Daily Archives: April 18, 2024

In The Outback . . .

Jan and I were on our way up to Conroe about 9:30 this morning, stopping only for gas right down the road from the rig. The trip went really smoothly, with only a couple of slow-downs along the way.

Debi and Ed got there just a few minutes after we did and we got our orders in.

And of course, what’s any visit to Outback without a Blooming Onion? Just as good as when we first started having them 30+ years ago.

I started out with a Side Salad as my second side,

while Jan got double Veggies to go with her Alice Springs Chicken and Sirloin Steak.

She had thought on the way up there that she would have her long-time favorite Alice Springs Chicken, but after getting there, thought she really might want a steak.

So she got the best of both worlds. In other words, Both.

I did stick to my guns and got my long-time fav, the 2 8oz. Pork Chops with a Caramel Mustard Sauce, also with the Mixed Veggies.

We had our usual great time with Debi and Ed, but unfortunately, we won’t be able to get together next month since we’ll be back in Alabama for 2+ weeks.

Thought for the Day:

Humans share 50% of their DNA with bananas. Well, that certainly explains a lot about some people I’ve met.

Your Retro-Preview Highlights –

2011 – Montezuma and Tuzigoot Monuments

2012 – More On Our First Days Of Gate-Guarding

And Now On To Today’s Retro-Blogs.™

April 18, 2010

IHOP and WalMart…

We decided we wanted breakfast this morning so about 10 am we drove over to the IHOP in Lancaster about 3 miles away. The place was busy, but we only had to wait about 15 minutes so it wasn’t too bad.

But before we left the park we stopped by the office to pay for the next four days, thinking we would leave on Thursday. However, as usual, our plans are written in Jell-O, because after talking at breakfast we decided we’ll stay an extra 3 days which will be a full 2nd week here. We’ll see.

One thing we’ve noticed out here in CA is that most restaurant menus have the calorie count on them. And it’s interesting to see that things aren’t always what they seem. For instance, a Garden Omelet has about 1050 calories, but a Belgian waffle with two eggs and two strips of bacon has only about 790 calories. Who knew?

After breakfast, we went by WalMart and stocked up on ‘stuff’. Funny how we never seem to have enough ‘stuff’.

Leaving WalMart, we stopped off at the Sam’s Club gas station next door, since it was 27 cents a gallon cheaper than we had paid in LA.

Then it was home for the day.

Later in the afternoon, I put up our solar shades to help keep the coach cool, since without any shade here, the AC was really working to keep us cool.

Tomorrow we’re going back into LA to visit the La Brea Tar Pits and then drive around some more.

April 18, 2011

Montezuma and Tuzigoot . . .

Today was our last chance to see some of the other sights in the Verde Valley, so we decided to drive a big loop around the area to see the Indian ruins.

But our first stop after the Post Office to drop the tax forms in the mail, was to have breakfast at the Denny’s in Camp Verde.

Important stuff first.

Then it was on to Montezuma Castle National Monument, featuring some of the best preserved cliff dwellings in North America. Only inhabited from the 1100’s to the 1400’s, they actually have nothing to do with Montezuma, the Aztec leader. The ruins were wrongly attributed to him by the first American settlers to discover the ruins in the 1860’s, as the dwellings were abandoned more than a hundred years before Montezuma was born.

Montezuma Castle 1

The five-story dwelling had more than 20 rooms and housed about 50 people, and was accessed by tall ladders. This made the dwelling safe from most attacks.

It is unknown why the area was abandoned, but warfare, disease, or drought have been suggested.

Montezuma Castle 2

About a hundred yards down the cliff are the remains of what is known as Castle A. It was larger and more elaborate than the original, but almost nothing is left of it except the foundation.

Montezuma Castle 3

Montezuma Castle 4

While we were sitting on a bench gazing up at the ruins, our daughter Brandi called to say how much she enjoyed the pictures I had posted of Landon from yesterday’s Skype session.

The 1/4 mile walk around the loop and along the river was beautiful and relaxing, and worth the trip just for that.

Montezuma Castle Walk

Our next stop was about 15 miles up the Interstate at the Montezuma Well National Monument.

This hike was a little more work, with a climb of several hundred feet to the top of the ridge.

Montezuma Well 1

But it’s well (no pun intended) worth the climb. Walking out on the edge reveals a beautiful blue-green pool almost 400 feet across. The Well was created by the collapse of a limestone cavern eons ago, probably eaten away by the two underground springs that feed almost 1.5 million gallons of water a day into the pool.

Montezuma Well 4

And talk about your waterfront condo, there are several cliff dwellings underneath the rim. The Well has been in use for irrigating the surrounding fields since the 8th century.

Montezuma Well 7

Here’s my sweetie showing off some of the interestingly gnarled trees growing around the top of the Well.

Montezuma Well 2

The tree behind her has really been working hard to grow out of these rocks.

Montezuma Well 3

Down the east side of the Well are the remains of a 20 to 30 room pueblo, overlooking the irrigated fields below. Dating from the 1300’s it was probably one of the last major structures built before the area was abandoned.

Montezuma Well 6

The beauty of this place certainly makes it worth the trip.

Montezuma Well 8

Leaving the Well, we next headed about 20 miles back around on the other side of Cottonwood, to the Tuzigoot National Monument.

But since it was on the way we also stopped by Fry’s to pick up some bread, and also scout their gas station access for getting diesel Wednesday morning before we leave for Show Low. Looks like we should have no problem.

Unlike the cliff dwelling at the Castle and the Well, the Tuzigoot pueblo is visible from a long way off.

Tuzigoot 6

After parking and making another long climb of several hundred feet (sightseeing can be hard work), we came on these amazing ruins.

Tuzigoot 1

At its peak in the late 1300’s, the pueblo consisted of 86 ground-floor rooms, and possibly 15 second-story rooms, with a population of over 200 people.

Tuzigoot 7

But life was hard, and the inhabitants seldom lived past 40. Over 400 graves have been found around the site.

Tuzigoot 2

A number of the tools they used have been found in the area, including these stones used to grind corn.

Tuzigoot 8

Tuzigoot 3

Tuzigoot 4

I wonder if a thousand years from now, someone will be excavating our ‘cliff dwellings’, trying to make sense of a Mr. Coffee and an Xbox?

Cliff Dwelling

I’m always fascinated with the beauty of the many flowers and shrubs found in the areas we visit. Some of the most striking are actually cactus blooms or fruit.

Cactus Flower

Cactus Sprout

Cactus Sprout 2

Cactus Sprout 3

This is a Banana Yucca, and it’s easy to see why it’s called that.

Banana Yucca 2

While I was getting this shot of these Penstemons,

Penstemon 0

I noticed a visitor sampling some of the flowers. Apparently, these are a hummingbird favorite.

Penstemon 2

And these are Globemallows, used by the Indians in many medicines and treatments.


This is the Arizona Sycamore, that along with Mimosas, Acacias, and Mesquite, grows in abundance in the area.

Arizona Sycamore

We finally got back to the rig a little after 3 pm, and while Jan caught up on some recorded shows, I decided a nap was in order.

For dinner we checked out Crusty’s Pizza over in Camp Verde, and boy, was it good. Much better than Stromboli’s in Cottonwood. In fact, it was almost ‘Da Boyz’ in Yuma good.

And that’s good.

After leaving Crusty’s we walked next door to Basha’s to pick up some groceries before heading back to the rig.

Tomorrow is mostly a ‘get ready to travel’ day, as Wednesday morning we leave for Show Low.

April 18, 2012

So Far, So Good . . .

Monday, April 16th

I was up at 5:30 and opened the gate at 5:45 just to be sure that I was ready to go for the first visitor. We’re really lucky that our first gate job is effectively only a 12hr gate, from about 6am to 6pm.

Jan was up about 7, and after puttering in the rig for a while, came out about 8 and we just enjoyed the view. We’ve got roadrunners, quail, doves, and a lot of other birds that we can’t identify yet, but Jan has her Petersen’s guidebook and is working on it.

Finally, about 12:30pm I headed over to Pearsall, TX, to the closest Wal-Mart to pick up some things, but it turns out that it’s not a SuperCenter, so I had to go to HEB for the groceries.

I was looking for a cheapy AT&T cellphone but no luck. The only place in town that sold cell phones was a Tax Preparation office ?? that was closed.


We still don’t have cell or Internet service out here, which is the only downside to the job site.

I finally got back at 5, and after putting things away, I pulled out our Weber Q Grill to do hot dogs. It’s been a while since we used it, so I was afraid we might be out of propane, but the bottle ran out just as the dogs were done, so it was all good.

More propane goes on the list.

The last truck out left about 6:30, so I locked the gate and we were done for the day.

We only had about 22 vehicles come through today, which was nice.

Tuesday, April 17th

Our first truck didn’t come through until about 6:15, but a little before that, the coyotes woke up and started yipping and howling at each other. Thought they were supposed to howl at the moon, not the sun.

About 10:45am I headed about 50 miles north to Pleasanton, the closest Wal-Mart SuperCenter to check for AT&T phones, and they had what I needed. The two GoPhones were $15 a piece and then you buy time as you need it.

Hopefully, this will work for us.

My next stop was the Verizon store across the street to see where the closest cell tower was to our job site, and how far away it was. I want to see about getting an amplifier so we can use our Verizon cell/Internet service that we already have.

And it looks like it can be done. I’ll have to order it from Amazon tomorrow.

My last stop was China Garden to pick up some more of their great food to take back to the rig for dinner.

And apparently, I’m not the only one who likes their food. It was 1pm and the place was jam-packed. The parking lot was full and I had to park on the edge of the street. And there was a line out the door that I thought was to get in to eat.

No. The line was to either to pick up a call-in order, or place a take-out order. So it took me almost 30 minutes to get my food and get back on the road.

Getting home, I got a Big Bummer. The new AT&T cell phones don’t work. I was told AT&T would work out here but I don’t have a signal.

Now I just hope the amplifier idea will work. We’ll see. As it is, I have to drive about 20 miles one-way to get a signal to post this from my laptop and check our phone messages.

That’s about for today. I’ll try to have some photos tomorrow.

April 18, 2013

See. I Told You So . . .

Things have really sped up for Brandi, Lowell, and Landon on the new home front.

Originally they thought they would have to wait until the end of the year before they could get their house built.

But as it turned out, someone else’s deal for the same model fell through and they were able to take it over early enough so that they could still make the design choices.

And it’s coming right along.

LandonNewHouse 1

LandonNewHouse 2

LandonNewHouse 3

LandonNewHouse 4

LandonNewHouse 5

As it stands now they should be able to move in sometime in June.

I’ve been checking the temps in places like Cody, WY, Billings, MT, and Gillette, WY. All places that we plan to be in the next couple of months, and all places that I really hope warm up by the time we get there. Last night the temps there were in the teens and low 20’s.

More Global Warming Please!

Tale of Two Cities Chart

I found this chart on Facebook recently and it settles the question once and for all about what causes gun violence.

Guns Chicago v Houston

Based on the chart, the real cause of gun violence is Cold Weather.

More Global Warming Please!

When  I heard about the explosion in West, TX I knew we’d been through there at some point in our travels and it turns out it was just last summer.

We left our Gate Guarding job in late August and headed north on I-35 on our way to Celina, OH. We stayed just north of there at the Lake Whitney Thousand Trails park our first night on the road. So I’m sure we would have heard and felt the blast.

In fact, according to an online diagram, if we’d been unlucky enough to have been passing through on I-35 at the wrong time, we would been within the blast radius.

Today was a pretty quiet, slow day, and we didn’t do much of anything.

Jan and I headed out for dinner about 4:30 and ended up at an Outback Steakhouse.

And, as I mentioned the other day, we went to a steak house and Jan had CHICKEN. Told ya.

April 18, 2014

Two Weeks from Today . . .

Our son Chris and his wife Linda posted this selfie from the Burnet / Inks Lake area today.

Smile, Chris.

Chris and Linda at Inks Lake

And our niece Christina sent over this photo of her older brother Jason and our daughter Brandi with Santa. We’re pretty sure this was Christmas 1976 when we lived in Montgomery, AL.

Brandi and Jason Christmas 1976

Then everybody went and grew up. Here’s Brandi with her husband Lowell.

Brandi and Lowell at Kirby's Steakhouse

And here’s Jason with his wife Laura, along with Avery Jane, Ella, and Annisten.

Jason and Laura Robinson

Around 3:30 Jan and I drove down to the Woodland’s to have dinner at Grimaldi’s Pizzeria. On the way we dropped off a prescription at Sam’s Club that we’ll pick up on the way home.

This is the 2nd time we’ve eaten at this Grimaldi’s, as well as the Grimaldi’s in Katy, TX, San Antonio, Tucson, Apache Junction, and probably several others we’ve forgotten. And we also ate at the original one in New York in 2009. And it’s always great.

I’ve already talked about how they duplicate New York City water, and use the same Pennsylvania coal in all their coal-fired pizza ovens. In fact the same guy goes around the country to build the brick ovens in every store.

And it shows in the quality of the pizza.

Unlike many of their shopping center locations, the Woodland’s Grimaldi’s is really picturesque.

Grimaldi's Woodlands 1

Grimaldi's Woodlands 2

Grimaldi's Woodlands 3

One thing to remember at Grimaldi’s is that the small $6 house salad is enough for 2 or 3 people. Jan and I shared one and couldn’t finish it all.

Grimaldi's Woodlands 4

After all, we had to save room for this: A large (18”) with mushrooms, pepperoni, Italian sausage, and meatballs.

Grimaldi's Woodlands 5

Jan and I can only eat half of a large one, so we always have plenty to take home for later. After our meal, we talked to the manager, Keith, and he said this location is the busiest one in the country.

Leaving Grimaldi’s we drove over to a nearby Randall’s to pick up one of their fantastic fresh-baked coconut cream pies. Unfortunately, they didn’t have any, so we got a couple of slices of their Tres Leches, as well as a few other things before heading toward Sam’s. Stopping there, we picked up the prescription as well as a couple of other things, before heading back to the rig.

Passing through the gate, I asked the guard on what site Wednesday night’s shooting took place. She just smiled and said they weren’t able to discuss that.

Oh well.

Our hitch itch needs scratching, so two weeks from today we’ll finally be heading north, planning to be up in Goshen, IN for the 54th Escapade that starts the12th of May, where Jan and I will be giving our Gate Guarding for Fun? and Profit seminar.

See you there.

April 18, 2015

Wrapping Up In Verde Valley . . .

After our morning coffee, we heard from blog reader Judy Hughes who’s parked right down the road at the Camp Verde RV Resort. We wanted to get together, and since we leave tomorrow, and and she leaves Monday, today was the day.

Since it was close to both of us, we decided on La Fonda for lunch at 12 noon.

Judy Hughes

We had a great time getting to know Judy and hearing about her solo adventures in her Winnebago Brave. In fact, we didn’t leave La Fonda until after 3pm, which seems about normal for RV’ers getting together.

Finally saying our goodbyes and making a date to get together again next week in Las Vegas, Jan and I headed on into Camp Verde to pick up a couple of orders of the Baked Spaghetti from the Crusty’s Pizza. We’ll divide them up and freeze them and then be able to have them later as a meal.

Then it was back into Cottonwood to pick up a couple of breakfast sandwiches at the Jack in the Box. Since we plan on leaving for Las Vegas by 8am, we won’t really have time for a real breakfast, so coffee and these sandwiches will be it.

Getting back to the rig about 5pm I spent some time getting everything ready to go outside. So tomorrow morning I’ll just have to let in the awnings, unhooked shore power, bring up the levelers, and we’ll be ready to go.

While I was putting away the water filter, I opened it up to take a look at the filter cartridge inside to see what it looked like after two weeks.

It started like this.

Water Filter Cartridge

And now looks like this.

Water Filter Used Cartridge

Not too bad, I guess, and the water definitely tastes better than with the old little one.

Tomorrow we’ve got a 305 mile trip over to the Las Vegas Thousand Trails where we’ll be for another two weeks before coming back here.

April 18, 2016

Right Story, Wrong Company . . .

Well, it looks like that even when I’m wrong, sometimes I’m right.

After the recent hoax about the guy who supposedly erased over 1500 of his client’s websites, this past Friday it came true for real.

A London, England webhosting company, 123-reg.com was running a maintenance script that went rogue, (sound familiar?) and managed to delete (123 says hundreds, other sources say thousands, or tens of thousands) of customer’s websites. They actually host over 800,000 sites, so it’s hard to tell.

You can read about it here – 123-reg.com problems and check out the 123-req Twitter feed about it here.

As far as the original story, it turned out to be viral marketing hoax by someone who posted the story online to get publicity.

Well, the rains finally showed up – with a vengeance. The Houston area got over 17 inches of rain in the past 24 hours, with 6 people confirmed dead,  mostly it seems, from driving into high water in underpasses and never coming back out.

Here are a few online shots.

Houston Flooding 1_thumb[1]

Houston Flooding 2_thumb[1]

Houston Flooding 3_thumb[1]

In the above photo, those couple of dark lumps in the center left of the photo are car roofs.

Of course the Houston area is no stranger to heavy rains. In July 1979, Alvin, TX, about 30 miles south of Houston, received over 43 inches of rain in a 24 hour period. And 37 years later, it still holds the record as the most 24 hour rainfall in US history. And with Alvin only about 9 miles away, we saw our share of rain in Friendswood.

We had just moved to Houston from Montgomery, AL the previous December so I could go to work at Johnson Space Center on the Space Shuttle project. Our kids, Chris, 12, and Brandi, almost 6, were spending the summer with Jan’s parents down in Titusville, FL, while Jan and I had just moved into our brand-new house a week or so earlier.

I was working the night shift at JSC, but found I could not leave the subdivision to get to work. And when I called to tell them that I wouldn’t be coming in, they said no problem, cause they couldn’t leave.

So Jan and I spent the night watching the water flood the street in front of the house, come up over the curb, and then creep up the yard, finally stopping only about 5 feet from the house, and only about 6 inches below floor level.

Locally here at the Lake Conroe Thousand Trails, I don’t think there were any flooding problems, except to the dock area. But at our other home, the Colorado River Thousand Trails, it was a whole ‘nuther story.

I talked to Marty, the head guy there, this afternoon, and he said they had closed down and turned off power in the ‘C’ & ‘D’ sections near the Colorado river. But that wasn’t all.

Here’s what the bridge looked like back in December 2015, when we were there during the last heavy rains.

Colorado River Flooded Crossing 1_thumb[1]

But today, Marty said the water was over 4 feet deep here this time, and the railings had been severely damaged, and even ripped away in places.

Glad we weren’t there, but then we don’t know if we’ll be able to get in there this coming Sunday when we’re supposed to head that way. Marty said to call Saturday to check things out.

For dinner tonight, we scratched our Whataburger itch, with double-meat Whataburger Jr’s. Then it was on to the Kroger’s right next door for a few things, and then home.

Unfortunately, the weather people are saying we’re going to get more rain tomorrow, but supposedly, and hopefully, not as much as today.

April 18, 2017

On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-five . . .

Two hundred forty-two years ago, Paul Revere, along with William Dawes, Israel Bissell, and Samuel Prescott, and a week later, Sybil Ludington, headed out across Massachusetts to warn the colonists that the British troops were on the move.

And contrary to popular lore, he did not ride along shouting, “The British Are Coming”. First off it wouldn’t have made much sense because at that time everybody was British. Plus Paul Revere and others were riding in secret so they wouldn’t be stopped by the British troops.

Dispatched by Joseph Warren, a physician and early leader in American Patriot organizations at the beginning of the American Revolution, he used four riders to ensure that at least one would get through to warn Samuel Adams and John Hancock that the British troops were coming to arrest them.

And ironically, Revere didn’t even complete the ride but was arrested by the British between Lexington and Concord, a total ride of about 18 miles.

Although the facts of her ride are blurry, Sybil Ludington supposedly outdid them all, when two years later, she rode over 40 miles in the rain to warn militiamen that the British troops were on their way to attack the Continental Army’s supply depot at Danbury, CT.

And she was only 16 years old.

A little after 1pm I turned off all the rig stuff, and then went outside and killed shore power to the coach so I could install the new transfer switch. After I removed the old one, I moved the grommets that protect the wires entering the box to the new one.

Transfer Switch grommets

One thing nice was that even though it was an 85° day, we still had the front AC to keep things cool since it’s running separately on my AC bypass.

It only took me about 10 minutes to get the new one in, and up and running. So no more popsicle sticks.

Transfer Switch Installed

Next, I was back under the front of the rig to mount the new exhaust pipe on my generator and it turned out to be pretty easy, everything just sliding together.

Generator New Exhaust Pipe 1

While I was under there I noticed a missing hanger strap that should be supporting the pipe, so it’s something else to fix.

Generator New Exhaust Pipe 2

Getting out from under the generator, I looked at what I had.

Generator New Exhaust Pipe 3

It was a little long, which I expected. So now I marked it with a Sharpie and then cut it to the correct length, ending up with this.

Generator New Exhaust Pipe 4

It actually sticks out a little more, but the bin door is partially open because the satellite cables come out from there. I may look into getting a chrome exhaust tip to put on the end.

About 4:30 Jan and I head down to Sunset Dr. in Henderson for another run at Buffalo Wild Wings, Tuesday being their Half Price Wings Day. And this time I managed to get a photo before we dug in.

Buffalo Wild Wings Wings

Once again I went with the Mango Habanero while Jan stayed with the Bourbon Honey Mustard sauce.

Finally heading back to the rig I made a stop at an O’Reilly Auto Parts and found an exhaust hanger strap that should fit the bill. But no luck with an exhaust tip that would fit.

Wrapping up, as I was going over tax stuff today, I found this noticed on one of the IRS forms.

IRS 100 Million

Really glad to know this ahead of time. Otherwise, I might have gotten in trouble.

April 18, 2018

On The eighteenth of April,

in Seventy-five;
Hardly a man is still alive
Who remembers that famous day and year.

Work today was another dip into the repair pool again with a dead machine. In this case, it was completely dead. It didn’t even turn on.

Clareblend MiniBlend_thumb[2]

In many cases, dead units like this are often easier to repair than something intermittent, or just not working right. So the first thing you check is for a blown fuse. In this case, the fuse is contained within the AC power cord receptacle.

AC Panel Mount Power Cord Receptacle_thumb[2]

Normally there is a fuse and a spare one inside the little door on the receptacle, but on this one, there are two fuses, one in the hot leg and one in the neutral leg. Usually, there is just one fuse in the hot leg.

But since this unit is wired to also work on 220vac, controlled by a small switch on the rear panel, it has to be wired with a fuse in both legs. And in this case, both 1 amp fuses were blown. Not a good sign.

But that was where it all stopped because we didn’t have any spare fuses. So I’ll pick some up tomorrow and we’ll give it a try again Friday.

Some follow-up on our trip up to Baytown yesterday. The client has a really nice area along the side of a lake.

Ralph Oler's Lake 1_thumb[1]

Ralph Oler's Lake 2_thumb[1]

And even a nice pond.

Ralph Oler's Pool_thumb[1]

But the pièce de résistance is his garage.

Ralph Oler's Garage_thumb[1]

And this is not even all of it. I couldn’t get far enough back. On the right is his Monaco Dynasty RV, and on the left is a big Harley and a large ATV. And the whole place is covered in antiques, curios, and memorabilia.

Really neat!

We had several comments about our trip over the Fred Hartman Bridge yesterday, with questions about the old Baytown Tunnel it replaced. The Tunnel opened in 1953 and had already exceeded its designed traffic capacity by the 1970’s. So it was ripe for replacement.

But it was another 25 years, 1995, before the new bridge opened. And just in time too, since the Houston Ship Channel needed to be made wider and deeper. But the deeper part was a problem because the tunnel was in the way.

Baytown Tunnel_thumb[1]

So in early 1997 they started digging it up, finishing in late 1997.

Wrapping up, so I didn’t get a single comment about this in yesterday’s blog?

And besides Wayne, the film also starred Jim Hutton and my former next-door neighbor, Katherine Ross.

April 18, 2019

I’m 0 for 2 . . .

I spent most of this morning on the phone with success in some things and not much in others.

While I was doing that, Jan was going through our DirecTV DVR deleting stuff to be sure that we have enough room to record all the shows that will wrap up their seasons, and in some cases, the series (Big Bang Theory), while we’re gone.

My first call was to first one and then the other, of my two banks. Though both had notaries and witnesses available, neither one will do wills. They both said that their ‘bonds’ don’t allow it.

So when I Googled ‘Notaries in Webster, TX’,  one the places that came up was the trophy place right next door to my IT client. But when I called, she was out of town and probably won’t be back until this weekend. But they didn’t think she’d have a problem doing our wills.

But my backup is the local UPS store, where Jennifer, our office manager, said her husband had his will signed. So I guess we’ll see on Tuesday.

Last night I logged into Houston’s EZ-Tag Toll Pass website to temporarily add our rental car to our account. And it seemed to go fine, and I got an email acknowledging the addition.

Until I checked back this morning, and the car was missing. So I called them to look into it. And was told that the problem was that our rental car had 100’s of dollars of toll violations listed for the license plate.

But after a little back and forth, the young lady over-rode the system and manually entered the car and it now showed up on our account. But then I noticed another problem.

Our RV’s EZ-Tag was showing up as ‘Inactive’, and not ‘Active’ like our truck. So I sicced her on this problem. Turns that someone (not me) came into my account on 2 April 2018 and inactivated the rig’s tag.

So my question was, why didn’t anything show up when we’ve used the rig on the toll roads since then.  We used the toll road in both June and July 2018 , then again twice in October. And of course, our trip up to Kingsland a couple of weeks ago.

So it looks like I got some free tolls.

Next up I called Enterprise to let them know about the toll violations on that tag, and also to ask them what the WiFi password was for the car. According to the dashboard display, it has a 4G signal and a WiFi signal available, but when I checked the WiFi settings on the display, it showed the WiFi password as just  **********.

But they said they had no idea about it or if it even worked, or could be used. So it was time to ask Google. And, as usual, Google knew.

Turns out that the password can be accessed from the OnStar function. Why there, I don’t know. But when I went to the WiFi settings there it showed me the password. And it did work and flowed data.

Today I also took care of setting up my quintuple backup system for the photos of our upcoming Europe trip. I ordered two 128GB USB3.0 Flash Drives for that purpose.

My idea is that first I will have the photos stored on my Samsung phone and my Panasonic Lumix camera. Then every night I will upload the day’s photos to my Asus laptop. Finally, I will save it all off onto the two flash drives, one for Jan to keep with her, and one for me to keep.

In addition, if the ship’s WiFi is good enough (doubtful??) I will also upload stuff to the cloud. But I’m not counting on that.

Looks like I’m 0 for 2 on rig repairs. First, the continuing saga of my engine oil leak, and now my recent supposed-windshield leak repair.

I was looking forward to this morning’s forecasted rain, but when it came I found I still had my leak, though somewhat less. So I’ll have to look at it again, A.C. (After Cruise).

Tomorrow we’re taking in another Alvin Opry show, this time at the American Legion Hall, with a larger venue,  much better parking, and one of our favorite performers, John Mark Davis.

So, since we won’t be home until around 11pm, there probably be a short blog tomorrow.

April 18, 2021

It’s A Flamboyance . . .

With the weather better than yesterday’s rainy overcast, I went outside, determined to finish up Jan’s patio area. So, of course, Jan had to come outside to supervise, I.e. watch, to be sure that everything was being done to her satisfaction.

One thing Jan had wanted for a while was to put out all of the flamingos that she’s collected over the years of our travels. So while she was house/pet sitting for Brandi a few weeks ago, I set them out around our oak tree, and added a couple of new ones  for her.

Flamingo Flamboyance 1

But as soon as I saw it I thought it looked kind of ‘blah’, and needed some pizazz, something to make it pop.

So this was the next step.

Flamingo Flamboyance 2

And then over the last couple of days, I ended up with this today.

Flamingo Flamboyance 3

So once it was repopulated, Jan finally had her Flamboyance.

Flaminigo Next Closeup 500]

You know, how it’s a Parliament of Owls, a Murder of Crows, a Murmuration of Starlings, and a Pitying of Turtledoves?

Well, it’s a Flamboyance of Flamingos.

So of course we had to christen the area by doing hot dogs and sausages on our new George Foreman Grill.

George Foreman Grill Hot Dogs and Sausages

And with this, Jan’s patio area is pretty much finished up.

Jan's Patio Area Completed 2

Now to enjoy it all this summer.

April 18, 2022

On The 18th Of April in ‘75 . . .

Hardly A Man Is Now Alive.

Shower Door Latch

Two things of note that happened today. One was that I stopped off at Due’s RV on my way to work this morning and picked up a new latch for our shower door. The latch itself is cast aluminum, which doesn’t rust. But there is a steel spring inside the handle, the part that’s inside the shower, that only lasts about 5 years or so before it rusts out, and the latch doesn’t latch anymore.

Then getting home this afternoon I had it changed out in about 5 minutes. With Jan’s help, of course.

The second one, and the best one, was that while we were defrosting the freezer this past weekend, we discovered a large bag of Jan’s World-Famous Chili tucked away. So it was a delicious supper tonight.


April 18, 2023

The Girls Are Fine!

SpaceX Update!

SpaceX has said that their next Starship Heavy launch attempt is now scheduled for this Thursday, April 20th, starting at 8:28am CDT.

Jan had her yearly mammogram/ultrasound this afternoon, and got a clean bill of health.

So The Girls Are Fine!

And Jan wants to remind you, Do Not Skip Your Yearly Mammogram!

Since she spent her entire career in the medical field, she always got one every year. But after she retired in 2007 and we started RV’ing, by the time 2014 came around, she kind of thought about skipping it that year since she’d never had any problems. But then at the last minute, she decided to get it done.

And that was the year they found a lump.

But they found it so early that it was a Stage 0 carcinoma, and a simple outpatient lumpectomy took care of it. No chemo, no radiation. Just a few stitches and she was done.

Even today she said she still shivers when she thinks about what would have happened if she had actually skipped that year, giving the cancer another year to grow.

Tomorrow Jan has her follow-up with her oncologist, which should just be a formality since her mammogram today came back clean.

Lunch today was at Torchy’s Tacos once again, after her Mammogram, so not until about 2:30pm. Jan said she was just too nervous to eat beforehand.

Jan got her usual Chicken Fajita Taco’s,

Torchy's Chicken Fajitas 20230418

while I got my usual,

Torchy's Republican & Brushfire 20230418

The Brushfire, with Jamaican Jerked Chicken, and the Cheese Jalapeno Sausage.

One thing we always laugh about is how my sausage has shrunk over the last six years.

Note how the one from today just barely reaches the edge of the tortilla.

Then here’s the one from 2016.

Torchy's Mine

Quite a difference.

When we were last at Torchy’s a couple of weeks ago, I noted they now had these Table-Trackers

Torchy's Tracker

that lets them bring your food directly to your table, rather than wandering around the restaurant looking for the hanging tag on your table. Now that I knew how they operated, I checked under the table and found the RFID coils glued to the underside, covering the surface.

Each one is about the size of 3’ x 5’ file card and gives off a code that corresponds to a particular table.

Torchy's RFID Table Tags

This way only the Table-Tracker itself has to be powered.


We’re possibly related.

Yeah, I know. It scares the hell out of me too.

But only if you have blue eyes.

Every blue eyed person on the planet is a descendant of one single person

Every blue eyed person is descended from a single European who lived around 6,000 to 10,000 years ago, according to scientists.

Luckily, since Jan has green eyes, we’re not related.


Though since we both have ancestors from the Virginia/West Virginia area over the last few hundred years, it’s still possible, I guess.