Daily Archives: April 13, 2024


Well, once again I flip-flopped the Retro-Blogs.™, so yesterday you got today’s and today you get yesterday’s

Sorry ‘bout that.

Bernadette Peters was fantastic!

But since we got home late, I’ll bring you up to date in tomorrow’s blog.

Thought For The Day:

So when is this “old enough to know better” stuff supposed to kick in?
I need to know.

For a Retro-Preview –

2012 – More On The Beginnings Of Our Gate-Guarding Adventures

And Now On To Today’s Retro-Blogs.™

April 12, 2010

Antelope Valley…

A couple of days ago I told you about eating at Peggy Sue’s 50’s Dinner in Yermo, CA while we were staying there. It was our second time there, and it’s always good.

Then that night while we were watching Tori & Dean’s Home Sweet Hollywood, a show on Oxygen channel. It, along with Gene Simmon’s Family Jewels, are the only two reality shows we watch.

Anyway, Tori (Spelling) & Dean recently did an RV road trip from Los Angeles to Atlanta,and one of the places they stopped was Peggy Sue’s. And our waitress, Barbara, was in the show. It was neat to see where we had just been, up there on TV.


Anybody seen KFC’s new Double Down? It went on sale today and I really want to try one.


It’s a chicken sandwich, made from CHICKEN. It’s two slices of thick bacon, a slice of Monterey Jack, and a slice of pepper jack cheese, with Colonel’s Sauce between two fried or grilled chicken breasts. It’s a meatwich!

Gotta have one!

We’re parked here at the Antelope Valley Fairgrounds RV Park. And as fairgrounds go, it’s pretty nice. It’s basically just a big concrete parking lot.

AVRVPark 1

AVRVPark 2

But it’s quiet, level, and dry. I really don’t have a good track record with fairgrounds. Before now, we’ve parked in three fairgrounds, and I’ve gotten stuck in two. But in my defense, only one of those was my fault.

Anyway, we’ll be here until sometime after the 20th, and we’ll make day trips into LA, about 70 miles away.

We headed out for a late lunch/early dinner about 2:30, and on the way we stopped off at a Barnes & Noble so Jan could find a book, and then when she found it, she decided she already had it. Oh, well.

For dinner, we were heading to Famous Dave’s BBQ, probably our favorite BBQ chain, except maybe for Sonny’s BBQ in the southeast area. A great meal as usual, and we have leftovers for tomorrow.

April 12, 2011

Burgers and Wildlife . . .

Today started off on a happy note,

Jan was feeling much better. She has been suffering from one of those serial migraines, that comes and goes over several days, but it looks like this one has finally passed

After coffee about 10, and a lunch of the leftover pizza from our visit to Stromboli’s a few days ago, we headed into Cottonwood about 2 pm to drop off some letters at the Post Office and do the Wal-Mart thing.

Then before heading home, I stopped off at Radio Shack to get a power line RF filter for the dash radio in the rig, but with no luck. Apparently, they just don’t carry things like that anymore. I’ll have to check online.

About 5 pm, Jan and I headed back into Cottonwood to have dinner once again at Bing’s Burger Station.

Bing Burger Station

And once again, it was really, really good. And once again, I  had the Ribeye Steak Sandwich. Hopefully, we’ll have a chance to go back again before we leave.

Tomorrow we’re going to spend the day at the Out of Africa wildlife park right up the road.

Hopefully, we’ll have some good pics for you tomorrow.

April 12, 2012

More Thumb Twiddling . . .

We were awakened this morning by something very unusual here . . . a heavy downpour that lasted about 30 minutes. That was it for the rain, but it did stay pretty cloudy and windy the rest of the day which kept it a little cooler. Nice.

I headed over to the office later in the morning to mail a letter, and also check in with Jamie. And he just said “Soon”.

But while I was there I got to finally meet in person Bob Lindsey, a gate guard that I’d corresponded with for a year or so. He’s currently at a gate about 15 miles south near Three Rivers, TX. Hopefully, we’ll be able to get together soon.

Back at the rig, I ordered some things from Amazon, including this canopy for our upcoming gate-guarding adventure,


It’s 10 feet x 10 feet and the sides are removable.

This is how it will be used.

Looks like a rough life, doesn’t it.

By ordering using Amazon Prime, and paying an extra $3.99 we get next-day delivery, so it will be here tomorrow. That’s pretty good for a box that weighs over 40 pounds.

I did get some more info about how the sewer trailers work. It turns out they’re essentially a portable septic tank.

Gate Guard Lot 8

The small green tank at the front of the trailer is removed and placed near your rig. This is where your rig’s sewer hose connects. It also contains the lift pump that pumps the waste up into the big green tank.

As the big tank fills up over a period of time, the solids settle to the bottom, and the liquids rise to the top. When the liquids reach the outflow outlet, they flow down into the smaller white tank. Here they are treated with a high dose of chlorine using swimming pool chlorine tabs. Then after treatment, the disinfected waste water is drained out into the field. When needed, the solids are pumped out of the big green tank. In fact I suspect that the whole trailer is just swapped out at that point and the servicing is done back at the yard.

A little after 5 Jan and I headed down I-37 to Three Rivers to have dinner at Agave Jalisco, a Mexican restaurant that our fellow gate guarder, Bob Lindsey, had recommended.

Turned out to be very good. Just good ole straight-forward Mexican food. Jan had the Chicken Fajitas and I had the Combo Fajitas with Beef, Chicken and Shrimp. Nicely done and well-seasoned.

April 12, 2013

Rally Withdrawal . . .

After coffee, my morning started out on the phone with Thousand Trails trying to figure out what we’re going to do on Sunday. Our two weeks are up here at Countryside RV Resort. Two weeks at $3 a day is a nice deal, and it didn’t count against our 50 free days.

But (there’s always a ‘but’ isn’t there) I was also told that we could extend for another two weeks under the same terms. But (there it is again) that was a fib.

Turns out that Countryside RV Resort and Golden Sun, both here in Apache Junction are ‘Swap’ parks with Verde Valley Thousand Trails up in Camp Verde, AZ. And because these are ‘Swap’ parks (never heard of Swap parks and there’s nothing on the TT website either) we have to be out a week before we come back into one of the parks here, or even before we can use the Verde Valley TT park under our regular TT membership.

We want to stay in Apache Junction until the 1st of May, so what we’re going to do is stay here at Countryside for a week at the paid rate of $140 a week and then we can go back to the $3 a day rate until the 1st.

But (there’s another one) we now parked in one of the 25 spaces allotted to Thousand Trails and we can’t stay in one of those sites during our paid week.

So now we have to move one space to the right on this Sunday, and then next Sunday we move one space back to the left.

Don’t you just love it.

Jan and I headed out about 2pm for some shopping and dinner.

Our first stop was at the SanTan Sam’s Club for Beef Jerky and bottled water. Then it was next door for some Wal-Mart stuff. By then it was 4pm and we were getting hungry. Originally we had planned to eat at the El Pollo Loco back closer to the park, but since we were so close we decided on Grimaldi’s Pizzeria again.

But when we got there we found that they were restoking their coal-fired oven like they do every day at this time, and wouldn’t be making pizza for about 45 minutes. We thought about waiting, but lucky for us there was an alternative nearby.

At the other end of the block was Famous Dave’s BBQ, one of our favorite BBQ places. We also really like Sonny’s BBQ, but they’re mostly only located in the southeast. And of course, there’s Rudy’s BBQ, but that’s only in Texas. But Famous Dave’s are all over.

The food was as delicious as usual, and we had a great waitress. She was even an artiste.

She drew this ‘Piggy Plate’ with two different flavors of BBQ sauce.

Famous Deve's Piggy Plate

Jan had her usual 1/2 Rack Rib Platter and I had the Rib and Meat Combo with the Hot Link Sausage. It was my first time to get the sausage and, boy was it good. And what made it even better was the mustard-based corn relish in the center of the platter. Very tangy and flavorful, and went great with the sausage.

Famous Dave's Combo Plate

And even better than last night, we weren’t seated in the screaming baby section.

Finally heading home Jan made a quick stop at the Ross clothing store on Signal Butte before we finally got home a little before 6.

About 6:45 we figured we needed to work off that big dinner so we did a little over a mile walk about the park. Really nice and cool as the sun was going down.

Jan and  I have decided that we’re going into ‘Rally Withdrawal’

In the past, we had a couple of rallies to go to every year. Enough to feed our habit. But not this year. And now the withdrawal pains have kicked in.

It’s kind of like ‘hitch itch’, with the added benefit of a burning rash. But then again, maybe that’s really a problem I need to discuss with my doctor.

Anyway, it now looks like we’re going to try to make the Escapade coming up in Gillette, WY the last part of June. We were there in 2010 for the American Coach Rally and it’s a really nice complex with over 1200 Full Hookup Sites.

April 12, 2014

Just When We Thought It Was Over . . .

Well, It was nice while it lasted.

Spring, I mean.

There’s another cold front coming through, really cold, at least for Spring in Texas. And by Monday night, we’re looking at night temps in the 30’s and day temps in the 60’s.

Actually pretty nice.

Later in the afternoon, Jan started making one of her Famous Pound Cakes. Tomorrow we’re driving over to Livingston to visit Chris and Charles Yust of C and C RV Insurance at the Escapees Park there. Jan wanted to bring a dessert, so her pound cake, along with fresh sliced strawberries and whipped cream should fill the bill.

Jan's Pound Cake

For anyone that wants to try it, I’ve posted this recipe under the Jan’s Favorite Recipe tab.

While Jan was pound caking, I finally got back to installing the replacement lift motor on our bathroom Fantastic Vent fan. Actually, the lift motor is what started my recent Fantastic Fan adventures.

The lift motor died on the bathroom fan, the second one in 4 years, and so I ordered a new one. But before the lift motor came in, the fan motor in the kitchen just up and died out of the clear blue. So I ordered a replacement fan/motor combo.

And when the new fan motor came in and I got it installed, I liked it so much that I ordered one for the rear unit too. So I waited to install the new lift motor until I got the fan motor in and installed. I could still lift the lid manually so I could wait it out.

I got the new fan motor installed a few days ago, and then today I finally got around to installing the lift motor. No problem, except for one thing.

The motor is connected to the fan using Insulated Quick Disconnects like these.

Insulated Quick Disconnects

But for some reason the ones that come on the new lift motor are slightly larger than the standard 1/4” size. So before I could install it, I had to replace the connectors with new standard ones. But after that, it went pretty smooth, and finished up, it looked like this.

Fantastic Vent Fan

I really like the new clear blades.

For dinner, we fixed salads with lettuce, spring greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, shredded cheese, and Chinese crispy noodles. Jan also adds sliced avocados to hers. For the dressing, Jan uses Balsamic Vinaigrette, and I like a homemade BBQ Bacon Ranch, made from Hidden Valley Bacon Ranch mixed with Rudy’s BBQ Sauce. Really good.

For dessert, we finished off the last of the Strawberry 7-UP cake that she made recently. You can also find that recipe on Jan’s Favorite Recipes. Also really good.

April 12, 2015

The City in the Sky . . .

When we had breakfast at the park Homestyle Grill the other morning, I bought something to go along with my BBQ Larvets worm larva snacks.

Scorpion Sucker

A Strawberry Scorpion Sucker is the perfect thing to compliment BBQ’d baby worms, isn’t it.

Jan and I headed out for Jerome about 1:30, but our first stop was the park Activity Center. I was surprised to see how busy the place was, with what looked like a pool tournament going on.

The distance to Jerome is only about 15 miles, but it takes about 30 minutes since you have to gain over 2000 feet along the way.

Jerome View

After driving the main loop around town, we luckily found a parking spot right at the base of the hill.

Jerome Street View

And even better, the first store we came to was the Jerome Ghost Pepper Co.

Jerome Ghost Pepper Co 1

Linda, the storekeeper, give us a number of samples of her hot wares. Then I went back to the truck and let her sample some of my hot stuff. Based on her reaction to one of my bottles,

Hottest F Seasoning

I won.

As it turns out, Linda is a former RV’er, so we had a good time talking about traveling, and she and Jan really hit it off.

Jerome Ghost Pepper Co 2

She set us up with a new batch of hot sauces to take with us, including a larger bottle of the Belizean Heat, second from the left. Jan bought a small bottle of this from the iBurn store back in Houston, and was happy to find a refill.

New Hot Stuff - Jerome

Making our way up the steep hill, we came across the famous ‘Sliding Jail’. Jerome’s first jail was originally built up on the hill right below the upper line of cars.

Jerome Sliding Jail 3

But during the early years of the town, when the now present road wasn’t there, the constant blasting caused the jail to slowly slide down the hill,

Jerome Sliding Jail 2

finally ending up about 100 yards below its original location.

Jerome Sliding Jail 1

As we made our way up the steep hills, I noticed a number of stores had this emblem above their doorways.

Jerome AED

This means that these establishments have an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) there. Just the thing for when tourists start dropping to the sidewalk from the steep climbs. Hope I don’t need one.

After Jan hit a couple of gift shops we made our way over to the Mile High Grill for an early dinner. Several friends had recommended the place so we gave it a try.

Mile High Grill 1a

We both started out with a cup of soup. Jan had the Soup of the Day, Carrot Ginger,

Mile High Grill 3

and I had the Rio Verde Chili Pork Stew.

Mile High Grill 2

Both delicious. The last time we had Carrot Ginger Soup was in 2010 at the fabled Pie-O-Neer restaurant in Pie Town, NM.

Since today is National Grilled Cheese Day, Jan went with their off-the-menu Grill Cheese Sandwich, and, staying with the Cheese theme, for her side, she had the Nacho Mama’s Mac and Cheese.

Mile High Grill 5

I went with the Diablo Burger and the Buffalo Chips

Mile High Grill 4

Normally the avocado goes on the burger, but since I don’t like it, I got it on the side for Jan. The green stuff was a delicious spicy chimichurri sauce.

Wrapping up, for dessert, we shared an order of their much-recommended Warm Croissant Bread Pudding. Again, very, very good.

Mile High Grill 6

Finally finishing up a great meal, we headed back to the truck for the drive home. Luckily, as full as we were, it was all downhill.

Otherwise, we might have really needed the AED.

Tomorrow we’re taking the Verde Canyon Railroad train ride, lasting from 1 to 4pm. We’ve heard a lot about it, and we’re really looking forward to it.

April 12, 2016

Bearteeth and Pizza . . .

After our coffee and cereal this morning, it was back to the ole grind, as in reading and watching TV for Jan, and playing on the Internet for me. Isn’t retirement great?

Later in the afternoon Jan took all my shirts out of the closet and got me to go through them, throwing out ones I didn’t want anymore. Of course, I know it was all just an artful ruse to give her more room in the closet at my expense.

For dinner tonight Jan fixed chips and onion dip, and DiGiorno Pizza. This is the first time we’ve tried the cheese-in-the-crust version, and it was really good. Of course, Jan spices it up by adding sliced mushrooms for some extra oomph.

A few days ago someone posted a photo of the snowed-in Beartooth Highway.

Beartooth Hwy Snow_thumb[2]

The article said that they’ve finally started clearing the snowpack from the Beartooth.

We drove the Beartooth with our friends Al and Adrienne Cox in July of 2011. But in the summer it’s a little greener.

BearTooth 14_thumb[1]
And if you look very carefully, you can pick out the name-sake peak in the distance.

BearTooth Bear Tooth 1a_thumb[1]

And zooming in, gives you a better look. Looks like a beartooth to me.

BearTooth Bear Tooth 2_thumb[1]

You can read more about our day’s adventure here. The Last Time I Was At 11,000 Feet, I Was In A Plane

We even visited Red Lodge and checked out a bank where on September 18, 1897, the Sundance Kid, Kid Curry, and others of the Wild Bunch attempted “to make an unauthorized withdrawal from the Carbon County Bank.”

Check it out.

April 12, 2017

The Magic Elixir . . .

Due to not having our front Fantastic Vent fan working this morning we finally had to turn on the front AC to keep things cool in the coach.

We closed the door to the bathroom and left the back of the coach with the windows open and the fan running.

About 1pm I got the ladder out of the back of the truck and got ready to climb up on the roof to take a look at my vent fan problem. Whenever I’m on the roof Jan sits outside with her phone to keep an eye on me. When I asked if she’s going to try and catch me if I fall off, she says no, but she will call the EMT’s on her phone.

What a sweetheart!

Climbing up the ladder, I had a cloth bag with my voltmeter, screwdrivers, pliers, and a can of magic elixir with me. First off I had to get the cover off by removing the four nuts and washers,

Fantastic Vent Fan Cover

With the cover off I could finally get to my first suspect that might be causing the problem, the plunger switch that keeps the fan from starting until the lid is open. Since the fan motor quit while it was running, I wasn’t expecting this to be the problem. The switch normally sticks when the lid is closed and then the fan won’t start when the lid opens.

But one of the rules of troubleshooting is to always start checking the easiest things first, and that’s the switch. I had left the fan turned on low before I came up on the roof so I reached under the lid and pressed down on the plunger.

Fantastic Vent Fan Plunger

It was too bright on the roof for me to take photos so I got this one from the Net.

It took only a few pushes on the plunger before the fan started running. So strangely enough, it was the switch. Glad I checked it first. So now I got out my spray can of magic elixir, Strike Hold and sprayed several squirts into the plunger switch, pushing it down a few times to work it in.


I discovered Strike Hold at an FMCA rally in Goshen, IN in 2014 and I’ve used it ever since. I’ve used it to resurrect Kindles, phones, and a number of other devices.

The first time I bought Strike Hold I got the pump spray bottle, but I found that it seemed to evaporate pretty quickly, so the next time I got the spray can, which has been great.

About 4pm Jan and I headed out to try a Chinese place down in Paradise Valley that had been recommended. I noticed that the good Chinese buffet next door to the Buffalo Wild Wings where we ate yesterday was out of business. So that’s when we found out about Golden Flower Chinese Restaurant. And getting there we found a bright and cheery place located at one corner of a strip mall, staffed by very friendly people.

We started off with our usual Hot & Soup, something that we use to grade every new Chinese place. And Golden Flower got an ‘A’.

Golden Flower Hot & Sour

Jan got an order of Sesame Chicken,

Golden Flower Sesame Chicken

while I got the Spicy Kung Pao Chicken.

Golden Flower Kung Pao Chicken

We also got a plate of their House Special Fried Rice, with Chicken, Beef, Shrimp, and Pork.

Golden Flower Special Fried Rice

Jan said the Fried Rice was the best she’s ever had, and the Sesame Chicken was fantastic. My Kung Pao was great, but not very spicy to me. But that’s just me.

All we can say is it was all delicious, probably in the top 3 or 4 of our favorite Chinese places in the country. We will definitely go back before we leave.

Well recommended!

Coming home we stopped at the nearby Sam’s Club to drop off a prescription and get gas. At $2.46/gal it was the cheapest place around, with most other places at $2.60 to $2.80.

Then we made a PO stop to finally get my Arizona CCW application in the mail. They say 6 to 8 weeks, but some people say they got theirs quicker.

Here’s hoping.

April 12, 2018

Shrimp, Shrimp, and, of course, Shrimp . . .

After a quiet morning, me doing website stuff and Jan reading, I went out about 2pm to add air to the rig’s tires.

I used my Sears 150 psi Air Compressor to quickly air up all my tires, the front ones to 105# and the rear duals to 100#. All of the tires were in the 90# range when I started, not because they had leaked down in the last 5 months, but because when I last topped them off the temperature was in the high 90’s, while today it was in the low 70’s.

I’ve had this compressor since January 2011 and it’s never had a problem. It can air up the big RV tires to 120# plus without breathing hard. The one I have came from Sears but they no longer sell it. (Do they still sell anything?) But you can get the same one under the Porter-Cable brand from Amazon, probably who made it for Sears.

Porter-Cable Air Compressor

Porter-Cable 150psi Air Compressor

I did add this Power Tank TIG-8170 Digital Inflator with a locking chuck to make it easier to air up the tires without bending over the entire time. Just lock the chuck on the tire valve and go to it.

Power Tank TIG-8170 Tire Inflator

The only other thing I’ve done to it in the last 7 years was to replace the compressor’s air hose with a longer one.

I also planned to add water to the rig’s house batteries, but discovered that I was out of distilled water. So it got put on the WalMart list for tonight.

About 4:15 Jan and I headed up to Webster to meet up with Chris, Linda, and Miss Piper at the East Star Chinese Buffet for dinner.

We’ve never eaten here, but a number of our friends have recommended it, and it turns out Chris and Linda have eaten here too.

How did we get left out?

I ended up getting the shrimp, the shrimp, and, of course, the shrimp. And some veggies too.

East Star plate

Cold Boiled Shrimp, Hot Pepper Shrimp, and Shrimp with Veggies.

The Trifecta.

Everything was really good, although Jan didn’t like the Hot & Sour Soup as much as I did.

But we’ll go back.

Coming home we made a WalMart stop for a few things before getting home about 8.

Tomorrow, more work, and probably more machine repairs.

April 12, 2021

Now All I Need Are Ping Pong Balls . . .

I’ve been looking over online recipes to combine several of our new toys, our FoodSaver Vacuum Sealer, our Inkbird Sous Vide Immersion Cooker, and our George Foreman Grill.

And I think our first meal is going to be Sous Vide BBQ Pork Ribs.

Sous Vide BBQ Ribs

I’ve looked over a lot of different recipes online, and this one seems to cover everything.

The Food Lab’s Complete Guide to Sous Vide Barbecue Pork Ribs

Depending on how you want to do it, you can cook them either low and slow – 145° for 36 hours, or hotter and faster – 165° for 8-12 hours, or even somewhere in between. It all depends on how you like your ribs.

But no matter how you like them, they all start with the vacuum sealer and end with the grill.

You first coat the ribs in your favorite rub or sauce, add a couple of drops of Wright’s Liquid Smoke, vacuum seal them, and then pop them in the water bath with the Sous Vide cooker. And that’s where the ping pong balls come in.

Sous Vide Ping Pong Balls

With some of the cooking times running as long as 36 hours there’s always a danger of the immersion cooker’s water reservoir running dry while you’re at work or just out and about. So you float the ping pong balls on top of the water bath to slow down the evaporation of the water.

And after the ribs are finished in the Sous Vide cooker, then you remove them from the bags, and put them on the grill for 30 minutes or so, after covering them in your favorite rub or sauce.

Tomorrow I’m going to take a first run at my computer-controlled hibiscus watering system, to see how long the pump has to run to provide sufficient water each day.

April 12, 2022

I Think She’ll Know . . .

Jan had a doctor’s follow-up visit this afternoon, after which we drove over to Texas Huddle for lunch. Although it’s been a while since we’ve been here, it’s one of our favorites, especially mine. And that’s due to the fact that they have a PB&J Bacon Cheeseburger on the menu.

Yes, that means Peanut Butter & Jelly.

We both started with a Side Salad instead of the included fries,

Texas Huddle Side Salad 20220412

and then Jan got her usual Mushroom Swiss Bacon Burger.

Texas Huddle Mushroom Swiss Bacon Burger

And of course, I got my reason for being here, the PB&J Bacon Cheeseburger.

Texas Huddle PB&J Burger 20220412

With Grape jelly, of course.

Really, really, really good. As usual.

Then it was on back down to the League City area and our local WalMart for a few things, before getting back to the rig about 4:30.

We’ve noticed that our park owner, Rob, has been working in the yard across from us, using his small front loader to pile up and haul off the large amount of junk that’s been across the fence from us since we moved here. Things like a couple of junk trucks, a rotting 5th wheel, rusting barrels, and just mounds of generic trash. At first, we thought that he was just helping out the people who live in a trailer toward the front of the lot.

But today Rob re-fenced the cleared area and it became obvious.

Petticoat Junction New Addition

He’s putting in some more RV sites, maybe 5 or 6 added to the 17 he already has. At least the view in front of our rig is a lot nicer now that all that junk is gone.

Sometimes you’ve just gotta wonder what some people are thinking.

This is the 24 can pack of Coke Zero.

Coke Zero 24 Pack

Note the handy-dandy push-in handle to make it much easier to carry.

So when you’re designing this packaging, which was just redone about a year ago when they changed the color scheme, where would be the most logical place to put the bar code?

Why, on the bottom, of course.

And yes, I know that it’s down there so it can be slid over the scanner at check-out, but no one does it that way.

The customers don’t want to lift it up onto the conveyor belt and then back into the cart, and the cashiers tell you to leave in the basket to scan because they don’t want to have to pick it up either.

But why not put a barcode on top too? In fact Jan’s 30 bottle pack of Joint Juice, which is also heavy, does just that.

So now after you put it in the basket you have to turn it over to scan, and then turn it back over to carry it.

Think, people. Think.

I forgot to ask Jan if she heard mutterings from her Mushroom Swiss Burger, but according to these guys, it’s very possible.

When Lewis Carrol wrote Alice in Wonderland, he told us about talking mushrooms. Who knew how right he was.

New Study Shows Mushrooms Communicate With Each Other Using A Vocabulary Of 50 Words

Scientists found that mushrooms “talk” using electrical impulses that spike when fungi come into contact with food sources or potential dangers.

“Assuming that spikes of electrical activity are used by fungi to communicate, we demonstrate that distributions of fungal word lengths match that of human languages,” he said. “We found that the size of fungal vocabulary can be up to 50 words, however, the core vocabulary of most frequently used words does not exceed 15 to 20 words.”

I would think that ‘Please don’t eat us’ would be part of their vocabulary.

Of course, they could just sing, “Go ask Alice, I think she’ll know.”

And if talking mushrooms weren’t scary enough, there’s this nightmare.

Nightmare Worm

And as the caption says, it’s real.

Remind me to stay away from deep-sea geothermal vents.

April 12, 2023

Still On Windows 11 . . .

Since I’m still happy with Windows 11 I let the 10-day window expire during which I could have rolled back to Win10. Can’t really tell any difference operationally, just a different look.

As I’ve mentioned, I never know exactly what I’m going to be working on at my IT consulting job. And today was no different.

My client had ordered a new seat trim panel for his ‘95 T-Bird. But he wasn’t able to get it installed correctly.

So it was my turn.

The problem was that the trim panel was kind of generic and made to fit a number of different models and accessary levels.

Thunderbird Seat Panel

It had mounting screw holes with no corresponding screw holes in the seat frame, and vice versa. It also had control mounting holes for other devices that had to be plugged. But by drilling new holes in the seat frame and trimming some excess plastic from the panel, I finally got it mounted and screwed down in place.

Who knows what’s next?

Since a number of you have been having problems seeing the latest blog post here, I thought I’d pass on this article on how to do it on pretty much every computer or phone.

How to Force Refresh in Your Internet Browser

Let me know if you’re still having problems.

Tomorrow we’re getting together with our Alvin Opry group once again. This time at the Gringos down in Texas City. Then it’s on back up the feeder to our local WalMart for our weekly stuff.

And here’s Miss Fabulous!

Karma On Sofa Be Fabulous




An Alvin Opry Friday Night . . .

Short Blog Tonight Because Of The Opry.

Tomorrow night, after dinner at the Saltgrass Steakhouse, we are seeing Bernadette Peters at The 1894 Grand Opera down in Galveston.

Thought for the Day:

My mother was an English teacher. So I’m always silently correcting your grammar and spelling.

For a Retro-Preview –

2009 – Jan And I On The Busch Gardens’ Rollercoaster. The Photo Went Viral!

2011 – Our Visit To Out Of Africa Wildlife Park

2015 – Our Ride On The Verde Canyon Railroad

2019 – Opening For The Mamas and Papas

And Now On To Today’s Retro-Blogs.™

April 13, 2009


Jan and I drove down to Tampa’s Busch Gardens today.

And a fun time was had by all…

Well, maybe Jan didn’t have quite as much fun as I did.

In fact she used words I didn’t think she knew.

And this was on the family-friendly ‘baby’ roller coaster. I wasn’t able to get her on any of the bigger ones, like the SheiKra, which goes up 200ft and then hurls you straight down at 80mph, or the Mantu which has 3 consecutive 360-degree vertical loops in a row.

Note the difference in enjoyment levels in the pic below…



April 13, 2010

Another quiet day…

We started out by going to Shakey’s Pizza for their lunch buffet,

On the way home we stopped off at Sam’s Club for Kitty Litter and Clorox Wipes.

Then it was home for the night.

See I told you it was a quiet day.

Tomorrow we’re going into Los Angeles for some sightseeing.

April 13, 2011

Lions, and Tigers, and Bears, Oh, My . . .

Today got off to a little earlier start than usual, since we were going to the Out of Africa Wildlife Park, which, lucky for us, is just right down the road from here.

So, after a quick breakfast of homemade bread, toasted with butter, on our way out of the park, we stopped by the office to re-up here for 6 more days, leaving on the 20th.

It only took us about 15 minutes to get to the Wildlife Park and get parked.

Out of Africa

After getting our tickets, and finding out we had a little while before our Safari Ride, we walked over to the Critter Feature to check out the Pacu lizard, baby python, and several other animals they had out for the guests to handle


Baby Python

A few minutes later we boarded our bus and headed out onto the Serengeti Plains, or at least what passes for them in Arizona.

One of the first animals we saw was this male African Lion sunning himself on top of his enclosure. Our guide Courtney said he’s a happy lion because he has his own little harem of 4 females. But us guys on the bus figured he was just hiding out on the roof to get some peace and quiet.

Lion on Roof

Our next stop was a tour favorite . . . giraffe feeding, using the carrot sticks we were given as we boarded the bus.

Giraffe Feeding 1

As you can see, it gets very up close and personal.

Giraffe Feeding 2

Giraffe Feeding 3

We were also told to NOT feed the carrot sticks to any of the many zebras around. Courtney said the zebras cannot tell the difference between a carrot stick and a finger.

And if they get a finger, they will not give it back.



This is Courtney with Tika, a white tiger. She says that Tika has bonded with her and will come when she calls, and allows herself to be petted and groomed through the fence. But she pretty much ignores anyone else.

Courtney and Tika

We also saw a number of different species of antelope.





And a Sable Antelope.


And also some African Watusi cattle, kind of like Texas longhorns.

Watusi Cattle

We also saw this nest of unfertilized ostrich eggs, which equals about two dozen chicken eggs. That would be a hell of an omelet.

Ostrich Eggs

Our guide Courtney went to get an egg for us to pass around and look at. About that time, Kristen, the guide for another tour bus also came over and got an egg for her group.

But she also took our ostrich with her. She just walked up behind her and started pushing her toward the other bus.

That was just rude.

Ostrich Herding

After our Safari tour ended, and we had a really good lunch of grilled chicken sandwiches with green chilies and cheese, we headed over to what was probably the highlight of the day, the Tiger Splash pool.

There were seven people inside the pool area playing with the two tigers. And they emphasized they were ‘playing’ with the tigers, and that the tigers were not trained. But that they love to play.

They also said the tigers get to decide if they want to do Tiger Splash or not. They have 9 tigers they rotate through for the show. They open the cage door, say “Tiger Splash”, and if the big cat wants to participate, out he comes. And they usually do.

Tiger Hug

The guys, and one girl, spend some time hugging and roughhousing with the cats before they start the show.

Tiger Hug 2

They use sticks or ropes with bags of balloons on them to lure the tigers to run around and chase them. And as soon as the tigers catch the balloons, they seem to take great pleasure in popping them with their claws and teeth.

Tiger Chase

Tiger Chase 2

And somehow they have learned not to ‘pop’ the people they catch. And also not to lay on the people they catch with their full 500-pound weight.

I think this one is saying, “MINE!”


This tiger, ‘Liberty’ looks like he’s tasting this guy.

I wonder how he tastes

What was really amazing is how high the tigers can jump. We began to appreciate the 20 ft. high fence between us and them.

Tiger Jump 1

Tiger Jump 2

Tiger Jump 3

Tiger Jump 4

The cats also spent a lot of time swimming around the pool, jumping in and out.

Wet Kitty

In fact when the show was over, ‘Akasha’ the other tiger, refused to come out. So after spending some time trying to coax her out, they just left her there, saying she’ll come out when she’s ready.

Tiger Group

After the Tiger Splash, we spent some time walking around some of the other enclosures. When I came around the corner and saw this, at first I didn’t know what it was.

Grizzly Bear Rug

Then I realized it was a Grizzly Bear spread out on a picnic table, just catching some rays.

Grizzly Bear Rug 2

This beautiful female white tiger is in the same enclosure with a female African lion.

White Tiger

Here they are together, nuzzling and licking one of the workers.

White Tiger and Lion

Here’s an African black leopard who is paired with a Bengal tiger. Apparently, the big cats get along better with other species of cats than their own.

Black Leopard

These are Serval cats, that look like a small ocelot.

Serval Cat 1

Serval Cat 2

Our next treat was due to the fact that today, Wednesday, is Predator Feeding Day, along with Sunday and Friday. So we got to see them throwing big chunks of beef, whole turkeys, and chicken parts to the animals.

Feeding Time 1

Feeding Time 2

Lion Food

Feeding Time 3

What really amazed me was how many of the large animals were being fed from INSIDE the enclosures, like these black bears.

Black Bears

Walking back to the entrance we stopped off at probably Jan’s favorite, the prairie dogs. They had a vending machine where you could buy food, and these guys were very well-fed. They would come waddling over to you as soon as you came up to the fence.

Prarie Dog 1

This guy was so fat and lazy, he wouldn’t even come all the way out of his burrow. He just waited for me to throw it to him.

Prarie Dog 2

Prarie Dog 3

Our last stop was to see “Boom Boom”, the white rhino, the ‘white’ part being relative I guess, compared to the black rhinos.

Rhinos are supposed to be pretty mean and ill-tempered, so I was surprised to see someone get right in the enclosure with him.

Boom Boom The White Rhino

Boom Boom The White Rhino 2

We certainly enjoyed our day at Out of Africa, and heartedly recommend it to anyone in the area. We’ve been to zoos and wildlife parks all over the country and have never seen one where the keepers so closely interact with the animals, especially the big, dangerous ones.

My only disappointment was the fact that I couldn’t get my Panasonic Lumix camera to go into Manual Focus, so my photos show a lot more chain-link fence than I would have liked, since the Auto Focus sometimes wanted to focus on the fence rather than what was behind it.

Leaving the park about 4:30 we drove over to La Fonda, which was really convenient since it’s right down the road.

Getting back to the rig about 7:30 we were down for the night, after a long, but fun day.

April 13, 2012

Next in Line?

Still no gate, but supposedly we’re next in line.

The couple next to us, who came off their gate due to a family death back in Tennessee, went back on a gate this afternoon. But before they left, they said they heard we were next in line.

Hope so.

About 2:30pm our Amazon order was delivered so I went over to the office to pick it up. One of the items I ordered was an additional 8GB of RAM to add to my Acer computer. It had 4GB, but I wanted to upgrade it to 12GB.

Adding RAM is usually the quickest, cheapest way to speed up a computer. And $45 for an additional 8GB is a good buy.

RAM Upgrede 1

After removing the cover I could see the RAM sockets, but could tell I was going to have to remove the DVD/HD frame to get to the RAM.

RAM Upgrede 2

Two screws took care of that and I was able to set aside the frame and expose the 4 sockets.

RAM Upgrede 3

I removed the 2 – 2 GB sticks and replaced them with the 2 new 4 GB sticks. I then placed the 2 – 2 GB sticks in the 2 remaining sockets. You always want your larger RAM sticks first in line.

After checking that the RAM was firmly seated and locked into the sockets, I put everything back together, plugged it in, and turned it on.

I didn’t bother to hook up the monitor or keyboard/mouse at this point. All I wanted to do was hear the beep that told me the computer had completed P.O.S.T. (Power On Self Test) and was ready to boot up. This told me the new RAM was good and ready to go.

Hooking everything back up, I found the computer booted up and ran noticeably faster, and programs started up faster too..


Leaving for dinner a little after 6pm we met our next-door neighbors, Carol and Sam Davis. Like us, they’re waiting for their first gate. They had sent in their paperwork and tests back in February, hoping to get a leg up on getting started, but they said it didn’t seem to help much. They’re waiting just like we are.

Our dinner destination was Pepe Boudreaux’s, a TexMexCajun place right across the road from Choke Canyon Lake about 8 miles west of Three Rivers on Hwy 72. Several people had recommended it, and they were right.

Jan had the Fried Fish and Shrimp, saying it was the lightest, crispiest batter she’d ever had. I had the Blackened Pork Chop, stuffed with Boudin Sausage, and topped with Shrimp Étouffée. I also had a cup of Gumbo, very good, spicy with a lot of filé.

OMG, was this all good! My mouth was doing the happy dance. Hopefully, we’ll be able to go back. This place is good!

Landon had a girlfriend!

Brandi sent over these pics of Landon and his main squeeze at his daycare.

Landon's Girtfriend 1

Landon's Girtfriend 2

Landon's Girtfriend 3


April 13, 2013

Snakehole and Steakhouse . . .

Just across Idaho Rd from our RV park there’s this sign out in the scrub brush.

Snakehole Golf 1

I saw pathways and some benches along the way, and at first, I thought it was maybe just a walking path, and that the sign was a joke.

I mean, does this look like a golf course to you?

Snakehole Golf 2

But looking closer I saw flags marking the holes. Except, aren’t the holes supposed to be located on things with grass called ‘greens’?

That looks more dirt-colored to me.

Snakehole Golf 3

But as it turns out, the 20 acre – 9 hole course is located on land leased from the state of Arizona. Its origins are a little blurry, but the story goes it was developed about 30 years ago by a Countryside RV Resort resident whose wife said she would only live in the area if she could golf nearby.

Snakehole Golf Course and Resort

Currently, membership is restricted to Countryside RV Resort residents and the 125 members pay dues of $20 a year which goes toward the $1800 a year lease.

I mean, you’ve really got to want to play golf to end up here, don’t you.

After coffee, I spent the morning tackling a bunch of small repairs around the coach. It always seems easier to me to let these little things accumulate and then knock a bunch of them out at once. Seems like I’ve accomplished more.

About 4pm we headed over Los Gringos Locos once again.

I had the Carnitas Dinner and Jan had the Grilled Catch of the Day. I’m sorry, but who goes to a Mexican restaurant and orders fish. Fish Tacos, maybe, but Grilled Fish?

Of course, Jan sometimes orders the Alice Springs Chicken when we go to Outback STEAKhouse. So who knows?

Getting back to the rig, we headed out about 7:30pm for our 1 mile+ walk, the first time we’ve done one after dark.

It was nice and cool, but we had to be careful where we walked because the park roads are rough in some places.

Tomorrow – The Big Move!

April 13, 2014

Great Friends and good food, too . . .

Jan and I headed out a little before 11, on our way to visit our friends Chris and Charles Yust at their place at the Escapees Park in Livingston, TX.

But our first stop was at the Jack in the Box in Willis for a couple of Supreme Croissants, much better than a couple of weeks ago at the one in Columbus. Then it was on for our 1 hour trip.

We got there a little after noon, and first off got a tour of their new (to them) 23 foot Itasca kinda Class B, kinda Class C, nicknamed ‘Stubby’. Rather than take their 40 foot Winnebago, they’re going to take Stubby to Alaska this summer. Being smaller it will let them get into places that they can’t with their bigger rig.

We talked for a good while before finally chowing down on Chris’ delicious Chicken and Sausage Gumbo, along with Cornbread Muffins. Really, really good. Then after a lot more conversation, it was time for some of Jan’s Pound Cake, covered in fresh sliced strawberries and whipped cream.

Chris and Charles Yust

Chris Yust and Jan

We finally headed back to the rig, getting in about 8:45. I did stop for gas at the Kroger’s in Willis. At $3.29, it was the cheapest I’ve seen in a while.

Tomorrow we’ve got another early trip down to the Clear Lake area scheduled, so the blog’s a little short tonight.

April 13, 2015

Don’t Do What We Did . . .

Since this morning was our train ride day, we headed out about 10:45am for our 1pm trip. The reason for the early start was that we wanted to get some lunch first. Riding in Coach (we’re cheap, and First Class was $60 more), we would only have snacks and drinks available on the 4 hour trip.

So getting into Cottonwood proper, we stopped off at the Carl’s Jr. next to Wal-Mart. Although we may have eaten at a Carl’s more recently, the last time I really remember was at the one in Fairbanks, AK. We ate there a number of times when we spent five months up there in the summer of 2008.

Jan had a Cheeseburger with Jalapeno Poppers, and I had the El Diablo Burger with Fries. Really good burgers, both.

We arrived at the Verde Canyon Railroad depot about noon and picked up our tickets at Will Call. Of course, after being told to pick up our tickets before noon, we then had to wait 45 minutes before we could board for the 1pm departure.

Our coach was a Pullman passenger coach seating 74 people, and has snack bar at one end and a bathroom at the other.

Cottonwood Coach

In addition, each Coach and First Class car had access to an open air for better viewing

Open Air Coach

Inside the seating is two-by-two, and the seats were pretty comfortable.

Inside Cottonwood

We pulled out of the depot a couple of minutes after 1pm, and quickly headed into the Verde River Canyon. The 76 mile trip, 38 out and back, takes about 4 hours, including a 15 minute layover in Perkinsville.

We quickly began to encounter some amazing rock formations on the cliff sides.

Verde RR 1

Verde RR 2

Then there’s the tunnel.

Verde RR Tunnel

At 680 feet long, this curved tunnel is unusual for two reasons. One, because it’s curved, it gets completely dark inside for a short period, especially because there are no lights on in the coach.  Two, is because the entire tunnel was completed in only one year, by only 25 Swedes. That’s a lot of blasting.

Verde RR 3

Arriving at Perkinsville, the halfway point, and the only time on the train you can smoke, and only on the open-air car. we waited for about 15 minutes so the engines could do a ‘runaround’ to get back in front of the train.


There is a side track next to the mainline that allows the two engines to move back to what is now the front for the trip home.

Perkinsville Runaround

Note now that the caboose that was at the rear on the trip is now next to the engines. And as we’ve seen on other excursion trains like this, the seat backs flip over to the other side of the seat cushion, so you aren’t riding backward going home.

Verde RR on Curve

One thing I found interesting is all the cacti that manage to grow out of solid rock.

Verde RR Cactus

Verde RR Cactus 2

And of course, the continues great views

Verde RR 4

Verde RR 5

Verde RR 6

We really enjoyed the ride and the great views. The trip was well worth the cost. But don’t do what we did. Don’t sit on the left side of the coach. Sit on the right side. The right side has the best view of the canyon, and you’re not in the sun on the ride home.

We pulled back into the depot a little before 5pm and were quickly headed out. Since we had eaten about 11, and it was now after 5, we decided to continue down to Camp Verde and have dinner at Crusty’s Pizza.

We first ate here during our visit in 2011, and it was good enough to try again. And like last time, we both had the Baked Spaghetti. I got the large order,

Crusty's Pizza 1

while Jan got the 1/2 order.

Crusty's Pizza 2

And like last time, we had plenty of leftovers, since I only ate about 1/3 of mine, and Jan didn’t even get through 1/2 of hers. Part of the reason is that the meal also comes with a large salad, as well as the Cheesy Garlic Bread.

Jan said the sauce was almost as good as hers. I said it was nowhere near as good as hers.

After all, she knows where I sleep.

April 13, 2016

Hurry Up and Wait . . .

After dodging north and south of us the last few days, last night/this morning found us right in the bullseye of some really heavy thunderstorms coming through the area. In fact, they were heavy enough and loud enough that they really freaked Karma out. She would run up and down the coach, meowing and looking at the ceiling.

It stayed mostly overcast all day, but not much more in the way of rain. And the front dropped our temps back down to the 70’s and 50’s, which is nice. The Weather Channel says we’ve got another week or so of rain and nice temps, so that’s nice too.

After a nice, quiet afternoon, Jan and I headed out about 5pm on our way to Culver’s. But on the way we made a stop at a TruValue Hardware for some rubber washers to try and repair my leaky hose splitter.

I really like these, but after a year or so, the washers start leaking up in the hose extensions.

Hose Splitter 2_thumb[6]

The hose extensions actually screw into the splitter body with standard hose couplings, but smaller. So the washers are smaller than standard hose washers too. The replacement ones are neoprene rubber so hopefully they’ll last longer than the original ones.

Then it was on the Conroe Culver’s, which for us is right up there with Whataburger. Really love their Butterburgers.

Then it was right across the street to the Wal-Mart for some groceries, and not a very nice time. As usual, I started Runkeeper as we left the truck to keep track of our walking in the store.

The shopping part of things went just fine, but ground to a halt during checkout. Literally. There were only two lanes open, and one of them was 20 items or less. So that was out for me.

The self-checkout was available, but I’ve found it doesn’t work very well with a full basket. The bagging area is not big enough to hold everything as you scan them and bag them. And if you try to take bags off and put them in your basket before you pay, the system starts yelling at you that “An item has been removed from the bagging area.” and shuts down until you replace the item. So that was out.

So I got in the line and waited . . . and waited . . . . and waited. There were two customers ahead of me. Only two. But the first one had three carts stacked high, and the lady had an inch-thick stack of coupons, and was apparently contesting every price she disagreed with. And that was a lot., believe me.

In fact, it took them almost 25 minutes to checkout, and it was 35 minutes until I was done. Turns out that they had a number of people out sick, and were short-handed on cashiers. And it was almost 8pm before we got home.

But we did walk almost a mile, so that was good.

April 13, 2017

Finally Had To Do It . . .

I mentioned before that due to the mild weather and the almost cold nights (high 40’s/ low 50’s) we haven’t needed to use our rig AC’s, which has been great since with only 30 amps, we can only use one at a time.

What we would do was set the fans to pull cold air into the coach all night so it was in the low 60’s. Then as the day warmed up to the high 70’s/low 80’s the coach stayed comfortable all day.

But last night the temp just barely made it into the 60’s, so inside the coach, it stayed in the 70’s. Which meant it warmed up pretty fast inside.

So around noon I finally had to do it. I deployed my AC AC Bypass. Several years ago I rewired one of the AC units at the circuit breaker panel under the bed, by adding a heavy-duty plug and socket inline with the circuit.

In regular use the plug is plugged into the socket and everything works just like normal. But when we’re stuck on 30amps and it gets too warm I can unplug from the socket and plug into a heavy-duty extension cord that runs out to the 110 VAC outlet on the pedestal.

And Voilà, I can run both AC’s at once.

About 3pm Jan and I headed down to Henderson to have an early dinner at our favorite local Mexican place, Lindo Michoacán.

Lindo Michochan 1a

And it’s not just us that thinks it’s great. It’s been selected as the Best Mexican Restaurant in Las Vegas by the Las Vegas Review Journal Poll for 11 years and rated “Excellent” by Zagat.

First up was their Chips and Dips, with not only a really good hot salsa, but a very tasty warm bean dip.

Lindo Chips and Dips

Then it was on to their really delicious Fideo Soup.

Lindo Fideo Soup

One thing is that between the Chips, Dips, and Soup, by the time your entrée gets here, you’re already kind of full.

Jan got the Grilled Shrimp Tacos with Avocado,

Lindo Grilled Shrimp Tacos

while I got a Coca Cola dish. Lindo is known for its famous Coca Cola sauce, but in the past, they usually have it with Carnitas. But this time it’s on a 24oz Bone-In Ribeye, and just fantastic.

Lindo Steak a la Coca Cola

And we both had plenty of leftovers.

Again, one of our absolute favorite places, and it never disappoints.

Besides the great food, we sat at a window table and had a nice, though hazy, view of the Vegas skyline.

Lindo View2

Leaving Lindo, our next stop was the Sam’s Club where yesterday we dropped off prescriptions, and then it was on to the Wal-Mart next door for a few things before we finally got home around 6:30.

A very nice day.

April 13, 2018

Jennifer and Gio’s . . .

Work today was one of those days where I did a lot of different stuff, but didn’t seem to get a lot done. It was mostly just stomping out small fires.

About 6pm we picked up my client’s office manager, Jennifer, to take her out to dinner with us.

Jennifer Gio's

I’ve known Jennifer since I first started working for him in 1998 so we’ve been working together for a long time.

We asked her to suggest a place in this area that she liked and she picked Gio’s Flying Pizza right down the road on FM517 toward Dickinson. And a great choice it was.

She’s eaten here a number of times, but it was our first.

Jan and Jennifer both started off with a small salad, though they looked pretty big to me. And, of course, being an Italian restaurant, the salad had pepperoni on it.

Gio's Salad

While they went the salad route, I had a bowl of their Pasta E. Fagioli soup. Different from other places, like Olive Garden, for one. but delicious anyway.

Gio's Pasta Fagioli

Jennifer had said how good the Lasagna was, so Jan copied Jennifer’s choice with a big serving.

Gio's Lasagna

For my entrée, I got the Grilled Chicken with Sautéed Veggies. But since the Veggies consisted of Zucchini and Squash, not my favorites, I asked for the Sautéed Green Beans that I had seen go by on someone else’s plate. And it was a good choice.

Gio's Grilled Chicken and Green Beans

Finishing dinner we hung around for a couple of hours just talking, especially Jan and Jennifer getting to know each other. We did talk some about RV’ing and some of our friends and some of the hobbies that people have,

Tomorrow, depending on the weather, I’ll do some more prep work for our RV trip that we’re planning for Sunday. I got distilled water last night so I’ll take care of the rig house batteries, and then take down our weather station’s anemometer that’s mounted on a pole tied off to the ladder at the back of the rig.

April 13, 2019

Less Than Two Weeks!


Two weeks from tonight we’ll probably be sleeping off our jet lag in Budapest, Hungry.

After leaving on IAH about 3:55 pm Friday afternoon, and a 9 hour and 45 minute flight to Frankfurt, Germany, a 3 hour and 30 minute layover, and then another 1 hour 30 minute flight, we’ll get into Budapest about 1:45 Saturday afternoon.

The next day, Sunday, is free, and then we board the Skirnir, our Viking River Cruise Ship, on Monday, the 29th. And it’s coming faster and faster.

Last night was our first visit to the recently-reconstituted Alvin Opry. We haven’t been since the original one closed in 2014, so it was good to be back. And really nice to see a lot of old friends.

And with performers like Arnold Carpenter,

Alvin Opry Arnold Carpenter

Country Jim Sloan,

Alvin Opry Country Jim Sloan

and Texas Express band members like Tommy Reed,

Alvin Opry Tommy Reed

and Bobby Whitton,

Alvin Opry Bobby Whitton

you had a Who’s Who of country star’s band members. Names like Jack Greene, Jeannie Seely, Little Jimmy Dickens, Tammy Wynette, Dottie West, Mel Tillis, Reba McEntire.and many others,

And long-time friend’s, Miranda Diede

Alvin Opry Miranda Diede 2

and Shalane Colston,

Alvin Opry Shalane 2

were both in great voice, so it made for a great evening.

I also really enjoyed getting a chance after the show to talk with Bobby Whitton about his Steinberger Headless guitar.

Steinberger Headless 1

I had seen pictures of them, but this was my first time to see one up close, and Mr.Whitton was kind enough to spend a few minutes pointing out the special features.

Steinberger Headless 2

Note there is no headstock on these, rather the tuning adjustments are on the tailpiece, and allow for much finer tuning.

Steinberger Headless 3

The other advantage to the Steinberger design is the fact that the entire guitar is made from a graphite/carbon fiber composite, so it’s not affected by temperature/humidity changes like a conventional instrument and stays in tune better.

He had this one custom-made for him when he was playing with Mel Tillis for about 10 years in Branson.

In talking with him for a while, it turns out that we had something in common. ‘Back in the day’, as he put it, we both played Gretsch Country Gentleman guitars, known as the Chet Adkins model.

Gretsch Country Gentleman

While I was in Nashville going to college in the mid 60’s, I played in a couple of bands, and was lucky enough to get Chet (he said I could call him ‘Chet’ since I owned one of his guitars. LOL) to autograph mine when he was playing at a small club down on Nashville’s Music Row.

Though I played the Country Gentleman a lot to start with, I later mostly played my friend’s Gretsch White Falcon after he decided he’d rather play bass.

Gretsch White Falcon

I just liked the feel of the Falcon better. It had nothing to do with the fact that it attracted girls like crazy.

Nothing at all.

I also occasionally played keyboards, when we could borrow one, since the band didn’t have one of our own.

And I guess you could say that our one claim to fame was that my main band won a college Battle of the Bands contest and got to open for the Mamas & Papas when they performed at Vanderbilt.

But I don’t think anyone was really listening to us, since the Mamas & Papas, and most of the audience were stoned. And we were just trying not to inhale too deeply so we could remember what we were supposed to play.

Ahh! The Good Old Days.

As the saying goes, “If I’d known I was going to live this long, I would have taken better care of myself.”

And believe me, it was touch and go there a number of times.

April 13, 2020

Blazing Hot . . . Not!

For dinner tonight we used our Ninja Foodie Air Fryer Grille to cook up a batch of these Pilgrim’s Blazing Wings. They’re pre-breaded and ready to pop in the grille.

Pilgrims's Blazing Wings

And they turned out great, juicy and crispy. But Blazing Hot they were not. At least not for Jan and I. Mildly Warm would be more accurate.

But they were good, and we’ll get them again, if only just for the convenience.

Our park owner said he was fine with the shed’s location, so I’ll bolt it down to the base tomorrow and then we can start sorting stuff and moving things into it.

I’m also going to replace all the inside and outside RG-6 cables for our satellite system. They’re all about 10 years old, and it seems like some of the connectors have become kind of flakey. Though I could go through and replace all the F connectors, it’s just quicker and easier to replace the cables.

April 13, 2021

Another One Bites The Dust . . .

I forgot to mention last weekend that when we ate at the Monterey’s up in Alvin last Friday night, we got some more info about the reopening of the Monterey’s near us over in Dickinson. It’s been closed ever since it was flooded during Hurricane Harvey in August 2017, but we kept being told that it was going to reopen ‘soon’. And we have been hearing that for the last 3 years or so.

Until last month when a dumpster appeared out front and workers were swarming over the place. And now it looks like they’re adding on to the kitchen area on the north side of the building.

Turns out our waiter used to work at that location, though we didn’t remember him. Maybe because we were traveling, but it looks like it should be opened again in the next couple of months.

Really looking forward to it.

After getting somewhat coffeenated this morning, we went outside, and while Jan supervised (watched) I worked on some of the upgrades we’re doing in our patio area.

But the first thing I did was to check out my idea for a computer-controlled watering system for Jan’s hibiscus to keep it healthy while we’re gone for a couple of weeks this coming June.

I started with an empty kitty litter bucket, a submersible water pump like this,

Submersible Water Pump

and a computer-controlled plug, giving me this.

Hibiscus Watering Setup

As a first test, I was able to use the Smart Life controller app to turn on the pump, and the water started flowing immediately. But too much, too fast.

The scheduler program for the computer plug will only let me turn the pump on and off in one-minute intervals, and even one minute was going to be too much water at once. But looking over the pump, I found an adjustment lever on the side that let me throttle down the flow until one or two minutes seemed to get me close to the correct amount of water.

So I set up a schedule in the Smart Life app that turns the pump on for one minute between 9:00 and 9:01 every morning. Now I’ll just have to monitor the plant to see how it does over the next week or so.

Another addition to our patio redo was to get a heavy base for our umbrella. Found one that I ordered from WalMart that’s made to self-support an umbrella, rather than support one under a patio table.

So I got this 30# one,

WalMart Umbrella Base

to go with this 80” tiltable patio umbrella.

Patio Umbrella

Though we bought it in 2014 for a gate guarding location, we actually never used it, and it was still wrapped up and stored in the back of the truck, so it’s just like new.

And I did order some ping pong balls for our Sous Vide cooker. Actually, though, they’re Beer Pong balls.

Sous Vide Ping Pong Balls 2

At least the cooking process will be colorful.

April 13, 2022

Auto-ing It . . .

Spent most of the day at work writing a bunch of scripts in AutoIt to automate and speed up a bunch of tasks here at the office.

AutoIt is an easy to use, very powerful, FREE scripting language for Windows. Pretty much anything you can do manually on a Windows computer you can write an AutoIt script to do it for you, automatically.

In one case the script opens a program, waits a couple of seconds, then enters a username and password. Then after waiting another few seconds, it starts a sort of the customer database, backs it up, and then closes the program.

Tomorrow Jan and I are heading up to the Spring area to meet up with Debi and Ed Hurlburt at El Palenque for our monthly lunch once again. Really looking forward to it.

April 13, 2023


After coffee and a quiet morning we left about 1:30 heading down to the Gringo’s down in the Texas City area to meet up with our regular monthly Alvin Opry group get-together.

Gringo’s is a kind of a Jimmy Changas clone, with much the same menu, though actually Gringo’s came first.

Supposedly Jimmy Changas is more upscale and kid-friendly, though it would seem those two are directly opposite.

But as I said, the menu is pretty much the same. In fact Jan and I both had the same thing here at Gringo’s that we had our last two visits at Jimmy Changas.

Jan got the Pollo Marisco, a Grilled Chicken Breast covered with Shrimp and Crawfish in a White Wine Cream Sauce.

Gringo's Pollo Mariscos

While I got the big bowl of Chicken Tortilla Soup once again

Gringo's Chicken Tortilla Soup

The food was delicious and the company was great as always. But when we went to schedule our next month’s to-do, we realized that Jan and I will be on our Alabama trip then, so we do have a June date instead, this time at the Texas Roadhouse in our area.

We haven’t gone there before for one of these because they’re not usually open until 5pm during the week, but it seems they’ve recently started opening at 11am on Thursdays, which will work out great for us.

My Eclipse T-Shirt came in today,

Solar Eclipse T-Shirt

and Jan liked it so much that I had to order one for her.

America Totality Spring 4.08.24 Total Solar Eclipse 2024 T-Shirt

So now we’ve got matching outfits for the big day.

Again on the Eclipse, several readers asked about using a piece of glass smoked with a candle to view the Eclipse.


There are plenty of stories online about people getting severe eye damage, often permanent, by doing this.

Just be sure that whatever you buy has the NASA ISO 12312-2 certification on them.

Be safe out there.