Daily Archives: January 31, 2024

Who Knew?

Tomorrow we’re having lunch with long-time client/friend Tricia at Rustika Cafe & Bakery over in League City. I say ‘long-time client/friend’ because she’s another one who started out as a client back in the 90’s, and became a friend.

Looks to be a lot like our fav Sunflower Cafe and Bakery down in Galveston. Looking forward to it.

Afterward, Jan and I will make our weekly Wal-Mart stop a little earlier this week.

Following up on this blog’s restaurant theme.

Who knew that –

“One of the Best Restaurants in the World Is In Kemah. And Nobody Has Heard of It.

It’s called Eculent and our son-in-law Lowell told me about it.

“A chef with a flair for the avant-garde serves up three hours of sorcery”

Tom Sietsema , Washington Post

And it’s kind of pricey too.

Dinner – $239 per person

+ 20% Service Charge (not gratuity)

Dinner is composed of 25-35 courses depending upon season and availability of ingredients.

So for dinner, the 20% Service Charge, and Sales Tax, that comes to a little over $310 per person.

And that doesn’t include tip.

or Wine, either. That’s extra

Classic Wine Pairing – $59 per person

Old World Wine Pairing – $129 per person

And here’s a sample of the Eculent menu.

Out of the Forest

edible moss, escargot, truffle foam, enoki mushrooms

Walking Down the Isle

hydroponic greens, pistachio butter, edible flowers

Pig in a Cloud

pork belly, noodles, prickly pear shrub, edible cork

I don’t know about you, but I’m certainly glad that the moss, flowers, and cork are all edible.

But the dishes are unique looking.

And think that with these prices, nobody’s eating there?

Think again.

The reservations window opens at 11am on the first day of the month for the NEXT month. In other words, tomorrow, Feb. 1st, they start taking reservations for MARCH! And there’s a $25 non-refundable booking fee too.

And it seems that by 11:30 all the seatings are filled.

Of course, to be clear, they only have 20 seats, and are only open Thur – Sat, with 2 seatings per night.

Jan said we’re going to have to win the Powerball to eat here.

Thought For The Day:

“The rush to be wrong first is just too hard for some people to resist.”

And Now On To Today’s Retro-Blogs.™

January 31, 2011

So foggy even buzzards won’t fly . . .

9 Days and Counting . . .

We woke up this morning to such a solid blanket of fog that we could hardly see the bayou in front of us. We left the rig about 9:15, stopping by the park dumpster to drop off some garbage and do a little shopping while we were there. You remember Dumpster Shopping, don’t you?

Found this really nice painting that may end up in our granddaughter’s room,

Dumpster Painting

and this nice hanging plant that we decided to leave for another shopper.

Dumpster Plant

Heading down FM 517, we passed the vulture roosting area, only to find that the weather was so socked in that even they weren’t flying. They were just sitting around on buildings and signs in the area. Must be a real help to have vultures perched on the roof of your restaurant.

Vultures 1

Vultures 2

We got to the storeroom a little before 10, picked up the rental truck, got my mother’s washer and dryer loaded up, and were ready to roll. I couldn’t find a place to take them, so I just put them out on the street before the trash pickup today.

And according to our daughter, everything was gone this evening when they got home. Gone is gone.

We were running short on time to get the rent truck back, so we immediately headed down to League City, stopping off at the Raceway to top off the diesel tank, and getting the truck back with about 20 minutes to spare.

Next up was lunch at King Food for a big bowl of Hot and Sour Soup, certainly the weather for it. We’re really going to miss this place when we hit the road. Along with several others, as far as that goes.

Then we stopped off at a client’s to drop off about 4000 address labels for his next mail-out.

After that, we went by HEB to stock up on some of their coffees to take on our travels this year.

Next was Office Depot to pick up some ballpoint pens, and a large file box to hold some of my mother’s papers that we kept out of the storeroom.

About 2pm we met Chris and Linda at the storeroom to finish transferring the last of my mother’s stuff into our other storeroom.

Finally we were heading home with only two more stops.

The first was the Holiday World RV Sales to check on a part, that they didn’t have, and then Kroger’s for Lotto tickets and Starbuck’s Cinnamon Dolce Lattes from Starbucks.

A few minutes after we got home, Eldy and Jeannie showed up so I took over a bottle of Joint Juice for Jeannie to try as they travel west.

January 31, 2014

Floored . . .

Well, the floor project is officially underway.

Before Chris got here, I had cleaned everything out and unbolted the chairs from their pedestals. The flooring on the left side of the screen is a test piece I laid down to see how it would look.

Allure Flooring Install 1

The first thing we did was pull the chairs and put them outside, where Mister decided he was going to spend the day camped out in one of them.

We then started going over the floor inch by inch, pulling up any of the missed staples that originally held down the carpet, and pounding out any bumps.

Chris also did a really good job getting the rest of the carpet out from under the steering wheel and cleaning that area up.

Allure Flooring Install 2

At this point, I realized I must have had a brain fa . . . eh, fade. I sure seem to remember pulling up the pedestals last time to get the carpet out from under them. But it quickly became obvious that they didn’t come up. In fact I even called American Coach to be sure.

I had thought that the pedestals were held down by lag bolts into the plywood flooring.  But as it turned out, they’re held down by large bolts with nuts underneath the chassis, that can’t be easily reached. Oh, well.

Next I started patching the bolt hole depressions with Plastic Wood. These are the bolts that hold the plywood subflooring to the chassis.

Allure Flooring Install 3

Once we got all the prep work done, we knocked off for the day. We’ll start fresh tomorrow laying down the flooring and cutting around the obstacles with a jigsaw.

With a little luck we’ll be able to finish up then.

Stay tuned. More floor to come.

January 31, 2015

TruMoo and Brûlée too . . .

After our coffee and toasted English muffins this morning, and the promised rain still hadn’t materialized, I decided to try out my Karcher pressure washer that I finally unboxed and assembled last night.

But since I only had about an hour before we were going to head into Katy, I decided to just try it on the truck. So I added some of the wash/wax concentrate to the tank, topped it off with water and got to work.

It turned out to go pretty quickly, as I just had to wet the truck down one area at a time, Then I switched to the detergent setting and covered that area with the solution.

I found at that point I needed to use the scrub sponge included with the pressure washer to get the heavy dirt off and then it was just a matter of rinsing it off and letting it dry. I was surprised to see how clean and shiny the truck was after I was finished.

Later, checking the manual I discovered that they have a rotating brush attachment available for less than $20 from Amazon, so I’ll probably order one soon.

Karcher Rotating Brush

A little later, about 1:45 we all headed into Houston. Our first stop was in the Eldridge Parkway area so that we could check out the closest Home Depot, where I was looking for a couple of things. First was what I’ve always called Telephone splices.

Telephone Splices

And although they’re not called that on Amazon, they do come up when you search for ‘telephone splices’, so I guess someone else calls them that too.

They’re used to splice 2 or 3 wires small wires together, wires much smaller than the normal crimp splices can handle. They’re easy to use, just insert the wires into the ports and squeeze with a pair of pliers. The inside is filled with a gel that makes them waterproof too.

After finding the splices, I went looking for the 1/4” right-angle connecter for my air compressor, and found it after a few minutes. Well, actually I found the empty plastic bag hanging on the peg. And it was the only one they had. So there’s always another Home Depot.

When I got back out to the truck a few minutes later, Jan had noticed a Dunkin’ Donuts across the parking lot, so we made a stop for munchkins (donut holes) for Jan, and TruMoo for me. About 4:30 we just met at Little V’s Vietnamese Bistro for dinner.

Brandi and I both had the Shaking Beef Vermicelli, while Jan had her usual Grilled Chicken Vermicelli.

Lowell, however, tried something completely different with the Roasted Duck Vermicelli.

Landon and I sat together, and in between his bites of corndog and my Shaking Beef, we helped each other make it through the harder levels of Angry Birds – Star Wars on my Galaxy Tab. It’s amazing how good he is at this, showing me some tricks that I didn’t know, but lucky for me, his PaPa was able to show him a few things too.

We all finished off our meal with their Crème Brûlée spoons, just perfect to end a great meal.

Little V's Creme Brulee

And after a stopover at Brandi and Lowell’s for a while, we headed home.

Tomorrow looks to be a rainy stay-at-home day for all concerned. Nice.

January 31, 2016

RV Checklists . . .

Since I did absolutely nothing yesterday to prep for our travel today, Jan and I were up about 6:45am to get a start on things, especially since we planned to head out about 8 to have breakfast at the Conroe Cracker Barrel.

I normally start marking things off on my checklist the night before we travel. But because we spent the afternoon having fun (and dinner) with Janice and Dave Evans, and it was dark by the time we got home, I got nothing done.

But after 8 years of RV’ing, we’ve pretty much got it down to a science, so in about an hour, everything was done, except to crank up, unhook power, bring in the slide, and roll.

Getting to CB only a little after 8am means no wait, unlike showing up later in the morning or early afternoon. And since we’re not in any real hurry, we had a nice, leisurely breakfast, getting back to the rig about 9:30. And after wrapping things up, we pulled out of the site. with Jan following me in the truck down to the Activity Center where we hitched up and headed out.

When we came back from Cracker Barrel, the weather was sunny, but I noticed while I was hooking up the toad, that it was changing. Clouds were rolling in and the temperature was dropping. And we encountered the change out on the Interstate too.

The winds really kicked up with enough strength to make it an interesting drive, to say the least. This was not a very relaxing trip at all.

About 30 miles down I-45, we stopped at the Pilot/Flying J, to take on some diesel. Unlike the other one on our route, out in Brookshire, this one has 6 straight-in RV pumps, and an easy out when you’re done. And since I was using the Pilot RV Plus Card, I got my usual 8 cents a gallon discount off the cash price. But there was a problem.

The first pump I tried was running at about 30 seconds per gallon, meaning that 120 gallons would take me about an hour. After reporting the problem inside (probably a clogged filter at the pump), I switched over to the pump on the driver’s side, and finished the fill-up from there. This one was doing a gallon in less than 5 seconds.

Back on the road, we finished up our wind-blown trip and pulled into the Colorado River Thousand Trails about 1:30pm. And although we’re in a different site from the last time we were neighbors, we ended up right next door to our friends, Vance and Bonnie Clegg.

For dinner tonight we finished up the remainder of last week’s chili, putting it over rice with cheese and tortilla chips. Really good.

I mentioned earlier about using a checklist. In fact I’ve used a program, an Android app, called RV Checklist for years. A free app, it comes with a number of pre-done rv-related checklists, including an RV Departure checklist, an RV Arrival and Setup checklist, and a Camping Preparation list

The Departure one looks like this.

Departure Prep Checklist_thumb[2]

But you can also make your own personalized ones, which is what I did. And it looks like this.

My RV Checklist_thumb[2]

And when I check an item off, it turns green like this.

My RV Checklist 2_thumb[2]

Over the course of a number of travel days, I wrote down every step needed for Jan and me to get ready to roll, most of mine outside, and all of Jan’s inside. The list has saved my rear a couple of times, usually because I was interrupted in the middle of things when someone came over to talk.

We also have one labeled RV 2 Motel Checklist, that was honed in 2012 when we stayed in a motel while our rig was in the shop in Las Cruces, NM. Every time we found something we’d forgotten and had to go back to the rig, it got added to the list.

And over the years we added and deleted other stuff to make it work for us.

Finishing up, in yesterday’s blog I was talking about how the Potatoe Patch’s ‘Throw’d Rolls’ aren’t as big or thrown as far as Lambert’s. Well, as it turns out, one of our readers, Joan Scott, left a comment that might explain the reason behind that difference.

Joan said she used to be the Insurance Underwriter for Lambert’s and that they have seen a fair share of lawsuits from their ‘throwed rolls’. It’s really hard to believe that someone could be injured by a soft, fluffy yeast roll.

A few years back, I think it was the Sikeston, MO Lambert’s location, I saw a roll come arcing overhead, right through the hands of the father, and hit a young boy in a highchair right in the face with a soft ‘plop’. The kid who also had his hands up trying to catch it, just picked up the roll from his tray and started eating it.

I think some people just want to sue.

January 31, 2017

Counting The Days . . .

Today was Jan’s first day on a gate in a week or so. As it stands right now she’ll work today, Tuesday, and tomorrow, all on day shift.

But since I’m on night shift, that means that we’ve got to trade the truck back and forth. So when Jan came in this morning at 5:30am, I took the truck back home, until I came in at 5:30pm. Then Jan went home.

But what this all boils down to is that if Jan doesn’t work Thursday then she still has to come back to the gate and pick me up at 5:30am. Poor baby.

Tomorrow while I’m home during the day, I’m going to see if I’m stuck or not.

When we first got here a week and a half ago, I recounted how the owner of the first RV park we tried got mad because we left ruts in his grass sites. Well, the park where we ended up also has grass sites, and since the ground was wet after all the rain we’ve had, we’ve sunk in some.

So tomorrow I’m going to put some large mats down in front of the rear duals and see if I can pull forward onto them. If so I should be OK until we leave on the 15th, even if we get more rain. If not, I’ll have to rethink the whole thing.

Of course it wouldn’t be the first time we’ve parked somewhere and then found ourselves stuck due to heavy rains before we left.

Back in 2008 we were at the fairgrounds in Sioux Falls, SD, and while it was dry when we got there, it rained for the last four days flooding the RV area. After trying to get unstuck myself I finally had to call our roadside assistance service to get me out. They sent out a winch truck who was able to pull me forward about 30 feet until I was on the road. A real mess.

Two weeks from today is our last day on the gate. Then we’ll leave Cuero and make the 85 mile trip over to the Colorado River Thousand Trails in Columbus for two weeks so we can get our doctor stuff out of the way.

It’s going to be a busy time until we head west.

January 31, 2018

Back To Square One . . .

Things didn’t go too well today at work. We hadn’t heard anything from the direct mail company since I approved the artwork Monday afternoon, so I sent them an email asking what was happening.

And all I got back was an email requesting that I approve the artwork . . . again. But when I went to the approval page, it said the artwork had already been approved. WTH? So I sent off another email.

As it stands right now we don’t know what’s going on with them. Hopefully I’ll know something tomorrow.

I mentioned in Monday’s blog that I had set up the website to change over to the sale prices at 12:01am tomorrow morning, as well as the sales banner on the front page.

Well, when I came in this morning I found out that sometime this morning the new prices got posted on the site, and a couple of orders came it. No big problem, but it shouldn’t have happened.

But the sales banner didn’t change. And since it’s all tied together, it should have. So I turned the prices back off, and then I’ll check back after midnight to see if they came back on. If not, I’ll have to turn them on manually.

After I got home this afternoon we turned right back around and drove over to Victory Lakes to have dinner at Whataburger.

Once again we each got Double Meat Whataburger Jr’s as well as the Grilled Chicken Apple & Cranberry salads.

Whataburger Salad

And as before we had leftover salad to bring home. Great as always.

Tomorrow afternoon we’re meeting an old friend and past co-worker of Jan’s at the Texas Roadhouse in Pasadena. Really looking forward to it.

Our son Chris called this morning to tell me to bring the truck by so he can clean the oil pressure sensor connector for me. So we’ll do that on our way to Pasadena.

Jan was supposed to have her checkup tomorrow morning, but her doctor called this afternoon to move her appointment back to next Wednesday the 7th. Apparently a piece of equipment they needed had died and wouldn’t be repaired until Monday. So we’re back to square one on that.

January 31, 2019

The Forest . . .

Our friends Charles and Chris Yust are passing through Houston on the way from their RV lot in Yuma to their RV lot in Florida, and they’re staying at the Lake Conroe Thousand Trails for a few days.

So we headed up there about 9am. It was our first trip back up there in over a  year, so it was interesting to see all the new things popping up, especially the new construction at the Lake Conroe park.

We got there a little after 10:30 and quickly found their site over in the ‘E’ ring, one of our favorite locations there too. We spent a couple of hours catching up before heading out to lunch at our local favorite El Bosque Mexican Restaurant.

Chris and Charles 2

We’ve eaten here a lot of times, and we’ve never had a bad meal. And today was no exception.

Jan got her fav, El Presidente, with Six Grilled Jumbo Gulf Shrimp and their Pollo a La Parrilla, with Avocado, Tomatoes, and Charro Beans.

El Bosque El Presidente

Chris and I both had the Beef Fajita Poblanos, with Bacon-Grilled Onions, Poblano Peppers, Tomatoes, Mushrooms, and topped with White Cheese.

El Bosque Fajita Poblanos 2

One of my all-time favorite Mexican dishes. And both Jan and I had plenty of leftovers to bring home.

Charles had the Cheese Enchiladas, but they looked kind of boring so I didn’t get a photo. But it must have been good since he cleaned his plate.

And as usual, we spent almost three hours at the restaurant, with a lot more talking. We were there so long that our waiter finally gave up coming by to see if we needed anything else, and went to have his own lunch.

We got back to their rig for a while longer before saying our goodbyes and got back on the road a little before 4pm, only to find we not only had the Houston going-home traffic to fight through downtown Houston, but also a steady drizzle that fogged over everything, not a pea soup fog, but more of cloudy chicken broth one.

But it slowed us down enough that our normal hour-and-a-half half trip took us over two and half hours.

But it was still a lot of fun, and well worth the trip.

It looks like it’s going to warm up next week so I’m hoping that I’ll have a chance to get under the rig and follow up on my oil leak problem. But I’m going to have to make a Harbor Freight run to pick up a couple of 12” – 1/2” extensions.

Filter Wrench

The Filter Wrench I have needs a 1/2” drive, and since the Fleetguard filter is almost 12” long and I’m even further down, I need a  longer reach to get the wrench up to the base of the filter.

Besides, Harbor Freight is always fun.

January 31, 2020

Sweet AND Spicy . . .

Since I worked yesterday, I was off today, a 3 day weekend. I went in yesterday because my client wasn’t going to be in at all and didn’t want to leave the office manager alone all day.

I spent this morning making the hotel reservations for our upcoming Alabama trip. Necessary because we’ll be driving the truck rather than our oil-leaking rig. In addition I also canceled our RV Park reservations for that trip.

Although back in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, I used to drive straight through to Birmingham every month to visit my mother, we’ll take things a little slower this time and spend the night in Slidell LA along the way. Actually both ways, going and coming back.

Since we liked our stay at the La Quinta in Luling back last November, I found a good deal on one there. As I mentioned in the blog at the time, I found out that, although I thought I got a good rate through Expedia, I found that when I re-upped for more days, the in-house rate was $10 cheaper. And several readers told me that they often found the same thing.

So I checked online first and then called the La Quinta directly. But this time the Expedia rate was about $8 cheaper than the in-house one. And I did ask for the best rate.

And I found the same thing with our Extended Stay Hotel in Montgomery and our Day’s Inn in Athens. I didn’t yet make our coming home reservation since that date is not nailed down yet.

About 1:30 we headed up to Webster with our first stop at Snooze for lunch. We were interested to find that they had new menus, and a few new dishes. But the one that caught my eye was their Bacon But Different.

Snooze Bacon But Different

It’s an order of their Tender Belly Bacon that’s rubbed with brown sugar, cayenne, chili flakes and drizzled with black pepper maple syrup.

Sweet AND Spicy, and really delicious, and I’ll definitely have it again.

After our Snooze, I dropped Jan off to get her toesies done while I drove on over to the Ace Hardware in Friendswood. My computer chip key for our 2004 Dodge Dakota is showing its age. And its circuitry.

The rubber coating covering the parts on the key fob was beginning to wear off, exposing a corner of the circuit board. So I figured it was time for a new one.

I checked with both O’Reilly’s and AutoZone and they both said I had to go to the dealer. But when I checked with the local Dodge dealer I was quoted $245 for a new key.


But I remembered from a year or so ago that Ace Hardware advertised that they could duplicate computer keys, so off I went.

And once I got there I was testing my new key in about 15 minutes. And even better it was only $80. A nice savings.

And they said all Ace Hardware’s around the country should be able to do this.

Tomorrow night we’re heading up to Pearland for Tony Booth’s Birthday Bash, an annual Country Music Get-Together with a lot of old friends.

Tony Booth 2020 Birthday Bash

Really looking forward to it. And because it goes so late there’ll probably be little or no blog tomorrow night.

January 31, 2021

Where Did It Go?

Jan and I met up with my client and his wife at the Luby’s Cafeteria in Webster about 2:30, our first time at a Luby’s in years, and that was at the one over by NASA that’s now closed.

Our meal, especially the veggies, was pretty good, but probably not go-back-again good. Cheddar’s is better, and cheaper, actually. But we did have a really good time with Myron and Cindy, and hope to do it again soon, maybe on a regular basis.

Then it was on back down to the HEB in our area for a few things, and then home for the day.

January 31, 2022

Pizza, Pizza . . .

Didn’t sleep well last night and woke up with a bad headache this morning, so I played hooky from work, though I still processed a few orders online.

When we were up in Spring last week, getting together with Debi & Ed Hurlburt and Janice Evans, we got to talking about our favorite pizza places. Which got Jan and I thinking that we needed to make a pizza run really soon.

So tomorrow we’re going to our fav, Grimaldi’s Pizzeria at Baybrook Mall. We first ate at Grimaldi’s, the original (and only one at the time) in 2009 in New York City.

Well, Brooklyn to be more precise. In fact the approach to the Brooklyn Bridge passed right overhead.

Grimaldi's 1

And we all agreed it was the best pizza we’d ever eaten. So a few years later we were very happy to find that the one small NYC location had started spreading out across the country.

Grimaldi's Pizza 20201227

Really looking forward to tomorrow.

And on the subject of pizza, I came across this online article comparing frozen pizzas.

I Tested And Ranked The 7 “Most Popular” Frozen Pizzas, And I’ll Just Say It — There’s One Brand You Couldn’t Pay Me To Eat Again


And the two worse ones were kind of unexpected.

7. Whole Foods 365 — This was pretty much one of the most revolting pizza crusts I’ve ever tasted.

When I say “rubber crust,” I mean it. Tearing into a slice of Whole Foods’s “rising crust” pizza was like biting into an old tire.

6. Trader Joe’s — I genuinely think they meant well, but this pizza was drier than a literal desert.

Trader Joe’s may be a haven for many foods — frozen and fresh — but I can’t in good conscience recommend you buy this pizza.

But the two top ones may not be much of a surprise.

Of course there’s always Domino’s.

January 31, 2023

Too Many Noises . . .

Jan and I were on our way up to Brandi’s in Katy by 12:30pm, with our first stop at the El Pollo Loco for lunch first.

We both had the 3 Piece White Dinner with sides, mine with Mashed Potatoes and Broccoli,

El Pollo Loco 3 Piece White Dinner

and Jan’s with Pinto Beans and Broccoli.

We first ran across El Pollo Loco out in California in 2008, during our first year of RV’ing, before they started spreading eastward. And it became our favorite grilled chicken.

So we were very happy to find them showing up in our area, including two down in our Clear Lake area. But unfortunately they were very badly managed and neither one lasted very long. One of them is now a Chipotle and the other one is a specialty tea place.

Right now the nearest one is over in Pearland, about 20 miles away.

And along with our meals there, Jan also got one to go while she’s at Brandi’s.


You’ve probably seen the ads on TV for the Better Sleep app talking about Green Noise and Brown Noise helping you to sleep better. Now I knew about White Noise and Pink Noise for a couple of reasons.

Both of them are used in setting audio systems, which I did a lot of in my past life. And Jan and I have used this Radio Shack Sleep Machine since the late 80’s – early 90’s.

Radio Shack Sleep Master

And over the years, we’ve found it very useful while RV’ing when parked near highways and railroad tracks.

But I had never heard of Green Noise and Brown Noise, which apparently is also called Red Noise. And it seems Brown(Red) and Green aren’t the only new ones.

There’s also Blue, Violet, and Grey. Now I just think they’re just making it up.

But I did get the Alexa App called Sleep Sounds that will let Jan and I check out the Brown(Red) and Green to see if they mask out outside noises better than White noise. And I’ll have to see if it has the other three.

Finishing up, Brandi sent over this photo of the view from her hotel room in San Diego.

Brandi San Diego 20230131

Doesn’t look much like a business meeting to me.