.

Bella Sera  Bella Sera Chicken

Plus of course their really great homemade bread knots.

We’ll miss Bella Sera no matter when we leave.

The pad gate where I work has a resident raccoon living in the area. I first saw him walking behind the potty trailers this past weekend. Then a couple of nights ago, he strolled right by my truck at the pad entrance, seeming to not pay any attention to all the bright lights and noise going on around him.

Since my window was down and he was only about 15 feet away, I called out, “Hey Raccoon, where ya going?” He stopped, stood up on his hind legs with his front paws together and just stared at me for about 30 seconds, and then continued on his way out the gate, having no problem with the cattle guard.

As of right now the rain is supposed to be gone for now, so we can only hope.

Muddy Truck Mat

I don’t think my truck floorboard and mat will ever be the same.

January 19, 2018

A Dry Day . . .

Not outside. It pretty much rained all day. Not very heavy, but a pretty steady drizzle.

No, the problem was my client’s office was dry. As in no water. Apparently a pipe that was weakened during the freeze waited until early this morning to let go. And  with all the recent pipe problems, they can’t get a plumber out until something this weekend.

As soon as I got home about 4:30 Jan and I turned right back around and headed back up to Clear Lake to once again have dinner at Floyd’s Cajun Seafood,. In fact we think Floyd’s might become our standard Friday night fare.

It’s that good.

Jan again had the Grilled Catfish with the Steamed/Grilled Mix Veggies

Floyd's Grilled Catfish

while I had the Shrimp Gumbo and a side salad.

Floyd's Gumbo

Before heading back to the the rig, we made a run by Sam’s Club to pick up a couple of prescriptions.Although mine was correctly priced at $10, Jan’s should-also-be-$10 one came through at $93.23. Ouch.

Both my prescription and Jan’s on e for Sumatriptan (Jan’s migraine medicine)  are on Sam’s Extra Value Drug List  which with our Plus Card membership gives us access to over 600 prescriptions at either $4 or $10. And these not the same ones that Wal-Mat discounts, but more expensive ones.

Anyway, it seems like about half the time they neglect to price the drugs against the Plus card. So I called them this afternoon so they could get it straightened out before I picked them up this evening.

Not sure what’s on the agenda for the weekend yet, but probably shopping and eating is involved.

January 19, 2019

A Wild and Crazy Night . . .

Or Morning, Actually.

I knew there was a front coming through last night, what with the high on Friday at 72° and 53 forecast for today. But what was strange was that as the night went on, the temp went up, starting at about 64° around 6pm up to 69 when I went to bed around 11.

But by around 3am the temps plummeted and the wind picked up. And by ‘picked up’, my LaCrosse Weather Station showed gusts in excess of 40mph. The rig was rocking and rolling, and the window awning on Jan’s side of the bed came unhooked and rolled up with a loud bang.

Karma got so upset that she abandoned the bottom of the bed and was huddling in the bathroom. The wind gusts meant that the accompanying rain was slashing against the RV, making even more noise. But by about 5am it had all settled down to a dull roar. And temps in the low 40’s.

When I went outside this morning, it was because the DirecTV was down, and this is what I saw first

January 2019 Windstorm 1

And as I suspected, this was the problem with our Winegard Traveler Dome.

January 2019 Windstorm 2

Luckily, after setting it back upright and rebooting it, the system came right back up. The last time this happened was in October 2015 when we were gate guarding, and there was a cow was involved.


Tomorrow we’re heading up to the Sugarland area to watch Landon play hockey and then have lunch at the nearby Floyd’s Cajun BBQ.

Landon Hockey 2019

Looking forward to both.

January 19, 2020

A Really, Really Good Movie . . .

Jan and I headed up to Webster about 3:15 for our 3:55 showing of Knives Out, starring Daniel Craig, Christopher Plummer, Jamie Lee Curtis, Don Johnson, and Chris Evans.

We had already reserved our seats online so we were able to just walk in, show the QR code on my phone and go right to our assigned seats. Well, after a stop at the snack bar for popcorn, of  course.

In fact, since we started to smell the popcorn when we were still about 50 feet outside the building, I’m pretty  sure that they have fans blowing the popcorn smell out into the parking lot.

Knives Out is a murder mystery with Daniel Craig, a private detective, trying to discover which family member killed Harlan Thromby, a very rich murder mystery writer and the scion of the Thromby clan. You know from fairly early on who killed Harlan. Or at least you think you do.

There are a lot of twists and turns in this tale, and you don’t really know what’s going on until the very end of the movie, and you’re happy to see the rest of this back-stabbing family get their comeuppance.

But the real standout here is Daniel Craig, just off his last  (so he says) James Bond 007 outing. As Benoit Blanc, he spouts a very authentic sounding Kentucky drawl. And they’re already talking about making another movie with this character. So maybe Craig has his next  movie series.

I won’t tell you any more. Go see it for yourself.

Getting out about 6:30 we drove over to the new Los Ramirez Mexican Restaurant that finally opened up here.

Los Ramirez Webster

We probably won’t eat here very often since we have our local one so much closer, but we wanted to give it a try anyway. And although they were very busy and it took a little longer to get our food than our local one, it was just as good.

January 19, 2021

“These Things Are Amazing!”

After a delicious lunch at Dickinson Seafood of their Blackened Catfish and Grilled Shrimp,

Dickinson Seafood Catfish 20201020

Jan and I headed on up I-45 for a prescription and a few other things at WalMart, and then right across the street to Sam’s Club for another prescription.

Then it was back down to Santa Fe for lottery tickets and Cold Sugar-Free Pumpkin Praline Blended Coffees at Cowboy Coffee.

Cowboy Coffee 2

It’s really great to find out that they’re doing so well that they’re trying to hire more people so they can stay open longer everyday.

Getting home we had a little time to sit outside of the patio a bit and listen to the wind chimes while we finished our coffees.

Very nice!