Daily Archives: April 24, 2024

All Set To Go . . .

Well, we’re all set to go on our Royal Caribbean cruise. starting December 7th. Our first port will be Progresso in the Yucatan, then Cozumel, Roatan, Honduras, and Belize City, Belize, finishing up in Costa Maya, Yucatan.

That’s 9 nights, 7 days in port, and 3 days cruising.

Built in 2004, the Jewel was totally remodeled in 2016, and being an older ship, it’s also smaller, holding only a little over 2000 passengers.

Fine with us.

Jewel’s big sister, Icon Of The Seas, holds almost 8,000 passengers.

As Jan says, “Oh No. No, No, No!”

I agree wholeheartedly.

Though both passenger totals made us long for our Viking Cruise in 2019, where we had only 179 passengers out of a possible 190.

Since tomorrow is our stay-at-home day, I’m going to replace the passenger-side window regulator in the Jeep. I’ve done it before in our Dakota truck, and it looks to be pretty much the same.

Shouldn’t take too long.

Don’t know if we’ve seen Winter’s Last Gasp yet, but maybe.

We are talking about Houston weather, right?

We had temps in the low 50’s last week, but we’re back in the low 70’s at night again.

So we’ll see.

Thought for the Day:

Some people claim to be willing to listen to other views, but then are shocked and offended to discover that there are other views.

Your Retro-Preview Highlights –

2010 – Driving The Pacific Coast Highway

2014 – The Wayback Machine

2019 – The A380 SuperJumbo

And Now On To Today’s Retro-Blogs.™

April 24, 2010

Pacific Coast Highway…

Today was our Pacific Coast Highway road trip.

Two years ago this past March we drove the first part of the PCH where it starts at San Juan Capistrano and Dana Point, up through Newport Beach, Laguna Beach, Huntington Beach, and ending up in Long Beach. I sense a trend here.

We stayed at an RV Park in Long Beach right on the Pacific Ocean. That’s us on the far left.

LongBeachRV 1

And here was our view out the other way. The Queen Mary.

Click to Enlarge !

Anyway, today we drove into LA and got on the PCH near Playa del Rey, and headed north.

Click to Enlarge !

Coming through Venice Beach we encountered this strange sight.  I’m not exactly sure why a CVS pharmacy has a transgendered clown on its marquee, but it is Venice Beach, after all. But this, Venice Beach Clown, explains it further.

Click to Enlarge !

Coming into Malibu we decided to stop for brunch at Marmalade Café right off the PCH. The place was really good, really yuppie, and really expensive. Jan had a short stack of blueberry pancakes with bacon and I had a tortilla scramble. And it was $33!

Leaving the café, we headed north again. About 3 miles down the road we came across the Malibu RV Park high on a cliff overlooking the PCH and the Pacific Ocean.

Click to Enlarge !

Click to Enlarge !

What a view!  We may have to think about staying here a few nights when we come back this way next year.

Moving on along the PCH we started encountering some of the really scenic areas.

Click to Enlarge !

This shot I think I’ve seen in a lot of movies and TV shows. It’s Point Mugu.

Click to Enlarge !

Reaching Santa Barbara, we turned around and headed back, this time taking a different, more scenic route. Rather than go all the way back down to LA and back up, we cut across through the Los Padres National Forest, to Ojai.

This is Lake Casitas, a 420 sq. mile lake that’s over 1000 ft. up in the mountains, and it’s really a great view.

Click to Enlarge !

Along the route we passed through Ojai (pronounced ‘O HIGH”),  I had heard of the Ojai Valley before, and it’s easy to see why. It’s just one big garden. Tree farms, nurseries, fruit orchards with lemons, limes, and strawberries, sod farms, you name it.

Ojai Valley

Leaving Ojai, we passed through Santa Paula, Fillmore, and on to Santa Clarita on I-5 Then it was a straight shot back to Lancaster and home, a total trip of about 300 miles.

Tomorrow will be a ‘rest up” and “get ready to travel” day, since we plan on leaving here Monday morning, and moving north about 230 miles closer to San Francisco.

April 24, 2011

Happy Easter ! . . .

Happy Easter!


I was sleeping so good this morning I didn’t get up until about 10:30 and made coffee while Jan heated up muffins.

I worked on web stuff for a while and then went out and mounted a new rack on the side of my electrical bay to hang my dogbone power adapters so they don’t just have to lay on the bottom of the bay.

About 1 pm our son Chris called to say Hi and see how things were going.

About 1:30 I made a run to Home Depot for some 4-40 screws and then on to Wal-Mart for cake flour, strawberries, and whipped cream.

She wanted to bake her world-famous pound cake for dessert tonight.

And boy, was it good.

After that great dinner, we sat around for a while trying to make room for pound cake with strawberries and whipped cream, and trying to nail down our plans for the next few weeks.

We know we’re leaving here on the 27th, and heading over to Williams, AZ to take the Grand Canyon Railway day-long trip to the southern rim of the Canyon. While we’re there we also want to check out Bearizona, a drive-thru wildlife park in the area.

After that, the plans start to get kind of hazy. We’re trying to get tickets to The Talk day-time talk show. If so, we’ll probably try to stay at the Soledad Canyon Thousand Trails near Acton, and then head up to Park of the Sierras Escapees park in Coarsegold, CA near Yosemite where we stayed last year.

If our tickets don’t come through, we’ll probably head straight up to Coarsegold. But who knows?

It could all change tomorrow.

After all, that’s part of the fun, isn’t it?

April 24, 2013

I’ll have the Da Vinci, Over Easy . . .

Brandi sent over some more pics of the progress on the new house. She said they’ve put another coat of paint on the walls, and started painting the trim.

Landon's New House 1

Landon's New House 2

Looking good. I think they hope to be in the house in about 6 weeks.

I know they’re really excited.

I took it kind of easy today, didn’t do much, because I’ve had a sore back the last few days, one of those things where everything’s fine, and then you move just the wrong way and it feels like someone put a knife in your ribs.

Hopefully, it’ll be better tomorrow.

I did head out about 1:30 to make a Home Depot run, along with Radio Shack, and an Office Max for Jan. Then about 6:45 we took off on our walk to finish up our mile-and a-quarter walk, getting back just as it got dark.

Tomorrow morning Jan and I are going to visit the Arizona Science Center to see the Da Vinci – The Genius Exhibition. This is a traveling exhibition that’s here in Phoenix from February to June, so we’re lucky our timing is good.

The last time we visited the Arizona Science Center was in March 2007 when we had rented a CruiseAmerica Class C to check out RV’ing, and after attending the Life on Wheels training in Tucson, drove the RV up here to Phoenix for the afternoon to see the Body Worlds exhibit, the one with the real plasticized bodies in various poses.

On our way to the exhibit, we plan on stopping for breakfast again at Over Easy, the breakfast/lunch place we ate at a couple of weeks ago.

April 24, 2014

The WayBack Machine . . .

I came across this website that has almost 200 photos taken between 1887 and 1892, mostly in the Black Hills of South Dakota that I thought you might like to see.

Ever wonder what Sturgis looked like before motorcycles clogged the streets? Well, back then it was teams of oxen, the 1880’s equivalent of today’s semi’s, moving freight across the plains.

Title: Ox teams at Sturgis, D.T. [i.e. Dakota Territory] Line of oxen and wagons along main street. [between 1887 and 1892] Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540

This is not a wagon train of settlers, but a line of ‘freighters’ moving between Sturgis and Deadwood. It turns out that there were long lines of these teams moving goods back and forth across the country.

Title: Freighting in "The Black Hills". Photographed between Sturgis and Deadwood Full view of ox trains, between Sturgis and Deadwood, S.D. 1891. Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540

And here’s the Devil’s Tower taken in 1888. Note the bulge on the left side of the base.

Title: Devil's Tower Distant view of Devils Tower and reflection of tower in stream in foreground. 1890. Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540

And here’s our photo taken 120 years later in 2008. I took this from the RV park where we spent the night before visiting the Tower the next day. Looks like we were kind of close to the same position.

Devil's Tower 2008

You can view all these photos here. South Dakota 1888

On another note, some of you might be interested in checking out this book.

The Knowledge Book

The Knowledge: How to Rebuild Our World from Scratch

It’s a survivor’s guidebook, not covering actual survival skills, but it’s a discussion on ‘how to orchestrate the rebuilding of a technologically advanced civilization’ after a worldwide catastrophe, I.e., asteroid impact, global plague, nuclear war, etc. I just started it today, but I like it so far. Very interesting.

I don’t know where our niece Christina keeps digging up these old photos, but they bring back a lot of memories.

White and Robinson Kids

These are our kids, Chris and Brandi, in the back, and Jan’s sister Debbie’s kids, Tana and Christina sitting on their laps, and Jason in the foreground. Jan thinks this was taken here in Houston when they visited us in July 1983. We think.

I came across this article talking about a 2 year technical school education being worth a lot more money than a 4 year liberal arts college degree, especially in the oil fields.

A company working in the Ohio Marcellus Shale area has 60 pipeline welders making over $150,000 a year, and 2 making over $200,000. And they don’t have enough welders to cover all the work they have. And that’s just one company.

I’ve always thought it was a mistake for high schools to drop the many technical classes they used to give. Most people have no idea how much money a good mechanic, plumber, electrician, or an HVAC guy can make. And in many cases, if you show an aptitude, the company will train you.

Tomorrow Jan and I are going to do a day trip up through the Brenham-Hempstead area to check out the Bluebonnets, and of course, the Blue Bell Ice Cream factory.

April 24, 2015

Braking It Down . . .

Mister got himself a new box yesterday, and from one of his favorite places, Amazon. He apparently likes the way their boxes taste.

Mister in New Box

Of course, he’s got his big one right next to this one, but new is always better, right?

As to what came in Mister’s new box, it was a bottle of PacBrake lubricant. Well, not their brand, but it’s the same stuff, and cheaper.

Super Lube

Super Lube Synthetic Oil with PTFE

Coming up from Verde Valley to Vegas, I noticed that my PacBrake didn’t seem to be working. It’s always kind of difficult to be sure that the PacBrake has actually engaged when it’s combined with the normal downshift to 4th. But my PRXB PacBrake (the upgraded model) should be felt working whenever your foot is off the gas and your PacBrake is turned on, even before the downshift to 4th

Our trip up here to Vegas is the first time I’ve really used it this year due to a lack of hills, and I didn’t use it much last year either. I also realized that I didn’t do the lubrication maintenance on it this winter, mostly due to my bottle of PacBrake lubricant having leaked out. So that’s probably why it’s not working.

Needing another bottle, I called the Camping World down in Henderson to see if they had some in stock, since CW is where I bought my last bottle. And when I asked the Parts Department guy if he had any PacBrake lube, he said,” What’s a PacBrake?”


Camping World doesn’t know what a PacBrake is? That certainly explains a lot. And after I told him what it was, I got, “We don’t have anything like that here.”


But Amazon had the same stuff in a generic form, but it looks like it’s made by the same company.

So tomorrow I’ll lift the bed up and do a lube job on the valve.

We’ve really been enjoying our really mild weather here. The last several days it’s never gotten above the mid-70’s, and it’s been down in the high 50’s at night. Very nice.

Tomorrow, besides the PacBrake lube job, I’ve got some other stuff I want to work on around the rig. But on Sunday we’ve got some fun stuff planned.

More about that later.

April 24, 2016

Toddlin’ Along . . .

Our morning started out way too early this morning, since we have a 290 mile trip today, instead of our usual 120.

But we couldn’t start our trip without our usual Cracker Barrel breakfast. We just had to get there earlier. We both got our usual, mine being the Sunrise Sampler, with two eggs, a sampling of bacon, patty sausage, and ham, grits, fried apples, and hash browns.

And this leads to my question of the day.

What happened to hash browns, and when did they change?

When I was growing up in Alabama in the 50’s and 60’s, we would often stop at a Toddle House when we traveled. If you’ve seen a Waffle House, you know what a Toddle House looked like. In fact Waffle House was indirectly spun off Toddle House, when a TH regional manager left to start his own chain of restaurants.

And like Waffle House today, you could watch the cook prepare your food behind the counter. And they made Hash Browns by squirting a little oil in a hot skillet, dumping in a serving of diced potatoes and frying them up. The cook would sprinkle a little paprika on them, and as they cooked on one side, he would flip the whole loose mass up in the air, catching them back in the pan just as it ended up back on the stove burner. And although the cook never seemed to lose any potatoes, some of the oil would splash out into the burner flame and flare up with a big sizzle.

By ‘diced’ potatoes, I mean potatoes cut up into roughly 1/2” cubes, and not the shredded ‘riced’ potatoes we get now. In fact if you Google ‘Riced potato hash browns’, they will show you recipes for making the hash browns you get at most restaurants today.

And just to clarify, I’m also not talking about Cottage Fries. Those are usually much larger, and not really cubes, but have rounded edges.

But this is what the hash browns of my youth looked like.

Diced Hash Browns

Maybe it’s a regional thing. Friends said that to them, hash browns have always been the shredded ones.

So, you out in the audience, what’s your kind of hash browns?

Since I got on a hash brown rant and it’s late and I’m tired, I’ll flesh out the rest of today’s journey in tomorrow’s blog and skip right to the good stuff.

As in a really, really good spaghetti dinner, serviced up by long-time friends Lynn and Dave Cross. They’re parked two spaces over from us, and Lynn told us a couple of days ago she’d have dinner ready for us when we got here.

And boy, did she. Lynn really knows her way around a spaghetti recipe.

Dave and Lynn Cross

Thanks, Lynn and Dave for the great welcome.

Fun Facts about Toddle House.

  • It was started in the early 30’s by James Smith, father of Fred Smith. Fred went on to start his own company in 1971. It’s called FedEx.
  • During the segregation era, the company had a parallel chain for African-Americans called Harlem House.

  • April 24, 2017

    Lady Marmalade . . .

    I was getting ready to order a micro SD card for my new phone, but then I realized I already had one.

    Readers will remember when I got the new dashcam for the truck when we were gate guarding down in south Texas, and had trouble with it. That trouble turned out to be caused by my use of a particular brand of SD card. So I retired the first one and ordered another one of a different brand and it’s worked fine ever since.

    So yesterday I ‘unretired’ that card and plugged it into the slot on the S8+ and it works fine. And I saved some money.

    One reader asked what that sauce was that came with my Outback pork chops.

    Outback Marmalade

    It’s called Creole Marmalade and it really goes well with pork, or anything actually. In fact Jan always orders a side of it for her Alice Springs Chicken.

    As far as what it is, it’s just Orange Marmalade with some horseradish mixed in to give it some kick.  Not really hot, just spicy good. Try it next time.

    We left the rig a little before 4:30 heading up to Palmdale to meet Maurice and Judy Kunkel at the Antelope Valley Mall’s Chili’s.  We had met at a couple of past rallies, but this was our first time to get to spend any time together.

    Maurice and Judty Kunkel

    Jan went with her favorite, the Margarita Chicken, which Judy also got.

    Palmdale Chili's Margarita Chicken

    Maurice got the new Chili’s Fiery Pepper Chicken Crispers,

    Chili's Fiery Crispers

    while I got my favorite, the Grilled Chicken Caribbean Salad.

    Palmdale Chili's Caribeean Salad

    Maurice spent time in Thailand as an Air Force weatherman (like our good friend Al Cox), and likes spicy food. But he was kind of disappointed with the heat of these ‘Fiery Pepper Crispers’. He gave me a bite, and I agreed. ‘Fiery’ is in no way an apt description. More ‘Medium-Hot’, or maybe ‘Lukewarm’.

    Everyone seemed to really hit it off, with Maurice and I both at the same Air Force Base at the same time, him in the AF and me with the DOD. We had a great time and a lot of laughs trading stories of our adventures.

    And as is usual when RV’ers get together, we spent the obligatory 3 hours over dinner,  actually about 3-1/2 hours. Really I think the only reason we called it a night is that our butts were getting numb.

    Hopefully, we’ll cross paths again soon.

    Tomorrow we’re heading down to LA, and in particular, Yorba Linda, to have lunch at Esther’s Taco House. We were told about this place years ago by a late good friend and we checked it when we were first in the area in 2008. And we’ve gone back a number of times, and always enjoyed it.

    Loving the cool weather. It went down to 44° last night and only up to 71 today, but still sunny and nice.

    April 24, 2019

    We Got The SuperJumbo Size . . .

    Now that we’re getting down to nitty-gritty time I thought I’d check out the planes that we’ll be flying on.

    Turns out that our flight over, from Houston to Frankfurt, will be on an Airbus A380-800 SuperJumbo, the largest passenger plane now flying.

    Lufthansa A380-800

    So now I’ll have the complete set since I’ve also flown on the previous ‘largest’, the Boeing 747, starting back in the ‘spiral staircase piano bar- lounge’ days.

    747 Piano Bar-Lounge

    Then from Frankfurt to Budapest, we’ll be on an Airbus A321 for the short 90-minute flight.

    Lufthansa A321-200

    Finishing up coming home, we’ll be on a United 787 Dreamliner flying from London back to Houston.

    Flying back and forth from South America in the early 60’s, I flew on both the Douglas DC-7, a turboprop, and the DC-8, the first jet I ever flew on.

    And flying between Colombia, S.A. cities, I flew on Ford Tri-Motors like this.

    Ford Tri-Motor

    Mostly though, they were Ford Bi-Motors, I guess, because the centerline engine had been removed for more cargo space, and the wing-mounted engines were replaced with DC-3 engines to make up the power loss, and also allow them to fly over the high mountain passes in the Andes.

    It gets a little scary when you’re flying ‘through’ Andean mountain passes with rock faces off both wings, and not ‘over’, because they just can’t fly that high.

    Checking SeatGuru.com, I located the seating chart for our plane and flight, and found where our seats are located.

    A380-800 Seating Chart

    Note that by reserving seats on opposite sides of the aisle, we both get an aisle seat, yet we can still talk. And we did this on all our flights on this trip.

    And also note that we’re seated in Standard Economy, I.e. the Cheap Seats. I thought it was kind of funny that the next level up is called Premium Economy.

    Isn’t that kind of like Jumbo Shrimp or Non-Dairy Creamer,

    Tomorrow we’ve got a few wrap-up things to do and then we’ll be ready to head out on Friday morning when our car service arrives.

    April 24, 2020

    When The Mask Comes Off . . .

    As I’ve been doing these Retro-Blogs™, I’ve pretty much been leaving out/editing out all of the Wu-Flu stuff. But I wrote this blog to make people think about what’s really going on with all the rules and decrees, so I decided to leave it in.

    Now you can get your WuFlu straight from the source, with none of those weak second or third-hand infections passed on from some random person in WalMart.

    Get your order in before they run out.

    Or you could always go with the ‘fruit-based’ version like they want you to wear here in Houston.


    You won’t believe some of the memes that are showing up online.

    Or if you’re Vegan, you can do it like this.


    Lettuce come together. Romaine calm. This may just be the tip of the iceberg.

    Jan and I did a WalMart run yesterday afternoon to pick up my prescription as well as a few groceries. And the mask situation was pretty much the same as the other day, with maybe a few more people wearing them, but many more people not wearing them correctly.

    A lot of people, including WM employees, had them pulled down off their noses so they could either breathe, or so their glasses wouldn’t fog up.

    And at the Pharmacy, the pharmacist and the techs were having to pull their masks up to talk to each other, or on the phone. And the tech at the checkout kept having to pull his mask aside so people could understand him behind his mask and the Plexiglass.

    And of course, the tech just put my prescription package, which had probably been touched by 3 or 4 people, in a WM plastic bag, and handed it to me, with his bare hands.

    Oh, the horror!

    And apparently this guy had mask problems too.
    New Jersey driver crashes car after passing out from wearing N95 mask

    I have received some push-back over my mask views so a little explanation may be in order.

    If you want to wear a mask, then go for it.

    But don’t rag on me when you’ve got it down below your nose so you can breathe, or pulling it up or out of the way so you can talk to your companions, or on your phone.

    Don’t pull it to the side so you can slurp your coffee or even that double-decaf soy latte with non-fat foam and mocha sprinkles.

    Don’t wear that paper mask for a week until it looks like you could read through it. But, hey, it does make easier to breathe, right?

    And if not, you are disposing of the paper one after every use, aren’t you? And you’re not just throwing it in the trash, are you? But treating it as hazardous waste, since it might be infected with the WuFlu, right?

    Or maybe it’s that cute Hello Kitty mask your Auntie made for you. You are washing it and sterilizing it after every use like the authorities recommend, right? Not every day. Every use! At least according to the CDC guidelines.

    And of course, there are all those people sorting through the bananas and tomatoes or squeezing the heads of lettuce in the produce department. Or opening each carton of eggs to be sure none are broken, and picking up that can of veggies off the shelf to check out the ingredients and then putting it back and checking another brand.

    Think all those are being sanitized/disinfected after you, or the previous dozen people, have finished pawing through them?

    Or the person in front of you at the checkout who used the credit card machine. They handled their credit card, stuck it in the slot, then you put your credit card in the same slot, and then back in your billfold or purse.

    Or maybe you paid cash, which we already know was pretty disease-ridden, pre-WuFlu. Did you disinfect all those bills/coins before you put them away?

    So I just think there are so many vectors of possible infection that, at some point, you just have to throw up your hands and hope for the best. And I think this is the same reason there are more and more anti-shutdown protests every day. People just don’t want to fool with it anymore.

    And as I mentioned yesterday, a Houston, Harris County Texas judge has ordered everyone over the age of 10 must wear a mask when out of their home, unless they’re eating, drinking, or exercising. That whole breathing thing again, right?

    Now Harris County Deputy’s’ Association and the Houston Police Officer’s Union have both said they will not enforce this questionable decree, and a number of lawsuits have already been filed, but the timing of it is kind of suspect.

    Judge Hidalgo issued her order this past Wednesday, the 22nd, but it doesn’t go into effect until next Monday, the 27th, Now if this is such an emergency, and so necessary, why wait 5 days to start it?

    April 24, 2021

    It’s Penciled In . . .

    With yesterday’s and last night’s rain gone, it was nice enough for us to sit outside with our morning coffee, trying to decide what we wanted to do this weekend.

    We finally decided to stay home today, and have the rest of hotdogs/sausages left over from last weekend,

    George Foreman Grill Hot Dogs and Sausages

    and then have lunch at Gator’s Bar & Grill once again tomorrow.

    Gator's Bar & Grill 2

    Jan combined the hotdogs and sausages in a casserole dish and covered them with Wolf Brand Chili and Shiner Beer Cheese, and along with Bush’s Grilling Beans, and chips and dip, it was a really good simple meal.

    In a blog from a couple of days ago, I mentioned a new burger place up in the Friendswood area, Pop Top Burgers. Well, some friends of ours ate their last night, and it turns out that the owners had previously been part of Tookie’s and Stomp’s, two of our long-time favorite burger joints in this area.

    So we have a visit there penciled in for next weekend.

    April 24, 2022

    Hartz . . .

    We just hung around the rig all afternoon, finally leaving for lunch (linner?) about 3:30. And we decided to have lunch (linner?) at a place we haven’t been for probably about 40 years, Hartz Chicken Buffet. We used to go to the one in League City when our kids were still at home, but that was long ago.

    Then back in December, a new one opened over in Dickinson, so we thought we’d give it a try again. And it was really good.

    For $12 (senior) we got about a dozen veggies, fried chicken, chicken tenders, fried fish, hot yeast rolls, desserts, and a drink.

    A good deal, and good food too.

    April 24, 2023

    They’re Smart . . .

    A couple of weeks ago Jan and I got new watches – Smart Watches, and we’re really happy with them.

    Jan’s looks like this, but with a different face.

    New Watch - Jan

    You can select from 100’s of different faces, and even use your own photos.

    This is the one Jan likes.

    New Watch Face - Jan

    Jan’s Smart Watch

    Besides the time, it shows the battery level, the temperature, your heart rate, and the number of steps and miles you’ve done since midnight.


    Mine looks like this.

    The gears behind the skull actually turn, but after a while it’s kind of distracting and not easy to read.

    New Watch - Greg

    Greg’s Smart Watch

    So I switched to this one.

    New Watch Face - Greg

    Two things have impressed me so far. One is how long the battery lasts. So far I’ve only had to recharge it every two weeks.

    The other is how accurate the Blood Pressure reading app is. I checked it last week while the nurse was taking my blood pressure and was surprised that it was within a few points of the official reading.


    Tomorrow we’re going to check out a new place that just opened up in Webster. Called Walk-On’s, it calls itself a ‘Sports Bistreaux’, with the menu showing a Cajun flair. Looks really good, but we’ll see.

    But first, we’ve got our last two Doctor’s appointments. Another blood draw for me, and a consult for Jan. Then we’ll be done for this year.