Daily Archives: May 3, 2024

I Can See Clearly Now . . .

At Least Through My Jeep’s Windshield.

I left work a little early today so I could get my Jeep’s windshield replaced at our local Safelite location. Since I had a reservation they got right to work and I was on my way home in a little over an hour.

It was really nice to not have to look through the big stress crack passing right through my line of sight.

But the windshield replacement did cause us a change of plans for tomorrow. Originally while Jan was getting her toesies done, I was going to run the Jeep through the nearby car wash and then vacuum it out in prep for our upcoming Alabama trip.

But Safelite told me that I need to avoid car washes for at least 48 hours. Rain is no problem, but the high-pressure car wash can be a problem until the glass sealant sets completely. So I’ll switch out and do Tuesday’s oil change tomorrow, and then the car wash on Tuesday.

One thing nice about the Safelite glass is that it comes with a lifetime warranty against any more stress-related cracks. Plus you get free windshield wipers every 6 months.


My second computer programming language is 60 years old this month. BASIC originated in 1964 as a simplified version of Fortran that allowed you to type in a program on a monitor and then see it run immediately. Basic really came into its own in the mid to late 70’s with the personal computer boom. And it’s still around.

My first computer language was actually Fortran II which I started programming in at Vanderbilt University in 1966. Every program you wrote consisted of a big stack of punch cards like this.

Heaven forbid, you should drop your card stack or get them out of order. That’s what the red line drawn across the cards is for.

After writing your program on pads like this,

you then would type out each card, one line of code per card, on a machine like this,

though I don’t remember ever doing this wearing a suit.

Finished up, you would rubber band your stack together and leave it in the inbox. A couple of days later you would either get back your printed output if the program ran successfully, or your stack of cards back if there was an error and the program didn’t run.

Tomorrow Jan’s getting her toesies done and then it’s lunch at King’s Bierhaus right next door. German food.


Thought for the Day:

You can’t leave footprints in the sands of time if you’re sitting on your butt.
And who wants to leave buttprints in the sands of time?

Your Retro-Preview Highlights –

2009 – Sanibel Island

2010 – Pacific Coast Highway And Pismo Beach

2015 – A Really Big BOOOM!

2017 – The Great Transmission Repair, Part 2

2019 – The Melk Abbey in Melk, Austria

And Now On To Today’s Retro-Blogs.™

May 3, 2009

Sanibel Island…

Today we drove about 20 miles over to Sanibel and Captiva Islands.

Sanibel is known as a premiere shell hunting spot and in fact has one of the top shell museums in the country, the Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum.

Before visiting the Shell Museum we walked down one of the local beaches so Jan could find some shells.

Bowman's Beach on Sanibel Island

Bowman’s Beach on Sanibel Island

It’s not as pretty as Gulf Shores, but it is nice.

Coming home we tried out a new Mexican restaurant we had seen advertised, called Iguana Mia. We were really starting to miss Houston Tex-Mex and this place filled the void. Much recommended.

May 3, 2010

Home Sweet Motorhome…

We left the motel about 9:30 am and started driving south along the coast on the Pacific Coast Highway. As we passed through Pismo Beach we detoured down to the pier to check out the restaurant, Pierside, where we were going to eat lunch later on our way back north.

Although it’s called the Pacific Coast Highway, a lot of it is not exactly along the coast, because the coastline is mountains right down to the ocean. In fact I’ve been amazed about how mountainous California, and especially the coast, really is. Los Angeles especially, was a surprise in how hilly it really is. The city is just surrounded by mountains on three sides, and many of the communities are separated by steep hills. Even the famous Rodeo Drive only travels a few blocks before it starts climbing into the hills. And when we took our Homes of the Hollywood Stars tour, almost all the star’s estates were up in the hills. After all, it’s not called Beverly HILLS for nothing.

We followed US 1 (PCH) as far south as Los Alamos before we turned around and headed back north.

Getting back to Pismo Beach, we had a great lunch at Pierside, a place right on the water beside the pier. Friends recommended it to us, and they weren’t wrong. I had the Fish & Chips, and Jan had the Shrimp & Chips. They were both great.





Leaving Pismo Beach, we headed back north along US 101 to catch SR 46 to take us back to Coarsegold and our rig.

Before we got to San Luis Obispo we came across these signs along the way.


We seen a lot of these type of signs along our travels — moose, elk, caribou, mountain goats, sheep, bison, oryx, and others. But this is the first time we’ve seen bears. Of course, as with all the other signs above, we never see the actual animals, just the signs. Bummer!

We stopped in San Luis Obispo for gas, and to put air in a tire. Then it was on up to SR 46, and then on to SR 41 which would take us all the way home.

We stopped in Kettleman City to use the restroom and get a treat.

Between Fresno and home, we talked to both our kids, Brandi and Chris. And that’s always a treat.

We got home a few minutes after 4, and as usual, it’s always good to be home.

For dinner, Jan heated up the last of the Tuscan Chicken Spaghetti that she fixed in the crock pot a couple of days ago. Like most Italian dishes, it just seems to improve with age.

Then for dessert, we split one of the delicious cinnamon buns that we got Sunday night at Crills II in Morro Bay.

Tomorrow we’ll take it easy as we get ready to travel on Wednesday.

May 3, 2013

Mirror, mirror . . .

Today we just decided to have a ‘do-nothing’ day so we didn’t even leave the rig. But I guess the ‘do-nothing’ is kind of relative, because I spent a good part of the morning on the phone with American Coach trying to find a replacement bottom mirror for our rig.

RV Mirror

Right before we left Apache Junction this past Wednesday, I was trying to adjust the passenger side outside mirror and the bottom mirror came loose and cracked when it hit the ground. So now I need a new one and got on the phone with American Coach this morning.

But I quickly ran into a problem. My factory build sheet says that I have Ramco mirrors, but the mirrors I have don’t look like anything that Ramco makes. And the mirrors themselves don’t have any names or numbers on them.

After Jeff at AC Parts went back and forth in the catalogs and manuals, we finally figured out that my coach was a ‘special-build’. Apparently, the original owner didn’t want the normal door-mounted mirrors, but wanted the front cap-mounted ones. This meant mine are actually Velvac mirrors, not Ramco. With that info, I was able to track down replacement parts.

I can get the entire assembly for about $50

RV Mirror 2

But since my mounting plate seems to be OK, I’m hoping that I can get by with just the mirror for only $15.

RV Mirror 3

Guess which one I want?

I’m just glad I don’t have to buy an complete new mirror. They’re $627.00. Ouch!

While I was on the phone with AC parts, I got the name of the cabinet latches, or really, catches that I was looking for, but couldn’t find.


They’re called Bulldog Catches, and once I knew the name, I found them on Amazon and several other places. In fact both of the local Camping Worlds are supposed to have them in stock, but they didn’t know anything about them yesterday. But now that I have an actual Camping World part number, maybe I’ll have better luck. We’ll see.

We had a nice call from Brandi this afternoon. They’re planning on moving into their new house in about three weeks and they’re really getting excited.

Tomorrow I think we’re going to check out the buffet at the nearby Boulder Station Casino, and then maybe take in a movie. We’ll see how it goes.

May 3, 2014

Not Much . . .

Happened Today.

With the nice weather the last few days, we’ve sat outside with our coffee and muffins every morning. And today was no exception. The real problem is Mister. He’s an attention hog and just won’t let me alone.

Jan wanted to be sure that I pass on some information about her mammograms. Recently, based on numerous healthcare recommendations, she had started getting a mammogram only every other year. In fact, it had been two years since her last one.

And in fact, some sources are saying you can go even longer if you don’t have any family history of breast cancer, which Jan didn’t. Of course, now she’s very glad she didn’t wait another year. Things could have been a lot worse.

So she says, Get Your Mammograms Now!

Lowell posted this photo of Landon as they were leaving Starbuck’s. Looks like Landon’s not planning on sharing that Frappuccino he’s clutching. Hope Lowell got his own.

Landon and Lowell at Starbucks

Bad Dog!

Our daughter-in-law Linda posted this about their dog, PJ.

This guilty-looking creature just ate 17 meatballs that were cooling on the kitchen counter. Guess who’s sleeping outside tonight?

Bad PJ

Our son Chris likes to fly kites. Here he and our granddaughter Piper are trying to get a big kite aloft down on Galveston Beach.

Piper and Chris with Kite

As far as today, I did pretty much nothing, just a few small chores around the rig. And no, I didn’t install the new slideout shear pin. But that’s for tomorrow before we leave here for the Lake Conroe Thousand Trails on Monday morning.

For dinner I fixed up another batch of Chili Five Ways, but like the last time, I used elbow macaroni instead of spaghetti. And as before, I added a can of Habanero Rotel Tomatoes and a can of Red Kidney Beans. Very spicy and very, very good.

May 3, 2015

An Interesting Day . . .

or Jan has finally unclenched.

About 11:30 this morning on our from Las Vegas to the Verde Valley Thousand Trails, something tumbled out from under the wheels of a passing semi, and BOOOM! our passenger-side front tire suddenly looked like this.

BlowOut Tire

It was a FUN 30 seconds or so until we finally THUMP-THUMPED to a full stop.

It’s late and I’m tired, so I’m just going to do pictures tonight and fill in the blanks tomorrow. We’re fine, the rig is fine, though a little worse for wear, We’re now parked at an RV Repair place in Prescott, complete with 50 amps.

Besides the blown tire, the fuel hose was torn away between the fill cap and the tank, a wire bundle at the front of the wheel well was shredded, and the vibration broke off the bottom outside mirror.

BlowOut Fuel Tank

BlowOut Fuel Hose

BlowOut Wire Bundle2

BlowOut Fuel Bracket

BlowOut Mirror

BlowOut TowTruck

BlowOut TowTruck 2

Presott RV 1aa

More Tomorrow.

May 3, 2016

A Daddy’s Girl . . .

More website stuff today, so more fun for me.

About 3:30 I drove into Columbus to Brookshire Bros. for a few things, including some PowerBall and Mega Millions lottery tickets. Tonight’s Mega Millions is up to $128 Million, and tomorrow’s PowerBall is almost $350 Million.

Of course, my odds of winning aren’t very good, but they’re a lot better than if I don’t play at all. I mean, otherwise, I’d just waste it on booze and wild women.

Jan has decided that Karma is just a Daddy’s Girl. She won’t really have much to do with Jan, and only lets me hold her. She loves to cuddle up on my shoulder and then snuggle against my neck, rubbing her head against my face.

And today Jan said when I left to go to the store this afternoon, Karma kept walking back and forth in the rig, crying loudly, and then jumping up in the front window to see when I was coming home.

Karma in the Window2

Tonight’s dinner was Jan’s great BCTs (Bacon, Cheese, and Tomato) sandwiches, along with another salad. Then for dessert it was a square of the Sopapilla Cheesecake she made yesterday.

I also posted the recipe for Jan’s Crockpot Spaghetti and Meatballs under the Jan’s Favorite Recipes dropdown. A quick, easy, and delicious meal.

After supper, we watched the latest Castle from last night, and then started in on our last series left over from our gate guarding time – Fargo.

Supposedly this is the last year with Stana Katic’s Beckett character on Castle, so it will be interesting to see where the show goes after that. They have said they plan on continuing the series, and it does seem that they’ve set up a couple of different possible paths for the show to take.

We watched Fargo’s two episodes tonight, leaving us 8 more to go. There’s something really nice about being able to binge-watch a series in a couple of days, rather than stretching it out over 10 to 22 weeks.

Fargo has been renewed for a 3rd season, that will start up in early 2017.

May 3, 2017

Traveling on the Al-Can Highway . . .

We were up at 7am, later than usual, since we didn’t have much to do to get on the road. In fact we didn’t even put out the satellite dish last night, but just listened to music on our Amazon Echo.

We had a nice site that I just treated as pull-in, easy due to how the power pedestals were configured.

Hi-Lo RV Site

Of course, we had to have another breakfast at the Hi-Lo Café once again, especially since it was right up the hill and we had the free tokens for coffee that we got when we checked in the RV park.

Since we both had leftovers from yesterday’s breakfast, we decided to go smaller this time.

So rather than the full waffle, we got their 1/2 waffle combos.

Hi-Lo 2nd Breakfast

Still delicious, just less of it. And no leftovers to try and fit in the fridge.

The first time we ate at the Hi-Lo in 2011, I noticed this logo on their coffee cups.

Hi-Lo Al-Can Hwy Mug

When I asked about it, they said it was true. US97 begins in Weed and runs all the way up to the Canadian border where it becomes PH97. Then PH97 runs up to Dawson Creek where it picks up the Al-Can name. The Al-Can stays US97 until it becomes PH1 as it passes from British Columbia into the Yukon Territory right before Watson Lake.

So I think they make a pretty good case.

Back at the rig we were pulling out of the park by 9:15, Jan following me in the truck so we could hook up on a side street.

Driving through the park, everything was fine and I had speedometer readings on both the dashboard and the Silverleaf.

That is, until I hit a bump. Then the problem was back.


Jan, as before, said other things.

So I just circled back around through town and right back into our space at the park. Looks like I was going to have to change out the sensor after all.

After I got shore power hooked up and the slide out, I walked up the hill to the office and told her that we were either back for an hour or so, or a day or so until we could get towed to Redding. She said no problem.

I did see this really nice 1949 Oldsmobile coupe parked by the office.

Hi-Lo 1949 Oldsmobile 1

Hi-Lo 1949 Oldsmobile 2

The emblem on the rear deck indicates that the original buyer paid the almost $200 extra cost for the optional HydraMatic automatic transmission, more than 10% of the vehicle’s cost.

To make it a little easier to work under the rig I raised it up on the rear levelers as high as I could, giving me plenty of room. Next up I put a call into Jay, the Allison Tech Support guy, to ask him a question.

“When I pull this sensor out, am I going to have 150° Transynd pouring out on my  head?”

He said, “Good question. I don’t know. Let me check.”  And when he came back, he said, “No problem. It’s dry in there.”

Glad to know that I don’t have to worry about that.

Gathering all my needed tools, I was under the rig at 10:10 and done at 10:45.

Allison Speed Sensor Connector 1

The only slowdown was that I had to come out from under the rig to get my 18” cheater pipe from the truck to break the bolt loose.

Allison Speed Sensor Replacement 1

Pulling the old one out, I smeared a little oil from the O-ring on the old one to the new one, stuck it in, and then tightened the bolt back in place.

Allison Speed Sensor Replacement 2

So now for the big test. Either on to Bend, OR, or towed to Redding, CA in disgrace.

After I got cleaned up, we were pulling out of the park by 11:30 with Jan again following me in the truck. I told her that if it was working, I was going to make several loops (about 1/2 mile each) around the town. If the problem returned I would just pull back into the RV park.

Otherwise, I would go round and round a few times until I was satisfied, and then pull back into the large parking lot where we were parked yesterday when we drove the truck to Redding for the part. Then we would hitch up there and get on US97 for Bend.

And even though I was deliberately hitting bumps, the problem never returned. And it never returned during our 4 hour trip up to Bend, 195 miles north. Smooth as silk.

We got into the Bend/Sunriver Thousand Trails about 3:30, parked the rig in the big lot, and drove the truck around looking for a site. We found a nice one with 50 amp and water, and what I thought was a good satellite shot. But no luck on that front so far.

Bend-Sunriver TT Site D24

The last time we were here in 2013 all these front sites had sewer hookups, but no longer. The caps are sealed at the sites, and the literature says several times that there are no sewer sites available. Guess they must have had problems with their septic system.

Wrapping up, I found it really funny that all of the techs I talked to during this recent transmission unpleasantness were amazed that I was actually working on this problem without hooking it up to a diagnostic computer first.

“How will you know what’s really wrong with it?”

As I said yesterday, I was very, very happy to hear it was a sensor problem. Sensor problems are easy. 95% of the time it’s one of two things – bad connector/wiring and a bad sensor. That’s about it.

And I always play the odds.

In addition, I really wanted to keep the rig out of the shop. The one time our rig was in the shop was in 2012 when we were coming into Los Cruces, NM and the engine just quit running.

Towed into a Rush Truck Center, I was already down $500 just in diagnostic costs by the time they found the actual problem. That turned out to be a sensor on the fuel line feeding into the fuel injection system. Another sensor.

Then it was another $200 to actually fix the problem. But in the meantime, they’re finding a lot of other stuff that “really needs to be taken care of.” And some of it I did do.

But if I had done everything they suggested it would have been a little over 7 grand. As it was, my bill was almost $3000.00.

Hopefully, tomorrow will be a little less hectic.

May 3, 2018

Never in the Right Place . . .

at the Right Time!

Yesterday, on I-70 in Indianapolis, IN, the back doors of a Brinks truck flew open and what seems to have been hundreds of thousands of dollars scattered across the highway.

Just our luck not to be in Indiana.

Several people have asked about the LED’s that I spec’d for my 50 amp tester design, and why 3 of them.

Well, I couldn’t buy just one, and besides they were only $5.48 for the trio. But more importantly, they fit perfectly in the existing hole in the box. And 220VAC LED’s aren’t all that available either. And you’ve got your pick of colors.

I updated my truck’s Garmin GPS a couple of days ago, somewhere around 2.6 GB is size. But I’m always disappointed that I have no idea what the updates are for. I mean, did I just spend 2 hours and 2.6 GB of data to update back alleys in Saskatchewan and dirt roads in Tijuana? At least give us a list of cities or states that are updated.

I made a few more reservations this morning for our upcoming June/July trip to Illinois and Alabama. The only one left is one for the Jackson MS area for our trip on the way to IL.

The only one I’ve found in the vicinity is about 10 miles south of Jackson, the Swinging Bridge RV Park in Byram. But I’m still looking before I make a final decision.

I’m also still looking at my possible battery upgrade using a heavy-duty model made for farm equipment, this Deka 12V 1005 Amp Farm Equipment battery.

Deka 12 v battery

Someone asked me if the cables would match up since the Deka has its connections at one end. And the answer is probably not. But that’s not really a problem

Several years ago I had a battery cable break off at the connector due to vibration and was pointed to a nearby West Marine location. There you can cut your own lengths of the 00 gauge cable needed. They also have the solid copper connectors and the heavy-duty crimping equipment necessary to install the connectors.

Our mailman told us this afternoon that they have no idea where my missing keyboard is, so I ordered a new one. Now to figure out how to get reimbursed for the missing one.

May 3, 2019

“Ve Know Vher . . .

Melk, Austria  5/3/2019

Our ship left Vienna last night a little before 11pm and when we went up to breakfast this morning at 7am, it was very foggy, with castle after castle appearing out of the mist.

Melk- Vienna To Melk Castle 1

Even this one, that I’m pretty sure must have been home to Dracula at one time. Perched high on a mountain crag, and partially obscured by the clouds, he certainly would have felt right at home.

Melk- Vienna To Melk Castle 2

Especially since it looks like the only way to get up there is by bat.

And of course the many churches. Many, many churches. Just church after church after church.

Melk- Vienna To Melk Church 1

Melk- Vienna To Melk Church 2

Melk- Vienna To Melk Church 3

It’s amazing they had time to do anything else besides build churches. And FWIW these are all in the Baroque style.

We arrived in Melk about 11am, and after lunch, we were off on our excursion to the Melk Abbey, possibly the most famous Abbey in Austria. And that’s really saying a lot since there’s a heck of a lot of abbeys over here.

Melk Abbey Overview

And it becomes more impressive the closer you get.

Melk Abbey 1

Melk Abbey 2

Melk Abbey 3

Amazingly this place has been an functioning Benedictine abbey for over 900 years.

Unfortunately, we were not allowed to take photos inside the abbey, but obviously, somebody was, or did anyway, since there are photos all over the Internet of it. So I thought I would share some of those.

Melk Abbey Interior View

Melk Abbey Interior View 2

Melk Abbey Interior View 3

Melk Abbey Staircase

It’s really hard to express how beautiful this place, almost overwhelmingly so. But two things bothered me about the visit.

First, they have added some sort of multi-media event, telling you about what you’re seeing, but mostly it seems to concentrate on the present Bishop and his background. The whole thing really clashed with the rest of the tour.

Second, adding even more to the ‘tourist attraction’ feel, is that you exit the tour . . . through the gift shop.

Getting back to the drop-off point for the 200-yard walk back to where our ship was docked, we noticed the high water marks from the Danube flooding the area.

Melk Fahrhaus Flood Levels

Especially interesting was the one from August 15, 1501.

And just behind this restaurant was a small RV park.

Melk RV Park

Melk RV Park 2

Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to check out the pedestals to see about the hookups, but we were running late getting back to the ship. But we’ve noticed a number of small RV parks along the river as we’ve cruised.

The Skirnir cast off about 4pm heading up the Danube to our next port of call, Passau. And it didn’t bode well that within the hour, it was raining fairly hard.

Dinner tonight was with our usual group, and as usual, was delicious.

We started off with a real favorite of ours, a Wedge Salad.

Melk Skirnir Wedge Salad

And when they put bacon on theirs, it’s two whole strips, not some measly crumbles.

For the entrée, Jan had the Broiled Herb Marinated Jumbo Shrimp with Baby Vegetables,

Melk Skirnir Jumbo Shrimp

while I got the Krustenbraten, which is Crispy Pork Loin, marinated in beer, with potato pancakes and Steamed Cabbage.

Melk Skirnir Krustenbraten

Then for dessert we both got the Lime Cake, with white chocolate and raspberry sauce.

Melk Skirnir Lime Cake

This place is dangerous to your waistline.

You would swear that the 3 other couples at our tables, and ourselves, were all RVer’s since the staff pretty much have to close down the dining room around us because we were having so much fun. Of course, the free-flowing wine may have something to do with that.

I have become so frustrated trying to use my new laptop with only a built-in touchpad, that I had been trying to find a mouse for it. When I bought it in Budapest, the dealer tried to sell me one, and I should have bought it. But I had forgotten how irritating it is to use one.

And I hadn’t had any luck locating a computer store near any of our stops to pick one up, so I asked Guest Services if they might have a spare that I could borrow, and they said they would check.

And when I went by later, Monika just handed me one. When I asked if I needed to sign anything, her voice dropped from her lilting Scandinavian accent into a guttural German one as she said, “Ve know vher you live’. And then smiled.


So I’m not taking any chances. I’ll definitely be returning it before we disembark.

Finishing up, the last blog I posted took over 3 hours of starting and stopping to get it uploaded. So we’ll see how long this one takes.

More Tomorrow from the Blue (grayish, green) Danube.

May 3, 2022

2 Holes or 4 Holes . . .

One of the items on my repair list of things to fix while Jan is gone this week is a toilet problem. The 2 rear bolts will no longer tighten down. And I thought the flange may have cracked.

So this morning I spent about 30 minutes disconnecting and pulling the toilet. And as I had thought the flange was broken out on one side and cracked on the other.

First thing I looked at was a flange repair kit, but all the ones I found locally were the newer 2 hole mounting, not the 4 hole ones like mine.

When I replaced the toilet the first time back in 2010, the new toilet had only two holes and required a special mounting adapter plate to make it work with the 4 hole flange in the rig.

Then when I replaced it again in February 2021, it was back to a 4 hole model. I wish Dometic would make up their mind.

So now I decided to just pull and replace the flange, and quickly ran into a problem.

When I tried to remove the screws holding it in place, there weren’t any. The screw holds were empty. And a little checking online told me why. The flanges and the downpipe are epoxied in place. So it’s not coming out without serious surgery.

So now I’m looking at other ideas for patching the flange. I think I might be to use part of one of the repair kits to just patch the rear two holes. So I spent some time in the Plumbing aisle at Lowe’s this afternoon getting parts for several different ideas I have.

I also got a ball valve and a coupling to screw into the open water feed to the toilet. That way I’ll still be able to take showers until I get it fixed.

Stay tuned.

May 3, 2023

A Few Pieces of Bakelite . . .

In yesterday’s blog I mentioned how surprised I was to see Polaroid cameras and film still on sale at WalMart.

WalMart Polaroid Display

And this reminded me of a funny story concerning a Polaroid camera and my family. I’m pretty sure it was the Christmas of 1958 when I was 10 since it was the same Christmas that I got my first computer.

An GENIAC analog model like this one. You can read more about it at the link.

Geniac Board

As far as my parent’s Christmas, I don’t know how they came to this agreement, but for that Christmas my mother gave my father a mink stole, while my father gave my mother one of those new Polaroid Land cameras, one like this one.

Polaroid 800 Camera

Somehow they both ended up very happy that Christmas.

As for me, the GENIAC started me on a path that seven years later I was programming in Fortran II on an IBM 360 at Vanderbilt University. And it all started with a few pieces of Bakelite.

Tomorrow looks to be Twin Peaks for lunch, the office to drop off an Amazon order, and then the HEB/WalMart up in Webster looking for a couple of things that our local versions didn’t have.