Daily Archives: December 12, 2023

Maybe They’re Really Busy During The Week?

Catching up with our Saturday in Cuero.

Below is our room at the Fairbridge Inn & Suites where we stayed in Cuero.

Listed as a King Kitchenette Suite, it was unusual in that it had a large apartment-size refrigerator and a double sink, which I guess is what makes it a ‘Kitchenette’. Though it still had the normal size microwave.

But it was a very nice room, and a nice breakfast as well.

But the real high point was the hotel WiFi. Unlike the usual piddly 2 Mbps or so that you usually get at these places, this was 60 Mbps down and 55 Mbps up. Which indicates that it’s a fiber connection.

One thing we don’t quite understand about the hotels here is how not busy they were. Our Fairbridge Inn had 182 rooms on 3 floors, and I never saw more than 10 cars in the parking lot while we were there. And the nearby Fairfield Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Baymont Inn, America’s Best Value Inn, and Executive Inn were all the same way. Not many cars at any of them, especially since you’re probably looking at over 1000 rooms in total.

So I can only assume they’re really busy during the week with oil types, and then pretty much empty on the weekends. Otherwise how do they all stay in business?

Coming back into Cuero after our gate-locating trek, we decided to grab a snack at the local McDonald’s. When we were here in 2016-2017, we used to grab Egg McMuffins here before heading out to our gate. But the place has been much upgraded since then.

They now have only a small in-person order area, and then 5 of these order kiosks placed around the entrance, and they work very smoothly.

They’re easy to use, and allow you to customize your order just about any way you want.

Then you got one of these table tags.

Which turns out to have an RFID locator chip in it.

And they then bring your order directly to your table.

I’m sure you’ve seen the posts online about how a burger, fries, and a drink cost $18-20.

In our case, it was two sandwiches, fries, and two coffee drinks for $18. Not bad in my opinion.

Of course I remember when McDonald’s burgers were 15¢ and cheeseburgers were 25¢

And now they even have video games for the kids.

And our Caramel Mochas were so good, we decided to get them again before we head back to Santa Fe Sunday morning.

Next up was a drive around town to scout out parking for our Christmas in Downton Cuero visit tonight. Found what looks to be a nice place in back to park right across the street from the festivities.

And we also came across the DeWitt County Courthouse.

Really neat, especially the fine details.

Kind of reminded me of the Courthouse in Lockhart, TX.

Love the architecture.

Thought for the Day:

”If life gives you lemons, and you get melons, you’re dyslexic” – Piper White, Our Beautiful Granddaughter.

And Now On To Today’s Retro-BLOGS

December 12, 2010

Herons and Landon Time . . .

Well, the wind is still blowing like crazy, but it has changed directions. Yesterday before the front got here, the wind was out of the south. This morning when we went out for our walk, the wind was out of the north.

Because it was also low tide, the wind blew water out of the bayou, leaving exposed mudflats. This attracted a lot of seagulls looking for a quick lunch.

Seagulls on Mudflat

It even attracted our old friend the Great Blue Heron that lives in this area.

Great Blue Heron on Mudflat

And along with the wind, the weather has really changed. Yesterday the high was about 75 and the low last night was 41. Then today it got all the way to 55.

But the real change is tonight, with a low of 28 degrees. But at least by Tuesday, it’s supposed to be back in the 70’s again.

Our daughter Brandi sent over this video of Landon being fed his first solid food. She started adding some rice cereal to his formula a couple of weeks ago, but this is his first spoonful of the real thing.

Landon eating his first solid food.

About 2pm Jan and I drove up to Brandi and Lowell’s to take Landon off their hands for a few hours.

After we got him packed into the truck, we drove to Baybrook Mall to pick up some presents, and then down to Garden Ridge where Jan was looking for a vase and some decorations.

While we were there I got this photo of Landon and his big blue eyes.

Landon at Garden Ridge 2

Leaving Garden Ridge we went by the storage room to pick up some outside Christmas decorations for the rig, and then just drove around for a while until it was time to meet Brandi and Lowell at 5:30 for supper at Floyd’s Cajun Seafood, our favorite local Cajun place.

Although you wouldn’t know it by what everyone ordered. Jan, Brandi, and Lowell all had the Chicken Fried Chicken, while I was the only one who went Cajun with a cup of delicious Chicken and Sausage Gumbo and a grilled Boudin link.

Then reluctantly relinquishing Master Landon to his parents, Jan and I headed back to the rig for the night about 7.

December 12, 2011

Two More Hours of My Life I’ll Never Get Back . . .

or AT&T still sucks!

Jan and I both slept great last night. Me, because I wasn’t sleeping alone. Jan, because she was back in her own bed.

Works for me.

I was up about 9 this morning since I had a client visit at 11. Had to allow enough time for coffee.

Getting to the client’s I spent about 3 hours getting her two computers cleaned out and updated for the next year.

My next stop was back into AT&T hell. I spent another two hours on the phone with them trying to get my client’s DSL service working again.

And after two hours they said the new DSL modem, that replaced the old DSL modem, was bad, and they want my client to pay for the new one!

By this time my cell phone battery was on its last electrons so I got a Trouble Ticket number and told them I’d take it up with Customer Service tomorrow.

I think it’s a lost cause.

December 12, 2012

All Done . . . Pretty Much . . .

Chris and I started back in on our trim replacement project about 10am this morning. And except for a somewhat balky nailgun, things went pretty quickly.

As far as what we’re doing, we making this,

Trim Damage

look like this.

Trim Damage 2

Chris ran a string along the trim level to give us a guide for the boards. After that, it was merely a matter of holding them in place as Chris nailed them up.

This is the before:

Trim Boards 2

And this is the after:

Trim Boards 4

Trim Boards 5

It took us about an hour and a half to do both ends of the house. For the second end, we didn’t use a string, but just got a good starting point and then used the 4ft long level to keep things on track.

Finishing up here, we knocked off for lunch at Hooters for hot wings. Hmmm, Good.

Back on the job, it took another 45 minutes to do the courtyard and finish up. I’ve still got some places to fill in some missing trim on a couple of other areas, and some touchup painting to fill in. But the hard work is done, and my son Chris did his usual great job helping me (or actually doing most of the work. I just held things in place.)

Leaving the house, I stopped off at a client’s to check out the new Cloud Print system I set up the other day, and so far it seems to be working fine.

BTW I started to install Cloud Print on my Kindle Fire and discovered that for some reason Google changed the name from Cloud Print to Easy Print for the Fire. But it works just fine.

On another subject, I had been looking to try a French Press system for making coffee since people say it’s the best way. And I was also interested in a Keurig or K-Cup coffee maker. That’s the system that uses the small 1 cup packages like this.


Sometimes in the evening I would like a cup of coffee, but it’s just too much work to set up the Mr. Coffee 12 cup machine for one or two cups. And we just don’t have the counter space to spare for another appliance like a Keurig.

Then last week I came across this on a TV infomercial. And it’s both a K-Cup brewer AND a French Press.Coffee Press

The basic model just does the K-Cups, and is $29.95. But for $10 more you get two extra adapters. One lets you use the round coffee pods that kind of look like large tea (coffee?) bags, and the other one lets you use your own loose ground coffee.

And it’s quick and simple to use. Your cold water goes in the blue container with the handle. This then goes in the microwave to heat up.

Your K-Cup/pod/loose coffee adapter fastens to the bottom, and then the clear plastic collection cup fastens over that.

When your water is heated, you pour it into the clear cylinder at the top. Then the blue container, which has an O-ring at the bottom, is inserted into the cylinder and pressed down. And your hot, fresh coffee comes out into the bottom cup. And you’re done.

It really takes longer to tell you about it than it does to just do it. Just what I was looking for.

I’ve used it a couple of times so far and it works just great. And it comes with three sample K-Cups to get you started, 1 tea and 2 different coffees.

You can get more info here – MyCoffeePress.

December 12, 2013

Problem Solved !

or at least it is according to our friend, Dennis Hill.

His solution to our leaking shower is to just stop showering in the rig.

Well, I guess Jan and I could just hose each other off outside the rig. Hopefully the neighbors wouldn’t complain. I mean we don’t wear clothes when we shower INSIDE the rig, so we’ll see how it goes.

We decided to make today a fun day for ourselves so about 11:30am we headed down TX146 to Galveston. Our first stop was for lunch at Sunflower Café. We’ve had Sunday Brunch here several times with Brandi, Lowell, and Landon, but we’ve never had lunch there. And as it turns out, their lunch is just as good as their brunch.

Sunflower Cafe Soup and Sandwich

We both ended up ordering the soup and half sandwich. Jan had the Chicken Salad with the Tomato Basil Soup, while I had a Chicken BLT, also with the Tomato Basil. My BLT, pictured above, was great, with the bacon thick and fried extra crispy. And we both agreed that the Tomato Basil soup was delicious.

After lunch, Jan picked out some cookies to take home from their in-house bakery. And just like what happens when we eat at Cracker Barrel, we spent as much in their gift shop as we did on lunch when Jan found a pair of vintage earrings that looked too good on her to pass up.

After lunch we drove around a bit, checking out what’s changed since we were here last year. It’s always interesting to see the old houses being refurbished,

Galveston House 1

and the ones that have already been redone.

Galveston House 2

Galveston House 3

It’ll be interesting to check out the first house in a couple of years and see what it looks like.

Then driving along the Seawall we saw the latest incarnation of Galveston’s Historic Pleasure Pier. It’s been very popular since it opened a couple of years ago. It combines several restaurants with a pretty complete amusement park.

Galveston Amusement Park

Of course this is not the first version of an amusement park located in this location. In fact the first one was built in 1907.

Galveston Amusement Park 1907

Constructed after the previous seedy midway area was wiped out in the Great Hurricane of  1900, this one, ironically, only lasted until the next big hurricane in 1915. So it will be interesting to see how long the new one lasts.

Heading back up I-45 we took a detour through a new high-end subdivision on Galveston Bay called HarborWalk. The area is also the location of the newest Floyd’s Seafood, Floyd’s On The Water. We’ll have to check it out soon.

Floyds on the Water

Those are some really big homes being built out on that island.


And you know it must be a high-end place if it’s behind a gate.

HarborWalk Gate

We also saw a lot of birds in the area, including these two.

Floyds Great Blue Heron

Floyds Pelican

And then there was this sign. Maybe you could feed the seabirds TO the alligators?

Do Not Feed Alligators or Seabirds

Coming back up to Webster we made a stop at one of my favorite electronics/computer places, EPO (Electronics Parts Outlet) to look for those soldering iron tips I need, and I was surprised to see this in the middle of the store.

EPO Model T 1

EPO Model T 2

Richard, the owner, buys and sells a lot of surplus stuff, but it’s the first time he’s ever bought a 1923 Model T Ford.

Later, after a quick stop at our storeroom, we made stops at Starbuck’s for lattes, Kroger’s for groceries, and PetCo for pet stuff.

Finally heading back toward the rig, it was after 6pm so we decided that some Chicken Tortilla Soup from Monterey’s Little Mexico sounded good. And it was.

We started out to have a really fun day and it worked out really well.

December 12, 2014

Finally . . .

We finally managed a stay-at-home day, which was really nice after the last few non-stop days. We sat outside for a while with Mister, having our coffee and muffins, and watched the whitetail deer run around the fields. Then a little later Donna Huffer and Bob Parker came over and spent some time.

Then we all headed back in, first pulling off the stickers off our shoes, and then picking them out of Mister’s coat. And even with all that, one or two sneak through, only to be found later by our bare feet. It’s the one real downside to staying here at Colorado River.

Later in the afternoon, I strung up some Christmas lights along the rig’s awnings. We’ve also got a lighted wreath that I’m going to put up later.

Rig Christmas Lights

Of course it’s hard to go all out when we don’t know how long we’re going to be here. But since we’re still waiting to hear from Galveston Bay RV Resort as soon as they get their new sites open, we don’t want to go overboard and then have to take it all down.

For example, here’s what we’ve done in the past at Galveston Bay.


We’ll have to see how soon we get down there before we decide how much more we’re going to decorate.

My new power converter is humming along just fine, keeping both the engine batteries and the coach batteries topped off with no problems. I’m probably going to order the new 50 amp transfer switch in the next couple of days so I can go ahead and get everything installed under the bed.

Progressive Dynamics (PD52V) 50 Amp Automatic Transfer Relay System

In looking at the size of the new power converter and the size of this transfer switch, it’s amazing how much smaller these components are now compared to the units installed 15 years ago when our coach was built.

Later, about 5pm Jan heated up our leftover German food from our visit to Schobel’s Restaurant this past Wednesday night. With the Schnitzel, German Potatoes, and Red Cabbage, it was just as good as the other night.

December 12, 2015

Squalls and Scones . . .

Since I didn’t get to bed until almost 4am this morning, due to not getting home until after midnight and then having to do the blog, I really slept in, not getting up until about 11:30.

But when I finally did get up and got the coffee going, Jan and I sat outside for a while, drinking our coffee and eating some really good Blueberry Scones Jan found in the Kroger bakery department. Our next-door neighbor, Bonnie, came by for a while so we could get acquainted. They’ve been full-timing for 15 years, and have run into other friends a few times on the road.

But our visit was cut short by a rain squall moving in, with it raining on and off the rest of the afternoon and evening. But as we ran for our respective rigs, we said we’d get together soon for dinner.

The rest of the afternoon was interspersed with light and heavy rains, which made it really nice to just hunker down in the rig, with our time divided between reading, computing, and TV’ing.

Really nice on a dreary December afternoon.

I forgot to mention that Wednesday, while I was working on the toilet, our friend Randy came by to say “Hi”. He had just pulled into the park a couple of hours earlier and noticed our coach parked across the circle from him.

Readers of our blog just about a year ago may remember my adventures with Randy’s new-to-him Monaco Diplomat. He had bought it from PPL here in Houston a few days earlier, and ended up parked right next to us here at the Colorado River Thousand Trails. He saw me outside working on my rig, and asked for some help with his rig’s electrical system.

After he’d been parked here several days,  both his coach and engine batteries had run down. You can follow the story of what I found wrong with his coach, and how I fixed it. How it ever got off the dealer lot that way is a mystery.




Tomorrow morning we’re heading out to Galveston, about two hours away to have lunch with an old friend and ex-coworker of Jan’s. A while before we started RV’ing, Linda got bored with the Houston/Galveston area and up and moved to Billings, MT. Quite a change from Houston.

We’ve visited her there first in 2008 on our way to Alaska, and later on our way coming back. On the way up, at the end of March, it looked like this,


BillingsSnowMister 2

and coming back in the middle of October, it looked like this.

Billings2 3

Billings Snow 2

Like I said, quite a change from Houston.

December 12, 2016

Cloudy with Meatballs . . .

The weather continues to be overcast, supposedly with rain on the way. Of course, just as I’m going back on a gate.

It was a short day for me. At least the ‘awake’ part. Trying to get myself oriented onto night shift, I didn’t go to bed until about 3:30am and then was back up at 11.

Jan had fixed up a delicious batch of her Crockpot Spaghetti and Meatballs for lunch, and this was possibly the best batch yet, probably due to the new meatballs we tried.

Sam's Choice Premium Angus Meatballs
This time we used the Sam’s Choice Premium Angus Meatballs, and you could really taste the difference. At least you taste a lot more meat than breading, and the Romano cheese inside certainly didn’t hurt.


And enough left for tomorrow.

And then after lunch, I was back down for a nap until about 3:45. I needed to leave for the gate by about 4:25 since it’s a 20 minute trip. I always like to get to the gate a little early on the first day in case anything has changed since my last visit.

When I did arrive about 4:45 I found things had really built up since my last time here.

Davila 5

They’ve even got a flare stack going. At least it’s a pretty good piece away.

When we were down here in 2013 working a frack site near Whitsett, we had a big stack less than 100 yards from us. One afternoon oil got mixed in with the gas and the whole thing became a flaming oil volcano.

flare-3 (1)2

flare-5 (1)2

At first it started spurting the flaming oil out, a couple of times even making a flaming ring, like a smoke ring. Then the flames just started rolling down the sides and out on the surrounding brush, setting it all on fire.

Alarms started going off all around and guys were rushing over to put the flames out. Even at that distance I could feel the heat. And luckily they got it out before it reached the storage tanks.

December 12, 2017

Awning Off, Awning On . . .

With nothing on our slate for today, we had a nice relaxing morning, reading and computing.

About 2pm I went outside to take down the other rear awning, Since I’d down the first one about a month ago, this one went faster.

First off I started by clamping the flange that connects to the torsion spring. This allows me to control the unwinding of the spring.

Awning Fabric Removal 1

Next I removed the screw that fastens the flange to the tube.

Awning Fabric Removal 2

Then I pulled the flange off the arm while holding the vice grips to keep the spring from unwinding. After lowering the arm to the side of the rig, I carefully unwound the spring, counting the turns so I would know how many turns to rewind it.

Awning Fabric Removal 3

At this point I put the now-loosened flange back on the arm.

Awning Fabric Removal 4

This let me now drill out the rivets so I could remove the spring.

Awning Fabric Removal 5

Awning Fabric Removal 6

Now pulling the tube from the other end, I could pull it off the bottom of the awning fabric.

Awning Fabric Removal 7

So now I should have been able to pull the fabric off the top rail, but it wouldn’t budge. So I removed the screw right above the rail that holds the first link of the cover in place.

Awning Fabric Removal 8

This let me pull the fabric and the cover segment out from the other side.

Awning Fabric Removal 9

This let me see that the reason the fabric wouldn’t come out is the fact that the rail was crimped on each end.

Awning Fabric Removal 10

Normally if they want to lock the fabric in place they just use a small screw through the rail and into the fabric.

But after I used a screwdriver and a pair of pliers to open the channel, the fabric slid right out.

Awning Fabric Removal 11

Tomorrow I’ll drop this one off at Sundowner Canvas and pick up the new one. I am going to ask them to hold off on doing the next one until I reinstall the new one. That’s to be sure that everything is OK with how this one was done.

I did get a chance to check out the laundry room here at Petticoat Junction RV Park and it looks pretty nice. We normally don’t use a park laundry because we have our own washer/dryer, but Jan does occasionally like to do her throw rugs in one.

Petticoat Junction Washers 1

Petticoat Junction Washers 2

Really nice and clean.

I mentioned earlier that Jan and I have been going through a lot of old photos, many I’ve never seen before.

My father was a police officer in Birmingham AL starting in the 1930’s. During WWII he enlisted in the Navy and ended up in the Shore Patrol, guarding the Navy Pier in Chicago.

Here’s a photo of him in his uniform.

Father Police Officer

After the war he came back to the Birmingham Police Department as a Detective Sergeant until he retired in1951. Then he and my mother moved down to Gulf Shores, AL where they opened a motel right on the beach.

I always knew he was an excellent shot, starting when he began to teach me to shoot when I was six. Somewhere along the line I was told that he had won the Alabama State Pistol Championship five years in a row, until finally they pretty much asked him to stop competing and give someone else a chance.

But I never had any hard info on this until I came across this clipping from the Birmingham newspaper. I’m assuming this was from the 1930’s since they refer to him as a police officer and not a detective.

Father's Shooting Clipping

Since the clipping is kind of hard to read, I’ve transcribed it below.

Man, That’s Really Some Fine Shooting

Police Officer W. H. White today had a room all to himself in the Police Department’s Hall of Shooting Fame.

At annual target tournament this week, Sharpshooter White sent 30 slugs into the bulls-eye with 30 pulls of his pistol trigger, then followed up his perfect score with 29 out of 30 shots in the second round.

Capt. H. V. Early, director of target shooting said Officer White’s perfect 300 was the first ever scored by a member of the Police Department, which rates 250 out of 300 the work of an expert.

Shoot is at three speeds – 10 slow shots at 25 yards, with five shots required in five minutes; 10 timed shots at 25 yards, with 20 seconds allowed for five firings, and 10 rapid shots , with 15 seconds the maximum for five shots. A bulls-eye score 10, each succeeding ring one point less.

So for the first round he got all thirty shots in the bulls-eye, while on the second round he got 29 shots in the bulls-eye and 1 shot in the 9 ring.for a total of 299 out of 300.

December 12, 2018

Good BBQ and Great Friends . . .

Today was another of those work days where I ran around doing a lot of different things, but didn’t seem to actually get a lot done.

I did spend some time completely disassembling the unit I mentioned the other day, getting it down to bare circuit boards and the case. This will allow me to build it back up, fixing the broken connections as I go.

Then I get to see if I can get it working after all that. Otherwise I’ll just junk it for parts. We’ll see.

A little bit after I got home, Jan and I headed up to Alvin, and Joe’s BBQ to have dinner with friends Janice and Dave Evans.

Janice and Dave Evans 2

It’s been years since we’ve eaten at Joe’s, maybe close to 20, but it was always good, and that hasn’t changed.

Jan had the Grilled Chicken Breast with the Salad Bar, while I had the Chicken Fried Steak.

Janice and Dave went the actual BBQ route with her BBQ sandwich, and Dave’s BBQ Plate.

Joe's BBQ Dave's Plate

Now that looks GOOD!

We had a great time with Janice and Dave, and hope we can do it again soon.

As I said yesterday, tomorrow I’ve got my next, and hopefully last, Photo Dynamic Therapy session. giving me a year’s worth of sunburn in 16:40.

At least this time I’m bringing some packets of Hydrocortisone lotion with me to put on afterwards.

December 12, 2019

Back in the Groove . . .

Although we had a great time in New York, it’s nice to be back in Santa Fe in our own home and our own bed.

I did order our new Samsung TV from Amazon this morning, and it should be here on Monday.

New Samsung TV

Samsung 43” Smart TV

I did double-check my measurements to be sure that it would fit first, but it looks like we’re good to go.

Jan says she’s good to go in the meantime since I bought our 22” TV from the bedroom and set it up on the end of the sofa.

Jan's Temporary TV

One thing I did find interesting when I was looking at different models on Amazon is that I could buy a ‘Renewed’ model, which I assume means that it’s been returned and checked out, i.e. Refurbished.

Strangely though, the ‘Renewed’ one is only $1 cheaper than a brand new one. Why would anyone buy the used one?

Certainly not me.

I also bought the 4-year warranty for $45, which includes ‘damages’, so Karma can do her worse now, I guess.

Speaking of Karma, she apparently doesn’t want us leaving her again. She spent pretty much all night actually sleeping on top of me, something she’s never done before. She sometimes will sleep beside me, but I guess she’s taking no chances now.

Even more so, she spent most of today sleeping on top of one of our suitcases just to be sure.

Karma Sleeping on Suitcase

Heading out about 1pm we first had lunch at Snooze before heading over to WalMart to stock up the fridge now that we’re back.

Then it was over to the Sam’s Club next door to tank up the truck. Gas was $1.97, two cents more than the last time we filled up two weeks ago. But still not bad.

Though I posted a blog after we got to NYC Thursday night, I thought I’d repost that blog and then flesh it out with more text and photos.

A New York State of Mind . . .

The day could not have gone more perfect.

We were up at 3am, our car service guy showed up about 4:15, and we were on our way up to Hobby Airport by about 4:30. Right on schedule. And I didn’t forget my camera or laptop this time.

We got dropped off at the Southwest entrance a little after 5am, and we tagged and checked in our 3th suitcases a few minutes later.

On our way to our gate (why is it that it always seems like our gate is #36, out of 1 to 36.), we were offered a chance to sign up for the CLEAR program, in which, once you’re registered, means you bypass the normal check-in line and pretty much just get waved through. And even better, it was free.

The only real problem was trying to get a good scan of my fingerprints. Due to a lot of scar tissue
due to some burns, I don’t really have much in the way of valid fingerprints. The last time this caused me a problem was when I was fingerprinted for our gate guarding security licenses.

And before that, my numerous security clearances for the DOD and NASA. You would think by now that I would be in the system enough that they would know me. I mean surely my scar tissue is pretty distinct.

But luckily for me there was the option of a Biometric Iris Scan, which did work.

One thing nice about this flight is that, unlike our recent European flights, we could check in 2 bags each, not just one. So we had no carrying-on stuff, other than Jan’s large purse and my laptop bag.

The only problem was that our online check-in got screwed up and we ended up boarding in the last group. So by that time there were only center seats left so we couldn’t sit together. But it was a nice smooth flight and we actually got in at 10:50am (9:50CT), 5 minutes early.

Probably because we were doing almost 600 mph.

NY Trip Speedometer

We had to wait about 15 minutes for our luggage, and while we were doing that, an enterprising Skycap came by and asked us where we were going. I told him that we were going to get a taxi or Uber to a hotel near Times Square.

Now there were signs all over the baggage area that due to the ongoing construction of a new terminal at LaGuardia, you had to take a shuttle bus to a place about 15 minutes away where you could then get a taxi or an Uber. When I mentioned this to him, he said this was not necessary and he could take care of this for us.

Kind of wary of the City Slicker swindling the Country Rubes, I asked how much this would cost and he said he just worked for tips. And since he had his own luggage cart, I didn’t have to rent one for $6, so I told him OK.

So he grabbed our 3 suitcases when they came around the carousel and off we went. Jan, of course, was somewhat suspicious.(make that VERY suspicious) but gamely followed along, knowing at any minute we were going to be ravaged and pillaged.

After about a block we turned a corner and there was a long line of people waiting for one of the shuttle buses. Positioned around were electronic signs saying the wait for a taxi or Uber at the other end of the shuttle ride was 55 minutes. And based on the length of the line on this end, it was going to be at least 30 minutes here.

Resigning ourselves to the wait, we started to get in the long line, but he shook his head and motioned us to follow him. And since he was leaving with our luggage, we decided to follow.

He led us around the outside wall of the covered shuttle waiting area, past several policemen, who nodded to him (made us feel better), and then across the street. There, behind a police barricade, was a line of Yellow Cabs being waved forward, one by one, by another police officer.

Our SkyCap put our luggage in the truck, I tipped him, and we were on our way, less than 10 minutes after we got our luggage.

And less than an hour later he was letting us off at the Hotel Riu Plaza Times Square, about a block and a half off Times Square. And even better, our Uber ride was listed on the app as being about $80, but our taxi ride was only about $60.

Very, very nice.

Checking in, we were told our room was ready, and we ended up with a very nice room on the 25th floor, with an open balcony that we could walk out on, with a great view.

Riu RoomRiu Room Balcony View

Even better, though we knew our room came with a full breakfast buffet, we were happily surprised that it also came with their full dinner buffet. Which is advertised as being $35 per person if you had to pay for it.


Then it was, of course, time for a nap.

About 3pm we made the 2 block walk over to Times Square to check things out, and then headed over to Junior’s Restaurant, just about a half block off Time Square,

We discovered Junior’s when we were here in 2009, and it quickly became a real favorite, as we ate here several times. So it was a given that it would be the first place we came to when we got back in NYC.

Jan got their version of her fav Wedge Salad,

Junior's Wedge Salad

while I got their 10 oz. Steakburger,

Junior's Steak Cheeseburger

which we then split with each other.

This was to leave us room for Jan’s Chocolate Mousse Cheesecake

Junior's  Chocolate Moouse Cheesecake

and my Carrot Cake Cheesecake.

Junior's Carrot Cake Cheesecake

And of course you can’t have Junior’s World-Famous Cheesecake without a nice hot Cappuccino to go along with it. Especially when it’s 39 degrees outside.

Junior's Cappucino

By the time we finished it was getting dark here (about 4:30 here in the ET) so we walked back out to Times Square to check out the lights.

New Times Square View

One big change we noticed since we were here in 2009 was that Broadway is now partially open to traffic.

But when we were here back then, Broadway was completely closed to traffic for many blocks in each direction, as you can see here.

One thing new was that every surface is a TV screen, sides of buildings, doorways, and even bus stop enclosures.

Time Square 2009

It was a little warmer then, too. It was about 36 degrees when we sat out for a while this evening.

And of course we had to take the obligatory Times Square selfie.

Time Square Selfie 120519

Getting back to the hotel after about ten-minute walk, we checked out the view from the 25th floor at the end of the hallway.

Riu 25th Floor View

That’s our balcony and room behind the railing on the right.

December 12, 2021

Back Home in Santa Fe . . .

Santa Fe, Texas, that is.

We left Texarkana about 8:30 this morning on our way back home, 333 miles away. And it was a very smooth trip until we got right into downtown Houston on US59, and about 1.5 miles from getting in I-45 south when all 4 lanes came to a complete stop.

After we sat there for about 10 minutes, I checked Waze and found a  ‘major crash’ out in front of us. Then my amazing wife, who freely admits she has absolutely NO sense of direction, navigated us through the surface streets of downtown Houston after we were able to get off 59.

She used to work in this area a while back and remembered which streets would get us through and out the other side and on I-45 past the wreck.

Way to go, Sweetie!

Getting back into our area about 2:30pm we had decided to have lunch at Gator’s before heading home.

Jan got her usual Strawberry Walnut Salad with Grilled Chicken,

Gator's Bar & Grill Strawberry Walnut Salad with Chicken

while I got a bowl of their delicious made-in-house Baked Potato Soup.

Gator's Baked Potato Soup

Even with the great time we had last week in Branson, it was really good to be back home.

December 12, 2022

She Didn’t Have An Answer . . .

I was out the the door about 9:20 this morning on my way up to Webster for MRI/X-Ray series for my lumbar area. They had called and asked me to come in earlier than my 10:15 first scheduled time, so of course I wasn’t actually called in until way past my scheduled time.

The X-Rays were up first, and only took about 20 minutes for all the different views they wanted to get. Then it was back to waiting for the MRI series.

And this time, unlike my last visit in October 2021, they had earplugs to help cut down somewhat on the noise. But they didn’t help all that much. I still ended up with a blinding headache just like last time.

I had to describe the noise, it’s like being in a 55 gallon drum, and someone is either beating on it with a baseball bat, or attacking it with a jackhammer. Sometimes both at the same time. And by the time the 40 minute series and the MRI shut off, the ringing in my ears went on for another 10 minutes or so.

When the tray I was lying on was moved out to the MRI chamber, I got up and said to the MRI tech, “It might be the engineer in me,  but why didn’t you put me in the other way?”

She looked puzzled and said, “What do you mean?”

I said, “Well, since you were only doing my lower back, if you had put me in feet first then my head would have been outside the chamber and I wouldn’t have had to listen to all that noise.”

She looked at me with a puzzled look on her face for a moment, and then went, “Huh”, like nobody had ever thought about that. She didn’t really have an answer.

Maybe next time

My new La Crosse Rain Gauge showed up in the mail today, as well as a beautiful gift from our new Canadian friends, Ron and Anne. Apparently they forgave us for serving them Thanksgiving dinner without any Cornbread Dressing and sent this lovely ornament on to us.

Christmas Tree Ornament from Ron & Anne

Thanks a lot, guys.

Well, it’s officially the Christmas season now. I just saw my first Chia Pet commercial, this one for Baby Yoda.

Chia Pet Baby Yoda