Rosie’s And Family . . .

We headed over to Huntsville a little after 3:30pm, with our first stop at the Trader Joe’s there. And as usual, Jan found some things she just had to have, and some things that she didn’t know she needed, but just had to have.

But she came out smiling, and that’s what’s important, right?

Then it was on back down the road about a mile to Rosie’s Cantina, a place that on our list every time we’re in the area.

And ever better we were meeting up with my cousin-in-law Helen, and her kids, Darby, Harland, and Luke.  Which makes them my cousins, once removed, or so Google says.

Helen and her husband own the RV Park where we used to stay when we RV’ing in this area, and it’s always fun catching with everyone. In fact we were there almost two hours, and just lost track of time, I guess.

Already looking forward to next year.

Not sure what we’re doing tomorrow, since Jan hasn’t decided yet.

Thought For The Day:

You know your wife is mad when she starts off a sentence with–“I just find it funny . . .“  Because you know there’s a 99.9% chance she did not find it funny.

Your Retro-Preview Highlights –

2010 – Duck Riding In San Francisco

2015 – July In Prescott?

2022 – Wrapping Up Ramses II

And Now On To Today’s Retro-Blogs.™

May 11, 2009

Now I’ve got the Complete Set…

Well, it’s official.

I now have the complete set.

I got my first one on March 30, 1982 and it took me over 27 years to get the second one. But I finally did it.

I now have been at both a Space Shuttle launch and a Space Shuttle landing.

I worked on the Shuttle program at Johnson Space Center for ten years from 1978 thru 1987, but never was actually at a launch at the Cape.

In March 1982 I was part of the landing crew at the backup landing site, Northrop Strip, White Sands, New Mexico when the 3rd Shuttle mission, STS-3 landed there, the only time a Shuttle has landed somewhere other than Florida or California.


The Shuttle landed at White Sands because the landing strip at Edwards Air Force Base in California was covered with water due to recent heavy rains, and the landing strip at Cape Kennedy in Florida was not yet operational.

Coincidentally, before the landing, a movie called “Wrong is Right” was being filmed at White Sands.  The White Sands area was standing in for the sands of Saudi Arabia.  And the movie crew was staying at the same Holiday Inn in Alamogordo, NM that we were.

It was a real kick to go down to the hotel bar every night after work and sit around drinking with Sean Connery, Katherine Ross, Robert Conrad,  John Saxon, and Leslie Nielsen.  And later I got to fix Katherine Ross’ hair dryer since she was staying in the hotel room next to mine.

And now I have a Shuttle launch under my belt.

We’re presently parked in Homestead, FL, about 30 miles south of Miami.  Friday we’ll be heading down for a few days in the Florida Keys.  So we were glad that we were still close enough to try and see a launch.

We left our park in Homestead a little after 6am this morning and got to Titusville about 11:30am, a trip of about 250 miles.  We also took some extra clothes with us in case the launch was delayed over the 3 day launch window and we had to stay at a motel. But we lucked out.

The launch went off as scheduled at 2:01:56pm and we had a great spot to view it from. And one that had a lot memories for Jan and I.

Jan and met in Titusville almost 42 years where she lived and I was working for the summer.  We would go out to this fishing pier outside downtown Titusville and make out. We spent a lot of time there making out.

Make Out Pier

Unfortunately, there is not a lot of the old pier left, but Jan and I are still going strong, and it made a great viewing area for the launch.

And we had a lot of company!

Launch Crowd 1

Launch Crowd 1

Here are some pics of the launch. The first one is from NASA. The rest are mine.

Shuttle Launch

Shuttle Launch 2

Shuttle Launch 3

Into the Clouds

Shuttle Launch 3

Shuttle Launch 5

Shuttle Launch 6

Shuttle Launch 7

And about 30 seconds after the launch, the shock wave and the roar from the engines washed over us. It was fantastic.

Well, that was it. A real thrill for Jan and I, I tell you.

And tomorrow, if the weather holds, we plan an airboat ride thru the Everglades.

May 11, 2010

Quack, Quack, DUKW, DUKW…

Today we headed into San Francisco about 8:50 am, with a quick detour to a gas station to get some air in one of my tires. Yesterday my tire pressure monitor told me my passenger front tire was down about 10# so I aired it up. Then this morning it was down again. So I’ve got a slow leak. I’ll have to get it fixed tomorrow.

We got to our Duck Tour pick-up point, but then found a problem. We were supposed to be picked up at the corner of Powell & Ellis, but there was nothing there to indicate this was a pickup point. When we’ve done these tours before, there’s always a ticket booth or sign or something. But nothing here.

After making a couple of phone calls and getting no more info, we just hoped that we would be picked up at noon on schedule.

We had about a hour before our supposed pickup so we decided to take a Cable Car ride down to Fisherman’s Wharf and back.

While we waited for the cable car, I saw this sign and just had to shake my head.


It’s really a shame that they just don’t teach spelling in American schools anymore.

We started our cable car ride at the Market St. Turnaround.

Calble Car 1

The turnaround is a turntable that allows the cable cars to reverse direction.

Cable Car 2

Once the car is on the turntable the crew turns it by hand.

Cable Car 3

This is the Grip, the guy who controls the cable car. The cable runs underground, kind of like an upside-down ski lift.. The cable is constantly running at about 9.5 mph. A gripper extends below the car into the slot between the tracks. The lever in the Grip’s lefthand grips the cable that pulls the car along. Releasing the grip lets the car coast. The lever in the Grip’s righthand controls the car’s brakes.

Cable Car 4

And good brakes are really needed on some of these hills.

Cable Car 5

Cable Car 6

We got back to our DUKW pickup point about 10 minutes before noon, and looking around, suddenly, our DUKW was there. The DUKW’s are WWII amphibious 6 wheel drive trucks used in the D-Day landing at Normandy and others. The DUKW name is not a military acronym, but the designation given to it by General Motors Corporation, the builder. The D indicates a vehicle designed in 1942, the U meant “utility (amphibious)”, the K indicated all-wheel drive and the W indicated two powered rear axles.


And it was a special tour. We were the only two people on the tour, so we had the DUKW all to ourselves.

The driver/tour guide noticed I was wearing an SR-71 Blackbird T-shirt. It turns out that he was stationed at RAF Mindenhall in England as a SR-71 support officer in the USAF. Since I had worked on the SR-71 once when I was working for the Department of Defense back in the early 70’s, we had fun trading our favorite Blackbird stories.

We started with a tour of the sites of SF. Here’s San Francisco’s iconic Transamerica Building.


And of course, Chinatown.

Chinatown 1

Our driver said there is no natural level ground in San Francisco. The only level spots are from hills being leveled off, or valleys filled in. This really illustrates that.

SF Skyline

After about a hour we drove into San Francisco Bay and started the water part of our tour. This is AT&T Park where the Giants play.

AT&T Park

And here’s the Bay Bridge…and the back of Jan’s head.

Bay Bridge

Our DUKW lasted about 90 minutes, so by 1:30 pm we were back where we parked the truck. And after grabbing a Starbuck’s coffee and a bathroom break, we got our truck out of the parking garage and headed down to Fisherman’s Wharf for lunch.

We liked the look of Castagnalo’s so we decided to give it a try.


The place was beautiful inside and had a great view of the Wharf.


Castagnolas View

We started off with a half dozen raw oysters, and then Jan had the Fried Shrimp and I had the Lobster Bisque in a sourdough bread bowl. Both were delicious.

Leaving Castagnola’s, we walked down a couple of blocks and turned a corner. And suddenly I wished we had eaten somewhere else

What I saw was Fisherman’s Grotto.

Fishermans Grotto

And I remembered this as the place my family and I ate in the summer of 1964 when we did our big western vacation. Bummer!

It would have been neat to eat here again after 46 years.

Leaving the Wharf area we headed over to Lombard St. to drive the ‘Crookedest Street in the World”. It consists of a 27% grade with 8 hairpin turns, and looks like this.

Lombard 3

Here’s what it looks like going down.

Lombard 1

And here’s what it looks like from a couple of blocks away looking back up.

Lombard 2

Lombard St. may be the crookedest, but certainly not the steepest, at a 27% grade. Here’s a list of steeper streets. A couple of these we took. And I’m glad our truck had good brakes and a V-8 engine.

The Steepest Streets in the City
1. (tie) Filbert between Leavenworth and Hyde (31.5% grade)
1. (tie) 22nd between Church and Vicksburg (31.5% grade)
3. Jones between Union and Filbert (29% grade)
4. Duboce between Buena Vista and Alpine (27.9% grade)
5. Jones between Green and Union (26% grade)
6. Webster between Vallejo and Broadway (26% grade)
7. Duboce between Alpine and Divisadero (25% grade)
8. Jones between Pine and California (24.8 grade)
9. Fillmore between Vallejo and Broadway (24% grade)
Source: San Francisco Bureau Of Engineering

Supposedly there is another street with a 34% grade, but I wasn’t able to locate it.

Some of these streets are so steep that it’s like driving off a cliff. When your vehicle is level before you start down the hill, you can’t see the roadway in front of you. You just have to take it on faith that the road is still there.


Before heading home Jan wanted to drive past the famous “Painted Ladies” near Alamo Square. They are on so many postcards that the street is known as Postcard Row. The street was also featured in the credits of the TV show “Full House”.

Painted Ladies

Heading home, we crossed the Golden Gate Bridge and decided to stop at Vista Point, a viewing area overlooking the bridge.

Here we got our last look at the Golden Gate.

Golden Gate

We got home about 6 pm and Jan heated up what was left of last night’s crockpot King Ranch Chicken. I forgot to mention yesterday that we had it cooking for us when we got home. Jan’s King Ranch Chicken is always great.

Tomorrow is our last day in San Francisco, and we have some things to get done before we leave on Thursday for the Redwood National Forest about 295 miles north.

May 11, 2011

Primm and Esther’s . . .

As I mentioned yesterday, it was a traveling day.

And travel we did.

About 10 am yesterday, Jan and I packed up, and after a quick stop at the bank, headed for Los Angeles, about 280 miles away. We were going so that we could attend a taping of The Talk talk show (actually two shows).

After about two hours on the road, we made a pit stop at Primm, NV.

Primm is kind of interesting. You’re driving thru the desert on I-15 heading south and you come over a hill, and suddenly spread out in front of you is a small city. Only it’s not really a city. It’s just 3 big casino/hotels, a roller coaster, several restaurants, two gas station/convenience stores, and a large outlet mall. The only inhabitants are pretty much the employees of the casinos.

Its real claim to fame is that it straddles I-15 right on the Nevada/California state line, and is the closest place you can come to gamble from California.

And being on the state line, it actually was called State Line, Nevada until 1996 when they changed the name to Primm, after the original developer of the city, Ernest Jay Primm. Apparently, people kept confusing it with Stateline (note, no space) up in northern Nevada.

After another pit stop in Barstow, CA we got to our Day’s Inn in Fullerton, CA about 3:30 and got checked in.







About 4:15 we headed out to Esther’s Taco House in Placentia, about 10 miles away. We’d been looking forward to this since we were here last year, and wanted to eat here again.

It is very possibly the best Mexican food I’ve ever eaten. The only other place that could come close would be our recently-discovered La Fonda in Camp Verde, AZ. Too bad we won’t be able to come back again until next year.

Leaving Esther’s about 6 pm, we headed about 30 miles away to Studio City in Hollywood. Studio City is where The Talk is taped and I wanted to check out the route and get some idea of the traffic for tomorrow morning when we have to be at the studio by 9:45 am. It took about an hour this evening so I’m going to allow two hours tomorrow morning.

After scoping out where we’ll park tomorrow we headed back toward our hotel, making a detour through Hollywood proper.

Actually, though, there is no city called Hollywood. Hollywood is really just a defined district of Los Angeles. There is however, a West Hollywood, and a North Hollywood.

Hollywood was really a city between 1903 and 1910, but voted to become part of Los Angeles to get access to LA’s water supply.

Jan wanted to run into one of the souvenir places next to Grauman’s Chinese Theater to get another copy of the Hollywood Stars map that not only shows the star’s homes but also landmarks and famous crime scenes. She lost the one she bought last year.

After some sightseeing in the area on Hollywood Blvd. and Sunset Blvd, we headed back to the hotel, but first making a quick stop at Baskin-Robbins for a cold treat.

More tomorrow from The Talk.

May 11, 2013

Horse, Meet Barn Door . . .

Our regular blog readers will remember back in January I talked about the coming revolution in 3D printing, and especially its effect on gun laws.

You can check out that blog here.

Well, Cody Wilson of Defcad, has now revealed his latest 3D weapon. It’s an almost-completely plastic single-shot .380 pistol.

Liberator 3D Pistol

Although it kind of looks like it’s made from Legos, it does work. The only metal parts are a common nail used as the firing pin, and a block of metal built into the handle so that the pistol meets the Untraceable Plastic Gun laws.

Called “The Liberator”, the 3D printing files were downloaded over 100,000 times in the first two days, with the largest number of downloads to addresses in Spain, followed by the US, Brazil, Germany and the UK.

Then a couple of days ago Cody Wilson was ordered by the Department of State?? to take down the files because they might violate international treaties restricting illegal weapons trafficking.

Huh? Weapons, what weapons? These are 1’s and 0’s in a computer file.

And of course, there are files all over the Internet on how to build everything from pistols to machine guns, and even bazookas.

But a single-shot Lego gun is a problem. Right!

And on the Horse, Meet Barn Door front, it’s really hard to imagine how the State Department thinks that they have put a stop to anything. Besides the 100,000 original downloads, the files are now available from over 600 download sites around the world, places not under the State Department’s control.

One of the largest, Pirate Bay, reports over 2.5 million downloads since the State Department tried to clamp down on them. Way to go, State Department.

To quote Princess Leia:

“The more you tighten your grip, the more [files] will slip through your fingers.”

Or, What goes on the Internet, stays on the Internet.

For more info about the many new advances possible with 3D printers, from building replacement ears to repairing spinal discs, or giving prospective parents a 3D image of their unborn child, check it out here.

Our son-in-law Lowell sent over the latest photos of their new house. You know when they plant the tree it’s getting close.

New House 1

New House 3

Really nice-looking cabinets.

New House 4

I still don’t think they’ve got a move-in date, but soon.

There’s an organization online that’s taking applications for a One-Way Trip to Mars to set up a colony. They planned on leaving in 2022, and in two weeks they’ve had over 80,000 applicants. I told Jan that I would consider doing that just for the adventure. She said,

“Have a nice trip.”

Guess she’s not as adventurous as I thought.

About 2:30 Jan and I headed down to check out the Hoover Dam Bridge Walkway. We’d originally planned to do this yesterday on our way back from Oatman, AZ, but decided to put it off until today.

To get there you have to turn off the new bridge road and continue on like you’re going directly to the Dam, but there is an earlier turn-off that leads you to the parking area for the walkway.

Hoover Dam Bridge 3

Looking up from the parking lot you can see the walkway entrance.

Hoover Dam Bridge 1

To get to the top you have your choice of a back-and-forth ramp, or a more direct stairway.

Hoover Dam Bridge 11

But either way, it’s not a hard climb.

Hoover Dam Bridge 2

The walkway runs almost all the way to the other side, but not quite.

Hoover Dam Bridge 4

I was surprised that Jan was able to get almost all the way out here. Although from the expression on her face, I don’t think she’s too happy about it.

Hoover Dam Bridge 5

I was also pleasantly surprised to see how open the railing was, especially since as of July 2012 there have been 4 suicides from the bridge.

Hoover Dam Bridge 6

But the view from up here is just fantastic.

Hoover Dam Bridge 8

But if they really wanted to make it a great attraction, they’d put a zip line from up here down to the dam. Now that would be a TRIP!

Hoover Dam Bridge 10

II had thought that they had stopped all traffic over the dam after the bridge was opened, but apparently not. I guess they just stopped truck and RV traffic.

Hoover Dam Bridge 7

Another thing checked off on my bucket list.

Coming back to Las Vegas, we decided to have one more meal at Lindo Michoacán before we leave here on Wednesday. Delicious as always.

Heading toward home, we stopped off at a CVS and then Boulder Station Casino to register our Boarding Passes for today’s drawings. Then it was home at about 6pm

Another nice day here in Las Vegas.

Jan had been complaining that she can’t see the computer keyboard at night because there’s not much light here at the computer. So I found this on Amazon and it works great. It plugs into any USB port and the flexible neck lets you angle it as you need.

USB Keyboard Light

USB LED Flexible Keyboard light

And even better, it’s only $6.50 on Amazon Prime. Check it out.

Laura Robinson, Jan’s niece-in-law, posted this photo of her daughter Annisten. Is she a cutie, or what?

Must be getting close to 6 months old now.

Annisten Robinson 1

Tomorrow we plan on doing Fremont Street, their Zip Line, and then eating dinner at the Heart Attack Grill located there.

Assuming I’m still alive tomorrow, I’ll tell you all about it.

May 11, 2014

So Far, So Good, So Far . . .

Well, we finally got back on the road this morning.

We pulled out of the Lake Conroe Thousand Trails a little before 10 a.m., heading about 210 miles north to Waskom, TX, just a few miles west of Shreveport, LA.  I did check in at the park guard shack to be sure they knew we were leaving early so they would credit our days back, as we were originally booked in here until May 19th.

I also now have to go back and delete all the rest of our TT reservations. Before we knew how Jan’s health problem would be resolved, I booked back and forth between Lake Conroe TT and Colorado River TT all the way through August, which was as far ahead as the program would let me.

On another note, once again the slide came in with no problems. And since the original shear pin breakage was caused by a piece of Corian floor tile that came loose under the kitchen cabinet, jamming the slide, I hope we’ve seen the last of that problem.

The trip was pretty uneventful, except for a couple of necessitated U-turns. Twice our Delorme Street Atlas told me to be in the left lane to turn onto an entrance ramp leading to a four-lane. But the roadway had been redone, and the turn was now one of those loops to the right and down onto the four-lane. Both times, though, I had no problem getting turned around and headed the right way in just a few minutes.

We pulled into Miss Ellie’s RV Park about 2:15, and drove right to our space and got parked. When I called early this morning to be sure they had a site, they told me what space I would be in, and it was here waiting for me. Sure makes it a lot easier.

Since these sites are long pull-thru’s, we didn’t unhitch and go out for dinner, but had our version of Taco Salads with Skyline Chile, Habanero Rotel, and Black Beans, along with grated cheese and Sriracha Sauce.

I’ve recently become a big fan of Sriracha Sauce.


I’m sure you’ve seen these red and green bottles in many restaurants, but I’ve never tried it until recently. And for the same reason I don’t like most of the bottled commercial hot sauces (Tabasco, Cholula, Frank’s, etc.). It’s because when I use them, all I can taste is the vinegar.

But although Sriracha has vinegar in it, it’s not overpowering, making me a devoted convert.

Tomorrow we’ve got a long day with a 360 mile run to the Tom Sawyer RV Park on the banks of the Mississippi River in West Memphis, AR, right across the river from Memphis, TN.

But we’ve got some great BBQ to look forward to, so it’ll be worth it.

May 11, 2015

July in Prescott?

Well, the repair estimate was submitted to National General Insurance on Saturday, and we’re now waiting to hear back from them with the approval.

Stan, the service manager here at Affinity, said that some of the parts might take a month to come in after they’re ordered. He said that we’re probably looking at 6 to 8 weeks here. Bummer!  But at least we’re pretty comfortable and can stay in the rig instead of a hotel/motel.

The one big change in our schedule is our planned family reunion in Illinois over Memorial Day Weekend. So since we’re not going to be traveling in the rig by then, we now plan on driving the truck back there, probably in two 750 mile days.

I wanted to see what it was supposed to look like under the wheel well, so later in the afternoon I crawled underneath the rig on the driver’s side to take a look.

Here’s what the filler hose should look like on the passenger side.

Driver's side Fuel Hose

As part of all this, I was wondering why there wasn’t any type of shielding protecting the filler hose. Well, based on what I saw on the driver’s side, there was, before the blowout.

On the blowout side, all that’s left of the shield is this twisted angle bracket.

Rig Brace

Here’s what it was supposed to look like, pre-blowout.

Driver's side Hose Shield

There is a heavy mud flap hanging down from the bracket, reinforced by a vertical piece of angle iron. So it looks like all that got ripped away, leaving only the bent bracket.

Lowell sent over a photo of the backyard slide they got for Landon. He enjoyed the ones they rented for his birthdays, so they got a great deal on this one by buying during the wintertime.


May 11, 2016

It’s Not Measles . . .

Jan and I were on the road down to the Clear Lake area by 9am this morning, with our first stop in Pasadena to take a look at a client’s wireless printer problem.

The trip should have taken about an hour and 15 minutes, so I allowed an hour 30.

Not enough, apparently.

There was a tractor-trailer on fire on I-45 S which meant our 1:15 trip took 2 hours. But as bad as that was, it wasn’t the worst thing about the trip.

That was when we were stuck in traffic. and the guy in the truck to our left opened his door and threw up all over the road right in front of us . . . over and over, again and again. But finally, still gagging a little, we got to the client’s house.

When I was there for another problem a month or so ago, I was surprised at how slow their DSL internet was. Speedtest said it was 0.15 Mbps. Not 1.5 Mbps, like a decent 3G signal, but one-tenth of that.

He said he had checked with the phone company and they said that was within the limits of the service they promised. So I told him to check with his cable company. So when I got there today, he was gushing about how fast everything was now. And Speedtest said he was getting about 10 Mbps, over 66 times faster than before. No wonder he was gushing.

But this speedup was the cause of the problem that I was there to fix. When the old WiFi network was replaced by the new one, his wireless printing setup disappeared too.

Checking the Epson Workforce 520 printer upstairs, I found the printer’s WiFi wasn’t even turned on, much less set up. But after about 10 minutes I had it up and running. Then it was just a matter of configuring each of their 3 computers. The only real problem was getting one printer through the McAfee firewall on that one, but that was it.

Then it was on down to Webster to meet our son Chris at King Food, pretty much our all-time favorite Chinese place. Jan and I both had our usual Chicken with Hot Garlic Sauce and Jalapenos, XXXXXX spicy.

King Food 3

And we all had enough to have leftovers. Great!

Then it was on to another client down in League City to pick up a laptop that needed fixing. Next, it was back up to Friendswood for a truck wash at our favorite place, Ocean Express. I don’t know what they use for a wax, but the Dakota comes out looking shiny as new.

After that, it was across the parking lot to drop off our winter quilt at the cleaners. We have two quilts for our bed, a heavier winter one, and a lighter summer one. We used the heavy one this winter, so now we’ll clean it and stow it away with the kids, until this winter when we’ll swap them back, then clean the summer one.

Next up was haircut stuff. After dropping Jan off at the SuperCuts, I headed back to Lou’s Barber Shop. Lou’s been cutting my hair for almost 25 years. And he knows exactly how I want it. I think that it’s because after all these years, he has a complete set of my haircut records.

We next stopped at the  Kroger’s for gas, and Chris’ to drop off Piper’s repaired laptop and pick up our mail. And after a Starbuck’s stop for Cinnamon Dolce Lattes, we were on the way back to Lake Conroe.

And this time, with our Garmin GPS showing a 50 minute slowdown, and the SigAlert App showing a big accident at Beltway 8, we slipped over to the Hardy Toll Rd. for a straight shot north at 65mph.

Coming into the park, I ask the ranger about yesterday’s power outage. He said it wasn’t the park’s problem, but the electric company was repairing something down the road a bit.

On another note, this is not my thigh with measles. This is why Miss Karma is getting de-clawed as soon as we get her spayed.

Karma Claw Marks

One of her favorite things to do is to ‘climb’ my leg to get up so she can snuggle on my shoulder. And when I say ‘climb’, I mean it’s like how telephone lineman climb poles with the spikes on their boots.

As far as the spaying goes, I called this morning, checking vets in this area to see how much it was going to cost. One place wouldn’t even give me an estimate without bringing her in, and the second one said about $300.

I told Jan that at those prices I just might do it myself. Of course, I spent two summers in high school working for a vet. So I’ve assisted on hundreds of these operations, and could probably still do one. I mean a steak knife makes a good scalpel, right?

Anyway, at lunch, our son Chris told us about the Animal Alliance down in La Marque, TX, that will do it for $55. So Miss Karma has an appointment for May 26th, about two weeks away.

It can’t come soon enough.

May 11, 2017

Signs of the Times . . .

Jan was still nursing a migraine today, which was why we didn’t do Wal-Mart yesterday after the movie and Red Robin. So we just stayed around the rig today, especially since it was rainy and cold, with the temps barely inching into the 50’s before quickly falling back into the 40’s, heading to the low 30’s, maybe 20’s tonight.

Our snow for tonight has gone away, but is still a possibility for tomorrow night.

A few days ago, on our way into Bend, we drove through our favorite weigh station to be sure it’s still in operation.

When we were first here in 2011 we noticed this weigh station never seemed to be open, and in fact, we’ve never seen it manned. Though, occasionally there will be a truck parked there.

Bend Weigh Station

But although it’s never open, the electronic scale is always active.and will give you your rig’s weight as you drive through. But unlike the CAT scales, it’s not full-length. So you have to drive onto the scale one set of wheels at a time, front wheels and then the rear ones. If you aren’t towing, you could then back up and pull through again, weighing only the right wheels. Thus giving you the rig’s side-to-side weight.

And unlike the CAT scales, it’s free.  Our kind of deal.

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, while we were in Las Vegas, I upgraded from our decade-old 3G AirCard to a 4G MiFi. And being much faster, we can now consistently stream programs from the internet. We often could on our 3G card also, but it was really hit or miss, depending on signal quality.

But now we’ve been able to catch on some missing episodes of our favorite TV programs. For example, we were big fans of Rizzoli and Isles and were sorry to see it go off the air. But we had never watched the final episode, though we had recorded it and still had it on the DVR.

But somehow we missed recording the 2nd to last episode. maybe due to bad weather, I don’t remember. But the other night we streamed the missing episode and then watched the final one. It was nice to not have to work around commercials, and the video was rock steady with nary a glitch. Nice.

I did nail down one more reservation this afternoon, this one for the Billings Trailer Village RV Park, in, where else, Billings, MT. We stayed here in March 2008 while we were visiting a friend while on our way to Alaska.

And then we stayed here again on our way back. And both times we got snowed in.

Here’s the park in March.

Billings Snow 2008-0327

And here we are in October.

Billings Snow 2008-1012

You’d think after all this we wouldn’t keep going back, but we’ve stayed there a number of times since then, even though our friend no longer lives there.

On the subject of Alaska, our friends Chris and Charles Yust are on their way up to the 49th state and recently posted this from Watson Lake, BC, the home of the Sign Post Forest.

Chris Yust Watson Lake Signs

Here’s what we saw in April 2008

Watson Lake Sign Posts 1

Watson Lake Sign Posts 2

Although we didn’t leave a sign, Jan has a sign out there somewhere from 1958 when her family drove from Orlando, FL to Fairbanks when her father was transferred to then-Ladd AFB.

But since the snow was several feet deep in places, we didn’t go looking for it.

Wrapping up, I’ve seen several posts on Facebook from RV’ers wondering what to do about the condensation on the windows and other surfaces in their RV during the winter. They said all the windows were dripping, and in some cases, even the cabinets.

We too had this problem when we first started RV’ing, especially in the bedroom. Jan would put out several containers of DampRid trying to control the problem with not much success. If you’ve got everything sealed up tight, the moisture from cooking, washing, showering, and even breathing lingers and condenses out on every cool surface, windows, and outside walls.  But finally, we discovered the secret.

Leave one or both of your vent fans partially or fully open without the fan running. Yes, you will lose some heat, but you will also lose the moisture. Since we started doing this years ago, no more condensation problems.

About tomorrow, we’ll see.

May 11, 2018

Walking Away . . .

Since we had a lot to do today, we started early, well, 10am is early for us, first heading over to Denny’s for breakfast.

It’s been a good while since we’ve eaten at a Denny’s, probably late last year up in Conroe. It’s always pretty good, but for some reason it seems we usually end up at IHOP.

Jan got an Veggie Omelet with fruit, and an English muffin,

Denny's Jan Omelet

while I got two eggs over easy, bacon, grits, and an English muffin.

Denny's Greg Eggs

One thing about today’s visit was how good the coffee was. Bold, smooth, but not burnt or bitter. Almost as good as mine.

Guess that’s why I had three cups.

Next, we headed down to Dickinson and the Extra Space Storage location to sign up for our storeroom.  And that’s when things started to fall apart.

When I called the office the other day, I got routed to corporate headquarters in Salt Lake. And I was assured by ‘Jean’ that they did not require insurance on the contents if we rented a unit.

But when the clerk started to process the paperwork, I was informed that they required me to have $3000 of insurance on my contents at a cost of $16.50 per month. This with a unit rent of $23 per month. A 70% increase.

When I told her that I had been told by corporate that I didn’t have to purchase insurance, I was told that she had worked for Extra Space for 7 years, and corporate was wrong, and that every unit had to have insurance, no exceptions ever.

So I said I needed to check this out again and we left.  And when I called corporate again, this time ‘Amber’ told me that yes they did require insurance, but that the manager could waive it.

At this point, Jan suggested that I call Challenger Storage up in Webster, where we previously had a storage unit, and see what they had. And as it turned out, they did have a 5 x 5 unit available for only $20 per month, no insurance, and no setup fee. The only possible downside was that it was not climate-controlled. But we didn’t really see that as a problem.

So we were heading up to Webster and Challenger, when Jan, noting that ESS was a lot closer, suggested that I give them another call.  So I did and told them that I just wanted to let them know that I had found another unit that didn’t require insurance, and that I wouldn’t be needing theirs.

With that, things suddenly changed. Apparently, now exceptions could be made. Turns out that she was ‘just getting ready to call me’ to tell me that they suddenly could rent me a space without insurance.

So a few minutes later we were at ESS doing the paperwork. And the first thing I noticed was that a place that always requires insurance, no exceptions, actually had a form in the computer for the customer refusing insurance.

I wonder how they got that typed in so fast.

Sometimes it pays to be willing to walk away.

Our storeroom is about what you’d think, four walls and a concrete floor. While we were there we dropped off a few things like our winter heaters and some other stuff.

Extra Space Storage Room

Our next stop was WalMart to buy some storage bins and a padlock for the door. So coming home we stopped back off at ESS to put the lock on the door and found it wouldn’t fit. I got a really heavy Master lock with a long shackle. But between the length and the thickness of the shackle, it wouldn’t fit into the slide lock. So it’s back to WalMart tomorrow.

Hope someone doesn’t steal our three heaters overnight.

May 11, 2021

Well, I Tried . . .

Well, it’s another Tuesday, so it’s another lunch/errand day. That being so, we left the rig a little before 1pm for another great meal at Gator’s Bar & Grill over in Dickinson.

We decided to start off with what Margie, the owner, says is their most popular appetizer, the Pickled Asparagus Fries.

Gator's Asparagus Fries

Our verdict was that they were good, but not really order-again good. Maybe because neither of us are really asparagus fans. But if we had to eat it, this is probably the best way.

Love Jan’s cat shirt in the background.

We liked the appetizer we had on our first visit much better. The Pretzel Bites with Stroh Beer Cheese.

Gator's Bar & Grill 3

This time we both had Blackened Chicken Breast with Roasted Broccoli and Sweet Potato Waffle Fries.

Gator's Blackened Chicken Breast

Really good, as has been all of our meals here.

Well, I tried.

Our next stop was one that I had been putting off for a while, picking up a new Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G phone from the local Verizon store. I had made an appointment for 2pm today, and their website said they had the 256GB version in stock.

And they lied!

Turns out that they only had the 128GB one on hand. Actually, I would have liked to have the 512 version, since these new ones don’t have a microSD slot. And I would have been willing to wait for them to order one, but it seems that Verizon doesn’t even carry these.

And, I even had to order the 256GB one, which is supposed to ship on or before May 25th. But this did give me time to order a new Otterbox case and screen protector for it, which should be here tomorrow.

Otterbox S21 Ultra Case

I’ve used Otterbox cases for my last 3 phones and they seem to be pretty indestructible.

And the reason I’ve been putting off getting a new phone is that it’s such a PITA to get them all set up. Yes, Verizon will copy over all my contacts, etc., but all the apps will have to be reinstalled and configured. The only redeeming thing is that will force me to cull the apps I don’t really use any more, and only reinstall the others as I find I need them.

But it’s still a PITA.

Our next stop was at the Kohl’s right across the parking lot to drop off a bag of broken flamingo cup pieces. The young lady thought it was really funny when I jiggled the bag after she scanned the QR code on the Amazon return email and wanted to know why I was sending it back.

Even Jan enjoyed the return, because the Amazon return receipt also had a 25% Off coupon for the things that Jan found in Kohl’s while I was doing the return.

Then, after a WalMart stop for a few things, we dropped some things off at our store room, and then finished up the day with a stop at Cowboy Coffee for Cold, Blended, Sugar-Free Hazelnut Lattes with Almond Milk and Sugar-Free Whipped Cream.

And as I’m writing this I’m thinking about Niles ordering his morning coffee at Café Nervosa.

Wrapping up, today we were supposed to be arriving in Fairbanks, AK for a week there before we started our 15 day Holland America Land-Sea Cruise next week. Since we spent 5 months up there in 2008, we wanted to have some time to explore our old haunts before we hooked up with the more regimented cruise schedule.

Maybe next year.

May 11, 2022

Wrapping Up Ramses II . . .

Back to yesterday’s Ramses the Great exhibit.

This is a representation of Ramses’ tomb.

Ramses Tomb Entrance

A funeral container

Ramses 5

A mural from the wall of a temple dedicated to Ramses.

Ramses Wall

A couple of the many jewelry exhibits.

Ramses 4

Ramses Jewelry

Some of the many statues and icons found in the tombs.

Ramses 6

Ramses Display 1

These are golden artifacts used to dress a royal mummy before burial

Ramses Burial Artifacts

A sharp-dressed man.

A couple of gold burial masks.

Ramses Mask

Ramses Burial Mask

These are canopic jars, used to store the organs of a mummy after they’re removed from the body during mummification.

Ramses Canopic Jars

Wooden Sarcophaguses

Ramses Sarcophi

Ramses Sarcophi 2

Ramses Sarcophi 3

Ramses Sarcophi 4

and the mummies that go in them.

Ramses Mummy

Ramses Mummy 2

And this is the actual mummy of Ramses II, now displayed in a museum in Cairo, Egypt.

Ramses Actual Mummy

And this is a 3D reconstruction of what he might have looked like near his death.

Ramses Actual Look

And it seems that according to examination of the mummy and DNA analysis, Ramses was actually a redhead.

Who knew?

A large part of the exhibit’s excellence was due to the ambience from the lighting and the furnishings.

Ramses Exhibit 2

Ramses Exhibit 3

Ramses Hallway 1

Ramses Hallway 2

Ramses Hallway 3

Ramses Hallway 4

And this is Merenptah, the 50+ year-old grandson of Ramses, who became Pharaoh when Ramses died at about 90-91 years of age.

Ramses Merentpah Statue

Finishing up, it’s not a real museum exhibit if it doesn’t exit through a gift shop.

Ramses Gift Shop

And Jan came home with two fuzzy camel pens and a small blue hippo.

We both really enjoyed this exhibit, much more then the Pompeii one we also saw recently.

Well recommended.

Tomorrow we meeting long-time friends Ed and Debi Hurlburt up at the Longhorn Steakhouse in Spring. Looking forward to it.

May 11, 2023

In The Outback . . .

With The Scooby Gang.

Jan and I were on the road up to The Woodlands and the Outback Steakhouse by 10am, getting there about 11:15, with the rest of the Scooby Gang, Debi and Ed showing up about 10 minutes later.

Lucy, our server, named us the ‘Scooby Gang’ after she started waiting on us. How right she was.

And of course, if you go to Outback you have to have a Blooming Onion.

Outback Steakhouse 20230511 Blooming Onion

Well, this was a Blooming Onion until the ravenous horde attacked.

Ironically, after we started with their really good salads,

Outback Steakhouse 20230511 House Salad

nobody actually ordered a steak.

Jan got her long-time fav, the Alice Springs Chicken.

Outback Steakhouse 20230511 Alice Springs Chicken

While I got their Marmalade-Glazed Pork Chops.

Outback Steakhouse 20230511 Pork Chops

Something I’ve always gotten for years, also.

Debi got their new Blooming Fried Chicken, fried with the Blooming Onion Sauce.

Outback Steakhouse 20230511 Blooming Chicken Breast

She said it was the best chicken she’s ever had.

Ed got the Spicy Jamming Meatloaf.

Outback Steakhouse 20230511 Meatloaf

Though I think it was a little more spicy than he had anticipated.

And as always, we spent a couple of hours just talking after our meal.

And we’re already scheduled for our June get-together.

Outback Steakhouse 20230511 Scooby Gang

The Scooby Gang, minus me.

Heading back to Santa Fe, we made a stop at the office to take care of a problem.

Then coming home on FM646, I came across a car I’d almost forgotten existed.

1961 Comet

An Edsel/Ford/Mercury Comet. And based on Internet photos, I think it’s a 1961 Ford model.

Originally developed as a stretched Fairlane for Edsel, it didn’t make it to market before Ford canceled the Edsel name. So for 1960-1961 it was marketed as its own brand name and sold by both Ford and Mercury dealers. Then in 1962 it became a Mercury exclusive.

Finally, almost home, we stopped for Cold, Blended Sugar-Free Hazelnut Lattes at Cowboy Coffee. Always good.

Tomorrow’s my last day at work for the next two weeks before we hit the road for Alabama.






4 Responses to Rosie’s And Family . . .

  1. Ellyn Graebert says:

    Please remove me from your mail list due to medical issues time consuming. Have been 6 years as full timers & spouse medical required other option regretfully. Am now 86 yo & widowed 7 years. Your data was first to read each day






    • Greg White says:


      I cannot remove you. You have to do it yourself.
      I also cannot directly add anyone.

      Just go to the box on the top right of the blog where it says SUBSCRIBE TO BLOG VIA EMAIL and enter your email address. It will then asked if you want to cancel your email subscription. Click OK and you’re done.

      Sorry to see you go.

  2. Helen says:

    Had a GREAT time. Thank you both.

    So glad to see y’all looking so great.

    Safe Travels


    • Greg White says:

      Thanks, Helen.
      We always have a great time with you and your kiddos.

      Already looking forward to next year.

      Greg and Jan

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