Daily Archives: September 19, 2023

Well, That Didn’t Last Long . . .

Today was our monthly Alvin Opry Group get-together, this time at our local Jimmy Changas, Jan and mine’s 2nd visit in the last few weeks.

Jan got her usual Pollo Marisco, with a Grilled Chicken Breast, covered in Shrimp in a Cheese Sauce.

I got my sometime favorite the Mexico City Chicken Vegetable Soup.

And here’s the whole motley group. Bob gave me this when I asked everyone to smile.

Thanks a lot, Bob.

That didn’t last long. It looks like the Cooling Fan Relay that I replaced this past June has died again. I noticed coming home yesterday that the engine started heating up when I was stopped at traffic lights. And this morning I confirmed my suspicions, so I did the same temporary hot-wire so I can turn the fan off and on manually, until I can find a replacement relay.

The original one costs about $50, but I can get this Bosch one for only $12.

It’s good for 30 amp at 12vdc, so it should handle the 19 amps that the fan pulls with no problems. Maybe it will last longer than the last one.

Thursday I’m going over to the local DPS office to begin the journey to become Texas residents once again. I think I’ve got all my documents, but I’m a little unsure about what exactly I’ll need to prove a Texas address. I don’t have the suggested power, water, or gas bill. I do have letters from banks, etc., using both our local addresses.

We have a Santa Fe PO Box address, because when we moved down here, the RV park didn’t have an address. It was only later that Rob added mailboxes so we now have an address here too.

Wish me luck.

September 19, 2009

More Photos from our time in Skagway this time of the year in 2008.

Thought For The Day:

Good friends will help you bury a body.

Great friends bring their own shovels and don’t ask any questions.

And Now On To Today’s Retro-Blogs.™

September 19, 2009

A Long Day and Bad Roads…

Today we left Quebec about 9:30am for a 266 mile drive to Grenville RV Park in Johnstown, ON.

We needed to make this long trip to be sure we have time to see Niagara Falls and other places before our rally in Ohio on Sept. 27th.

Even though long,  we expected the trip to be relatively easy because it was 4 lane all the way.

But that was not to be.

Passing through the Montreal area we encountered the worst 4 lane road conditions we’ve ever seen.

The roads were either under construction, or should have been.  And on top of that, they weren’t very well marked, either.

The one nice thing about the trip were the beautiful colors.  Fall is here, at least in Canada.  It’s amazing how much the leaves have changed just in the three weeks we were in Canada.

We arrived at Grenville RV Park in Johnstown, ON about 3:15pm and were given a very nice pull-thru site right on the St. Lawrence River.

After getting set up and settling in, we went out for dinner at a place recommended by the RV park called 730 Truck Stop  Restaurant.

And like the truck stop restaurant in Houlton, ME that we really liked, this one was excellent also.

Getting back to the rig, we let Mister stretch his legs for a while before we went in for the night.

September 19, 2010

Stormy Weather. . .

Although today’s forecast was for Partly Cloudy with a chance of rain, we awoke to Fully Cloudy, with this coming in on us. We’re right in the middle of this radar picture between League City and Texas City.


And while we were drinking coffee, this was the view out the front of the coach.

Storm 1

And a little while later it had deteriorated to this.

Storm 2
We’d already lost the satellite signal when the rains finally moved in.

Storm 2a

And it rained and stormed with a lot of wind for the next several hours.

Storm 3

We left about 3 pm to have Linner/Lupper at Floyd’s Cajun Seafood, our favorite local Cajun place, and our favorite place for gumbo in this area. It’s not quite up to Mulate’s in Breaux Bridge, LA, but it’s really close, and it’s less expensive.

Leaving Floyd’s we drove across the Interstate to Fry’s Electronics to see if they’d gotten any more of the backup drives I was looking for. And luckily for me, they did.

Heading toward home we stopped off at Walmart for cat food and bird seed, and were home by a little after 5.

We’ll just have to see about the weather tomorrow.

September 19, 2011

Rainy Day Monday . . .

The rain started about 8 this morning and continued pretty much all day. It’s a shame we can’t send some of it down south to Texas. They could really use it.

With a big pot of coffee, along with some great muffins and bread, we spent some time just sitting back and enjoying the sound of the rain on the roof.

After Jan fixed lunch, I shut off shore power for a while so I could redo some of the wiring around the transfer switch and the inverter to make it easier to remove to work on.

Later in the afternoon Charlie and Chris Yust pulled into the fairgrounds and parked behind us.

About 5:45 Charlie and Chris, and Jan and I all headed over to the China Wok Buffet (Yes, we ate there last night. It’s that good.) for dinner. Luckily they put us in a room by ourselves. We got a little rowdy, what can I say?

After dinner, Jan and I headed over to Wal-Mart for some groceries. We didn’t dawdle because we wanted to be home by 8 to see the Monday night TV show premiers, and we just made it in time.

September 19, 2012

Loose Meat and A Ceramic Moose–part deux . . .

Before we left Greenville, we wanted to check out Maid-Rite. Maid-Rite is the home of the ‘Loose Meat’ sandwich, and has been since 1926.

A ‘Loose Meat’ sandwich is kind of like a sloppy joe without ‘sloppy’ sauce part. If you remember the old Roseanne TV show, she and Sheldon’s mother opened a Loose Meat Sandwich Shop.

Maid Rite1

One of the novelties of this place is the Gum Wall. People have been sticking their gum on the side of the building for decades. In some cases there are 4 generations of a family’s gum on this wall.

Maid Rite2

Maid Rite3

Leaving Greenville and heading south back to the park. On the way we decided to have dinner at the Sherman House Restaurant & Inn in Batesville, and are we glad we did.

Although they have a standard menu with steaks, seafood, and sandwiches, they also have a selection of German cuisine. And Jan and I finally got our sweet & sour red cabbage.

I had the German Fare, a sampler with Weiner Schnitzel, Sauerbraten, and Wurst & Kraut, along with Potato Patties, and of course, the sweet & sour red cabbage.

Sherman House 1

Jan had the Jager Schnitzel with mashed potatoes, and the cabbage.

Sherman House 2

And after a fantastic meal, we were so stuffed we could hardly walk to the truck. Hopefully we’ll be able to go back before we leave here.

That wraps up yesterday. On to today.

Today was pretty much a stay-at-home day. In the morning I spent some time tracking down a high power relay for our coach. It took a while because of some confusion about the part numbers but I finally found it.

A little later I drove over to the Home Depot in Harrison. I wanted to get a propane torch to try and get my old chrome tailpipe unstuck so I can install the new one.

Later we had dinner in Harrison at the Goldstar Chili. Jan and I ate at Skyline Chili the other day so tonight we wanted to check out the competition.

As it turns out, Jan liked Goldstar better, and I liked Skyline better. So it’s a stalemate, I guess.

And as it stands now, we’re going to spend some time in Cincinnati tomorrow.

September 19, 2013

A Lot Quieter . . .

The gate’s a lot quieter now. We only had 94 vehicles through here yesterday and a little over 100 today.

We did get some indication that finishing up and cleaning up after this fracking job could take another month, but you never know. This coming Monday will start our 2nd month here, and it would be nice to not have to move before we head out of here the Sunday before Thanksgiving.

That’s about it for now.

September 19, 2014

Could be worse. Could be raining.

The last several days have been pretty boring. But in some cases, boring is good.

Our vehicle counts have been in the 80’s, which is nice, especially since when the fracking starts, that could easily quadruple. From what we’ve heard, there are three sites ready to frack behind our gate, and that doesn’t include the two rigs that are presently drilling, the one right across from us and the other one down the road.

But if it’s anything like our past experience, it could easily be a while. We’ve been told that frack crews are in short supply, and it can take months after a well is finished before the frack guys show up. We heard last year of one gate guarding couple who sat on a gate for six months waiting for the frack, just getting one or two vehicles a day.

And when we were following a Marathon/HP rig in 2012, the couple at a gate right above us had been waiting three months. So I guess it’s possible that when we leave here in November, they still won’t be fracking.

That would be nice. 80 vehicle days as far as the eye can see.

I mentioned in an earlier blog about the rig right across from us being a ‘3 holer’, which means they will actually be drilling three separate wells on that pad. Well, tomorrow is when they’re supposed to ‘skid’ the rig to the second hole, but I haven’t heard if that’s going to happen on time or not. Probably not, because it seems like nothing stays on schedule in the oil patch. We’ll see.

Besides low vehicle counts the last several days, we’ve also had rain. And today, we got a lot of it. A heavy downpour for about an hour this afternoon. Luckily there was no wind, so I didn’t have a problem with it blowing under the canopy, but it did bring out a few leaks, mostly where the canopy rubs against the frame in a few places.

So I decided to try this Rust-Oleum Clear Leak Seal spray I bought a while back to seal the joints in our shower. Since it works great there, so why not on the canopy?

Rust-Oleum Leak Seal

I’m sure you’ve seen those TV commercials where they install a screen door in the bottom of a boat, spray the screen with a leak sealer, and then sail away, high and dry. Well, this is that stuff, but the Rust-Oleum brand.

And I can tell it works just as good on canopies as it does on screen door boat bottoms. And it even works while it’s raining. I would see a drop forming on the underside of the canopy, hit it with a couple of shots of the Leak Seal, and no more drip. Neat.

For dinner last night we finished off the last of the Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers, and tonight Jan whipped up one of her specialty sandwiches, with sliced turkey, sliced roast beef, PepperJack cheese, basil pesto, and spicy mayo. Really, really, really good.

More tomorrow from the Gate.

September 19, 2015

Summer’s Back . . .

Well, Summer’s back, apparently with a vengeance. That cooling-off that was supposed to come through on Monday, dropping temps back into the high 80’s, low 90’s went somewhere else, because now it’s mid to high 90’s as far as the eye can see. Of course that could change too.

Maybe it’s like talking about a possible no-hitter during the ball game and jinxing it.

Today was a little quieter than usual, with only 90 vehicles coming in, as opposed to the usual 120 – 130 we’ve been having recently. Don’t know if it was because it was the weekend or not, but it was nice anyway.

Right before I came on at 1pm, I went down and permanently installed my Mighty Mule Driveway Alarm system, using the plastic fence post I picked up from Tractor Supply on Friday.

Here’s what it looks like directly from the side.

MIghty Mule Installation 1

Originally I had the transmitter hanging from one of the vines, but it wasn’t waterproof that way and was more visible.

Here’s what it looks like as you’re coming toward it.

MIghty Mule Installation 2

The reason I’m trying to hide it somewhat is that a couple of years ago I had one like this stolen.

Old Driveway Alarm

Don’t know what they could do with it without the receiver that it talks to, but $80 walked away. Ouch!

Because the sensor/transmitter are in one unit, the whole thing needs to be right beside the roadway, and it’s very visible.

But with the Mighty Mule, the sensor and the transmitter are two separate units separated by a 12 ft. cable. And the sensor itself is pretty inconspicuous. It’s that black pipe at the bottom of the first photo.

So far the Mighty Mule has a perfect record. It’s never missed a vehicle coming by it, and it’s never false alarmed. You can’t ask for any better than that.

On the false alarm question, I find I always enjoy reading the questions people ask about products on Amazon. In this case, the question was “Does the wind set it off?”, and the answer was, “Not unless the wind blows a car past it.”

There is one thing that bothers me about the unit though, and that’s the alarm sound.

It’s sharp.

No, not pointy sharp. Musically sharp.

The alarm sound is made up of four tones, three identical ones, and then a fourth, lower tone, like the opening four notes to Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, i.e, G G G E. But the alarm’s last tone is somewhere between an E and an F, kind of an E♯, but not quite, and it just grates on my ears.

In a way I guess I’m kind of like Sheldon yelling outside his office window at the mockingbird that he accused of being tone deaf.

“Just pick a key and stick with it.”

September 19, 2016

Another Month . . .

As usual Monday’s count picked up from the slow weekend, a lot of it due to salespeople trying to get an early start to the week. I guess some of it’s just subjective, because at 44 vehicles coming in, it was only 10 more than yesterday. But those extra 10 were concentrated in just a couple of hours so it made it seem like a lot more.

Today starts the beginning of our 2nd month here at Blue Moon Gate, and so far it hasn’t been bad at all. Not quite as good as last year’s Carthage Gate, mostly because of the sucky Wi-Fi/Internet and the distance to Wal-Mart. It’s hard to beat 4 bars of 3G/4G and 5 miles to Wal-Mart/Whataburger/Chicken Express/Sonic/ McDonald’s like we had last year, I guess.

We did get our Amazon order this afternoon, right on schedule, and Jan told the mail carrier lady that we had another one coming tomorrow. Today’s care package was a 2nd remote for the new Samsung TV, and a new computer mouse.

Tomorrow’s will be a new beard trimmer for me, and a couple of new AC to USB charger modules so it will be easier for Jan to keep her Kindles charged outside here under the canopy.

I still need to figure out what to do about our Internet here. I still haven’t been able to get our Wilson Booster working. It seems to work, i.e. showing the correct lights, and if  I bring the inside antenna near the outside antenna, it goes into feedback/overload just like it should. But as far as actually amplifying a 3G phone signal, zip, zero, nada, nyet.

The last time I used it in 2012, I was able to go from no signal whatsoever to 4 bars of 3G hitting a tower, that, according to the Open Signal app, was 19.5 miles away. Now I’ve got 1 to 2 bars of 3G here, and I can’t seem to amplify it at all.

My fallback position here was to use the pad’s Wi-Fi, and I was able to get the password to the Company Man’s system, but unfortunately due to the distance his trailer is from our rig, the signal is OK sometimes, and not OK others. And the desktop computer in the coach can’t see it at all

I think maybe the variation in signal level I’m seeing is due to someone sitting at the Company Man’s desk between me and his Wi-Fi router. The water-filled human body is a good absorber of the 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi signal. In fact at a high enough level it can cook you because that’s how a microwave oven works. It’s in the same 2.4 GHz band, just closer, more powerful, and more concentrated.

So maybe don’t sit too close to your Wi-Fi router, especially if it makes you feel a little warm.

There are a couple of stronger Wi-Fi signals that show up and I’ve been trying to track down who owns them. But I found out tonight that it might not do me any good. As it turns out one of them is just a Wi-Fi data link between the drill rig and the directional drilling company’s instrumentation in their trailer. It’s not hooked up to the Internet at all. And I suspect the other signal might be the same.

So my next thought is to just get a better, stronger, directional Wi-Fi amplifier/antenna, mostly for the desktop in the rig for Jan. Outside here, my laptop and tablet are OK, not great, but usable.

So we’ll see what I come up with on Amazon.

On another note, I’m still trying to figure out what to do with my old RCA flat screen. I called what seems to be the only recycling center in B/CS today, and they don’t take TV’s, nor do they know anyone that does. So I may just have to find a lonely dumpster somewhere.

I still haven’t actually thrown away the box the new Samsung came in. I told Jan I want to keep it for at least two weeks before I throw it out, to get us through the ‘infant mortality’ phase in case I have to take it back. We’ll see.

After yesterday’s mini-rant on the lack of Fall, I guess Mother Nature heard me and decided to help out . . . somewhat. Although we’re still looking at temps in the mid-90’s for the next week or so, starting tomorrow night we’ll be having temps in the high 60’s for a while.

So we’re halfway there.

September 19, 2017

Zen and Rudy’s . . .

I slept in a little this morning, not feeling all that great, but I was on the road for Clear Lake by 10am, getting there a little after noon.

But although I stayed busy, I didn’t really visibly accomplish much. I spent part of the morning trying to change the owner’s wife’s laptop version of Microsoft Word from Spanish back to English.

Now how it got changed over to Spanish nobody knows, or will admit, but apparently it’s been that way for a while. And it’s still that way now. I tried repeatedly to reset it to English, but it wouldn’t stick. It would just change back. So after about an hour fooling with it, I just deleted Office and downloaded and installed the latest version, 5.4.1, of LibreOffice, a really good MS Office clone.

Next I was trying to update some prices on the Tattoo website when I discovered that the admin password in Zen Cart had expired, which they do every 90 days. I’ve never accessed this site before, so I guess the ex-guy hadn’t done it for a while either.

So I clicked the Forgot Password? button, entered my email address, and about 30 seconds later I had a new temporary password. Easy Peazy, Right?


The new password didn’t work, Nor did the second or third one. And going to the Zen Cart website wasn’t much help either. So I submitted a help request and now I’ll just have to wait and see.

Heading back north a little after 4pm, I met Jan, and Chris and Charles Yust at the Rudy’s BBQ on I-45 north about 5:30 and we all got our BBQ fix.

Jan had the Chopped Baker,

Rudy's Stuffed Baker

while I got a Brisket Sandwich and a Jalapeno Sausage Link.

Rudy's Sandwich and Link

And of course, a quart of their fantastic creamed corn. Even Jan loves it, and she doesn’t really like corn. That’s how good it is.

Tomorrow we’ll move over to the Hillcrest RV Park in Punkin, TX, about 20 miles away, on the road to Livingston.

Since it’s so close, we probably won’t head out until about 1pm, so that’ll give us plenty of time to have brunch at the nearby Cracker Barrel about 11. And as it stands now we’re not even going to hook up the toad, but Jan will just follow along behind.

September 19, 2018

A Sleeping Tiger . . .

Several readers asked why I hadn’t posted photos of Jan’s new Vera Bradley bags. When I was ready to photograph the bags, Jan was asleep on the sofa with them all clutched to her bosom. Never awaken a sleeping tiger.

But here they are now.

Jan's Vera Bradley Bags

First up is her new Shoulder Bag on the left, with the two lanyards draped across the top. Hers matches with mine the black. Everyone says we will need them on the cruise to hold our shipboard access passes. And on the right is a matching Cross The Shoulder mini version.

Jan's Vera Bradley Over The Door Bags

She also got this Over The Door travel bag that folds up and holds makeup and other toiletries. She didn’t get it in the matching print since she won’t be carrying it, and it would have been full price and not discounted 70% like the others. In fact, at full price, it would have cost more than everything else put together.

That’s my girl.

When we were at WalMart yesterday, I was behind this lady who had piled up Halloween candy on the conveyer belt.

WalMart Halloween Candy

And this is only about half of what she had. Total was over $500.

When I asked her, “How many people come to your house on Halloween?, she said, “We usually get about 600 or so. It’s become kind of a party every year.”

Of course, if you’re really into Halloween you can go to Home Depot and get this 6-foot-tall, animated, lighted dragon that roars.

Home Depot Dragon

It blows out smoke, and according to some Googling, you can make it breathe fire. And it’s only $300. Neat.

Now that our test drive is out of the way, and I’ve confirmed that our oil leak is fixed, I get back on my generator problem. I’ve been going over the manual and talking with Onan so I’ve got some more things to check on.

But if I don’t get it fixed before we leave for Florida on Oct 3rd, we’ll just get an earlier start before things heat up, and with the cooling temps on the way, we should be fine.

Tomorrow I’ve got a dermatologist’s appointment and then some errands, and well as lunch at East Star Chinese Buffet.


September 19, 2019

A Hot & Sour Soup Kind of Day . . .

Apparently, in some parts of Houston, it’s 3 feet (and more) high and rising. It’s been raining pretty steadily for 3 days now, and it seems now that there’s heavy flooding all over the Houston area.

Houston Imelda Flooding 1

Houston Imelda Flooding 2

A local TV weatherman reported that over 43” of rain had fallen northeast of Houston towards the TX-LA border in the last few days.

And although we had some high water in the ditches yesterday, by this afternoon it was just about gone. It was still raining lightly when we left about 1pm for lunch at Yummy Yummy’s.

We haven’t seen the sun in the last few days, and it hasn’t gotten above 75°. Not exactly cold, but good enough for a couple of bowls of Yummy’s Hot & Sour Soup. And those ‘couple’ of bowls were both for me.

Jan had to get her own.

Jan and I have gotten hooked on a new BBC series (at least new to us), but unfortunately, it’s a short-term addiction.

Don’t know how many of you are Rowan Atkinson/Black Adder/Mr. Bean fans, but back in 2016 – 2017 he did a short-lived series based on 75 novels by Georges Simenon.


Atkinson plays Jules Maigret, a world-weary, measured and insightful detective, and is set in Paris in the 1950s.

And by ‘short-lived’, they did two 2-hour episodes in 2016, and then two more in 2017, with, unfortunately, no more forthcoming.

The four episodes are presently showing on Ovation, and are well worth your viewing, whether you’re a Rowan Atkinson fan or not. The cinematography is great, and it turns out that Atkinson is as good a serious actor as he is a comedy one.

Check it out.

Ardis, one of our Viking Bunch, sent over some photos she found on her phone that show our antepenultimate Taste of Germany meal on our Viking Cruise.

Ardis Photos 1

Jim and Deb

Ardis Photos 2

Mike and Melissa

Ardis Photos 6

Ardis and Larry

Ardis said that they’re doing another Viking cruise next March, this one from Paris to the Swiss Alps, and wanted to know if we were interested in accompanying them. But as I mentioned before, Jan said she would beat me to death with my own arm if I ever took her on another 8-10 hour flight.

And even our 3+ hour flight to NYC in December is pushing it.

Ardis Photos 5

Yours truly and my Sweetie

September 19, 2021

As Good As Always . . .

About 1:30pm Jan and I headed over to Yummy Yummy’s Chinese Buffet for the first time since March 14, 2020, when it closed due to CoVid. And after repeatedly checking back for months, we finally gave up and figured it was gone, as has happened to several other favorites of ours.

But this past Thursday a friend alerted us to the fact that they might have finally reopened. And when we drove by there Thursday afternoon, we found a full parking lot.


So today we were back, and it’s like nothing changed. Well, almost nothing, anyway.

Yummy Yummy

The place is just as tastefully decorated as before. the selection was just as wide, and the food was just as hot and fresh as before.

Strangely enough, the only noticeable difference was the ‘tint’ of the staff. In the past, as is common with most Asian places, the staff was entirely Asian. But now, not so much. A number of their servers are now of the Caucasian persuasion.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

On the ‘Upcoming Front’, this Thursday we’ve got another get-together with some, or all, of Conroe Bunch, this time at the Golden Corral up in, where else, Conroe. By then, all of them should be completely over their recent CoVid experiences.

Looking forward to seeing them all, and to Golden Corral too. The one in Conroe has always been really good.

And it now looks like Fall is upcoming too. With our first cold, rather than cool, front coming through, we’re looking at a week of nights in the low 60’s down here in Santa Fe, and in the 50’s up in Brandi’s area in Katy.

September 19, 2022

Steak And Steak . . .

Rob, our park owner, texted us last week saying that the park WiFi would be down for a while today due to Comcast doing some upgrades in the area. And when I got up this morning I saw the park WiFi had gone down about 7:30am.

Then when I left for work about 10 I saw Comcast trucks along the road, replacing the system amps on the light poles. Later Jan texted me about 1:30 saying it was back up.

And boy! was it. When I came home I checked our WiFi speed using Speedtest.net and found that our normal 8-10 Mbps had jumped up to a little over 36 Mbps.

WOW! Nice.

Tomorrow we’re heading up to the Woodlands area for our monthly meet-up with Debi and Ed Hurlburt, this time at the Outback Steakhouse up there. Looking forward to it.

Then next Thursday we’re meeting up with our Alvin Opry group, this time back at the Saltgrass Steakhouse down in Webster. Looking forward to it too.