Daily Archives: April 10, 2024

Cruising On . . .

Jan and I were rudely awakened this morning by first, dead silence when the power went off, taking our white noise machine with it, and then the rain slashing against the side of the rig, followed by thunder and lightning that sounded like it was right on top of us.

And we got over an inch of rain here at the rig. But other places got it worse.

Wild Texas storms topple Houston bar, leave 200,000 without power

And it seems it was much worse up in the Katy area than here with over 200,000 homes still without power as of this morning.

The storm system boasted wind speeds of up to 60 mph, both large and pea-sized hail across Central and East Texas, and a flash flood warning on the Gulf Coast that ultimately did not materialize. Although projected tornadoes did not appear overnight, several buildings in the Houston area still suffered a walloping in the gale.

A couple of weeks ago, out of the clear blue, Jan received a new Medicare card with a new number. We hadn’t heard about any problem, and I haven’t received a new one.

Saw something online about Medicare sending out new cards two to four weeks before your current one expires. But there’s no expiration date on the cards.

Enquiring minds, and all that.

I’ve been seeing a lot of stories online recently about people getting letters from Social Security telling them that SS had made a mistake and had been overpaying them for years. And now SS wants it back, to the tune of thousands, or even 10’s of thousands of Dollars.

So I was not happy to find a letter from SS when we got home yesterday saying that the ‘prior amount’ I was being paid was ‘incorrect’. But I was happy to read that they had been ‘underpaying’ me $6/mo. And for the last 7 months, too.


So I’m getting a $84 makeup payment, and my monthly SS payment is going up $6/mo.

I’ll take it.

As if the Eclipse wasn’t enough, Jan and I are now looking at cruises out of Galveston this coming December. Jan said that she doesn’t want the cruise line that has riots breaking out at the buffet, so I’m trying to narrow things down.

Anyone have any ideas?

Thought For The Day:

If one synchronized swimmer drowns, do the rest drown too?

And Now On To Today’s Retro-Blogs.™

April 10, 2010

Oh Peggy, My Peggy Sue…

We got hooked up and left the Road Runner RV Park in Las Vegas about 10:15 am. We’ve been here for over 3 weeks and when we’re in a place that long it’s always a lot of extra work to get ready to roll.

We had a great time while we were here, a lot of fun.

Jan said for her it was a toss-up between the giant video screen overhead on Fremont St.,

Click to Enlarge

and getting to fire a machine gun at The Gun Store.

Gun 3

It’s hard to tell from this picture, but after she got used to the way the gun climbs when fired, she put the rest of the two magazines in his gut and chest.

I think my favorites were not exactly in Las Vegas, but things we did while we were staying here.

For me, it was between the Showdown in Searchlight Tea Party Rally,


Sarah 3

and visiting Trinity Site, where the first atomic bomb was tested on July 16th, 1945.



Anyway, I wanted to take on some diesel before we got too far so we stopped at a TA Truck Stop on the outskirts of Vegas.

And although I didn’t get debited a $500 ‘security fee’ like others have at the TA in Kingman, AZ, it just illustrates why I don’t like stopping at truck stops for fuel.

It always takes forever. The truck stop pumps don’t take regular credit cards, just ‘trucker’ cards. So inside I go to stand in line to leave my card. There were 8 people in front of me and one clerk. Fifteen minutes later I’m back at the rig to start filling the tank. Even with the faster truck stop pumps it still takes a while to take on 110 gallons.

Then it was back inside to stand in line again to check out. This time there were only 6 people ahead of me, but NO clerk. About 5 minutes later a clerk shows up from somewhere, and another ten minutes later I’m on my way.

We left the TA about 11:15 am FORTY minutes after we got there.

I hate truck stops.

About 2pm we pulled into the Calico Ghost Town RV Park, where we stayed two years ago. Last time around the first of March the place was half empty, but this time they were full up.

Here’s what it looked like last time.


So it was off to my plan B, a KOA park about 5 miles away. We pulled in about 2:15 and found them almost full too. But not quite. They did have a 30 amp with water, but no sewer, which is fine for one night.

After getting set up we headed out for a late lunch/early supper at Peggy Sue’s 50’s Diner, a neat place that we ate at two years ago when we were here. Originally built in the 50’s as a roadside diner along Route 66, it was reopened and refurbished in 1987 and has been growing ever since.

Then it was back to the rig. While Jan watched Mister play in the bushes, I got the satellite dish set up, and then it was time for a nap.

Isn’t retirement fun?

Tomorrow we’ll head for Lancaster, CA where we’ll be for about 10 days.

April 10, 2011

PayPal and Pizza . . .

Today was one of those nice lazy days that makes you appreciate the RV’ing life. We started off with our usual delicious coffee while we enjoyed the nice sunny day that was coming up. Much better than the cold, dreary yesterday.

About noon Jan heated up some more of Jeannie SparksPotato Cheddar Soup from Tastefully Simple, along with the leftover Mexican from last night’s La Fonda visit. Seems like both the soup and the Mexican got better with age.

Jan was immersed in a book on old Texas jails, while I spent most of the afternoon trying to tie PayPal into one of my client’s shopping carts, without a lot of luck. It kind of works, but not quite. I’ve got emails into both PayPal and the shopping cart software company. We’ll wait and see.

Giving up on PayPal I decided a nap might be in order to offset all the heavy brainwork I’d been doing. Well, maybe not heavy, but I did think about it some.

About 5:15 we all headed into Cottonwood to check out Stromboli’s, a local Italian place that had been recommended to us. Turned out to be well-recommended. It was really good. Not quite Da Boyz Pizza in Yuma good, but good.

We got back to the rig about 7:30 and were in for the night.

Tomorrow we’ll leave here about 9 am to head down to Mesa about 120 miles away to get an estimate on our coach bay door repair and also pick up our prescriptions from Sam’s Club.

April 10, 2012

? ? ? ?

or, finally, some good Texas BBQ.

We headed out about 8:30 this morning for the Gate Guard Services office down in Corpus Christi to submit our paperwork and fingerprint cards, and also take the Level II Security Guard Exam.

Leaving the Gate Guard office about 11:45 we drove over to a nearby Sam’s Club to pick up some supplies. Then we headed over to get some GOOD Texas BBQ

At Rudy’s BBQ, of course.

Rudy's BBQ 1

We ordered lean brisket for Jan, moist brisket for me, pork ribs for both of us, a loaded baked potato for Jan, and a jalapeno sausage link for me, and of course, a quart of their delicious cream corn. Something for everyone.

Jan doesn’t really like corn, but she loves Rudy’s. And we ordered enough extra of everything for 2 or 3 more meals at home.

Rudy's BBQ 2

It’s interesting to compare Rudy’s BBQ with our visit to Bill Miller BBQ a few days ago. But I can only compare the ribs and the sauce, because that’s all I had in common.

Both places have dry rub ribs that come with no sauce on them. But Rudy’s ribs are moist and juicy, even without sauce, while Bill Miller’s were dry and chewy. And Miller’s pretty much tasteless sauce certainly didn’t help things.

On the other hand, Rudy’s sauce is so good we bought a bottle of it a while back to take with us as we travel. As a matter of fact, Rudy’s sauce is so good it might even make Bill Miller’s BBQ more edible.

I wonder if we ever went back to Miller’s, they would mind if I brought a bottle of Rudy’s sauce with me?

We got back to the rig a little before 3 pm, and the first thing we noticed is that we have two new neighbors. Don’t know if they’re here to gate guard, but they probably are.

The first thing I did was go over to the office here and tell Jamie we were back and ready to go. I also asked him when he thought we’d have a gate. He said he had several things coming up, and it should be soon.


Later in the afternoon another rig came into the lot and parked over at the side where we were last week. It’s crowded here again.

Hopefully, we’ll have a gate tomorrow, or Thursday, or ????.

We’ll see.

April 10, 2013

The Final Iteration . . .

Some people retrace Route 66. Others see a baseball game at every Major League park in the country. Still, others want to RV in every state in the US.

But Jan and I are different. But then you already knew that, didn’t you? No, Jan and I plan to eat our way through the 50 Fattest Foods in the US. Well, mostly me. I mean, I’ve certainly been in training for it, right?

Here are some of my favorites.


About 8000 calories.


Yes, they’re using Krispy Kreme doughnuts for the bun.


That’s a BLT with a pound of bacon.

I may have a head start, as I’ve eaten 15 of these dishes, though not necessarily in the state they’re listed with.

Hurry and catch up.

About 5:15 Jan and I headed out for dinner at SmashBurger.

We’d eaten at one a couple of years ago in Houston and really liked it, especially the fries.

They have regular fries of course, but they also have Smashfries, seasoned with rosemary, olive oil, and garlic. Really, really good.

They also have Sweet Potato Fries and even Sweet Potato Smashfries. But even better, they have Veggie Frites. These are green beans and carrot sticks, flash-fried and then seasoned. Also really good.

Jan and I got an order of the Veggie Frites and an order of the Sweet Potato Smashfries and then split them with each other.

The burgers are good, but not quite as good as Five Guys. And of course, not nearly as good as Stomp’s Burger Joint back in Kemah, TX.

Stomps 4

That’s one that’s hard to beat.

I finally got my Taillight Test Box set up like I want it.

I added a power light because it’s sometimes hard to know if you’ve got a good connection on the battery terminals, and then I added a switch to turn the taillights on and off separately.

Taillight Test Box 2

The left switch is for master power, the middle switch controls the taillights, and the right switch moves left and right to control the turn signals.

Because I already had most of the parts, I only spent about $7 on it.

Anyone need their toad taillights tested?

April 10, 2014

SOS for SSL . . .

I was up at about 10am, just in time to see off Garland and Valencia Scott as they headed out in their new Phaeton. Hopefully, we’ll catch up with them again soon.

It was kind of funny that while Garland was still out in front of our site hooking up his toad, a 5’er was already setting up in his 50 amp site. They go fast when it starts hitting 80 degrees like today. Then after a nice, quiet morning of coffee and Buc-ee’s Cranberry muffins, my day quickly crapped out.

I received an email alert that there was a problem with the credit card payment area on a client’s website. After placing their order, the customer is taken to the secure area to enter their credit card info. But in this case, the customer was being told that it was not a secure area and then they were dumped out to an error page.

Not good.

A little checking showed there was a problem with the SSL(Secure Sockets Layer) Certificate associated with the site. The SSL Certificate is the protocol that provides the secure, encrypted data transfer between your computer and the online shopping cart system to allow you to safely enter your credit card data. It’s also what works with the ‘https’ in the website URL.

Since the Certificate is supplied by a 3rd party to my web host company, I put in a request to them to take a look at the problem. About 10 minutes I heard back from them saying there was no problem. Or at least no problem was showing up, no error codes being thrown, etc. So they contacted the SSL company, who didn’t get back to us right away. In fact it was a couple of hours before we heard from them. And again, they said there was no problem.

Well, wasn’t that helpful.

So everyone went to their opposite corners to work on things from their end. But after another couple of hours, still no solution, and my client’s website still wasn’t taking orders.

I knew that early on in this process they had re-installed the Certificate to no avail. But I was getting ready to ask them to try it again, when I thought to ask a question.

Did you delete the old Certificate first, or just re-install over it?

And the answer was that they just re-installed over it. So as a last-ditch effort, I asked them to completely delete the old one, and then re-install.

And that did the trick. And 5 minutes later, all was right with the world, or at least that part of it. And about 10 minutes later, orders started coming in once again.

* * * *

For dinner tonight we fixed up our version of Taco Salad, with greens, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, beef chili, hot sauce, shredded cheese, and Chinese noodles. And for dessert, we had some of Jan’s Strawberry 7-Up Cake. All very good.

For tomorrow, maybe a movie.

April 10, 2015

Very Little . . .

happened today.

About 10:15 Jan and I walked down to the Homestyle Grill here at the park to have breakfast. Turned out to be really good, except for the ‘strange’ biscuits. To paraphrase Sheldon Cooper, “In what universe are these biscuits?”

I wish I had gotten a photo, but I guess I was too stunned at what they were calling these. First off, they were obviously baked in a pan and cut into squares like a sheet cake. And that’s what the texture was like too, like cake.

And with a little sugar and some icing, that’s what it would be, cake.

Walking back to our rig, we came across another American Eagle, in this case, a 42 foot Tag Axle 2003 model. I got to talking with the owner who said that they had previously owned a 1999 like ours and really liked it. He said they kind of wish they hadn’t brought a 42 foot model due to the problems with finding sites that are long enough for them.

Jan and I ended up spending most of the afternoon just reading and napping, with not even the TV on. A very nice way to spend the day.

Later, about 4:30 Jan and I drove into Cottonwood to have dinner with Dave and Lynn Cross at the Golden Dragon Chinese Restaurant.

Dave and Lynn Cross

Although it was not as good as the #1 Eastern Super Buffet down in Apache Junction, but it wasn’t bad. The most noticeable difference was the selection, as it was only about half what they have at #1. But what they did have was pretty good, especially the Hot and Sour Soup.

Yesterday, as I was walking back to get something out of the truck, I noticed a little seepage and damp ground from one of my two old sewer hoses, luckily not the new one. Looking for the problem, I discovered one of those pesky little pinhole leaks. But rather than throwing the hose away, I decided to spray the leak with Rust-Oleum Leak Seal.

I used this stuff earlier this year to seal leaks in our canopy when we were gate guarding, and found you could spray on an active leak and it would seal it instantly. And it did the same to my sewer hose leak, since when I checked today, there was no sign of any leakage.

Great Stuff!

April 10, 2016

Everyone Knows It’s . . .

As usual on a travel day, I was up about 6:30 to finish up our moving day preparations.

I aroused Sleeping Beauty about 7, and then went outside to finish up there, stowing away the satellite dome, letting in the awnings, putting away the step, etc. As usual, I had already put away the water and sewer hoses yesterday, so by the time I was finished, the only thing left to do was to unhook shore power.

One other thing I did, that I’ve done for the last year, was to plug in the rig’s engine block heater. Normally you only think about using it in cold weather, but my idea is that even in warm weather, 140 degree oil is better than 60 degree oil when you’re starting your engine up after two weeks.

Not sure if I can quantify any increase in engine longevity, but hey, it can’t hurt.

About 8am Jan and I headed into Columbus for our regular leaving-Columbus-Breakfast-Buffet at Schobel’s Restaurant.

Schobel's Buffet 3_thumb[1]

They do an excellent breakfast buffet, with eggs scrambled, or to your order, grilled potatoes and onions, grits, biscuits, sausage gravy, grilled ham, crispy bacon, patty sausage, grilled link sausage, and for a little sweetness, bread pudding.

All very, very good, especially for only $7.99.

Leaving Schobel’s, we zipped across the street to pick a couple of Root Beer Shakes to go from the Whataburger. We enjoyed the one we shared the other day, we thought we get a couple of more to have for dessert spread out over the next few days. Yumm!

We were back at the rig a little before 10, and hitched up and rolling by 10:30, on our way to the Lake Conroe Thousand Trails about 120 miles.

We made this trip enough now that I think the coach could do it all by itself. You know, just put it on cruise control, and go back and get a cold green tea out of the fridge.

And as usual, it was very . . . Windy. A couple of times, it was almost change-lanes-without-moving-the-steering-wheel windy, but we made it without bumping or being bumped, so it all worked out.

We got into the park a little before 1pm and found a nice site over in the newly-remodeled ‘G’ section. After getting plugged in and set up, Jan napped on the sofa, while I adjourned to the bedroom for an hour or so.

When I got up, I found Jan again engrossed in the Big Love series she’s been streaming on Amazon Prime.

Dinner was soup and sandwiches, the soup being a couple of the Campbell’s Slow Kettle Tomato and Sweet Basil Bisque that we bought in bulk from Sam’s Club when we were in Prescott, AZ.

Campbell Slow Kettle Soup_thumb[2]

We noticed Sam’s Club had 4-packs on sale for $1.99 so we bought one to try it out. And it was probably the best ‘canned’ soup we’ve ever eaten. When we checked at Wal-Mart, we found the individual cans sold for about $3.00. So we went back the next day and bought all eight 4-packs Sam’s had left in stock. And even better, the price had dropped to $1.89. We bought all of them because we’ve learned from experience that if you wait too long on a Sam’s Club sale, it probably won’t be there when you come back. And they had a lot less of them that day than the day before.

So we paid 50 cents per serving, rather than $3. Nice.

April 10, 2017

A Better Class of Hooker . . .

The weather has been just about perfect since we got here on Saturday. So much so that we haven’t even missed the fact that we don’t have 50 amps.

In fact we just had the doors and windows open and the fans going the last two days. And that should hold us for a while.  Even better, there’s no rain scheduled for our stay here, but that can change, of course.

Our daughter Brandi called a little before 3pm to inquire if we had hit anything today. I told her “No, but then we hadn’t left the rig yet, and the afternoon was still young.”

But so far, so good.

But not only have we not left the rig today, but we haven’t left since we got here Saturday afternoon. But Jan’s feeling a lot better today, pretty much back to normal, so we’ll be going out to eat this afternoon. Jan says El Pollo Loco, so that’s where we’re going.

Staying home Saturday and Sunday, we got to finish up our leftover Oregano’s pizza and pasta, still delicious, and it lasted us for 3 meals. Really appreciate Dick and Phyllis Schell for turning us on to the place. Thanks, guys.

A few weeks ago I mentioned that I was having problems with my Cradlepoint CTR-350 Wi-Fi router. It gradually had more and more problems connecting to the Internet, until it finally died. I was lucky enough to find a used one on Amazon for $20. And when it came in, the new one worked.

For a while. Then it started acting up, with exactly the same symptoms.

If I put power to the router, it came up and put out a Wi-Fi signal that I could connect to. But when I plugged in the Verizon AirCard so I could actually get to the Internet, the router died. The W-Fi signal went away and the lights on the router flashed on and off.

Since the only thing different was the fact that the router’s power supply was now having to also power the AirCard. So my next thought was the power supply.

Perhaps the power supply was dying and the extra load of the AirCard was messing up the voltage output. But when I measured the voltage both open and under load, the voltage stayed right at 5 volts. So, not the problem.

Or at least that’s what I thought.

So now I had two routers, both with the same problem. And the only common failure point was the power supply.

Since I didn’t have a scope (at least with me) my next idea was to just replace the power supply with another one. And I keep a big bag of old supplies just for that purpose.

Whenever I throw away an old device I always save the power supply, just for something like this. So I started digging through the bag looking for a 5v supply. And about halfway down I found one. Since the connectors can vary a lot I figured I’d have to splice the old connector onto the new supply wire.

But when I looked at the new one it looked a lot like the old one. So, leaving the supply unplugged from power, I plugged it into the router and it seemed to fit perfectly. So after checking that the voltage and the polarity were correct, I plugged it into the router and into the wall. And it came up normally. So now to plug in the AirCard.

And the lights locked on and we had Wi-Fi. So the problem was the power supply all along. But it’s fixed now. Hopefully.

About 4;30 we headed right down the road for our dinner at the El Pollo Loco nearby. We both got Grilled Chicken Combos with salads and sides.

El  Pollo Loco 1

We first discovered El Pollo Loco in 2008 during our first time RV’ing in California and try to eat there whenever we can.

El Pollo Loco citrus-marinates their chicken for 24 hours and then they cycle it around the grill until the skin is crispy-delicious and the inside is moist and flavorful. Just perfect. Jan says we’ll be back.

El  Pollo Loco 2

Coming home Jan said while we’re here she wants to drive through some of the nicer neighborhoods to sightsee. When I ask what was wrong with where we were, she said she was thinking about someplace with a better class of hookers on the streets.

Those of you who’ve stayed at the Las Vegas TT know exactly what I’m talking about.

April 10, 2018

Rumble . . . Rumble . . . Vroom !

Jan and I were out the door a little after noon to meet up with our friends Rudy and Caroline Leggett, and our waitress friend Julie at the Monterey’s Little Mexico Restaurant up in Pasadena.

Rudy is the go-to guy to keep your rig’s Aquahot system working and travels all over the country to rallies working on people’s rigs.

Rudy and Carolyn Legett2

We met up about 1pm and didn’t say our goodbyes until after 3, so all-in-all a typical RV’ers get-together. And just like this past Saturday at the Monterey’s in Alvin, Jan had her Chicken Ixtapa and I, of course, got my favorite Chicken Tortilla Soup.

When we got home a little after 4pm, I followed through on my idea to crank up the rig’s engine and then let it come up on the airbags to check things out before our test drive this weekend.

When you haven’t cranked up for 5 months, you always hold your breath that it’s going to start, but today it was just Rumble . . . Rumble . . .  Vroom! with no hesitation. And it was less than 10 minutes when the rig was up on the airbags and ready to roll.

One thing that’s interesting is the way the airbags come up. The rear bags come up within 3 or 4 minutes, but the front bags just sit there for 5 or 6 minutes and then come up all at once.

So it looks like we’re good to go this weekend.

April 10, 2019

Too Much Good Food, Part Deux . . .

Our visit up to Kingsland this past weekend gave us a plethora of good country eating, and of course, we had to do our part in checking this out for our readers.

We started off with a Friday night get-together at a local diner called Crazy Gal’s. Actually there’s 3 of them in the area, and it’s easy to see why they’re so popular. This is just good ole Texas country cooking.

Jan had the Chicken Fried Chicken with Mashed Potatoes and Fried Okra. She said it was really tender, and bigger than it looks due to the fact it’s folded over so it will fit on the plate.

Crazy Gal's 1

Buried under this pile of tasty gravy and onions is a delicious 8oz Hamburger Steak, along with the obligatory Mashed Potatoes and Fried Okra.

Crazy Gal's 2

The next morning had us having breakfast at The Dam Grill, sans Brandi, Lowell, and Landon, due to Landon having some allergy problems overnight.

Jan had Scrambled Eggs. Bacon, Hash Browns, and a really fantastic biscuit,

The Dam Grill 1

while I got my usual Eggs Over Medium, Bacon, Hash Browns, and the above fantastic biscuit.

The Dam Grill 2

Is this a happy, well-fed group, or what?

The Dam Grill Group

But of all our good food, Saturday’s dinner was a real find. The Kempner Brick Oven, in the tiny town of Kempner, TX, population 1097, is a German restaurant that rivals any we’ve ever eaten at, including the fabled Der Lindenbaum in Fredericksburg, TX.

Our daughter-in-law, Linda’s mother was born in Germany, so Linda grew up knowing what good German cooking is like.

When I saw the Hefeweizen beer that Lowell ordered, I decided to have one too.

Kempner Brick Oven Beer-Hefeweizen

A very light, smooth Wheat Beer, and really good.

Jan got her usual German fare, the Jaeger Schnitzel,  which is a basic Schnitzel covered with Mushroom Gravy, along with Spätzle, and of course, Red Cabbage.

Kempner Brick Oven 1

I got the Sausage Plate, with Thuringer, White Bratwurst, & Nurnberger sausages, along with Sauerkraut & Potato Salad. And of course, Red Cabbage.

Kempner Brick Oven 2

What makes this place even better is that it’s about half the price of our other favorite German places. Delicious and Cheap!

Kempner Brick Oven Group

A Great Find!

Sunday morning was our last get-together for the entire family, since Brandi, et al., were heading back to Houston right after our breakfast at El Bracero, a local Mexican place.

El Bracero Group

Jan got the 3 Breakfast Taco plate, with one each Sausage & Egg, Potato & Egg, and Bean & Cheese.

El Bracero 2

Jan said they were really good, and she had leftovers for supper after we got home.

I had a really good, little bit of everything, Spicy Omelet, along with Bacon, Refried Beans, and Ranch Potatoes. Really good, and very spicy.

El Bracero 1

By the time Sunday dinner time rolled around, Jan and I were the only ones left, so we wrapped up our last meal with Chris and Linda at another local favorite Mexican restaurante, Tequila Jalisco.

Jan had the Spicy Mango Chicken & Shrimp,

Tequila Jalisco 1

while I went with their Chicken Tortilla Soup, both really great.

Tequila Jalisco 2

It seems like no matter where we all go, we always find great places to eat. Too many of them, it seems.

One thing kind of different about the Kingsland area is that many/most restaurants don’t take credit cards. Instead, they have an ATM right by the counter.

Kingsland ATM

And they’re all the same type of machine.

And several of the businesses rebate the $2 ATM charge, saying it’s cheaper to do it that way than to pay the credit card fees.

Tomorrow we’ve got some phone calls to make, ordering our rides to and from the airport, calling the PO to hold our mail, and calling our banks to let them know about strange charges coming from Europe next month.

April 10, 2020

Vincent Van Go-Go

I mentioned a few days ago how much Jan and I like Vincent Van Gogh, and especially his Starry Night.

In fact we have a lot of swag using that picture.

Starry Night Stuff

And we even have take-offs on the Van Gogh theme.

Van Gogh Cat Mug

Jan has both this mug and a shirt with this image. But recently we found this poster online,

Cat Van Gogh

which combines two of Jan’s favs, Starry Night and cats.  The only problem is that we don’t have wall space for a poster here in the rig.

But then we found this online.

Cat Van Gogh Spread

A Queen-Size version of this just might be on our Stimulus Check shopping list.

Speaking of Stimulus Checks, it seems the first direct deposited ones started hitting bank accounts yesterday, so the check’s in the mail, or the Internet, I guess.

April 10, 2021

Return To Normal in Texas . . .

Like all of our Alvin Opry House nights, last night was no different, starting with having dinner at the local Monterey’s Mexican Kitchen. And it looks like they’re falling into line with the dropping the masks mandate thing.

They have a sign on the door saying that since Governor Abbott had dropped the mask mandate for the state, they were doing the same thing, and that masks were now optional for their customers, though the staff would continue to wear them.

Works for me.

In last night’s short blog, I posted about 5-year-old Blair Kudelka and how good she was, since this was her first time singing onstage.

Alvin Opry Blair Kudelka 3

You can read about that again here, Blair Kudelka

Well, Jan updated me that though this was her first time singing onstage, her poise and stage presence comes from the fact that she’s a regular on the child beauty pageant circuit. Which also explains those cute little high heels she was wearing, I guess.

But this is not our first time to see a beginner appearing onstage for the very first time. This is a clip from our blog post from January 19, 2013.

We had some great singers at the Alvin Opry tonight, but it’s also nice to see some beginners like Zack Clifton.

Opry - Zack Clifton

At 9 years old, this was his first time on stage and he did a really good job. Local Opry’s like these are where a lot of famous singers get their start. Some day we may be able to say about Zack that we knew him when.

And that’s what happened here. On last night’s bill was Zack Clifton, 8 years older, and now having opened for Merle Haggard and other stars, we can truly say, “we knew him when.”

Zac Clifton Now

He and his family were sitting at the table next to us between his sets, and it was fun to show him that old photo of him back then.

All the talent on last night’s Opry show was great, one of the best shows ever.

Jumping forward to today, we had lunch once again at the Eggcellence up in Webster, and again, masks were now optional, but the staff were still wearing them. The best of both worlds, I guess. Something for everyone.

Though Jan was disappointed that they no longer had her favorite Greek Omelet, she really enjoyed their Avocado BLT with a side salad.

Next, we made a quick stop by the office to set up system image backups on two of the office machines. I’ll remote in later tonight and finalize the backups and reboot the machines from home.

Our next stop was at the Home Depot down on FM646 in our area, and once again, masks were now optional there, with all the signs requiring them pushed to the side.

I was there to pick up a few things for our patio setup, that I’ll talk about in another blog.

Then after a WalMart stop, we finally headed back to the rig.

April 10, 2022

Save The Date . . .

Before Jan and I could head up to Katy to meet Brandi, et al., at their local Pho Barr, she called and suggested that we tell them what we wanted and Lowell would pick it up and bring it home. So we passed on our order and headed for Brandi’s instead of Pho Barr.

While Brandi and Lowell got a version of Jan’s usual Vermicelli Bowl, Jan and I went in a different direction since we just ate at our new local Pho Barr yesterday.

We of course all started with an order of their Grilled Pork Spring Rolls along with Peanut Sauce, Jan got Pho Barr’s Fish Sauce Chicken Wings, even though she’s not a big Fish Sauce fan.

Fish Sauce Chicken Wings

But Jan said that these were delicious, and go on her ‘definitely have again’ list.

I decided to have a Grilled Pork Banh Mi, a Vietnamese-style sandwich. We had had one before when we were served one by mistake instead of our Spring Rolls.

Banh Mi Grilled Pork Sandwich

The bread is a very crusty French Baguette, with Grilled Pork, House Mayo, Pickled Cucumbers and Carrots, Jalapenos, and Cilantro.

Really good, and now on my ‘have again’ list.

After lunch, Jan and I checked out Brandi’s Oculus Quest 2 VR Headset.

Oculus Quest 2

It all started with Landon’s set that he got a while back. Then our son Chris checked out Landon’s when we visited Kingsland back in January.

Kingsland Chris VR Googles

And he ended up ordering him a set.

Then since Brandi liked to exercise using Landon’s, and was always vying with him on whose turn it was, she finally bought her own.

So Jan and I want to see what all the fuss was about.

We both tried out the Wander app, which you walk around places around the world, with views in all directions. We jumped from the Statue of Liberty to the Pyramid of Giza, and then on to the Sphinx.


All this time Landon was on his, playing a game of Zero-G Frisbee taking place in a space station. And there is an app for your phone or tablet that lets people watch what you’re seeing in the googles.

A lot of fun.

Save The Date:

April 8, 2024 is the date of the next Solar Eclipse that crosses the U.S.

Solar Eclipse April 8 2024 Map

The neat thing about this one, at least to Jan and I, is that it covers a wide swath across Texas.

You can check it out better here: Great American Eclipse

One thing that caught my eye was that the eclipse’s 100% Totality passes over Waco, or at least a little north of it. So Jan and I are planning to check it out, since we’ve only seen a partial one before, and not much of one at that.

Solar Eclipse April 8 2024 Waco

April 8, 2024 is a Monday, so we plan on spending the weekend in Waco, and then drive a little north in the afternoon to be sure we’re directly in the middle of the eclipse, which will be around 3:40pm.

But when I tried to use Booking.com to go ahead and book us a room in Waco, hey you can’t be too early, can you, I found that Booking.com won’t let me book anything past July 2023.

So apparently you can be too early.

April 10, 2023

I Almost Waited Too Late . . .

As I mentioned in a blog about this time last year, on April 8th, 2024, a solar eclipse will cut a wide swath across the U.S.,

Solar Eclipse April 8 2024 Map

and Texas in particular.

Solar Eclipse April 8 2024 Waco

The wide area between the lines is where the eclipse will be total.

You can check it out better here: Great American Eclipse

My first thought was for us to spend the night in Waco and then drive out into the countryside about 2pm for the eclipse which will reach totality a few minutes after 3:30pm.

But apparently, I waited too long.

The last time I looked at Booking.com, they wouldn’t let me book out that far. So I put it aside for a while. Until tonight.

And when I checked hotels in Waco, I only found one left.

Americas Best Value Waco

For $1,000 for 2 nights.

Or if that’s not fancy enough, there’s this one.

A Tiny Home in a Shipping Container, only $11, 800.

Tiny House - Waco

Or maybe just a 1 bedroom cabin in the woods is more your XXXX.

It can be yours for two nights for only $20,000+.

Little Dutch Cabin - Waco

Or if you really want to splurge a little.

You can get this 3 bedroom at the Silos (Joanna Gaines area)
for only $32,500

Silos Bungalow - Waco

But you all know I’m cheap. So I decided to check a little further down the road in Killeen.

And I was able to get two nights at a Days Inn for only $218.

Days Inn - Killeen

And so my reservation doesn’t ‘accidentally’ get lost as the rates skyrocket, I prepaid for the room, though I normally wait until I check in at the hotel.

Though the ratings seemed a little low, when I read some of them, I wasn’t as concerned.

  • One person was upset that the TV Guide Channel didn’t match the actual channel lineup.
  • Another was disappointed that the free breakfast wasn’t quite as good as they expected.
  • And someone didn’t like the fact that the ‘big guy at the reception wasn’t wearing a Covid’.
  • And the more recent reviews seem to be much better.

    Looking forward to seeing the eclipse.

    From yesterday, here’s Landon at age 12, on probably his last Easter Egg Hunt.

    Easter Egg Hunt 2

    vs. Landon at about 18 months on his first Easter Egg Hunt

    Landon Egg Hunt 1

    He’s really growing up.