Daily Archives: April 15, 2024

Good To Go . . .

For Another Year.

We were up at about 6am this morning, and on our way a little after 7, heading up to Friendswood for our yearly Doctor’s appointments set for 8am. We always schedule these appointments for the first thing in the morning, since it seems as the day goes on, things fall further and further behind. But this way we were on our way a little after 9:30.

I had mentioned before that, due to the discontinuation of our Kroger’s Pharmacy Plan, I was looking for a new drug provider. And after a lot of research, I settled on Mark Cuban’s Cost Plus Drugs.

The prices were even better than Kroger’s, so I set up accounts online for both of us a couple of days ago. And it looked like our doctor would just have to send our prescriptions into them like they now send them into Kroger’s. But then the nurse who took the CPD info checked her system and said they couldn’t submit prescriptions to them because they weren’t in her ‘system.’ Well, bummer!

But then a few minutes later Dr. Spuhler stuck her head in the door and said the nurse was incorrect, and that they could submit them with no problems.

Everything looked good for both of us, at least until they get our lab tests back in a couple of days. She was really happy with my blood pressure, which came in at 122/71. Which is almost exactly what my smart watch tells me.

Yay Me And Jan!

And the prescriptions showed up in our CPD’s account before we even left the office.

Finishing up we made a Dollar Tree stop for some things that Jan was looking for, and then a quick visit to the office to install some panel bulbs that had come in.

Then it was on over to our reward for our good doctor visits, Grimaldi’s Pizzeria.

And after our salads, we got our usual 18” The Don pizza. It comes with Italian Sausage, Pepperoni, and Meatballs, to which we add Mushrooms, Bacon, and Jalapenos.

And we get the 18” one so we have half of it to take home with us.

Our server this time was Emily, a very nice young lady who took great care of us. Hopefully, we’ll see her again.

Hi, Emily!

As we were leaving after our delicious meal, I saw these 40# bags of coal stacked out front, as in their coal-fired pizza ovens.

I thought it was interesting that this is Santa Claus-brand Coal. So I guess Santa has some left over after Christmas each year. You can only fit so much in each stocking, I guess.

Later this evening, I logged into our CostPlus accounts and got our prescriptions on the way. And even with the $7 shipping fee, it was still cheaper than Kroger’s.

The only problem is that it seems that two of Jan’s scripts didn’t come through, so I’ll call the doctor’s office tomorrow and get it straightened out.

Thought For The Day:

All men like to think they’re marrying nymphomaniacs. The problem is, often after a few years, the nympho leaves and the maniac stays.

Your Retro-Preview Highlights –

2010 – Our Tour of the Warner Bros. Studios in Los Angeles

2015 – Our Second Visit to the Out of Africa Wildlife Park in Arizona

Now On To Today’s Retro-Blogs.™

April 15, 2010

Warner Bros. and Baja…

We left for Hollywood and our Warner Bros.Studio Tour about 9 am, about 3 hours before our tour was to start.  And I’m glad we did.

I figured it would take us about an hour and 15 minutes to get there and that would give us plenty of time to walk around and then eat lunch before our 12:00 noon tour.

But we hit a lot of traffic after we left the freeway, so it took us almost two hours to get there, get parked, and get checked in. That left us an hour to find a place to eat.

One of the problems with the traffic turned out to be the fact that Hollywood Blvd. was shut down on the block in front of Grauman’s Chinese Theater. At first, we thought they were filming a movie due to all the production trucks It turned out to be a promotion for the upcoming Long Beach Grand Prix.


Looking around we decided to try Baja Fresh Mexican Grill right across the street. We’d seen the restaurants around but never tried one, so this seemed like a good chance. According to their ads, everything is fresh. They say they don’t even have a can opener.

Lunch was very good. Jan had a two-taco plate and I had a bowl of chicken tortilla soup and a pork nacho burrito.

Walking back across the street to Grauman’s we looked over the footprints in the courtyard. Here’s one for Roy Rogers and Trigger.


We were supposed to leave on our tour at noon, but didn’t get picked up until about 12:30. The bus drove us over to the Warner Bros. studio to actually begin our tour.

The first thing we saw was the iconic Warner Bros. water tower.


It’s no longer a real water tower. It’s really just a sign now.

The first part of the tour took us through some of the many backlot sets.

Backlot 3

And here is a backlot used in the TV show ER.

It shows the EL train trestle and the ambulance entrance to the hospital.

Backlot 2

Unfortunately, with much of the really neat stuff, we were not allowed to take pictures.

We visited the set of one of our favorite shows, “Two and a Half Men”, which is on hiatus. It was interesting to see how different the sets look when you’re sitting in the audience instead of watching on TV.

Next, we watched an outdoor shot being filmed for a new TV show called “Pretty Little Liars” This is a pilot show developed from a series of young adult books.

Then we visited a car museum showing cars from movies and TV shows filmed at Warner Bros.

Here the Sunbeam Tiger used in the recent “Get Smart” movie

Get Smart

Here’s one version of the Batmobile.

Batmobile 1

And here’s another.

Batmobile 2

And here’s a scene showing the car from “Harry Potter”.

Harry Potter

Next, we saw the General Lee from the “Dukes of Hazzard” TV show. During the show’s run, they went through 257 of these.

General Lee

In the General Lee pic above, notice the green screen in the upper right. They used this to show us how they can insert something into a scene that’s not really there.

They photographed us in front of the screen and then put a movie scene in with us.


The last thing we saw was the complete “Central Perk” coffee house set from “Friends”, using all the original furniture and props.


We really enjoyed this behind-the-scenes type of tour. We had done one of the special effects tours at Disney World last year that showed all the stunts and tricks, so it was nice to see something different.

By 4 pm we were on our way home. Heading out this late I was worried about going-home traffic, but it wasn’t too bad. We were home by 5:30 and in from the night.

April 15, 2011

Prescott and the Dells . . .

(Sounds like a 60’s singing group, doesn’t it.)

BTW it’s ‘Prescut’, not Pres Scott.

Anyway, today was a road-trip day, so we got on the road about 10 am for the 50-mile trip to the Prescott and Prescott Valley area.

Getting there, we first headed out to the Granite Dells area.

Granite Dells 1

Granite Dells 2

Granite Dells 3

Granite Dells 4

Granite Dells 5

Granite Dells 6

The Dells are a 1.4 billion (that’s Billion with B) year-old formation that was upthrust from the volcanic magma underneath. It was a mixture of softer rock, along with the harder granite, all bubbling together. Over the past hundreds of millions of years, the softer rock has eroded away, leaving only the ‘bubbles’ of granite.

The granite rocks here also have an unusually high amount of uranium, so any houses in the area must be regularly checked for radon.

After leaving the Granite Dells area, and taking a drive through the local VA Hospital, looking at some of the old buildings left over from when it was Fort Whipple, an Army base, we drove through the downtown area, taking in the sights and checking out some of the many Victorian-styled houses in the downtown historic district.

This one was the home of Barry Goldwater’s parents.

Prescott House 1

By then it was lunchtime, so we headed back out to a Fuddruckers in the Prescott Valley area. Our burgers were great as usual, and although, we didn’t try them, they now have burgers made with Buffalo, Elk, Ostrich, and Wild Boar.

After lunch, we took in some of the many shops in the downtown area around the courthouse known as Whiskey Row. Whiskey Row got its name because in the late 1800’s it was home to over 40 saloons. It was also a notorious red-light district until the middle 1950’s. Sounds like a place where a guy could have a really good time.

Jan did find a very nice bead and stone Indian-styled necklace at one of the shops that we got a really good deal on since it was the end of the season.

Before leaving the downtown area, we drove around for a while, looking at more of these really beautiful homes.

Prescott House 2

Prescott House 3

I was wondering why you would find so many of these Victorian-styled houses out here in Arizona. It turns out that the area was originally settled by folks from the Northern and Mid-Western states, who brought their favorite architecture with them.

Prescott was the first capital of the Arizona Territory, starting in 1864. It was also the 3rd capital, but that’s another story.

Finally heading for home, we stopped off at the Sam’s Club in Prescott Valley, and then checked out the RV facilities at the local Elk’s Lodge. You can never tell when we might want to stay here.

Our last stop in the area was a very large Ace Hardware that we saw on our way into town.

Getting back into Camp Verde about 6:15, we made a DQ stop for a little frozen refreshment, before heading home about 7:30.

A long, but very fun day.

Tomorrow it’s another road trip. This time up to Flagstaff. Coming home, we’ll probably come back the longer, scenic route through Sedona.

April 15, 2012

Out In The Middle Of Nowhere!

Well, we’re parked at our first gate out in the middle of nowhere.

No Internet.

No cell phone.

Fun, fun, fun.

Will post a full blog tomorrow.

April 15, 2013

OK, Now I’m Confused . . .

Jan’s been wanting to have breakfast some morning, and today was the day. We decided to give Over Easy a try. A new entry in the “breakfast and lunch only” field, along with places like The Egg & I, Jimmy’s Egg, Le Peep, and others,

Over Easy

and it turns out to be a pretty good entry, at that.

Jan went old-school with scrambled eggs, bacon, and hash browns, but went a little wild with brioche toast, which she said was delicious.

Brioch French Toast

I, on the other hand, went with the Caramelized Banana and Pecan Brioche French Toast, and WOW, was it good. Hopefully, we’ll go back.

Now that’s just pitiful!

Mister in Small Box

I’ve mentioned before how much Mister likes boxes, especially Amazon boxes like this one. He likes to curl up in them, and he likes to snack on them. But sometimes it’s a futile attempt.

He did try with this one, though, a valiant effort, but he just won’t fit. He’d sit in it, get out, turn around, look at it, then try it again from the other direction. Finally, he just gave up and started chewing on it.

Whatever works, I guess.

It seems like every time I talk to Thousand Trails, I get more confused. I called today to first book the rest of our time here at Countryside and then book our two-week stay at Tahoe Valley RV Park in South Lake Tahoe from 5/16 to 5/30.

I had been told last week that I could stay two weeks here at Countryside at $3 a night and then I would have to be out of the park for a week before I could come back in.

As it turned out, being ‘out of the park’, just meant paying the $140 a week Passport America for one week, and then I could come back in for $3 a night until we leave the first of May.

Even though this was supposedly all set up, it still took about 15 minutes to get it finalized, and they still got me booked into the wrong park to start with.

Then I tried to book the two weeks at Tahoe Valley and ran into another problem. Although I could see Tahoe Valley in my TT park list online, I couldn’t access it or book it myself.

When this happened when I tried to book our stay here at Countryside, I was once again told that we could use any park that was on our list, but if I couldn’t do it online, just call TT and they would take care of it.

But when I tried today, I was told that I couldn’t stay at that park. When I said I had repeatedly been told by them that if I could see a park I could stay there, the lady went off for about 10 minutes, before coming back and saying, well, I COULD stay there, but only in a tent. WTH?

When I asked her what good was the list if it wasn’t correct, and how we could plan our travels under those circumstances, she didn’t really have an answer.

Finally, I gave up, and figured I’d try again tomorrow and hopefully get someone else who could be more helpful.

A little later I started going through the online list, trying to determine what parks I could and could not visit.

I played around for a while, checking out different areas of the Thousand Trails site. And then all of a sudden I could access the Tahoe Village Park. And the other ‘forbidden’ parks too.

But I thought I’d made a mistake when I started trying other things, going in and out of the program, and then suddenly it didn’t work anymore. And I hadn’t taken time to go ahead and book Tahoe Village while I could. But I keep on trying things and discovered the secret.

When you log into TT, you first see your profile page with your name, address, etc. A little further down the page, you find a drop-down box saying Select From Your Preserves. And note it says “Your” preserves.

When you select a regular TT park, you are taken to another page telling you about that particular park. Then up on the top left is a box that says Make A Reservation where you can do just that.

But if you first select a ‘forbidden’ park from the initial profile page, it doesn’t go anywhere. It merely refreshes the page and puts you right back where you started.

However on that same profile page, up on the left side, under the heading Quick Links, there is a Book A Reservation link at the very top. If you go here, you can select one of the ‘forbidden’ parks and book it. And I did.

And it’s not a Tent site either.

With that done, I went down to the office to pick up our Amazon package, and also be sure that when we change sites next Sunday, we go right back next door to #441 from #440. I’m glad I did because the computer had us moving to 507.

That taken care of,  I dropped off some mail, including the taxes, at the PO.

On the way home I stopped off to fill up the truck and discovered that overnight, unleaded had jumped 10 cents a gallon. It was $3.49 yesterday and $3.59 everywhere today.

But diesel stayed the same. ???

6000 Miles to Go:

2013 Trip Map

This map diagrams our travels for pretty much the rest of the year. Leaving here at Apache Junction on May 1st, this 6000 miles gets us back to Houston on August 16th, just in time for Landon’s 3rd birthday.

After that, we may gate guard for a few months before coming back to Houston right before Thanksgiving where we’ll spend the winter.

For dinner, we ended up at our favorite local Chinese Buffet, #1 Eastern Super Buffet. And it’s our favorite for a good reason. A really, really good reason, especially for the Hot & Sour Soup and the ribs.

Getting back to the rig, Jan and I headed out for our 1 mile+ walk before calling it a night.

April 15, 2014

Blood Moon Rising . . .

I spent some time outside last night getting some pictures of the Blood Moon Eclipse,

But the photos didn’t come out as well as I had hoped, for two reasons. First off, I couldn’t find either my monopod or my tripod. I suspect they got packed away when I was going through the bins. And second, it was 40 degrees outside which made it hard to hold the camera steady. And I can’t really operate it with gloves on.

Blood Moon 1

Blood Moon 2

About halfway through the eclipse, the red started coming out.

Blood Moon 3

Here it’s almost done. I couldn’t get a good photo of the full eclipse because there wasn’t enough light for my camera to focus on.

Blood Moon 4

I’m glad the weather cooperated in seeing this. And even better, there are 3 more coming in the next 18 months – Oct. 8, 2014, April 4, 2015, and Sept. 28, 2015.

To see all four and collect the entire set.

A little after 5pm Jan and I headed over to Vernon’s Kuntry Katfish for supper. We first ate here a couple of weeks ago when we were here at the Lake Conroe Thousand Trails for the first time. This time Jan had the Grilled Catfish Filets, and I had the Fried Catfish and Shrimp. The catfish is as good as the Sealand Seafood Restaurant over in La Grange, but I think the shrimp here is frozen, not fresh. It had that very slight mushy texture that’s usually a giveaway.

Vernon's Katfish Platter

We also got an order of their Fried Green Tomatoes. Again really good.

Afterward we drove across the road to the Wal-Mart to get the ingredients for the dishes we’re taking to Brandi’s Easter dinner this coming Sunday. By popular request, Jan’s fixing her Squash Casserole, and of course, her Sausage Balls. Those are the first things everyone asks. Is Jan bringing her Sausage Balls?

The recipes for both of these can be found under the Jan’s Favorite Recipes tab.

April 15, 2015

On Safari . . .

Since we were starting out early on our African safari today, we decided to have breakfast here at the park’s Homestyle Grill before heading out. Except for the funky biscuits, the food here is delicious, and very well done.

We headed out from the park about 9:15, but on our way, we had to make a detour and render unto Caesar by making a stop at the PO in Camp Verde to put the tax stuff in the mail. Ugh!

Then it was on to Out of Africa, getting there about 10am, leaving us plenty of time to catch a tram to the other side of the park for our 11am Unimog Adventure.

Out Of Africa Entrance

You’d think they could at least buy a vowel, or a consonant, at least.

The Unimog Tour is an upgrade from the standard Safari tour using an MB vehicle like this one, but ours had a longer passenger area.


Erin, our guide, took us through the park, stopping off to feed many of the predators, usually just tidbits of meat using long tongs, of course.

Erin and the Hyenas

Erin and the Hyenas 2

Erin Feeding First Tiger

Erin Feeding Tiger

Erin Feeding Tiger 1

Erin Feeding Tiger 2


But rather than meat, the Ringed Tail Lemurs got grapes.

Erin Feeding the Lemurs

Next driving around to the other side, we passed Jericho, the 5000 pound Southern White rhino. The last time we were here in 2011 they had a 41 year Southern White rhino named Boom-Boom, but he died a couple of years ago.

Jericho the Rhino

Finally, we drove through double gates out into the Serengeti area that mimics the plains of Africa. Many of the animals here are out in the open and can, and do walk right up to the bus.

Asian Water Buffalo



OOA Watusi

OOA Camel 1

OOA Giraffe 1

OOA Giraffe 2

Finishing up our tour, we got a cold drink, and just sat and people-watched for a while before walking over to the Tiger Splash area a little early to get a good seat.

Tiger Splash 0

The Tiger Splash was our favorite attraction last time, and this visit was no different. It’s really amazing to see the handlers inside the enclosure, swimming, playing, and wrestling with these two big cats.

Tiger Splash 1

Tiger Splash 2

Tiger Splash 3

Tiger Splash 4

Tiger Splash 7

Tiger Splash 5

Tiger Splash 9

Tiger Splash 8

Tiger Splash 6

You can even play ‘Tiger Tug of War”.

To paraphrase Star Wars, “Let the Tiger win.”

One thing different about the Tiger Splash this time, is that afterward, for $5, you can feed a tiger yourself.

At least with a long stick, and a fence between you and the tiger. Probably a good thing.

Jan Tiger Feed 1

Jan Tiger Feed 2

Jan really enjoyed this part.

One of the reasons we picked today to visit is that Wednesday is one of the park’s predator-feeding days. And being Wednesday, it’s Turkey Day.

No dressing, just turkeys.

Whole or half ones, thrown over the fence.

Predator Feed 2

See, turkeys can fly!

Predator Feed 1

As the park guys drive slowly around the predator areas, you can follow them on foot or in a tram and watch the big animals get fed.

Another one of our favorites.

Finishing our visit a little after 4pm, we, of course, hit the gift shop. I thought about getting this enormous white tiger for Landon,

Gift Shop Tiger

but it was $595.00. And that didn’t even include the snake.

I was wondering how they shipped it, but a little closer reading revealed the trick. The tiger has a strong air bladder inside, when collapsed, allows the tiger to fit inside an 18” x 18” shipping box. And when it’s delivered, you use the included air pump to ‘pump it up’. Touching it, you would swear it’s completely solid. Neat!

Leaving the park about 4:30, we decided to end a great day with a great meal, and so dinner at La Fonda fit the bill.

Just as great as last time.

Tomorrow will be another stay-at-home day, if only to rest up from all the walking we did today.

April 15, 2016

A Daddy’s Girl . . .

Nothing much this morning except coffee and web stuff. It was kind of overcast and fairly cool all day, but no rain. But it’s coming.

About 4:30 Jan and I headed into Conroe for dinner at Golden Corral and a few errands. It’s been a few months since we’ve eaten at this one, and it’s always been a good one.

It was nice to find that they’ve added some new specials, including Sriracha Chicken Tenders and Garlic Parmesan Sirloin Steak. And the Hot Mango Habanero Chicken Wings were really good too. The Sriracha Tenders were especially good.

We’ve been to some really bad Corral’s around the country, so we’re very happy to have a good one in our area.

After dinner, we circled around to the PO to drop off the taxes (yeah, I know they’re not really due until Monday, but why wait) and some other letters. Then it was right across the street to the Goodwill store to drop off the clothes we had recently purged from our closets. Jan has a lot more room now. Me, not as much.

Then it was on to the nearby Sam’s Club to drop off a prescription and pick up a few things. But first I had to get a replacement Sam’s card. I guess the last time we were here, I didn’t get my card back. Customer Service checked to see if it had been turned in, but no luck. So they just made me a new one.

Our son Chris called a little after 7pm, wanting to know if we still loved him. Said he’d called around 10:30 this morning and it had gone straight to voicemail, and we hadn’t called him back.

But checking my phone I showed no call and no voice mail from him this morning. So I guess it’s Verizon that doesn’t love him. and not us.

He said Miss Piper is still loving her new apartment, and her job as an ER Tech at UTMB Hospital, so everything’s good on that front.

The park water was off most of the morning. Don’t know if it was scheduled or not, but we always keep our fresh water tank pretty full, so it wasn’t a problem. Just turned on the pump and lived with it. But it came back on later in the afternoon.

Speaking of water, it looks like we’ve got a lot of it coming our way in the next week or so, with thunderstorms forecast for just about every day for the next two weeks. It’s going to be a bumpy night . . , and day.

Karma’s still getting bigger. Of course, she’ll never be Mister-size, but she’s certainly not a scrawny little kitten anymore.

Karma 2_thumb[1]

She’s turned out to be a real Daddy’s Girl. She’ll jump up on my leg and then climb up on my shoulder and just snuggle down. But Jan only gets to hold her when I’m not around.

Tomorrow, probably more of the same.


April 15, 2017

Beauty No More . . .

While Jan spent the morning reading, I worked on a new website for a client, and played around with our new Jetpack MiFi.

After lunch, later in the afternoon, I went outside to cut out the crimped section of my genset’s exhaust pipe.

The pipe was twisted toward the front of the rig, which could only have happened as the rig backed up and the pipe hung up on something. But then something caused it to be bent back to the rear, crimping the pipe.

Genset Tailpipe Cutting 1

I used my jigsaw with a metal blade to cut the pipe off above the crimp, the only problem being that the blade was a little too short to cut straight through so I had to rotate the saw around the pipe until I was done.

Genset Tailpipe Cutting 2

Then I took the crimped piece back to the picnic table and cut off the crimp.

Genset Tailpipe Cutting 3

Monday I’ll take the pipe down to Home Depot to find a coupling and maybe an extension piece to be sure the replacement extends out past the side of the coach like it’s supposed to vent the exhaust fumes.

When we bought our coach around the end of 2007 and picked it up on January 6, 2008, Jan immediately named it ‘Beauty’. And when I set up our first Cradlepoint AirCard router I named our WiFi SSID ‘Beauty’ and it’s been that way ever since.

Until now.

Our new WiFi SSID is now ‘Verizon-MiFi7730L-7901”. I think I can change it but I’ve already connected my Galaxy S5 phone, my desktop computer, my laptop computer, 4 Kindles, an Amazon Echo, an Amazon Dot, and a Galaxy Tab 4. So I’ll wait a while to change the SSID to ‘Beauty’  because I’ll have to do this all over again.

Jan is going to take over my old S5 to replace her LG Revere flip phone, with just changing the S5 to her old phone number all that’s needed.

Depending on the time of day, I  get somewhere between 10 and 25 Mbps. After getting used to pages coming up on 3G, they now seem almost instantaneous.

Very nice.

April 15, 2018

A Great Trip, But The Homecoming, Not So Much . . .

We both slept late this morning, probably because it was so cold, and the bed was so warm with our heated mattress pad. And even after we got up it was slow going, but finally, about noon we started getting ready for our afternoon drive.

I guess we weren’t as out of practice as we thought after our 5-month sojourn here at Petticoat Junction because we were pulling out about 5 minutes after 1.  But we didn’t get far. Not even out of the park.

I noticed that my Delorme Street Atlas program was not getting a signal from the GPS antenna. Now my normal remedy for this is to unplug the USB connector and then plug it back in, but when I did this I got the dreaded BSOD (Blue Screen Of Death).


This is what shows up when Windows runs into an error that it absolutely can’t handle, throws up its hands, and says “I’m out of here.”

So I pulled over to the side and spent about 10 minutes rebooting several times, all with the same result. So finally I just set up my Silverleaf Engine Monitor Display and did it without the GPS program.

Normally I have a display like this on the laptop that sits to my right.

Silverleaf 2

It gives me both audio and video route information, as well as expanded info on the rig and the engine. But now I’ll just have the computer display.

We finally left the park about 1:20 and got out on Hwy 6 south for about 10 miles until we crossed under I-45 and onto the feeder and headed back north. We did miss the first turn to get on the feeder, but apparently, a lot of people do because it comes up so fast on a blind curve. But they have a handy-dandy U-turn right down the road for people just like us.

We then had a 12-mile run at Interstate speeds up the FM517 exit at Dickinson. From here we had planned to turn left and take 517 all the way up to Alvin and then back down Hwy 6 to Santa Fe and the park.

But we had done 30 miles with absolutely no problems so we decided to just turn onto FM646 and make a straight run home.

Getting parked back in our site I quickly discovered that we had no power at the pedestal. And it seemed like the problem might be in the breaker. When you turned it on, it didn’t make that sharp ‘clunk’ that you expect, but just a dull ‘snap’.

Now normally when a breaker really goes bad, it has a spongy feel, but this one didn’t. But it just felt ‘funny’.

I texted the park owner about 3:15 who said he would be there shortly. But his definition of ‘shortly’ must be different than mine because he didn’t show up until about 6:30, 3 hours later.

He seemed pretty skeptical that a breaker that worked fine this morning would just die. But after measuring the voltage at the receptacle 2 or 3 times and taking the cover off, he finally admitted it was a bad breaker. And luckily he had a spare, so we did have to wait until tomorrow for him to pick one up. So about 7pm we finally had power.

Lucky for us was the fact that the temp never made it about 65° today so we were comfortable waiting without needing to run the generator for the AC’s.

Finishing up, our test drive, the purpose of all this today, went off without a hitch, with the rig running fine. So we’re all set for our Illinois/Alabama trip in June. The only other prep thing is to have the RV Mobile Lube guy come out in May to change out all the filters and fluids on the rig and generator and we’ll be good to go.

April 15, 2019

It’s In Ripper-Vision . . .

Strangely enough, I spent most of today at work ordering baby furniture. My client and his wife are fostering a two-week-old baby, so I’m apparently in charge of the Amazon Prime ordering.

I did get my tax forms in the mail today. Nothing like waiting until the last minute. I hate to give money to anyone before I have to, especially the government.

Following up on our LegalZoom wills, Jan and I will stop by my client’s tomorrow afternoon to get him and the office manager to witness our wills. Also, if after you do your will, download it, and then find a problem, you have 30 days to make any further updates or changes at no charge.

Right now I’m printing 3 copies of our wills and affidavits for tomorrow, and I’m really surprised that I’m able to do that. On our trip up to Kingsland last weekend my HP 4650 Inkjet printer took a header off the computer desk. Scared the barf of Karma (literally) because she was sleeping between our chairs about a foot away.

I had pulled it out to the side so I could access the printer’s document feeder and forgot to push it back into place. So I was really surprised when, after I popped the document feeder lid back in place and powered it up, it printed and scanned fine.

HP builds them tough, I guess.

As if I didn’t have enough to do right now, this weekend the front disc brakes on our Dodge Dakota started complaining, so I stopped off at O’Reilly’s on Saturday to order a set of ceramic pads, that I picked up on the way home from work today.

Ideally I’d wait until A.C. (After Cruise), but right now I’m still on the warning area of the worn-down pads and don’t want to start scarring the rotors. So it looks like Thursday will be the day.

But since my jack stands seem to have moved up to Kingsland with Chris, I’ll pick up a couple tomorrow at WalMart. Only $8.83 each, so not bad.

Ever since our rig’s blowout in May 2015, our windshield has leaked around the top outside corners. And it had nothing to do with the actual blowout.

When the repair place was replacing the dented diesel fuel tank, they lifted the front of the rig up about  4 feet using one of those vertical lift jacks. And when they let it back down they torqued the frame enough to crack the passenger-side glass. And it’s leaked ever since. But we didn’t discover it until months later when we were back in Texas and had our first heavy rain.

I had it looked at several times to have it resealed but it never fixed the problem. So after trying to caulk it a couple of times with no real luck, I got out the big guns.

Gorilla Tape Waterproof Patch and Seal Tape

Like Eternabond Tape, it has a peel-off release liner that covers a super-strength adhesive that once stuck in place, stays in place. And the outer black layer is waterproof and UV-resistant.

Rig Windshield Gorilla Taping

So I cut strips to fit, peeled off the liner, and stuck it in place. Looks pretty good too. You have to be up close to see the difference. Now I’m really looking forward to the next big rain.

I booked what is probably our last post-cruise London tour this morning. Any others we will probably wait until we’re in the area. Long-time friend and blog reader, Jim Hamm recommended that we check out one of the many Jack the Ripper tours.

Most of them seem to be in the morning or afternoon, but who wants to take a spooky Ripper tour in the daylight? So we picked one that starts at 7:30 at night.

Jack the Ripper Tour with RipperVision

And this one comes with Ripper-Vision.


Apparently ‘Ripper-Vision’ is some sort of projector system that shows what the buildings and areas actually looked like at the time of the murders.

This still leaves us one completely free day in London, and, of course, the morning and afternoon of the Ripper Tour.

April 15, 2020

The Poop is in the Mail . . .

Well, as of this morning, our September 2020 Alaskan cruise has been canceled. Holland America says no more Alaska cruises for the rest of the year, so we have a couple of decisions to make.

We can, and will rebook the the same cruise for next year, but maybe for May 2021, rather than September 2021. On the plus side of this, we will get a 125% credit toward our replacement cruise, which we may use to upgrade our room from an Inside one to an Ocean View one. Or maybe some upgraded excursions. We’ll just have to see.

But our big decision is whether or not we’ll still head on up to Fairbanks anyway. We had planned to fly up a week before our cruise started so we spent extra time there, checking out our old haunts and favorite joints from our 5-month stay during the summer of 2008.

So one thought is that we go ahead and use our very cheap, but non-refundable plane tickets to spend our already-booked time in Fairbanks, and then book a new flight from Fairbanks to Vancouver, B.C. At that point we’ll spend a few days checking out Vancouver before flying home on our very cheap, but non-refundable plane tickets back to Houston.

That way we wouldn’t lose our tickets. But when I talked to Chantelle Nugent, our family friend/travel agent, she said that under the circumstances we may be able to rebook them for our new cruise for free, or maybe a small charge.

A possible problem with doing the Fairbanks-only trip, is that we don’t know what will actually be open when we’re there. With all the cruises canceled, there may not be a lot of the tourist stuff open. Many of the attractions and hotels are actually owned by the cruise lines, and the lines have already said that they will all be closed too. So we’ll just have to see how it goes.

I got an email from our family physician yesterday saying that they had received a limited number of CoVid-19 Antibody Tests, and to call them if I was interested.

So now I have an appointment for Monday morning to get checked to see if I had the WuFlu back in February like I thought. They said the test only takes 15-20 minutes, so I should know before I leave. The cost with Medicare is $50, so if I’m positive, we’ll get Jan tested to see if she had it too, but was asymptomatic.

Jan and I sent off our Cologuard colon cancer tests this morning. Though it’s certainly better than a full-blown colonoscopy, it was a lot more involved than the one we did a few years ago. But at least it’s done for another couple of years.

So the poop’s in the mail.

People have started receiving their Stimulus Checks, with the first bunch going out through the IRS, based on tax refunds, in the last few days. Supposedly if you’re receiving Social Security and have direct deposit, you will receive yours in the next bunch.

Or if you’re really lucky you might be like this guy who, hoping his Stimulus Check had come in, checked his ATM and found it had.

Eight Million Stimulus Check

But along with his check. he apparently got a whole lot of other people’s too. Unfortunately, when he checked with the bank the next morning, it had disappeared.


April 15, 2021

From Start To Finish . . .

Looking forward to our get-together, Jan and I were on our way up to the Spring Cypress area to the El Palenque Mexican Restaurant where we were meeting up with long-time friends Janice and Dave Evans, and Debi and Ed Hurlburt for lunch at noon.

Our Garmin GPS said it would take us about an hour, but with Houston traffic, you never know. Normally I would check Waze to see if we needed to take the Hardy Toll road bypass around downtown Houston, but today I decided to live dangerously and just wing it. And it all worked out.

This time.

It was really good to see everyone, especially Janice and Dave, since it’s been a couple of years since we’ve seen them. And of course, it’s always good to see Debi and Ed too.

Everyone had something different I think, with Jan having their Rancho Grande, a grilled chicken breast with grilled shrimp all smothered in cheese.

El Palenque Rancho Grande

And if you’ve got to be ‘smothered’, cheese is the way to go. Plus Jan said it was really good.

I decided to try the Garden Fajitas, with beef, chicken, shrimp, bacon, mushrooms, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, and zucchini, also smothered in cheese.

El Palenque Garden Fajitas

Really, really delicious, and after I’d eaten all I could hold, I had even more left over for, well, leftovers.

We all had a great time catching up, so as usual lunch was over two hours long, but it seemed like a lot less since the company was so good.

El Palenque Bunch 20210415

So good, in fact, that we made a date for another get-together about a month from now. Already looking forward to it.

That’s Dave and Janice on the left, and Ed, my Jan, and Debi on the right.

As we were leaving the parking lot, we discovered that it seems that Batman has upgraded his Batmobile.

El Palenque Batman Bus

I wonder if he now just has Robin drive him from crime to crime, or maybe Alfred, I guess.

Coming home was also a smooth trip, with only a couple of slowdowns. and after a HEB and a Cowboy Coffee stop, we were home a little before 4pm.

A very nice day from start to finish.

April 15, 2023

It’s A Go!

Lunch today was up in Webster at Texas Huddle once again. With Juana taking her usual great care of us, we got our usual.

Which she always remembers exactly what we get.

For Jan, that’s her Keto (Bunless) Mushroom Bacon Cheese Burger and a Side Salad.

Texas Huddle Side Salad and Keto Burger 20230415

I got the Five Wings (All Drums)  done with their Flaming Raspberry sauce along with Celery and their really good homemade Jalapeno Ranch for a dipping sauce.

Texas Huddle Wings 20230415

Then it was on back down to our area for our weekly WalMart visit.

Well, this past Friday, SpaceX finally received a 5-Year FAA Launch License for Starship down in Boca Chica, TX.

They had to jump through a lot of hoops, mostly environmental, it seems. That’s because SpaceX’s Starbase is built in the middle of a couple of Wildlife areas. And in fact, several environmental groups are still trying to get a judge to cancel the license.

A bunch of us were discussing this on another forum I visit, I posted that Starbase was really no different than Cape Kennedy (Canaveral). Here’s what I posted.

Starting in the early 60’s, Cape Canaveral was built in the middle of several big ‘wildlife’ areas. Of course back then they were called ‘swamps’ and were the perfect places to launch big containers of fuel into the sky that were probably going to blow up, at least in the early days. Probably wouldn’t be able to build there today.

Elon Musk said he figures this first flight has about a 50% chance of success.

“I’m not saying it will get to orbit, but I am guaranteeing excitement,” Musk said in an interview at the Morgan Stanley Conference on March 7, adding: “Won’t be boring!”

The Starship Launch Window starts Monday 17th, running from 7am to 9:30am, with possible launches through the 24th.

The video link below will be live-streaming the launch whenever it happens.

There is also scheduled the first Orbital Launch of the Falcon Heavy (that’s the one with two boosters that come back and land) on Tuesday the 18th from Cape Kennedy, with the Launch Window starting at 7:29pm EDT.