Now That’s Elegant . . .

After our coffee and cereal this morning, we had planned to be on our way by 8:30, but nature intervened. About 8 it started pouring down rain, and since the hotel doesn’t have one of those drive-under porticos, we had to wait a bit. But we were finally on our way about 9.

Our first destination was in Meridian, MS, about 2.5 hours away at Weidmann’s, a place we’ve eaten at a number of times over the years.

The place has been around since 1870, and in its present location in downtown Meridian since 1923. And it stayed in the Weidmann family until 1999.

And as you can see in the photo above, it’s the epitome of Southern Elegance. White table cloths, fresh flowers on every table, and Trout Almondine on the Lunch Menu.

And even the toilet paper in the restrooms are regular rolls of double-ply Charming, just like at home.

Now that’s Elegant!

However, my favorite part is the crock of made-in-house peanut butter that comes on every table, along with a good supply of various crackers.

Supposedly this dates back to WWII when butter was in short supply and being rationed. So someone suggested using Peanut Butter instead, and it’s been that way ever since. Or at least that’s the story they’re sticking with.

Jan got something a little different this time, going for the Philly Cheesesteak Quesadillas, with a Sour Cream and Garlic center,

while I stayed the course with my usual NY Strip Po’boy with the made-to-order Onion Strips and made-to-order chips.

Buried underneath all that is a tender, delicious 8oz NY Strip on a big piece of homemade French bread, with horseradish mayo.

Delicious!

Back on the road by about 12:30, we had a smooth trip over through Tuscaloosa before turning north on I-65 in Birmingham. This got us into our Days Inn in Athens right on schedule about 4:15

We’ll be here for 5 nights, catching up with family and friends.

Now catching up with yesterday (Thursday).

Finally getting into the Slidell area, we turned north on US11 heading up to Pearl River. We had heard about a great Cajun Seafood place in that area and wanted to have a late lunch there before checking into our nearby hotel. But it was not to be.

When we got to where it was supposed to be, it wasn’t. There was just some new construction. So we headied over to our Microtel hotel to go ahead and check in, and then maybe ask for some recommendations.

We found out that Lester’s had apparently closed months ago, but it seems no one told the Internet. But after the two ladies at the front desk talked it over, they recommended Atchafalaya Seafood about 15 minutes up I-59 in Picayune, MS. And it was certainly worth the drive.

Jan got the Half And Half, which is Fried Catfish and Fried Shrimp, along with Hushpuppies and a Loaded Baked Potato.

I decided to splurge and get the Seafood Platter, which was a mistake.

My mistake was not realizing how big it was. Jan and I could have split it and still had leftovers.

It came with Fried Catfish, Fried Shrimp, Fried Oysters, a Fried Soft Shell Crab, Hushpuppies, and Cajun Fried Potatoes. Which are Boiled Red Potatoes that are then battered and fried.

I gave Jan a couple of the Fried Oysters and a Cajun Potato, and then I ate and ate until I was stuffed. And I still had this left over.

In case you’re keeping score, that’s 4 Fried Oysters, 2 Fried Shrimp, 3 pieces of Fried Catfish, and 5 Cajun Potatoes. The two pieces of toast are just there to soak up any remaining grease when everything comes hot out of the fryer.

So we both had leftovers to bring home. Though I don’t know when we’ll actually get a chance to eat them.

But it was all absolutely delicious!

Tomorrow we’re getting together with Helen, my cousin’s wife, and some number of her kids to be named later.


Thought For The Day:

Sometimes late at night I go out and dig a big hole in the backyard just to scare the neighbors.

Your Retro-Preview Highlights –

2010 – The Rock: The Prison, Not The Actor

2012 – Treading Water On The Gate

2013 – Jan Gets Burro Bit In Oatman

2014 – It’s Stage 0

2017 – Snowing In Bend

2019 – Scenic Cruising The Rhine

2022 – Ramses The Great

And Now On To Today’s Retro-Blogs.™


May 10, 2009

Mother’s Day & Other ‘Stuff’…

Today was one of those lay-around days.

Took Jan to Applebee’s for Mother’s Day lunch and then stopped off at WalMart to pick up some ‘stuff’.

On that note, have you noticeed how it seems we never have enough ‘stuff’.  No matter how much ‘stuff’ we buy, a week or so later, we have to buy more ‘stuff’.

What I can’t figure out is where all the ‘stuff’ we do buy keeps going.  It’s there one minute, and then I turn around and it’s gone.

The only thing I can figure out is that it turns into dryer lint.  I mean, think about it.

With as much dryer lint as you pull out of the filter every time you dry clothes, it can’t all come ‘from’ your clothes.  Soon you wouldn’t have any clothes left. They would have all unraveled into dryer lint.

And it can’t come from something ‘on’ your clothes, because you just washed them, right?  They’re clean!

So the answer is that ‘stuff’ has a life expectancy of about a week.

After that, it dissolves into dryer lint.

And I think it’s a conspiracy headed up by ‘Big Stuff’ to keep us all buying more ‘stuff’.

I mean, has a week ever passed that you didn’t need more ‘stuff’?

If ‘Big Stuff’ made better quality ‘stuff’ that lasted longer, we wouldn’t have this problem.  Instead, they sell us this inferior ‘stuff’ with ‘built-in planned obsolescence’, probably made in ‘stuff’ shops overseas…

Where was I?  Oh yeah.

After WalMart, we got the toad washed and then went to a Carvel Ice Cream place right next door. I remembered them from years ago, but didn’t realize they were still around. I tried one of their iced coffees and it was really good.

After we got home I spent the rest of the afternoon finishing up the solar screens for the windshield and the front side and door windows.

We’re parked heading due west and the afternoon sun hitting that big windshield really lets in the heat.  So much so, that the AC units run continuously all afternoon trying to keep up.

This solar screen fabric is supposed to keep out 90% of the heat so we’ll see how it works.

And to think, this time last year we were being snowed on in Fairbanks.

The STS-125 Shuttle launch is still on for tomorrow afternoon so we’re still planning to head up to Cape Kennedy early tomorrow morning, probably about 6am.

Will let you know how it goes…


May 10, 2010

The Rock…

This morning we left about 9 am heading for prison…

Alcatraz, that is.

By 10 am we were parked at a parking lot right across the street from Pier 33 on The Embarcadero, the street that runs along San Francisco’s waterfront

We were supposed to be in line to board our ferry at 10:30 am and I thought I had allowed plenty of time, but I didn’t count on it taking 20 minutes to pay for our parking.

This was one of those parking lots where your parking spot had a number and you go to an automated machine, enter you spot number, and feed the machine cash or a credit card. The problem was that many of the people trying to pay were foreign tourists who apparently didn’t read English very well. And they were having a lot of trouble with the machine. So there was a long line at the machine.

Luckily, since we were right across the street from the dock, we had time for a quick bathroom break before picking up our tickets and getting in line.

Clipper Line

While waiting in line, we could see Coit Tower up the hill behind us. This was neat because we just saw Coit Tower in the closing episode of Amazing Race on Sunday night, where the contestants had to climb the side of the tower to get their next clue.

Coit Tower
Our ferry, the Alcatraz Clipper left the dock about 11 am, right on time, and headed toward Alcatraz Island, about 2 miles away.

Alcatraz Clipper

Off to our left, we could see the Golden Gate Bridge that we had crossed earlier emerging from the fog.

Golden Gate in Fog

And then Alcatraz itself started to become visible.

Alcatraz 1

The “Indians Welcome” sign is left over from the Indian occupation of Alcatraz in 1969.

Alcatraz Sign

The first thing we noticed was all the lush vegetation around. Lots and lots of flowers, shrubs, and ground covers.

Alcatraz Flowers 1

Alcatraz Flowers 2

We made the quarter-mile, 130 foot vertical climb up to the cellhouse and began our audio tour using headphones, narrated by former guards and inmates.

Here’s the shower room for the inmates. Guess you couldn’t be too shy.

Alcatraz Shower

The three levels of cells.

Alcatraz Cell Block

And here’s a typical cell. 5 feet wide by 9 feet deep by 7 feet high.

Alcatraz Cell

And here’s Jan being locked away in one of the high-security detention cells.

Alcatraz Cell 2

The gouges and holes in the floor were made by grenades dropped into the cell blocks by the US Marines during a botched escape attempt in 1946.

Alcatraz Grenades

Looking back at downtown San Francisco from The Rock.

Alcatraz San Francisco

One of the actual cells that the three inmates used spoons to tunnel thru the concrete and disappear from Alcatraz in 1962. They were never found, nor were their bodies. The FBI concluded they had drowned, but other inmates and guards who were there at the time think they all escaped to South America, since they had all been studying Spanish via correspondence course.

That’s the hole underneath the sink.

Alcatraz Escape

After watching a very good 20 minute film on the history of Alcatraz Island.

The island became Fort Alcatraz in 1858 and remained under direct Army control until 1907 when it officially became an Army prison.

In 1933 the Army closed their prison facilities and transferred the island to the newly-formed Federal Bureau of Prisons.

Then in 1934 it reopened as America’s highest security prison. Over the years, it was home to many famous inmates, like Al Capone, Machine Gun Kelley, Alvin Karpis, and Robert Stroud, the Birdman of Alcatraz.

On March 21, 1963, Alcatraz was officially closed, and the remaining inmates transferred to other Federal prisons.

We caught the 1:35 pm ferry back to the dock and headed for the car.

Then we headed over to Joe’s Cable Car Diner. We had seen this place on Diner’s, Drive-ins, and Dives and wanted to check it out.

Joes Cable Car

They mainly serve hamburgers, or as they say, “Ground Steak Burgers”. And talk about fresh ground!  They grind your burger from fresh chuck as you order it.

And Joe, the owner, is adamant about his burgers. He was sitting at the next table when got our orders, and when he saw Jan start to put mustard on her burger, he said, loudly, “No, No, No. You must taste it first. Don’t put anything on it before you taste it”

Jan and both agreed this was absolutely the best burger we have ever eaten, bar none.

As we were leaving the restaurant about 3:45 pm, Jan talked to our daughter Brandi as we headed back to the rig.

Getting home about 5 pm, we settled in.

Tomorrow we’re going to take a DUCK Tour of San Francisco, ride the cable cars, and eat at Fisherman’s Wharf.

Another busy day.


May 10, 2012

Well, that was fun!

First off, thanks to everyone who contacted us, concerned about our safety in today’s storm. We’re fine. A little damp, but fine.

Last night (Wed.) was nice, and it was still nice when Jan took over the gate at 7am. But the thunder, lightning, and rain woke me up about 11, and it only got worse as the day rolled on.

By the time I took the gate back over at 2pm, it was just coming down in sheets.

Marathon Storm 1

Marathon Storm 2

And then the hail started. And kept on coming down, mostly marbled-size, but I did see some larger chunks. By this time the wind had really picked up and was pretty much blowing sideways under the canopy.

Then about 3:15, Jim Streeter, the Company Main (the overall boss of the rig site) pulled up in his truck and told us to take shelter in the Toolpusher’s trailer with the rest of the crew. Apparently, a tornado had been reported in the area, so they shut the rig down and got everyone in the trailer.

These trailers are solid metal, very heavy, and have no windows. Probably the safest place on the rig site.

Jan said, “Yeah, until the rig falls on us.”  That’s my Jan, always looking on the bright side of things. And of course, as we’re leaving the RV, I had to tell Jan, “No, you can’t take the cats!”

Marathon Trailer Shelter

They finally let us loose after about 45 minutes and we came back to this.

Marathon Storm Aftermath

Our canopy had partially collapsed from the weight of the water pooling in the cover. I was able to somewhat repair it, but it’s never going to quite fold up the same anymore.

Then a few minutes later, we got the final “all clear” signal.

Marathon Rainbow

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a rainbow this low before. And the other funny thing is that, after taking this picture and getting ready to take another. the rainbow just disappeared like you flicked a switch, and not faded away like most do.

Earlier in the day, I was talking to the Company Man and he said they expect to finish up here sometime around Wednesday of next week, and that he expects us to move with them. But I don’t know what our company wants us to do. I’ll check with them on Saturday when I go over to pick up the mail.

The rig is moving about 45 miles west of here to just south of Charlotte, TX, which is about 15 miles from our favorite Wal-Mart in Pleasanton, TX, so that would be nice.

As usual, we see how it goes.


May 10, 2013

Oatman and the Mother Road . . .

Jan and I headed out a little after 8 for our daytrip down to Oatman, AZ, about 120 miles away. But our first stop was at Jack in the Box for a couple of Supreme Croissants to go with the coffee we brought from home.

Heading down US93 the first thing we encountered was a line of vintage cars caravanning down to Kingman.

Oatman Car 1

The ubiquitous 1957 Chevy

Oatman Car 2

Here’s one you don’t see very often. A 1963 Studebaker Gran Turismo Hawk. A friend’s parents had one.

Oatman Car 3

Another unusual one. A Studebaker truck

Oatman Car 4

A 1950 Chevrolet

Oatman Car 5

Ford ??. At least I think it’s a Ford.

Oatman Car 6

Another Ford

Oatman Car 7

And another Ford.

Getting into Kingman, we made a potty stop at a TA truck stop before heading about 4 miles west on I-40 and exiting onto what is the longest surviving section of Route 66.Oatman Trip 1

It starts out pretty straight and smooth, but then quickly starts climbing up into the mountains.

Oatman Trip 2

Jan got excited when she saw this sign

Oatman Trip 3

But we still had a way to go to get to Oatman.

Oatman Trip 4

A curvy, twisty way.

Oatman GPS

Oatman Trip 6

Oatman Trip 7

This sharp hairpin turn had the only railing we saw along the way. And based on the small cross memorial at the edge, the railing is probably a good idea.

Oatman Trip 8

Oatman Trip 9

Oatman Trip 10

That is one twisty road.

image

A couple of miles outside of Oatman we came past the Gold Road Mine. This is a shot from up above.

Oatman Gold Road 1

Oatman Gold Road 2

Gold Road was actually once a town. The area built up in the very early 1900’s after gold was discovered in the surrounding hills Gold production peaked in 1906 and then tailed off as the vein played out.

But the town held on until 1942 when the miners moved on to other areas to mine more strategic metals for the war effort. Then a few years later the town was razed to save on taxes.

Then in 1992 a new company bought the mine and started up production again. But then in 1998 the gold price collapsed and mining was shut down once again.

For several years the mine company offered very popular gold mine tours, before starting up production again in 2007 and shutting down the tours.

With the high price of gold right now, the mine is very busy and very profitable. We counted about 30 cars in the parking lot and the place was surrounded by a tall chain-link fence topped by razor wire. Not taking any chances, I guess.

One thing I found interesting is that the mining company is making a lot of easy money just reprocessing the leftover tailings from the original mining effort. They don’t even have to dig it out of the ground

Modern extraction methods are so much more efficient now that they are getting more gold out of the old tailings than was gotten out originally.

Right past the mine area, we saw where this car had gone off the road above and crashing into the rocks below.

Oatman Trip 11

Don’t know if it was driven, or pushed.

Oatman Car 8

Finally driving into beautiful downtown Oatman, we parked at the far end and walked back into town. And quickly saw our first indication that burros were near.

Oatman Trip 12

The town is only a few blocks long, but jam-packed with small stores and shops.

Oatman Trip 13

And lots and lots of burros. Lots of burros.

Oatman Burros 1

They’re everywhere. Which certainly made Jan happy.

Jan brought a bag of baby carrots to feed the burros, but a store clerk said they were trying to discourage the feeding of carrots because they have a lot of sugar, and too many are bad for the burros. Of course, this may have just been a reason to sell us $1 bags of alfalfa pellets to feed them instead.

A little later while Jan was feeding some females, a big male came up behind her and tried to grab the bag containing the carrots. So for a little bit, you had this tug-of-war with the two of them fighting over the bag. Which promptly tore and spilled carrots and alfalfa pellets out on the ground.

Then it was a scramble to get it all picked up before it all got eaten.

Oatman Burros 2

Oatman Burros 3

Sometimes you just need a little shade.

Oatman Burros 4

Even the stores get into the fun.

Oatman Classy Ass

About noon we decided to have lunch at the Olive Oatman restaurant. What we got was a very good meal, simple but good.

Jan had the Grilled Chicken Sandwich, and I had a very good cheeseburger.

Oatman Restaurant

But the dessert we shared was the real kicker. An order of Peach Fry Bread with Ice Cream.

Oatman Fry Bread

Fry Bread is really, really good. Trust me.

After lunch, Jan was back to feeding the burros.

Oatman Burros 5

But maybe she should have paid a little more attention to these signs posted all over town.

Oatman Burros 6

She was feeding two burros, when another one came up, and apparently impatient and not wanting to wait his turn, tried to take a chunk out of Jan’s hand. Didn’t break the skin, but she said it did smart.

Oatman Burro Bite

Walking back to our truck I saw this sign on the rear window of a parked truck.

So these are Mormons who don’t like dogs?

Oatman 3 wives 2 dogs

Near the parking lot, we saw this baby burro taking a nap, just pooped, I guess.

Oatman Baby Burro Down

It reminded me of this photo of Landon dressed in his giraffe costume and too pooped to Trick-or-Treat anymore.

Giraffe is down

Oatman was named after Olive Oatman, an Illinois girl who was kidnapped by Indians in 1851 and lived with them until she was released in 1855, near present-day Oatman.

Another interesting fact is that Clark Gable and Carol Lombard honeymooned here in March 1939 after getting married in Kingman, AZ. In fact, you can stay in the Gable/Lombard honeymoon suite at the Oatman Hotel to this day.

We headed home about 1:30, taking a different route and heading west on over to hook up with US95 south of Bullhead City and Laughlin, and then on north back to Las Vegas.

Getting back about 4pm we first stopped off at Boulder Station Casino to swipe our Boarding Pass cards for the weekend drawings, and to get Starbuck’s Cinnamon Dolce Lattes before we finally headed home.

We decided not to do the Hoover Dam Bridge Walkway today and will try to catch it another day.


May 10, 2014

Stage 0 . . .

Jan and I were up earlier than usual because we still didn’t have power. Which is why there was no blog last night. I was going to post a quick note, but found I couldn’t get any data service on my phone or AirCard. I don’t think it had anything to do with the power outage because that turned out to be local to the park. But I figure it was probably storm-related somehow. I could still make a phone call, just nothing with data.

Since we were up so early Jan and I decided to get out for breakfast at the Cracker Barrel right down the road. As we were leaving our area of the park, we saw where the power company was working to clear the downed trees that took out the power lines.

The Cracker Barrel was really busy, with a lot of large family groups waiting for tables, but we got seated in less than 10 minutes.

Jan had her usual Wild Maine Blueberry Pancakes with a side of ‘burnt’ bacon (that’s the way she likes it.), while I tried their new Smothered Steak and Eggs. That turned out to be a 5oz. Top Sirloin covered with Swiss Cheese, Grilled Onions, and Grilled Fresh Mushrooms. And they did it right, too.

Many places, when serving a small steak like this, cut it as a large, thin piece so it looks bigger. But Cracker Barrel cuts it as a 1 inch thick piece, which means you can order it medium-rare and actually get a tender, juicy piece of steak. Really, really good.

Before we came home we went by the nearby Sam’s Club to drop off Jan’s new Tamoxifen prescription to pick up later this afternoon.

We got back to the park about 11:30 to find we still didn’t have power, but about 11:55 it came back on and stayed on. Yah!


Our daughter-in-law Linda posted this pic of Chris and Piper working on a father-daughter project,

Chris and Piper in the Shop

a stand-up paddle board kind of like this one.

standup paddle board

A little after 4pm Jan and I headed back out for dinner and shopping. Our first stop was at Culver’s for a couple of their delicious ButterBurgers and Fries. Then it was on back to Sam’s Club for a few things, plus Jan’s prescription, and then Wal-Mart for a lot more things, before heading home about 6:30.

Tomorrow we finally really hit the road for this year, making a 200 mile trip up to Waskom, TX, just over the border from Shreveport. By Saturday we’ll finally be up in Elkhart, and catch up with everyone.


Now to recap yesterday.

Jan and I left the park about 9:30 heading down south to the Clear Lake area. The main reason was for Jan’s wrap-up visit to the oncologist. But like Wednesday, our first stop was at the Flying J at exit 64 for gas, breakfast scones, and cappuccinos for the road.

Jan’s appointment wasn’t until 3pm so I made a couple of client visits, wrapping things up until we’re back in the area later this year.

Next, we went by the PO to drop off the Chinese visas to my great-nieces for their China trip later this summer.

Then it was on to Jan’s oncologist appointment. Her doctor first assured her that her breast cancer had been completely removed, and should not return. It was listed as a Stage 0 cancer, the least invasive and the most treatable form of breast cancer. So she will not need chemo or radiation, but she will need closer observation and diagnostic mammograms every year instead of the regular ones.

She was also advised to take either tamoxifen or anastrozole for the next 5 to 7 years. The choice of which was up to us.

Let’s see. Anastrozole is $264 for 3 months and tamoxifen is $24 for 3 months.

So what to do, what to do, what to do.

Finishing up at the oncologist’s, we now headed up to Katy to meet up with our daughter Brandi and her family. Along the way, the radio came on with a storm warming for the Montgomery County area. Which is where our RV is parked at the Lake Conroe Thousand Trails.

But looking at the radar, the storm pretty much covered the entire Houston area, including Katy. And by the time we got there it was pouring down. But our meal at Little V’s Vietnamese Bistro more than made up for the bad weather, with the usual wonderful food.

Landon at Little V's 4

Landon watches movies on Brandi’s iPhone while he has mini-corndogs. He doesn’t know what he’s missing.

Finally, we got our goodbye hugs and headed back up to Lake Conroe. By this time the storm had dissipated down to just light sprinkles.

But when we got to the park we found that the park power had been off since the storm came through about 5pm.

And stayed off until 11:55 the next morning.


May 10, 2015

Steak and Bread . . .

Early this morning, as a Mother’s Day tribute, I posted this photo of my mother taken during WWII.

Mother

She was a Captain in the Army Nurse Corps, and was Chief of Nursing at West Point Military Academy in 1945. In August she and her nurses were ordered to report to New Orleans to ship out to the Pacific for the final attack on the islands of Japan. My mother was held back for a few days because she had the flu, but her nurses were already on the train heading south, with her soon to follow.

Then Little Boy and Fat Man were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan. At that point, the trains turned around, and the war was over.

I forgot to mention yesterday that when Phyllis and Dick showed up, they brought food, always appreciated. Delicious Cinnamon Bread that Phyllis baked. Really good with our morning coffee.

Thanks, Phyllis.

For Mother’s Day this morning, I took Jan to Texas Roadhouse, one of our favorite steak places. And today was not a disappointment.

Figuring they would be pretty busy, I thought if we got there about 15 minutes before they were supposed to open at 11am, we would get in fairly quickly when they opened. As it turned, they had opened at 10:30, and we were just about the first people to be seated and served.

After starting with really good salads, Jan got an 8oz. Filet, while I went with my usual 16oz. Ribeye.

Texas Roadhouse Ribeye

This was a very good steak, tender, juicy, with nice charred edges. One of my best Texas Roadhouse steaks. And in fact, we both had steak left over, so that with some of their rolls, we had nice steak sandwiches for supper.

We apparently timed our arrival perfectly. because by 11:15, when we were well into our steaks, the place was full and there was a wait.

Later in the afternoon, I remove the switches from the pedestal next to the door to take a look at the shredded wiring. What I found was the wires had been yanked off the switches and pulled down in the hole leading to the wheel well.

Blowout Switches

The blowout actually pulled the pins and wires out of the Molex plug on the back of the Intellitec Battery Disconnect panel. You can also see how the spade connectors on the light switches are bent down from the force of the pull.

Next, I took apart the pedestal to see what was what.

Rig Light Console

Rig Light Console 1

Then a little before sundown, so I could see underneath the rig easier, I crawled under to get a better look at the damage.

Rig Fueling Hose 1

By crawling underneath I could see the entire fill tube had been completely ripped out. The gold item is the fuel cap.

Rig Fueling Hose 2

And above you can see in the photo above where it was torn out behind the filler door.

This steel brace was ripped out and bent, showing the force of the blowout.

Rig Brace

After giving Affinity a week to show some progress, I going to start my own search for parts and info. Between American Coach, Spartan, and Colaw’s RV Salvage, hopefully I can get a handle on things.

We’ll see.


May 10, 2016

Not Our Fault . . .

The power went off all on its own.

First up this morning, right after coffee and cereal, I got back on getting Win7 installed on our granddaughter’s HP laptop after I replaced her dead hard drive.

Once I got the HD replaced, it only took about 15 minutes to have Win7 installed and running, using this Win7 USB Installer.

Win7 USB Installer Stick

I bought it on Amazon last December for just this kind of situation. It covers all the many different versions of Win7, including 32 bit and 64 bit. Note that it is not a FREE copy of Win7, since you must have a Product Key to make it work. So it’s perfect for this when you’re just replacing the OS.

Unfortunately, it’s not available on Amazon right now since the seller is moving his business from FL to CA, so if you want one, keep checking back.

But as smooth as the OS installation went, it quickly ground to a halt after that.

In the past with other manufacturers, I can go online to their website, enter the product number, or the serial number, and it will tell me exactly what drivers I need to download and install. Or they may offer an option to scan your computer and tell you what you need.

But apparently HP doesn’t do it this way. When I followed their instructions and entered the Product Number, I got a list of 48 possible drivers, without a clue as to which ones I actually needed.

But the first thing I wanted to do was to get the laptop online, so after futzing through three different drivers, I finally found the one that got me there.

But about this time it all came to a halt. A little after 3:30 the park shore power went off. So was this Deja vu all over again after last week’s power problems at Colorado River?

Well, no. The power was off all over the park. But it did come back on in about 10 minutes, so no real problem . . .then.

Back on the driver hunt, I found that, unlike other manufacturers, HP doesn’t seem to have any way to discern the correct drivers for a particular HP computer. This was reinforced the fact that there are a couple of utilities that you can download and they’ll tell you what drivers you need and then download and install them for you. But . . after they scan your computer and tell you they have identified the specific drivers you need, they then want anywhere from $30 to $40 to actually download and install them.

So cheap as I am, I started slogging thru the list, trying each one until after about 2 hours I had them all done, with no errors showing in Device Manager.

But I wasn’t done yet. Now I had to get Win10 installed. And surprisingly it went very smoothly. I used a bootable USB stick that I had created from a download from the Microsoft website, and had no problems

Just as I started this, the park power went off . . . again. And this time it was off for over an hour. But since the laptop had a full charge, I just let it keep going.

And about 45 minutes later, Win10 was up and running. So after installing AVG Free virus protection, and LibreOffice, I was done.

Tomorrow Jan and I will head for the Clear Lake area, to return the laptop to Miss Piper. But along the way, we’ve got scheduled two clients, lunch with our son Chris, haircuts for both Jan and me, a car wash, and a stop at the dry cleaners.

And probably a couple of other things I’ve forgotten.


May 10, 2017

Clams, not Chicken . . .

With last night’s forecasted 40°, I said that we’re normally 3-5° lower out here in the countryside, so I was looking for 35° or so.

Well, it went down to 29° last night here at the park, but then was up to 79° today, sunny and breezy. But tomorrow is looking for 56/31 and rainy.

But then there’s this on Friday night.

TWC Snow Forecast

Notice the little snowflakes falling from the cloud. And since they’re showing 29° here in Sunriver, I figure low 20’s based on past performance.

After a slow morning, we headed out about 12:15 up to Bend to see “Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol 2.” We had decided to see it in IMAX 3D, but were shocked by the Sticker Shock. Senior tickets were $32.50 for the two of us!

WOW!

And I won’t even mention $14 for a medium popcorn and medium drink.

One thing that was different this time was that we had to pick our seats at the box office. They had a monitor facing us with open seats in blue and taken ones in black. Then your seat numbers are printed on your tickets. But it really wasn’t needed on a Wednesday afternoon since there weren’t more than a dozen people in the theater.

But we both really enjoyed the movie. The story was great, with a lot of action, pretty much non-stop. It answered a lot of questions about Star Lord’s background, and also why he was kidnapped from Earth as a child. And of course, any movie with both Sylvester Stallone and Kurt Russell in it has to be great.

There were a couple of glitches in the showing early on. In the first 5 minutes of the movie, it kept popping in and out of 3D, but finally settled down. But the other thing was kind of curious. As the trailers played before the movie started, every other one had no video, just audio. But what was curious was how they were being shown, at least to me.

BTW they’re still called ‘trailers’, even though we see them as previews, because years ago they were originally shown at the end of the film, not the beginning. Kind of like people still talk about ‘filming’ or ‘taping’ something, when everything is pretty much all digital these days.

Back in the good old days at a TV station, besides the video tape recorders (VTR’s), you had 16mm film projectors and 35mm slide projections, sometimes more than one of each, all pointing into a film chain box and outputting into a TV camera.

Inside this box is a set of mirrors that allow the director to switch between slides and film, usually for commercial breaks. Although back in the early 70’s, we would show afternoon TV shows like Green Acres, F Troop, Petticoat Junction, and others, all on 16mm film.

OK, probably (certainly?) more than you wanted to know.

Now as far as I knew, most films at most theaters these days are on digital video, not actual film. So that’s why I was surprised to see the mirror flopping back and forth between each preview (You can see it too if you know what to look for) And the reason every other preview was black, with just audio, was that the bulb in that projector was bad.

But that shouldn’t have happened either, since even back in the 70’s the film and slide projectors all had backup bulbs that switched over automatically when the first one burned out. The only time you would have a dead bulb on-air is if the main bulb died, the unit switched to a good one, someone didn’t replace the dead bulb, and then the new one died.

And as far as on-air mistakes, it’s a little after midnight right now, and I was watching a Law & Order from 2007. First off, although it was scheduled to start right at midnight, it actually started early at 11:55pm. Then about 12:05am it suddenly switched over to about 5 minutes of Conan, before finally switching back to Law & Order.

Even stranger, Conan is shown on TBS, and not on TNT. So I figure someone at DirecTV hit the wrong switch. So it looks like they used the 5 minutes of Conan to make up for the early start, so the program would end at the correct time. Of course, that’s not as bad as years ago when a broadcast engineer hit the wrong switch.

Back then local cable companies showed old movies on one of their channels. Late one night while the engineer was showing the movie, he was watching a porno on the other projector. Coming back from a commercial break, he mistakenly punched up the porno rather than the movie, putting it out on the air. And it was about 30 minutes before he realized his mistake.

The story goes, that the next day no one called in to complain, but six viewers did call in wanting to know when it was going to be shown again.

Leaving the theater and walking across the parking lot, we had dinner once again at Red Robin. Jan did a repeat, with a cup of clam chowder and a Mushroom Cheddar Burger, just like our last visit.

And unlike the Clam Chowder she recently had at The Sparrow Bakery, where she was pretty sure she got the Creamy Chicken instead, this cup had actual clams in it.

I tried something different this time, although I did start out with a cup of chili just like before.

But rather than my usual Burnin’ Love burger, I got the Smoke and Pepper Burger, with a half pound of Angus Beef, Black Pepper Smoked Bacon, Extra Sharp Cheddar, and thin-sliced dills, with made-in-house Smoke & Pepper Ketchup, all on a toasted ciabatta bun.

Red Robin Smoke and Pepper Burger

Good, but not near as flavorful as the Burnin’ Love, so I guess I’ll go back to it next time.

Tomorrow, maybe another movie. We’ll see.


May 10, 2018

Well, That’s Better . . .

My main job at work today was to get a Wyze camera set up to monitor the parking lot and send an alert if anyone comes onto the property.

About a week ago we had some vandalism on several cars that were parked in the lot overnight.

Wyze Camera

So we ordered one of the new Wyze Version 2 cameras to install on the front of the office.

Here’s what the picture looks like on SD (Standard Definition).

Wyze Camera Daytime

It looks even better in HD but of course, the frame rate slows down.

And here’s what it looks like at night with the only light the ones you see in the distance.

Wyze Camera Night Time

The software lets us draw a box around the area where we want to detect motion. That way we won’t pick up cars going by on the street. And since we’re not worried about vandals in the daytime, I can also set the motion detection to only turn on between certain hours, like in our case, between 8pm and 8am. Pretty neat.

I also got one for the rig when we’re gone. And besides keeping an eye on Karma, it can also be set to pick up smoke alarm sounds and CO alarm sounds. Again, neat.

My new project box came in today and it looks like it’s going to be perfect for my remote dump valves setup

Dump Box

I already mounted the two phone jacks on the cover and then I’ll stick the controllers inside using double-stick tape. I’m also going to install a couple of DPDI switches and a couple of push buttons. That will let me control the system manually from the bay.

Looks like I’ll be able to get power for the system from the water pump circuit right in the water bay. Of course, that means that I’ll have to turn the pump on to dump, but that’s not a problem.

This morning I posted a question concerning the Deluxe Screw Assortment asking if they sold empty trays.

“Greg, We do not sell empty trays yet, but we are always open to suggestions from customers. I will discuss this request with our development team.
Steve – VP of Customer Happiness Jackson Palmer”

You’ve got to love a company that has a VP of Customer Happiness.


May 10, 2019

Scenic Cruising The Rhine . . .

05/10/2019

We had been sailing all night from Wertheim Am Main heading to Koblenz along the last part of our Main River voyage.

And, by last part, at a little after 9:30, we passed under the Kostheimer Brücke bridge

Cruising The Rhine City Bridge

and hung a right onto the downstream flow of the Rhine River.

This part, known as the Middle Rhine, has probably more castles, churches, and palaces per mile than anywhere else, supposedly over 25,000 of them.

Starting with the Biebrich Palace,

Cruising The Rhine Biebrich Palace

and another church to be named later.

Cruising The Rhine Castle 1

Or at least I didn’t get the name of this one, as well as a few others.

The Rhine along this part of the river is very fast flowing, so there are these breakwaters all along the way to protect the banks from being eroded away.

Cruising The Rhine Breakwater

Next is the Binger Maus Tower, or Mouse Tower.

Cruising The Rhine Binger Maus Tower

These small ones along the river’s edge were actually Toll Stations where passing ships would stop to pay the toll to the local lords. Armed guards were usually stationed here, often with a chain across the river to block the way until the toll was paid. This one dates from the 1300’s.

The Burg Eltz Castle

Cruising The Rhine Burg Eltz Castle

A Gothic church, complete with what looks like a Gothic garage.

Cruising The Rhine Church

And this rambling castle apparently comes with its own RV Park.

Cruising The Rhine Castle with RV Park

Another unnamed castle, but very picturesque.

Cruising The Rhine Castle 2

What looks like a castle on the hill above this Gothic church is actually the town’s water tower, built to look like a castle.

Cruising The Rhine Csstle Water Tower

I guess kind of like those cellphone towers that look like trees.

This one’s pretty much in ruins.

Cruising The Rhine Castle 3

And this castle has a town, vineyards, a church, and an RV Park.

Cruising The Rhine Castle 4 with RV

This is the famous Pfalz Island Toll Castle, complete with cannon ports for those pesky toll evaders.

Cruising The Rhine Pfalz Island Toll Castle

Gutenfels Castle, which as the sign says, is now a hotel.

Cruising The Rhine Gutenfels Castle

Schonburg Castle

Cruising The Rhine Schonburg Castle

Another Castle/Church Combo.

Cruising The Rhine Church 1

Another Toll Tower.

Cruising The Rhine Toll Tower

This photo shows the extent they will go to use every bit of arable land possible, even on steep hillsides.

Cruising The Rhine Vineyards

Famed Lorelei Rock, where legend has it that a water nymph/mermaid would sing pretty songs and lure sailors onto the rocks in the narrowed passage.

Cruising The Rhine Lorelei Rock

And of course, the obligatory statue of said water nymph/mermaid on an island in the river.

Cruising The Rhine Lorelei Statue

This is Rheinfels Castle, now partially restored.

Cruising The Rhine Rheinfels Castle

And another Maus (Mouse) Castle, this one near Wellmich.

Cruising The Rhine Mouse Castle Wellmich

Finally coming into Koblenz, we passed the Ehrenbreitstein Fortress, and the funicular that takes tourists across the river to it.

Cruising The Rhine Ehrenbreitstein Fortress

Dinner tonight was special, with A Taste Of Germany theme.

Cruising The Rhine Taste Of Germany 1

Besides the usual menu, there was a separate one of German specialties.

Cruising The Rhine Taste Of German Menu

All really good.

And this time we had our waiter, Nikolai,

Cruising The Rhine Taste Of Germany Nikolai

get a group photo of everyone, yes, even me this time.

Cruising The Rhine Taste Of Germany Group

Next up is Cologne, with only a couple more days on our cruise after that.


The Viking Skirnir

Viking Skirnir


May 10, 2020

Flyover

As I mentioned in yesterday’s blog, we had planned to watch the Lone Star VE Day Flyover this afternoon. And by looking at the map it looked to be coming just west of Baybrook Mall west of I-45 on Bay Area Blvd. So the idea was to get up there about 2pm, get a couple of 4 piece Box Combos from Raising Cane’s, and park out in the open area west of the mall to eat our meal and wait for the 30 plane formation to fly over about 45 minutes later.

Raising Cane Box Combo

But it was not to be. And I’m not really sure what happened.

About the time scheduled for the flyover in our area, I saw two of what I think were AT-6 trainers followed by the B-25 fly overhead, but they were coming from the wrong direction and looked to be heading straight back to Ellington, rather than heading down to Dickinson like they were supposed to.

So I started looking around for the other 25+ planes and I finally found them flying much further south and much higher than the scheduled 2000 ft., and there were only 10 of them. So what happened to the rest of the planes, and the route I don’t know.

But the chicken fingers were really, really good.


May 10, 2021

Carts and Cups . . .

SpaceX seems to be on a roll with their Starlink launches with 3 in the last 10 days for a total of a 180 new birds. And two of them set new records, with one Falcon 9 successfully used 9 times, and the other one a total of 10 times.

And of course, the more birds up there, the quicker we’ll get our Starlink Internet service.

Jan and I were really surprised at how busy Galveston was yesterday. Jam-packed, bumper-to-bumper people and cars, and hardly a mask in sight. And the beach was just as busy as the streets.

It also didn’t help that it seems like Galveston Island has legalized golf carts on the streets now. Rather than just the pedal-powered surreys that people would rent to drive up and down the Seawall and on the sidewalks, now they can rent the carts and go zipping in and out of traffic, crossing from the street to the sidewalk and then back again.

No lights, no turn signals, just the big orange “Slow Vehicle” triangle on the rear. Certainly made driving along the Seawall a lot more interesting.

Jan and I started more detailed plotting of our upcoming Illinois/Alabama trip. We plan on leaving here on Monday, June 7th, with our first night’s stay in the Jackson, MS area, about 470 miles along.

Then the next night, we’ll be at Jan’s sister, Debbie’s for the next 5 days, before heading back toward Houston by way of Alabama, seeing a number of relatives and old friends along the way.

We’ll be gone almost two weeks, not getting home until June 20th. So now it’s time to start booking hotels along the way. I need to get this done pretty quickly since we’ve got a very busy couple of weeks coming up.

This Friday we’ve got our monthly Alvin Opry visit, with next Tuesday and Thursday get-togethers with old RV friends. And of course, our son Chris’ birthday is next week too.

So busy, busy, busy.

Well, Amazon finally got it right today, but I’m not really sure how.

As I mentioned before, after receiving the first two flamingo cups for Jan that I ordered from Facebook like this.

Wish Cups Both - 500

I found the same ones on Amazon and figured they would do a better job, but I was only half right. In fact they weren’t packed as well as the FB ones, but amazingly, only one was broken this time.

Flamingo Cups Amazon

I asked them to send me another one, and to pack it better this time. Well, it seems their idea of packing it better was just to put it into a Larger paper shipping bag. No bubble-wrap, no padding. Just the flimsy box with the cup inside.

So I was really surprised when I shook the bag when the Prime guy dropped it off, and it didn’t rattle. So now Jan finally has her set of two flamingo cups.

Flamingo Cup


May 10, 2022

Ramses The Great . . .

Jan and I were on our way into Houston by about 10:30 this morning, first heading to Katz’s Deli up in the Montrose area for lunch.  Katz’s is kind of our go-to place when we’re up in this area. Well, Katz’s Deli and Cleburne Cafeteria, I guess.

We got there right on schedule about 11:30 and had a great meal, as usual.

Jan got the Open Face Tuna Melt,

Katz' Open Faced Tuna Sandwich

with a side of Sweet Potato Fries.

Katz's Deli 20220510 Sweet Potato Fries

While I got my usual Rueben, the Klassic size, which is the medium one, with the Skinny being the smallest, and the New York being the largest.

Katz's Deli 20220510 Klassic Rueben

This is the New York one.

Katz's Deli Reuben Sandwich

Glad I didn’t get that one.

And in fact I kind of wish I had gotten the Skinny size one, because I was really full afterward, and I knew we couldn’t bring home leftovers since we were going to the museum next.

For my side, I got an order of their Homemade chips.

Katz's Deli 20220510 Chips

Not only are they made inhouse, but they’re cooked to order and come out warm.

Delicious!

Then after that great meal, we drove about 5 miles south to the Houston Museum of Natural Science to the Ramses the Great exhibit. Because of the padding I built into our schedule, we had about 20 minutes to kill before our 1:30 tickets, but better a little early than late.

The first thing we did was the 15 minute VR presentation done in these motion pods.

Ramses VR Hall

Not only do you have a VR headset on, but the pods turn, recline, and shake as part of the presentation, though Jan had them turn her motion off due to her tendency to motion sickness. But she enjoyed it too.

Next up was a 15 minute movie presentation about Ramses and his reign. He died at the age of 90, so old that when he died he had already outlived all of his children, so one of his grandsons, Merenptah, became Pharaoh, and he was in his mid-50’s.

After that, we began the tour through the hundreds of exhibits.

Ramses Entrance

Ramses 1

Ramses 3

Ramses 2

It’s amazing what the dry sands of Egypt can preserve for 3000 years.

Here’s part of a wooden bow and an animal skin quiver.

Ramses Bow and Quiver

And here’s a piece of cloth found in a tomb wrapped around a sarcophagus.

Ramses Cloth

That’s about all for today. I’ve got a lot more, so I’ll finish up tomorrow.


May 10, 2023

They Always Come Back . . .

Today at work, I installed 2-1/2 Rove DashCams, like this one, in my client’s vehicles,

Rove DaskCam

Rove 4K DashCam

a 2002 Ford F-150, a 2018 Nissan Altima, with the 1/2 being in his 1995 Ford Thunderbird.

My client wanted me to install dashcams in 3 of his vehicles, so I picked one like this that I’ve used for the last few years.

The 1/2 install on his Thunderbird was due to the fact that the cigarette lighter power does not shut off with the engine, but stays on all the time. So I had to order a kit to power the Rove from the fuse box rather than the power plug. But it will have to wait until we get back from vacation.

Jan and I have noticed as we’ve been driving past Walk-On’s, the new sports bar up in Webster, how busy it always is. But Twin Peaks, just a little further north, seems just as busy as always. And when I mentioned this to Sylvia, our regular TP server, she said that they really hadn’t noticed any slowdown.

But she said some of the TP servers had left and gone to work at Walk-On’s. She said, “They’ll be back”.

“They always come back.”

Guess the grass (or money) isn’t always greener at the new place.

Tomorrow we’re meeting our long-time RV friends, Debi and Ed, at the Outback Steakhouse up in The Woodlands area. It’s been a while since we’ve been to Outback so we’re really looking forward to it.

And Debi and Ed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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