Daily Archives: May 23, 2024

Last Day At The Beach . . .

We were back over at Claudia’s about 9:30 this morning, first so I could finish up with my door striker plate problem. And on the way there this morning, it occurred to me that the problem was with the initial installation years ago.

Turns out that the striker plate had originally been installed upside down, so that the opening for the deadbolt wasn’t really large enough to start with, and wasn’t a problem with misalignment of the plate. And it had always been that way since there was paint from the trim on that side.

So all I had to do was to just turn the plate upside down and reverse it. Then, two screws and I was done.

Finished up, we now headed back over to Gulf Shores to have our last lunch together at Lulu’s at Homeport on the Canal. We got there right as they opened at 11, so we got seated immediately. A good thing, since the place filled up fast, and they were on a wait when we left.

After splitting Fried Green Tomatoes and Fried Okra appetizers, Jan got her favorite Shrimp Tacos.

Claudia and I both went with the Shrimp and Grits with Andouille Sausage.

Since everyone was now so full, we ended up 3-way splitting the Krispy Kreme Bread Pudding, a must-have whenever we come here.

Now totally stuffed, we sat around for a while, talking and watching the boats and barges come by on the canal.

Unfortunately, we didn’t have any of our normal porpoise/pelican sightings this year, but it was still a great view.

Then after driving around for a while on the Gulf Beach, we headed back up through Foley to get together with Claudia’s friend Bill Bergman, who as it happens, was also an elementary school classmate of mine back in the day.

A very nice time.

Saying our good-byes, we dropped Claudia off at her house and were back at our hotel a little before 7pm.

Tomorrow we headed for home, with an overnight stay in Baton Rouge, as well as dinner at Sonny’s BBQ once again.

Thought for the Day:

I’ve finally decided that there’s nothing wrong with me. It’s the world that is totally screwed up!

Your Retro-Preview Highlights –

2010 – Steaks in Coeur d’Alene

2011 – King’s Canyon and Sequoia National Parks

And Now On To Today’s Retro-Blogs.™

May 23, 2009

Turkey Lasagna & Cheesecake Tarts…

Today we slept in until about 11 am (well, I slept in until 11. Jan got up about 9).

About 1pm we headed over to our friend’s house to meet them.  Jan and Charlee headed out to shop and get pedicures while Bill and I watched the ‘Deadliest Catch’ marathon on Discovery Channel.

After the girls got home, we had a delicious turkey lasagna and salad. For dessert, Charlee had also made Oreo Chocolate Pie and Cheesecake Tarts.

Great Eats!

But on a down note, when we got back to the coach about 10 pm, we found the 30 amp circuit breaker tripped outside on the pedestal that we plug into.  The temperature inside was 81 degrees.  Not good for our cats, but luckily, they were OK.

This park only has 30 amp power so we can only run 1 AC at a time, which is normally not a problem. But apparently in this park the power is a little flakey.

The other problem was that because the inverter was on, the coach batteries were drained down. This meant that with the converter/charger trying to recharge the batteries when I reset the breaker, there wasn’t enough power left over to run the AC to cool the coach down.

However, we did all right by running the roof ventilation fans and opening a couple of windows.  Because it was fairly cool outside due to the recent rains, the coach cooled down pretty quickly.

Finally about 1 am the batteries were charged up enough for me to start the AC for the rest of the night.

We’ll see how this goes tomorrow…

May 23, 2010

On to Coeur d’Alene…

We left the Whispering Pines RV Park in Cle Elum about 10:30 heading 230 miles east to Coeur d’Alene, ID.

Whispering Pines is a very nice park nestled in the trees (pines, of course), and we’ve enjoyed both our stays here.


About 12:30 we stopped at a rest area and had a quick lunch. Then it was back on the road.

We arrived at Blackwell Island RV Park about 3:30 pm and got set up. Checking in was easy since we were still in their system from our stay here 2 years ago on our way to Alaska.  While we were checking in, we had them make our reservations at the Cedars restaurant right down the road on Coeur d’Alene Lake.



About 5:30 pm we headed over to the Cedars. And actually it’s not ON the lake, it’s IN the lake.

It’s 600,000 pounds of concrete floating on the water,  The concrete surrounds a Styrofoam core that gives it buoyancy.

We were really looking forward to eating here again. They have fantastic steaks and our mouths have been watering all day.

And they certainly didn’t disappoint us this time.  Jan had the Angus Baseball Sirloin and I had the Prime Rib. Both were really, really good.


Very nice inside.



You can even dock your boat and have dinner.


We’ve got a full day here tomorrow to look around and explore this beautiful city.

May 23, 2011

King’s Canyon and Sequoia Too . . .

We had to get up early this morning at 7:30, but it was for a good cause: Our trip down south to King’s Canyon and Sequoia National Parks.

But before we left, Jan put some food out for the birds and squirrels. And it turns out we have another visitor to the food, a resident gopher.

Gopher 1

Gopher 2

Jan didn’t realize she was dumping the food almost on top of his hole, but he was happy.

We finally headed out about 9 for the 100 mile trip down to the two National Parks.

Our first stop was at a convenience store in Squaw Valley, the same place we stopped last year, for a bathroom stop and a cappuccino.

Then we started the long climb up into the parks, from about 300 ft. in the valley to almost 8000 ft. At about 6000 ft. we started seeing snow again, although not near as much as last year.

The big problem was the fog. It steadily got worse the higher we went. In some places, we could only see 20-30 ft. in front of the truck, so it made for really slow going.

Sequoia 1

We took a bathroom break at the Lodgepole Visitor’s Center and got our National Park Passports stamped for Sequoia, and then headed down the road a couple of miles to the General Sherman Tree, by volume the biggest tree in the world.

Lodgepole 1

Sherman Tree Trail

It’s about a half-mile walk down the hill to the tree itself.

Sherman Tree Trail 2

At 275 ft. high, it’s about 2500 years old, and it’s a monster. We didn’t get to see the General Sherman last year because the road was snowed in, so we felt lucky this time.

Sherman Tree Trail 3

Coming back up to the parking lot we found the fog had really rolled in. And it made the drive back to the King’s Canyon area really dicey. The 26-mile trip took over an hour and fifteen minutes.

Sherman Tree Trail 4

We got to the King’s Canyon area about 10 til 3, just in time to get lunch at the café before closed at 3 pm.

Then after lunch, and getting our Passports stamped for King’s Canyon, we headed a couple of miles down the road to see the General Grant Tree, the second-biggest tree in the world.

General Grant Tree

What’s unusual is that, although the General Grant is second in volume to the General Sherman, at 40 ft. in diameter, it has the biggest base. 40 ft. is the length of our motorcoach.

General Grant Tree 2

The Gamlin Cabin, shown here, and built in 1872, has served as everything from living quarters for the Gamlin brothers who built it, to a US Calvary storehouse, and then the home of the first park ranger stationed here. And it looks as strong as the day it was built.

Gamlin Cabin

Finally leaving the park and heading home, we did see some deer along the way. We had also seen a bear earlier disappearing into the fog, but otherwise it wasn’t a good day for animals.

Sequoia Deer

Except for the gopher, of course.

We finally got home about 7:30 after stopping and getting cappuccinos.

May 23, 2013

Off To See The Wizard . . .

Jan and I both slept in this morning. She’s normally up around 7, but this morning it was more like 9:30, due to our 12 hour, 150 mile day-trip yesterday. Fun, but tiring.

Of course, it also didn’t help that she was wound up enough from the trip that she didn’t actually go to bed until around midnight.

A little after 1pm I got back on the phone, trying to find a replacement passenger-side lower outside mirror for our coach. I first called American Coach and was told that they no longer stock replacement parts for RAMCo Mirrors since they don’t use them anymore.

So my next call was to RAMCo themselves, and was happy to find that they did still have a replacement mirror in stock. So for $24 plus shipping, they sent one out.

Now I just have to find out if I can get my money back on the wrong one that I got from Velvac a couple of weeks ago. I’ll try and call them tomorrow.

Around 2:30 Jan and I headed out for a movie and then dinner. We were going to see Oz the Great and Powerful, the latest retelling of L. Frank Baum’s stories of the land of Oz. Like most of the theaters in Las Vegas, the one was also in a casino, too.

Produced by Disney, directed by Sam Rami, with music by Danny Elfman, the storyline is somewhat of a prequel to Baum’s original “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, and its 13 sequels. But this story is told without Dorothy, the Tin Man, Scarecrow, or the Cowardly Lion. And not even “Toto, too”.

Although Jan thought it dragged, I enjoyed it and found it very well done. Like the 1939 movie, this one also starts out in black & white and then colorizes in Oz. The movie was very successful for Disney, earning almost $500 million worldwide. This almost certainly means sequels.

Getting out of the movie about 6pm, we drove a couple of blocks away to have dinner at Applebee’s. After a good meal, and one of those small Shooter desserts for each of us, we got home a little before 8pm.

As far as tomorrow, we’ll see. If it looks like a madhouse out there with the beginning of the Memorial Day Weekend, we may just stay at home.

May 23, 2014

Amish Parking . . .

Jan and I finally got back to walking this morning, the first time since we left Galveston Bay RV Resort in late February. With all the stuff about Jan’s health scare and moving every two weeks, it just kind of slipped off the schedule. But we’re going to try to get back on an every-other-day schedule again.

We used the Android/iPhone app RunKeeper to chart our distance, and as it turns out, the big circle around the Elkhart Campground here is almost exactly a 1/2 mile. So we did one loop to start with today, and then we’ll bump it up pretty quickly.

When we started our walk, l started the coffee going so as soon as we got back, we sat outside and had our coffee and muffins. And of course, Mister was right there with us.

About 1pm, Jan and I headed over to Goshen to visit the Old Bag Factory.

Old Bag Factory

Originally built in 1896 as the Cosmo Buttermilk Soap Company, it was purchased in 1910 by the Chicago-Detroit Bag Company, then in 1924 by the Chase Bag Company. It was the largest of the company’s 15 plants around the country.

This plant was their ‘specialty’ plant, manufacturing things like printed burlap bags,

Old Bag Factory 10

to the little paper plumes for the Hersey’s Kisses wrappers.

Old Bag Factory 5

Old Bag Factory 9

45,000 pounds a month of these! That’s a lot of Kisses.

But the plant finally shut down in 1982 before later being resurrected as the Old Bag Factory, a haven for artists, craftsmen, and merchants, in 2010.

Old Bag Factory 2

The place is 4 stories of shops, studios, businesses, and even an event center for weddings and meetings.

Old Bag Factory 3

Old Bag Factory 4

This chair is made up of strung-together wood tiles, and is much more comfortable than you might think.

Old Bag Factory 6

Outside, they had one of the floral Quilt Gardens that has been done around Goshen.

Old Bag Factory 7

Unfortunately, it’s hard to see from the ground angle.

After a nice visit here at the Old Bag Factory, we headed a ways down the road to check out the parking at the Wal-Mart.

Well, the Amish buggy parking anyway.

Amish Buggy Parking - Goshen

Many businesses in the area have accommodations for the Amish buggies, from hitching posts and rails, to full-on barns and stalls like the above.

We’ve even seen Amish buggies in the drive-thru line at the local McDonald’s.

Our last stop on today’s excursion was the South Side Soda Shop.

South Side Soda Shop

Originally built as a grocery store in the early 1900’s, it began its transformation into a diner in the 1940’s with the installation of a soda fountain. And then just evolved from there.

As well as winning awards for their Chili and Lemon Meringue Pie, they’ve been featured on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives, and other Food Network shows.

Really, really good food.

And after a very nice day and good food, we finally made it home about 6:30.

Now to plan tomorrow.

May 23, 2015

Recapping–Still on the Road . . .

Catching up on 5/21

After spending the night in Amarillo in a very nice Quality Inn, especially for $53/ night (senior discount), we started out with a really good free breakfast at the hotel, before finally getting on the road about 7am.

About 1pm we stopped for lunch at a Raisin’ Cane’s Chicken Fingers on the east side of Tulsa. And in case anyone wonders, we also left the truck running and the AC going for Mister whenever we stopped. Usually he never even woke up.

We first discovered Raisin’ Cane’s while we were gate guarding near Bryan/College Station last year. Really, really good, not only the chicken, but the Cole slaw too.

Raising Cane's Chicken

Then it was back on the road until the west side of St. Louis when we stopped for supper at a Steak N Shake for dinner. Anticipating our visit to the Cincinnati area later this year, we both had Steak N Shake’s version of Chili 5 Ways.

Steak and Shake Chile 5 ways

We both agreed that although it was really good, it wasn’t quite as good as the Gold Star Chili restaurant’s version found in the Cincinnati area.

After also getting gas we were back on the road for our last couple of hours, finally arriving at our motel in Vandalia a little before 10pm. Another long, long travel day. Glad we had a reservation since they were full and turning people away when we arrived.

Makes us really appreciate our normal travel days in the rig: Leave at 10am, get there by 2pm.

Maybe tomorrow I’ll have time to get more caught up on the blog post of our days here with the family so far. We’ll see.

I did hear from the Service Manager that they found damage to our rig’s diesel fuel tank, and that it will have to be replaced. Don’t know yet how much extra time that will take.

It’s always something.

May 23, 2016

They’re Back . . .

After getting some coffee in me this morning, I got to work on fixing my satellite problem. Yesterday when I got everything set up, I found I only had one tuner active. My first thought was maybe this was the original problem with my ‘found’ Winegard Satellite Dome, and was the reason it was discarded.

But a quick swap of the cables at the dish told me it was a cable problem, since the problem followed the cable. So now I went along, checking each connector for bent center pins, etc., but finding no obvious problems.

Deciding to put aside further troubleshooting until later, and just get things working again. So I got out my 60-foot extension cables and ran them directly from the dish, in through the driver’s window, and to the receiver. And that got everything working again. I’ll ring out the cables a little later and figure out what’s wrong.

Well, our power problems are back once again, and now I think I’ve finally got a handle on what’s causing them. And the culprit is . . .

Low voltage.

To recap, every time we park in this inner ‘A’ circle, we have problems with the power popping off in the afternoons, especially when Jan is cooking, and running both the microwave and the toaster oven. But the problem only occurs in this area. Not at any other park, not in areas ‘C’ and ‘D’ here, not even right across the road (it’s on a different circuit).

But this afternoon when the power popped off, nothing extra was running, just the TV, computer, and both AC’s. In the past, it took something like starting the microwave while all this was also running.

But Serendipity revealed what was going on this time. As the power went off, I was walking toward the front of the coach and looking right at the voltmeter located over the driver’s seat. This shows the rig AC voltage, whether from shore power or the genset.

AC Voltmeter Install

Normally this meter is kind of blocked by the satellite cables running to the back of the receiver, but since I had temporarily moved the wires around this morning, I could see the meter as the power came back on.

109 Voltage

Now my Progressive EMS (Electrical Management System) will drop out at 108 volts to protect things like AC compressors from damage from low voltage. Most other things in the rig would not be adversely affected.

So I turned the A/C’s off and then going outside I flicked the switch that put my EMS in bypass mode, which meant that it was no longer monitoring the voltage.

A little bit later I saw this.

103 Voltage

As the afternoon wore on, the voltage gradually started to rise, ending up about 113 volts by sundown. And at 1 am it now shows this.

120 Voltage

The only kind of weird thing about this my Progressive EMS normally shows when it drops out due to a problem, and it did this time. But when I checked it after the first occurrence a month or so ago, it didn’t show an error, so I never checked it again. And that kind of confused things as I looked at the problem.

Tomorrow I’ll take my photos down to the office and get them on the problem.

May 23, 2017

Long Day, But Great Scenery . . .

Since we had a long day today, 315 miles, well, long for us anyway, we were pulling out of the park about 8:15 with Jan following in the truck.

We were on our way to the Sam’s Club a couple of miles away to take on some diesel at $2.37 per gallon. As I found during our scouting trip yesterday, it was an easy in with no problems. However, the out part was a little more time- consuming.

Just as I was ready to pull out to the left, the only way I could go, a lady in a large white truck pulled into the pump row to my left. And just sat there in the truck. Finally, after about 5 minutes, she got out and fueled up. Then it was back in the truck for another 5 minutes or so before she finally pulled out, with me right behind her.

Parking over on the side of the parking lot, we were hitched up and on the road by about 9:15. Getting out on I-90 we headed southeast about 65 miles to the turnoff for US212, and the Little Bighorn (is there a Big Bighorn?) Battlefield.

We were a little hesitant about taking 212 when about 5 miles before the exit we saw an electronic sign that said, “Consider I-90, US212 Expect Delays”. But as we talked it over, we figured that any delay less than the hour that route would save us would be worth it.

Although it was a two-lane road, it was good and we had no trouble holding 60mph, except for a couple of long climbs. And although we passed through a couple of construction zones, we never found any delays.

But maybe the sign was the reason we had very little traffic going in our direction, but a lot coming toward us.

We did have a lot of great scenery, with large farms, rolling hills, distinctive rocks, and an some pronghorn antelope.

We pulled into the Elk Creek RV Park about 3:30 and were directed over to their Deer Creek RV area. We’ve got 50amp full hookups for 7 days at $17.50/day under Passport America. Nice.

Tomorrow we’re going to just goof off and probably go out to dinner.

May 23, 2020

Save The Mussels?

Jan’s a really happy, happy camper. She finally managed to get a hair appointment this Tuesday afternoon at 3 at a SuperCuts she used to go to before she found a lady at a nearby TGF. But that one has not reopened and there’s nothing on the door that says when, or if, they might.

I’m sure you heard about the recent dam breaks and flooding in Michigan. Well, you can blame it on the Mussels.

Three weeks before the break, the Michigan State Attorney General sued the dam owners because in 2018 and 2019 they had illegally lowered the water level behind the dam because they were worried about its safety. And last year when the dam company asked the state for permission to lower the level to facilitate some repairs, the request was denied.

“Defendants wrongfully exerted dominion over the freshwater mussels and caused their death which denies and is inconsistent with the state’s right to them,”

Apparently, the state wanted all the mussels for themselves, even to the point of endangering the public.

So it’s:

Spanish Flu
Japanese Encephalitis
Lyme Disease (Lyme, CT)
German Measles
West Nile Virus
Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS)
Norovirus  (Norwalk, OH)
Marburg Virus Disease (Marburg, Germany)
Valley Fever (San Joaquin Valley)
Guinea Worm
Zika Virus
Ebola (Ebola River, Zaire)
Hanta Virus (Hanta River, So. Korea)
African Sleeping Sickness
Montezuma’s Revenge

And finally . . . Chinese Food!

But Chinese Virus is racist?

Who Knew?

May 23, 2021

More Van Gogh . . .

About 2pm Jan and I headed out amid the drizzling rain to first have lunch at Denny’s, with their Ultimate Omelets once again. Always delicious, and another place where Angie already knows what we want so we don’t even have to really order.

Then it was across the Interstate for a few things from HEB before heading home, still in the rain. And more is still forecast for the rest of the week.

Hopefully, my new Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra will be in this week. It’s supposed to be shipped out the Tuesday and I should receive it by Thursday.

Maybe. As long as it gets here before we leave on our trip June 7th, I’ll be OK.

Jan has been personalizing the rear window of our Jeep, by replacing their two dog decals with a cat, and adding a moose and two flamingo ones.

Jeep Rear Window

I  tried to find decals to replace Jan and I, but there didn’t seem to be any with an old, bald guy, and his pretty young wife. But I’ll keep looking.

Well, I said the other day that you can never have too much Van Gogh. But now I have to add, you can never have too many.

Long-lost van Gogh masterpiece ‘discovered’ by NYC collector

The painting, signed and dated 1890, is a square panorama of the valley of Auvers, showing its mosaic of wheat fields bisected by a railway line. It also bears the label of Jonas Netter, one of the most influential collectors of the early 20th century, who discovered Amedeo Modigliani.

“The picture is in pristine original condition, painted on a coarse burlap canvas consistent with those used by Van Gogh late in his career. It is unlined and in its original stretcher to which it is tacked by small 19th-century nails.

Auvers, 1890 New Van Gogh

May 23, 2022

Prehistoric Planet

Spent today at work finishing up some of those last-minute niggling details hanging around before we leave on vacation on Thursday. Pretty much everything is done. Just hoping now that everything keeps working for the next three weeks.

A great new show premiered tonight on AppleTV+. Entitled Prehistoric Planet, a new episode streams tonight and going for the next 4 nights.

Jan and I watched the first one this evening, and it’s hard to believe we weren’t watching a real animal documentary.

Who knew T-Rex could swim?

Check it out.

It’s sure to show up somewhere else after the first run on AppleTV+.

May 23, 2023

Half And Half

First a correction: For those keeping score, yesterday’s visit to the Sonny’s BBQ in Pensacola was number 5 on our Southern BBQ Tour, not number 4.

After breakfast at the hotel this morning, Jan decided to do laundry so she wouldn’t have to do it right away after we get home on Saturday.

Then a little before noon Jan and I drove over to Claudia’s house to meet her grand-nephew James, who she James-Sits twice a week.

Claudia and James

With Claudia otherwise occupied today, Jan and I headed back over to Gulf Shores to have lunch at Lulu’s (Lucy Buffett – Jimmy’s sister) on the Canal.

We had made reservations for 2:30, so to kill time Jan made a Books A Million stop so she could pick up some gifts. Then getting to Lulu’s about 2:15 we found we didn’t really need reservations since they were seating people immediately anyway. But there’s been times we’ve waited two hours to be seated. So better safe than sorry, right?

Once we were seated Jan ordered the Grilled Shrimp Tacos,

Lulu's Grilled Shrimp Tacos

while I ordered my usual Fried Half & Half (Half Fried Oysters and Half Fried Shrimp) Po’Boy. But unfortunately that’s not what I got.

Lulu's Half and Half

What I got was the Half Shrimp Po’Boy & Gumbo, a completely different thing. But we were hungry so I didn’t send it back.

And they also messed up the sides we ordered, a side of Fried Okra and a side of Fried Green Tomatoes, which would have been a total of $9. What we got were the Fried Okra and Fried Green Tomato Appetizers.

Lulu's Fried Okra and Green Tomatoes

For a total of $24. YIKES!

But we did have leftovers.

Much more food than we could eat, especially since we were trying to save room to split an order of their Krispy Kreme Bread Pudding, a must-have at Lulu’s.

Lulu's Krispy Kreme Bread Pudding

Jan also got to see some of her favorite aquatic birds.

Lulu's 1 Pelican

Lulu's 3 Pelicans

But later when we drove down to Jan’s favorite Pelican viewing spot, we found that it was no more. They had rebuilt the bridge so that the big pipe that ran alongside was gone, and that’s where the Pelicans used to hang out.

Finally heading back to Fairhope a little after 4pm, we passed this. Seems like even the Dollar General’s down here are done up in beach style.

Magnolia Springs Dollar General

Tomorrow we’re hooking back up with Claudia to have lunch over in Foley at Lambert’s Throw’d Rolls and then do some more driving around.

There might even be Pelicans!