Daily Archives: January 6, 2024

Still . . .

Jan was still not feeling 100% today so I headed out about 1:30 to do our weekly WalMart shopping, and also bring back dinner.

And dinner was Popeye’s Chicken Sandwiches.

A Spicy Chicken Sandwich for Jan and a Spicy Blackened Bacon & Cheese Chicken Sandwich for me.

Very good.

As I was leaving the rig, I checked out one of the new pads right across from our rig. And I’m still wondering how rigs are going to get up onto the pads.

Right now the only thing that makes sense is that they’re going to raise the road to match. But where does that leave us?

I guess we’ll see down the road.

Don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow. Depends on how Jan feels.

Thought For The Day:

Think the recent tornados are because of ‘climate change’?


And Now On To Today’s Retro-Blogs.™

January 6, 2011

Happy 3rd Anniversary . . .

Today is our “Beauty’s” 3rd anniversary. Three years ago today we picked her up at Roman Holiday Motorhomes in New Braunfels, TX.


Then, one month later, on February 6th, 2008 Jan and I began our full-time life on the road.  And if we stick to our plan this year, we will hit the road again this coming Feb. 6th.

A little synchronicity at work.

But this morning I left the the rig a little before 11 am heading back to the same client I was at yesterday. But today was already scheduled before yesterday’s emergency laptop repair visit.

Leaving the rig I noticed we’re finally getting street lights here in the park. They’ve been installing the forms and rebar to pour concrete for the pedestals. And they’ve already finished some of them.

Jan and I both have mixed feelings about the street lights. The darkness is kinda nice and the lack of light lets us see the stars better. Oh well.

RV Park LightPoles

Finishing up at the client’s about 2:30 I next drove over to Brock’s Car Care to see about getting my front brakes fixed. A few days ago I started hearing grinding from my front right brake. Since it hasn’t been that long since I had the brakes done, I suspect that I may have a stuck caliper that caused the brakes to not release completely after braking and then grinding the pads and rotor down.

They said they could get me in tomorrow with no problems, so I told them I’d drop it off either this evening, or the first thing tomorrow morning.

I got back to the rig about 3:30 just to turn right around and leave about 4 pm.

Jan and I were heading up to League City to the Cracker Barrel. It’s Thursday so it’s Turkey and Dressing Day there, Jan’s favorite.

And even better, we got to eat for free.

As I mentioned back on December 23rd, we stopped by Cracker Barrel to pick up a take-out order of Turkey and Dressing so Jan could have ‘leftovers’, since we were eating out on Christmas Day.

But then the day after Christmas, when Jan went to have her meal for supper, she found that not only did she not get any cranberry sauce, but that her Turkey and Dressing lacked any dressing.


So to avenge Jan’s slight, I emailed the Cracker Barrel home office, and lo and behold, a few days later, I got a call from the manager. And after another few days, we received a coupon in the mail for two free meals. So Jan finally got her dressing and all’s right with the world.

After we left Cracker Barrel I called our son-in-law Lowell to see if he was home yet. Luckily he was, so we drove by the house to borrow his truck so we’d have a vehicle to drive tomorrow while my truck is in the shop. Especially since Jan has a dentist’s appointment tomorrow morning.

This way we were able to go ahead and drop off my truck at Brock’s tonight so they can get started on it the first thing after they open at 7 am.

And, of course, while we were at Brandi’s Jan and I also got in a little Landon time since Lowell had already picked him up from daycare.

We got home about 6:30 after a busy day. Hopefully I’ll be able to get back on rig stuff tomorrow afternoon. We’ll see.

January 6, 2012

Wipers and Doors . . .

I spent this morning working on a few things around the rig, starting with installing those expensive Rain-x windshield wipers I just bought. It only took a few minutes, and even on a dry windshield, they were nice and quiet. I only did the truck today. I do the ones on the rig later.

My next chore was a big one. I was going to take my truck driver’s door off and see what I need to do to fix my broken power window. The window motor still works and the window moves freely up and down in the track, so I figure the motor and the window are no longer connected together.

Removing the door panel wasn’t as difficult as some I’ve done. Five screws, and after disconnecting the two electrical plugs, just lift it off. The only real problem was disconnecting the two control rods that connect the inside door handle to the door lock.

Door Removal 1

The next thing I did was lay out the screws on a table in the pattern they came off the door and take a photo. This makes it easy to remember which screw goes where when I put it back together.

Door Removal 5

Getting the trim panel off and setting it aside, I peeled the plastic weather shield back to try and get a look at what’s going on inside the door.

Door Removal 2

I plugged the window/door lock control panel back in so I could run the window motor.

Door Removal 3

I used a suction cup to hold the window in position so it wouldn’t fall down into the door frame.

Door Removal 4

In trying to see how the window mechanism worked, I found a cable hanging down loose inside the door. A little Google research told me that these Dodge Dakota windows use a motor-driven cable to move the window up and down, and they sometimes break loose. Some people have had luck reconnecting the cable, while others say it quickly breaks again and they end up replacing the window regulator anyway.

I’m going to go ahead and pull the motor/regulator unit out and take a look at it. It’ll got to come out either way. A new unit from the dealer lists for $331.00 with installation extra. I found one on Amazon, a brand-new, OEM part for $59.00.

I love Amazon.

I ran out of time today so if the weather holds out tomorrow, I’ll pull the unit out then.

I stuck the weather shield back on the door and just left the window control panel hanging. To open the door I have to pull on one of the control rods, but it works for now.

Jan and I headed out on some errands about 3pm. First up was dropping her off at a laundromat in Friendswood so she could do some heavy rugs and blankets that won’t fit in our rig washer. While she was doing that I ran some errands and then stopped by Brandi’s and talked with our son-in-law Lowell for a while.

By the time Jan was finished up, it was time for supper, so since King Food was nearby, we couldn’t resist. And of course, more great leftovers.

After supper we stopped off at Brandi’s again to pick up some packages that had come in, before heading over to Kroger’s for a few groceries.

Then it was finally home for the night after a busy day.

January 6, 2013

Not Much Today . . .

Jan and I decided on an early breakfast this morning so we headed up to the IHOP in Kemah. You have to pick your time going there on Sunday otherwise you can have a long wait, but we lucked out and got seated immediately.

Afterwards we make another futile attempt to buy deer corn at the Home Depot right next door.

Later in the afternoon I felt a nap coming on, so I was able to put those two hours to good use.

That was about it for today. We had the usual sun, clouds, rain, & wind types of weather today so it was nice to just stay home.

January 6, 2014

I Depend On The Kindness Of Strangers . . .

I’m sure you’ve been seeing the PSA’s on TV and ads in the magazines saying that everyone should be getting a flu shot right now, especially due to the H1N1 (Swine) flu that’s also going around.

When Jan was working at the hospital, she was required to get a flu shot every year, whether she wanted to or not. On the other hand I haven’t gotten a flu shot since 1964 when I was in military school and didn’t have a choice.

During my Junior year, we were lined up and given a flu shot. I made it back to my dorm room just before I started throwing up. And I was sick for several days.

The next year I tried to tell the doctor at the school clinic that I had been told to never have a flu shot again by my doctor at home because of my severe reaction to the shot.  But the doctor didn’t believe me, and the Commandant said I could either take the shot, or starting walking PT’s until I did.

PT’s, or Penalty Tours, consisted of walking around the Quadrangle with a pack filled with 60# of sand while carrying an ‘03 Springfield rifle which weighed another 9# or so.

So I took the shot.

Getting out of the hospital 10 days later, I was told I didn’t have to take the shot next year. Well, thanks a lot.

So now, like Blanche DuBois, I depend on the kindness of strangers. I figure if everyone else gets their flu shots like good little girls and boys, then I won’t have to. There will be no one for me to catch it from. Works for me.

I’m sure many of you out there remember The Great Swine Flu Pandemic of 1976? The one that the government said would be so devastating that they rushed an untested vaccine into production and use, resulting in dozens dead and hundreds reporting serious side effects like blindness and paralysis?

No, thank you.

And now we have dozens of people contracting narcolepsy after receiving the most recent flu vaccine.


And to answer your next question, yes, I have had the flu a couple of times since then. But that just means that you aren’t doing your part. So everyone get on the stick out there.

Well, after a high today of 38 degrees and 29 last night, we’re looking for 25° tonight.. I pulled a second electric heater out of the basement, that along with the heated mattress pad on our bed, keeps us warm and toasty.

If it gets down in the ‘teens’, I have a small cube heater like this that I put down in our water bay.

Cube Heater

With the heater plugged into this Inline Thermostat, we’ve been good down to 6 degrees (Garrison, MT in 2008).

Inline Thermostat

The thermostat turns anything plugged into it on at 35 degrees and off at 45 degrees. Works like a champ.

January 6, 2015

Just Damn!

With the sunshine today, Mister found himself a nice spot on the dashboard to soak it up after all the cool, wet days during the last week or so.

Mister on Dash

Never seen him with three legs together like this, but he seemed comfortable.

About 2pm I went outside to do some maintenance on the truck. Besides checking the oil, coolant, etc., I wanted to do some rechecking on my AC problem.

Regular blog readers may remember that back this past August, the AC in our truck died while we were visiting relatives in north Alabama. I first put my gauges on the Freon line and found the pressures were fine. Next I unhooked the connector that feeds power to the AC clutch to check it.

The AC clutch is what you hear making that ‘CLUNK’ when you turn your AC on. The clutch pulls in and starts the AC compressor turning, cooling the vehicle. First up, with the engine running and the AC turned on,  I checked for 12 volts at the connector coming from the dashboard. And finding the 12 volts told me that part of the circuit was working.

Then setting my meter to Ohms, I checked the resistance of clutch coil, and found the coil open, showing no resistance. Which meant that the problem with the AC was the clutch. With the coil open, the clutch would not pull in, and the compressor would not turn.

So now I had to decide if I was going to replace the clutch, which I could do myself, or replace the compressor, which I could do, but not longer have the vacuum pump and other equipment necessary to recover the Freon and then replace it after the new compressor is installed.

A new coil is about $125, while having a new compressor installed would run $600-700. The other thing to consider is the fact the original compressor (and the truck) are 10 years old. So do I want to spend $125 on a 10 year old compressor that might completely die next month?

So with all that on my mind, and while I had the hood open, I decided to check the coil once again. And lo and behold, this time the ohmmeter showed 80 ohms, not open as before.


Then as I moved the connector a little, the ohmmeter suddenly showed open. And pulling a little bit on the wires coming from the connector showed me the problem.

The insulation was cut, and by moving the wire around I could tell it was broken inside the insulation as well.

AC Clutch Wire

AC Clutch Wire2

Could it really be this simple?

Twisting the wires around a bit got it in position where it seemed to be connected. So I started up the engine and turned on the AC.

And heard a ‘CLUNK’ as the compressor started turning. Getting a thermometer from the rig, I placed it in front of the vent and watched the temp. Within about 5 minutes it had pulled the temperature down from about 65 degrees coming out of the vent to about 44 degrees, a typical 20 degree differential. And this while it was 63 degrees outside.

Well, that will teach me to always investigate a little further on a problem. If I had done so, we could have avoided all those hot trips in the truck during August and September.

Just damn.

After we get to Colorado River, I’ll splice the wire to fix the problem. It’s always nice to save several hundred dollars or more when you can.

About 4:15 we headed out to dinner with our friend Randy. I had helped Randy rewire his electrical system a couple of weeks ago while we were both at the Colorado River Thousand Trails, and since I wouldn’t let him pay me, he insisted on taking us out to dinner. So we were off to the Buffalo Wild Wings right down the Interstate.

Randy had never been to one, but it turns out he likes stuff hot like we do, so he fit right in  And today was 60 cent wing Tuesday so that was even better.

Leaving the restaurant we stopped off at Sam’s Club to pick up Jan’s prescription that wasn’t ready yesterday. Then last up was a stop off at the Post Office to mail a letter before heading home.

We plan on leaving for Colorado River TT about 11am tomorrow. But first we’re going to have breakfast right down the road at the Cracker Barrel before coming back to head for Columbus.

January 6, 2016

Wednesday Roadtrip . . .

I was up at 8 am, way too early for me, and then about 9, Jan and I headed out for our day down in the Clear Lake area, missing out on walking, but since it was completely overcast, cold, and rainy, that was probably a washout anyway. Hopefully tomorrow will be lucky.

We made a fuel up/potty stop at the Flying J in Brookshire where I had planned to get a coffee/cappuccino combo for the road. But it looks like Flying J has screwed up their cappuccino selection.

I first noticed this a few weeks ago when we stopped at the Pilot/Flying J on I-45 north of Houston. They have two cappuccino machines, each with six spigots. In the past they’ve had a choice of probably 8 to 10 different flavors, like Hazelnut, French Vanilla, English Toffee, Pumpkin Spice, Mocha, Cinnamon Vanilla Nut, etc., I.e. fairly decent coffee/cappuccino flavors.

But now, at both Flying J’s, eight of the flavors are variations of French Vanilla, French Vanilla, Sugar-Free French Vanilla, Mocha French Vanilla, French Vanilla Alert (extra caffeine), etc.

The remaining 4 flavors were Hot Cocoa, Mexican Chocolate, Winter Dark Chocolate, and Raspberry Truffle (?).

Not exactly my favorite flavors of coffee. So until things change, no more coffee at Flying J for me.

Getting into Webster, we met our son Chris and his wife Linda a little after 11 at our favorite local Chinese place, King Food. It’s so good we’ve been eating here since 1978, almost 35 years. In fact we’re on our fourth owner.

Jan and I had our usual Chicken with Hot Garlic Sauce with jalapenos, Extra, extra spicy.

King Food Chick with Hot Garlic_thumb[5]

With Hot & Sour Soup, Fried Rice, and an Egg Roll, it’s a great meal, just perfect for a cold, rainy day.

Finishing up, Jan and I headed off to get our haircuts, with me first dropping Jan off at the Friendswood SuperCuts, while I drove back down to Lou’s Barbershop where I’ve been going for almost 20 years, so long that I don’t even have to tell them how I want it cut.. Sheldon would say it’s because they have my haircut records.

Picking up Jan, I made a stop at O’Reilly Auto Parts to get a new gas cap for our Dodge Dakota. The old one gives me a Check Engine code every second or third tank of gas from removing and replacing it when I fill up. This should fix the problem. I hope.

Next stop was a nearby dry cleaners to drop off our summer quilt to have it cleaned. We have a lighter quilt that we use during the summer, and a heavier, winter one for the . . . well, the winter. So when we get back to Houston every fall, we drop it off at the cleaners, and switch over to our winter one that we left at our son Chris’. Then a week or so before we head out for the year, we swap back again, leaving the now-cleaned winter one again with Chris.

After a client stop for a while, we drove over to the nearby Harris County Public Library so Jan could get a library card, not to check out any paper books, but so she check out Kindle books online. That way she won’t have to pay the high prices for mainstream publisher books, but can just check them out online.

By now it was after 3pm, and rather than hang around to have supper down here, we decided to head back toward home to get ahead of all the going home traffic on the Katy Freeway.

Along the way, we thought we’d stop off for dinner at the Grimaldi’s Pizzeria in the Katy area. Grimaldi’s has become our favorite pizza place, especially since they’ve spread out across the country.

When we first ate at one in 2009, it was at the original (and only) one, located in Brooklyn, NY under the Brooklyn Bridge (DUMBO) area.

Heading home, we made a pit stop at the Sealy Oasis, a new large convenience store about 15 miles out of Columbus, before getting back to the rig a little after 7pm.

Another nice day and good times.

Our granddaughter Piper is on a ski trip with some girlfriends in Breckenridge, CO this week, and sent back this photo.

Piper in Breckenridge_thumb[5]

That’s Piper on the left. Looks cold.

January 6, 2017 U

A Three Heater . . .

And One Cat Night.

It finally struggled up to 35° today after a low last night of 33. Big difference.

Our low for tonight has been downgraded to 24° with 25 tomorrow night so later in the afternoon I topped off our fresh water tank and then disconnected both ends of the shore hose and let it drain. So we’re all set for the next couple of days.

Glad we’re not on a gate tonight, though with the shacks it wouldn’t be too bad. Back in 2014 we were on a frack gate over in Whitsett. And one night in November a couple of weeks before we left, it was 26° and sleeting, and I had icicles hanging off the edge of the canopy. Never again.

Of course from up in Paul’s Valley, OK, about 50 miles south of Oklahoma City, our son-in-law Lowell’s mother Sonja sent us these photos today.

Paul's Valley Snow 1

Paul's Valley Snow 2

Sonja said it was 16 degrees today with a wind chill of 5 degrees. Then after 4 inches of snow it supposed to be 10 degrees tonight with a wind chill of –5. Just glad it’s not us.

For breakfast this morning we had a couple of the tacos I picked up on my way home from my gate the other morning.

During our first week here back in Oct. Jan and I stopped off at the Stripes/Valero Truck Stop coming home one morning from our gate. We found they had a 24 hour Taco/Burrito Shop so we each got a couple of breakfast tacos to bring home. Since they were so good, it was worth doing again.

This afternoon I took my anemometer outside and found the wind speed here at the park to be about 25 mph, so with the 33°, that gives a wind chill of 20°. No wonder it felt so freaking cold wind we left the rig about 4pm.

We’ve always heard about how good the burgers were at Barth’s, even seeing people ordering them when we’re there for the lunch time buffets. So if they’re better than the buffet, they must be good. And they certainly were.

Jan got the Cheeseburger and I got the Bacon Cheeseburger.

Barth's Burger

These are huge burgers, with 6” buns and a hand-formed patty sized to match. And they were really good. The thin edges were crispy-charred and just perfect. A really delicious burger. It’s easy to see why they’re so popular.

We’ll use all 3 of our heaters tonight, the Lasko Ceramic Tower,

Lasko Heater

and two of these smaller Sunbeam units.

Sunbeam Heater

Normally one of the Sunbeam’s stays in the truck for use on cold nights on the gate. The rooftop heaters don’t always work too well in some of the shacks so I always have a backup plan.

January 6, 2018

Repositioning Exercises . . .

Jan’s doing great, slowly getting her strength back. It’s just going to take time for her to get back to 100%.

We pretty much just laid around the rig today and never even went outside. I tried to get up the gumption to go outside and do the awnings, but no luck. I’ll try again tomorrow, I guess.

My BPPV (Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo) that first hit me a few weeks ago seems to be slowly fading. Every reoccurrence has been less in intensity, and due to Jan’s illness I never got a chance to start the Canalith Repositioning Exercises to combat it.

The last time I noticed anything was a small swirl when I got out of bed a couple of days ago and that was it. So as it stands right now I’m not going to worry about it unless it comes back.

January 6, 2020

It’s A Keeper . . .

Whenever we buy something new I always make a habit of keeping the boxes for a few days. And how long I keep the box is directly related to the cost of the item. The more expensive the item, the longer I keep the box.

So I just got rid of the box that our new Samsung TV came in, that I purchase the middle of December. And I also just got rid of Jan’s 2 Christmas gifts, which were cheaper.

One of the two you’ve all ready heard about, her Ninja Foodie Digital Air Fryer, which she loves.

Ninja Foodie Oven

The second one, that I haven’t mentioned yet, was this Sowtech Rechargeable Cordless Vacuum. So yes, I bought my wife appliances for Christmas. But in my defense, it’s what she wanted, and what she asked for.

Sowtech Vaccum

She had been wanting a new one, and saw this one being used at our local Black Bear Diner. What really impressed both of us was how much the BBD people liked it. Much better than the expensive Dyson that they also had.

They said the Dyson was always breaking and needing new parts. And considering the Sowtech was only about $70, about 25% of what a Dyson cost., Jan’s very happy.

Happy Wife, Happy Life. Even if it’s about appliances.

I have been downloading about 5GB of Garmin map data all evening. A couple of weeks ago, my Garmin GPS lost all the detailed maps, and was just showing a few main roads like 1-45 and Hwy 6.

After I fooled around with it for awhile I discovered that the 16GB MicroSD in the unit had died. Or at least I couldn’t read or write to it when I pulled it out of the GPS and plugged it into my computer. So I ordered a new one from Amazon that came in today.

At least now the GPS recognizes that it has a good SD card, so it’s downloading the new maps. I guess I’ll see when it gets done.

I also got a new oil filter for the rig in today, so later this week I’ll crawl back under the rig and pull the old filter and the adapter, and try again.

January 6, 2021

Our Lucky 13th . . .

Yesterday I signed us up for both Disney+ and Discovery+, and got a 6 month free trial. It turns out that if you have any Unlimited phone plan with Verizon, you can get these 6 month free trials for both Disney and Discovery, as well as a couple of other streaming services.

Just log into your Verizon account and click on Add-Ons.

It looks like the check’s in the mail, again.

According to the IRS website found here,


our $600 stimulus checks went in the mail today. Of course, this IS the IRS so you never can tell.

January 6, 2022

Sittin’ Pretty . . .

Jim of Jim’s RV Service showed up a little after 10am, and along with his helper had the chair and the base out in about 30 minutes, leaving this.

Computer Chair Removed

Even nicer, Jim hauled off the old chair, as well as our old Attwood water heater that I haven’t had a chance to throw away before my recent unpleasantness.

Then after a little cleanup, I put down the chair mat we had already ordered, and rolled my Respawn Gaming Chair into place.

Computer Chair Replacement

I also installed another of the Lumbar Support Cushions that we had previously installed in the Jeep.

All very comfortable!

A little later Jan and I drove into League City to have lunch at Cracker Barrel, today in particular because it was Thursday. And Thursday at Cracker Barrel means Turkey and Dressing. And Jan loves Turkey and Dressing.

Cracker Barrel Turkey and Dressing 20210211

But not being as big a fan of T&D as Jan, I had breakfast, in this case their Double Meat Breakfast.

Cracker Barrel Double Meat Breakfast

After lunch we decided to check out the new HEB up at I-45 and El Dorado. It opened on December 29th, but we decided to let things calm down before we visited. It was busy, but not too bad.

It’s basically a bigger version of the one over on SH96, and very nice.

January 6, 2023

An Anniversary . . .

Our 15th, actually.

No, not that one.

15 years ago today, in 2008, we picked up ‘Beauty’, our 1999 American Eagle motor coach, and began our full-time lifestyle. And a month later, on February 6th, we headed to Alaska, by way of Tucson, Yuma, San Diego, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Denver, Billings, Coeur d’Alene, & Bellingham.

I mean, why go the the direct route when you can just take the long-way-around scenic route?

And it’s been a fun ride ever since.

As I said before, tomorrow Jan and I are heading up to Katy to our daughter Brandi’s so we can have lunch with them, and I can install some upgrades on Landon’s Ender 3D printer.

Really looking forward to it.