Daily Archives: June 17, 2024

Demons And Dominique . . .

They keep saying there’s a tropical front coming through here, bringing 6” to 12” of rain. But they keep pushing the timeline back. Originally the rain was supposed to start this past Friday night around 9pm. Then it was 2am Saturday. And it just kept getting pushed back.

As of right now, it’s 10am Tuesday morning. But it seems to be fading fast.

Of course, it still could show up. We’ll see.

Jan used this past weekend to catch up on the first 4 episodes of season 4 of ‘Evil’. This is the final season which is set to have 14 episodes. And we’re going to be sorry to see it go.

This is a seriously weird show, a mixture of real demons, including the Devil, along exorcisms, ghosts, and technology. And then there’s our favorite Sister Andrea, played by Andrea Martin. She’s the one who can actually see the demons and kill them. It’s funny to watch her fighting the demons that only she can see, while the people around her can’t.

First on CBS, and now Paramount Plus, there’s been some talk about it being picked up by Netflix for more seasons. Here’s hoping. It’s a great show.

Spooky, but great.

Check it out.

Jan’s got a big day coming up, with going to see Dominique Sachse this Thursday night.

Dominique was an evening news anchor for Channel 2 here in Houston for 28 years, before becoming a podcaster, YouTuber, influencer, and encourager.

Jan has been following her for years, so she’s really looking forward to seeing her in person. Especially since she’s signed up for the Meet & Greet afterward.

I’m taking her, along with our Office Manager, Jennifer, and Cindy, the owner’s wife, down to the MATCH Center where I’ll drop them and pick them up when it’s over.

Thought For The Day:

May the random and chaotic forces of the universe bear more propitious nasal health in your future.

What you say to your atheist friend when he sneezes.

Your Retro-Preview Highlights –

2011 – Our First Kindle (First of Many)

2013 – Snake River And The Teton Valley

2014 – Old Home Week In Peru, IN

2017 – Meeting Ree and Ladd At The Mercantile

And Now On To Today’s Retro-Blogs.™

June 17, 2009

Doing the Charleston…

Today we traveled 85 miles north to just south of Charleston, SC to the Lake Aire RV Park.

Unfortunately, it is more Lake than Aire. The site was half underwater when we got here.  And then it rained more.

Here’s what we have out our front door.

Our Waterfront RV Site

Our Waterfront RV Site

We have to wade to the truck to go sightseeing.

I hope we don’t have trouble getting out of here.  We’re on a grass site with no gravel or concrete.

Last year we stayed for a week at a fairgrounds in Sioux Falls, SD.  It was dry when we got there, but then it poured down rain for the last two days.

What was nice hard grass and dirt became a soggy mudhole by the time we were ready to leave.

We finally had to be winched out by a very large tow truck.  Hopefully, that won’t happen this time.

After getting set up and settling in, we headed out for supper.  After checking out restaurants in the area, we decided to try Sticky Fingers BBQ.

They’re a small chain of about 15 restaurants located mainly in the Southeast.  And they do have very good BBQ.

We liked the ribs better than Wiley’s the other day, mainly because of the different cut.  Wiley’s ribs are a much thicker cut, while Sticky Fingers are thinner and crispier/crunchier like I like to cook.

Sticky’s pulled pork was not as good as Wiley’s.

Wiley’s BBQ beans were much better, but I like Sticky’s potato salad better.

And Wiley’s Bread Pudding with Pecan Praline Bourbon sauce was pretty much a toss-up with Sticky’s Homemade Peach Cobbler with Ice Cream.

All in all, it was a great meal.

Tomorrow we’re going to do some tours and other sightseeing. Hopefully, the rain will hold off.

June 17, 2010

Abilene, My Abilene…

It seems like every Texas town has a song written about it, so here’s another –

Abilene, Abilene by Waylon Jennings

We left Amarillo a little before 9 heading for Abilene about 290 miles away. Not much to say about the trip. The roads, a mix of Interstates 27 and 20 and US 84, were good, and the trip was uneventful.

We pulled into the KOA here in Abilene about 2:15 pm and got set up.


Then later we headed out to find a nail salon so Jan could get a pedicure.

Luckily we found one near the local Cracker Barrel where, being that it’s Thursday and Turkey & Dressing Day, Jan wanted to eat dinner after the nail place, so that worked out great.

After the pedicure and dinner, we got back to the park about 5:30 pm and were in for the night.

Tomorrow we head south to Burnet TX about 190 miles away for a week for Brandi’s wedding on Monday, the 21st.

Then we’ll head a little further south to Canyon Lake, TX near New Braunfels until the 5th of July.

June 17, 2011

Happy (early) Father’s Day to Me . . .

Our morning, or at least Jan’s morning, started with a call from our daughter Brandi checking in and giving us the latest Landon update. He’s started standing up on his own for as long as 10-15 seconds. Now Brandi’s just waiting for those first steps.

When I got up a little later Jan and I had our usual coffee and bagels, and then I went outside to work on washing the truck and the rig.

Around noon Jan fixed us a lunch of leftovers, pizza from Boston’s last night, and ribs from Baldy’s a couple of days ago. Jan wanted everyone to know that she ordered the full rack of ribs in the picture the other day so we would have leftovers.

About 3:45 Jan and I left the rig heading into Bend for an early dinner, but we had a couple of stops first.

Jan had been going through her paperbacks, and wanted to drop a bunch off at the park Book Exchange by the office. I told her I hoped she wouldn’t come out with more books than she was dropping off, as has happened before. Luckily she only came out with three.


While Jan was doing the Book Exchange thing I went by the office to tell them I was expecting a couple of packages so I wanted to find out where I could pick them up.

Then it was off to Baltazar’s, a Mexican Seafood restaurant up in Bend. We were starting to need our Mexican fix, and this place had really good reviews.

And the reviews were right!

Baltazar’s is high-end, but delicious. Both our dishes were around $20 each, but well worth the price.

Jan had her favorite Shrimp Enchiladas that looked like this.  She said the shrimp weren’t as big as the ones at Dos Amigos in Weed last week, but it was even better tasting.

Baltazar Enchiladas de Camaron

I had the Molcajete de Pollo y Carne. A molcajete is a bowl usually made from volcanic basalt and looks like this. It is used as a serving dish and can be heated in the oven to keep the food hot.


And my meal looked like this.

Baltazar Molcajete de Pollo y Carne

It was grilled strips of chicken, steak, and poblano peppers with a delicious chipotle sauce.

Really, really good!

Heading back to the rig we stopped at the Ranger Station to pick up our packages.

And there it was, my Father’s Day present I bought myself (with Jan’s blessing).

A Kindle!

But after getting it home and playing with it for a while, I think my unit may have a problem. I bought the Wi-Fi only model and I can’t get it to connect to my Cradlepoint Wi-Fi router.

It sees my signal, it just won’t connect. I even turned off encryption on my router, but that didn’t help.

On the other hand, my Blackberry Storm 2 connects to my router just fine. I’m going to take it into a Starbuck’s or something tomorrow to check it out on another router before I call Amazon.

I was able to load books on it directly from my computer so I can use it for now.

Tomorrow or Sunday, depending on the weather, we going to visit nearby Lava Butte.

Lava Butte

Seen from US97, it’s a somewhat impressive gray ‘lump’ rising out of the surrounding flat landscape.


But this aerial view shows it is the remains of a cinder cone volcano that last erupted 7000 years ago. There is a road leading to the top rim, with a visitor’s center, and a pathway that lets you walk around the rim.

We’ll see how the weather, and the Kindle does tomorrow.

June 17, 2013

Now we’re Three for Three . . .

or maybe Four for Four.

We pulled out of Village of Trees RV Resort near Declo, ID a little after 9 am heading back west for a few miles to Heyburn, ID to get diesel and breakfast.

The reason we were heading back the way we had come yesterday was I had my choice of buying diesel from the Shell station near the park for $4.399, or going back down the Interstate a few miles to get diesel from a Sinclair station for $3.959. Saving 44 cents a gallon on 70+ gallons was worth a short drive. And even better, the stop came with breakfast.

When we scouted out the station yesterday after dinner, we saw the Wayside Café right next door and commented how busy it was, so we decided to have breakfast there after fueling up.

It quickly became obvious why it was so crowded. Everything was great, with some of best coffee I’ve had in a long time, certainly better than Starbuck’s. Great thick-cut bacon too.

Wayside Cafe Breakfast

Although we’d had the great coffee at the café, we wanted to get cappuccinos for the road from the gas station because they had Jan’s favorite Pumpkin Pie cappuccino. Then walking back to the rig, we got the truck hitched up and were back on the Interstate heading east.

About 10 miles down the road we split off from I-84 onto I-86. A little bit later construction on the westbound side took the roadway down to two lanes for about 20 miles, but it didn’t really slow us down. Pretty much all day our route snaked back and forth across the aptly-named Snake River

Teton Valley Trip 1

It seemed like there were great views around every curve.

Teton Valley Trip 2

Teton Valley Trip 3

Later, going through Pocatello, we got on I-5N which took us on to Idaho Falls. There we got on to US26 S for about 40 miles before turning off onto SR31, also known as the Teton Scenic Route. And scenic it was.

Teton Valley Trip 5

Getting up into the mountains, the road started to remind me of the Alaskan Highway, with narrow lanes, no shoulders, and sharp drop-offs with no guardrails. Our route took us up to almost 8000 feet before we came down into the Teton Valley at a little over 6000 feet.

Along the way I almost smushed a car into the side of the mountain. Going up the 5% grade I ended up with about 5-6 cars behind me, with no passing lanes or pull-outs for me to let them get by. Then coming down it didn’t get any better.

There was a cyclist in front of me, zipping down the hill and pedaling fast. He was doing about 40, but I was still trying to get around him. But to do that I needed to move to the center of the road for a few seconds because, with no shoulder, the cyclist was on the roadway.

I had my left turn signal on and then finally reached an area where I could move over. I was already across the center line when the car directly behind me decided he’d had enough and zipped out and started to pass. By this time I was beside the cyclist and couldn’t move back. The guy in the car got about to my rear wheels before he finally realized that his lane was getting narrower fast. As I watched him brake quickly I was afraid that he would forget about our toad and try to swing in right behind us. But he avoided doing that, and both he and the cyclist made it through without a scratch.

We got into Teton Village Campground and were quickly led to our pull-thru site. While I was outside getting us hooked up, I put Mister on his leash to roll in the grass.

After getting power, water, and sewer hooked up, I heard Mister making friends with our next-door neighbors. Checking things out, our neighbor said, “Hi, I’m Gretchen and we know you. We read your blog”.

In fact Bob and Gretchen Madison ended up here after reading about this park on our blog. Jan came to the door and we all talked for a while, finally agreeing to get together for dinner in a couple of hours.

Teton Valley is a beautiful park, with a lot of trees, but not so many to interfere with satellite access. This is the view out our windshield.

Teton Valley Campground 3

Teton Valley Campground 4

Teton Valley Campground 5

A little before 5 we headed out for have dinner at Big Hole BBQ, a place we found well-recommended on Yelp.

Gretchen and Bob had ribs, I had a pulled pork and ribs combo, while Jan had a pulled pork sandwich.

Big Hole BBQ Platter

Everything was delicious, They have a real different take on their BBQ sauce, with an unusual spice complement. Different, but delicious.

We said our good nights at the restaurant, and then Jan and I drove around Victor for a while, checking out some of the area, finally getting back home a little before 7pm.

Tomorrow we’re going to make the 25-mile trip over the mountains to Jackson, WY so Jan can hopefully see moose.

June 17, 2014

At Least Two!

Today was a road trip day which meant we had to get to up entirely too early. Early enough to be on the road at 9:00. That’s how early.

Jan and I headed out for Peru, IN so Jan could track down some of her old haunts from when she lived here in 1957 when her father was stationed at Bunker Hill Air Force Base.

But our first stop was in Twelve Mile, IN to visit Butch and Fonda Williams, long-time RV friends from past rallies.

By the time we got into the Peru area, it was after 11, so we made a quick stop at McDonald’s for a lunch bite.

The first place Jan was hoping to find was the house they lived in. Jan told me she remembered it was a little outside of town heading towards Logansport, and only a couple of blocks from the Wabash River.

So looking at the map yesterday, it looked like there was only one subdivision that was a likely candidate.

And when we drove down the first possible street, she yelled out, “That’s it.”

Peru House 1

Peru House 2

She said that when she lived here there was a big picture window on the front where they put their Christmas tree.

It looks like it hasn’t been lived in a while, but it hasn’t been too long since there was a satellite dish on the back.

As we came into town, we saw a sign that Peru was the birthplace of Cole Porter, the famous Broadway composer, so we tracked it down.

Our next stop was the Circus Hall of Fame located outside of town. At one time Indiana was the winter home for over 100 circuses. And 10 called Peru home at one time.

Circus Car

The first circus was held in Peru in 1884, and many started wintering here soon after. In fact Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show played here several times.

Circus Model

Circus Model 2

One of the stand-out exhibits is a very large diorama depicting an old-time circus, with a lot of detail.

Heading back into town Jan and I headed a couple of blocks away for the Miami County Museum.

Jan wanted to look at old phone books and city directories to see if her family was listed. But we didn’t find anything. Apparently they weren’t there long enough to be in the books.

Jan also wanted to look for information about her old elementary school, which we figured out was called Ridgeview Elementary. She already knew it had been torn down in the 70’s, but she was hoping to find a picture of it.

We did find this photo from 1909, which means Jan’s school was already 50 years old when she went there.

RidgeView Elementary School

We had already found this photo of her school on the Classmates website.

Rdgeview Elementary School

Then based on some info from the Museum Curator, we stopped at the Carousel Ice Cream Shop for a cold treat. We were told how great the ice cream was there, and pulling into the lot, it was easy to see why their ice cream was so good.

They had a big sign in front that said, “We Proudly Serve Blue Bell Ice Cream.”

Well, of course, it’s good. It’s from Texas.

By now it was about 4:30, time to head back home. But first, we stopped off at Butch and Fonda’s again to check out this 1951 or 52 Crosley Super Sedan Convertible that Butch was working on for a customer.

Crosley 1

Butch is well-known in the Crosley world as a source and manufacturer of Crosley parts. In fact he has a whole warehouse of parts and the machines to build new parts.

Crosley 2

And yes, the propeller on the front actually spins in the wind.

Crosley 3

Finally leaving Butch and Fonda’s, we headed up to Mishawaka to have dinner at the Golden Corral.

After a really good meal, and eating ‘til we almost hurt., we got back to the rigs about  8:30 after a long but very nice day.

Tomorrow, sleeping late.

June 17, 2015

Almost There . . .

We were up around 8:30 this morning so we could partake of the great breakfast here at the Quality Inn before we headed back to the rig.

About 10am the service manager called to see if we had the rig keys. I said “No, you still have the set we left with you when we drove back to Illinois last month. I do have a set that stays in my pocket, and Jan has a set that she keeps in her purse. But you have the set that stays in the ignition.”

I did find out that the reason they needed the keys was that the airbag had been installed and they wanted to crank up to test the system. He also said that pretty much everything had been finished up.

Well, maybe things are really looking up.

I told him we’d be down in an hour or so with my keys if he didn’t find the set he had. After getting the truck packed up, I went down to check out at the front desk. Turned out that for some reason the hotel had completely lost our stay. They had no record of us even being there. But finally, after about 15 minutes he found our record on the corporate server, and got us checked out.

Getting back to the rig, I was happy to see it up on the airbags, so I guess that part was working. And after checking further, I found that the wheel well mud flap and trim strip had also been done.

But the grab bar light still didn’t work, although the switch panel had been re-installed in the enclosure. I put a new bulb in the socket that didn’t work, and then used my voltmeter to double-check, and still found no voltage.

Heading up to the office, I told them that the grab bar light still didn’t work, and was told that they had checked it and it did work.

Well, it didn’t work for me.

I also asked for both my sets of keys back, and once again it took them a while to find the ignition set. But the other set had the patio remote control that I needed to check out that repair. And getting back to the rig, I found that the patio lights didn’t work either.

It wasn’t like I didn’t kind of expect this. I said in the blog right after the blowout that I thought the shredded wiring harness would be a major problem to get repaired. And it looks like it was.

But after fooling around with the grab bar switch panel, I figured out why they had voltage and I didn’t. The connector on the new wiring on the switch panel was loose. and tightening it down fixed that problem.

So all I have left was the patio light, and I’ll look at that tomorrow, But either way, we’re still on schedule to leave here Friday morning.


The tire guy will be tomorrow about 10am to change out the front tire, and then as I said yesterday, we’ll have the rest done at the tire shop Friday morning on our way to Cottonwood.

About 4pm we headed out for one last visit to Beijing Garden, and always before, we got the same thing – Spicy Orange Crispy Chicken. I know it sounds like we’re in a rut here, but you’re always afraid you’ll try another dish that you don’t like nearly as much, and then you’ve just wasted a visit.

So it looks like we’re almost there, and we’ll finally be on our way again on Friday.

June 17, 2016

Way Too Early . . .

And Already Way Too Hot!

I was up at 9am this morning, all eager to climb up on the roof.

Well, maybe not eager exactly.

But it needed to be done before we travel this coming Sunday.

So, once I was up there, I pulled the shroud back off and poured a bottle of water into the drain pan for some additional flushing to help wash any extra gunk out. As it was, it still looked pretty clean.

Next, I used my Worx Power Driver to put a few screws in the sheet metal covering over the evaporator coil to hold it together until I get back to it. Which at this rate might be this fall when it’s cooler.

Finally, I put 4 new bolts and washers back in the shroud to hold it in place and I was done. I had so much trouble getting the old ones out that I wanted to just start from scratch with new ones.

I think the Worx Power Driver is my all-time favorite tool. It’s small and fits perfectly in your hand.

Worx Driver

Inside the barrel is a 6-bit cylinder that rotates a different bit into position every time you rack the slide. And it comes with a 2nd cylinder of square and hex driver bits. And of course, you can just put your own bits in manually.

I also ordered this assortment of Black & Decker Driver Drill Bits.

Driver Drill Bits

The Worx Driver is strong enough that it can be hard to hold if you’re using it on a stuck screw, and it holds a charge for months until you need it.

Check it out.

About 3:45 Jan and I headed out to meet Judy and Dick Mott, and their grandson Logan, at Vernon’s Katfish out on SR105. But on the way we made a Home Depot stop for a few minutes to pick up a new hose splitter and a couple of other things.

This was Dick and Judy’s first time at Vernon’s and they really enjoyed it. And as before, the food and the conversation were both really good.

Here’s a photo of the gang.

The Motts at Vernon's 3

There’s a story behind this photo that I’ll tell you about tomorrow.

Coming home we made a Wal-Mart stop to pick up some groceries, and drop off a prescription that we’ll pick up tomorrow. Judy told us about the Father’s Day BBQ dinner here at the park tomorrow evening, so Jan wanted to get the ingredients for her Heavenly Hash to take as our dish.

It’s really good and so popular that Jan and I both make a habit of getting a spoonful early, because it’s gone so quickly. Yumm!

June 17, 2017

Jan Got A Trifecta . . .

We were out the door about 10:45 this morning, to have lunch at Monterey’s Little Mexico, our first visit to one since we left the Houston area in March.

We were kind of worried about how the food would compare to our one down in Dickinson. But it was just like home.

Monterey's Little Mexico 1

It even looked the same.

Everything from the salsa to the Chicken Tortilla Soup was just as good.

Monterey's Little Mexico 3

Leaving Monterey’s we headed back toward town to check out a few places, but our first stop was to get gas for the truck.

Seeing as how Bartlesville is the home of Phillips Petroleum, I guess it’s not surprising that every station in town seems to be a Phillips 66 one. But the prices are great too.

$1.79 for unleaded and $1.99 for diesel.

But here’s something I haven’t seen before.

Unleaded with Ethanol and 3 grades of gas with NO  ethanol.

Phillips 66 gas pump

Guess it helps to have your own refinery in town.

Next up we drove by the Frank Phillips home.

Frank Phillips Home

And then back to the other side of US 60 to get a better view of the Price Tower, the only skyscraper built to a Frank Lloyd Wright design.

Frank Lloyd Wright Price Tower 1

Frank Lloyd Wright Price Tower 2

The 19-story, 221-foot-tall building, built as the headquarters for the H. C. Price Company, a local oil pipeline and chemical company, opened in 1956 to pretty much universal acclaim.

Very impressive.

As we’ve been driving around Bartlesville, we’ve noticed the local mascot statures.

Now as we’ve traveled around the country, we’ve seen mermaids in Beaufort, SC, pelicans in Seabrook, TX, moose in Coeur d’Alene, ID, bears in upper NY state, and now buffalo in Bartlesville, OK.

Very colorful buffalo.

Bartlesville Buffalo 1

Bartlesville Buffalo 2

Bartlesville Buffalo 3

Bartlesville Buffalo 4

We had next planned to drive out to the Woolaroc Museum and Wildlife Preserve, but Jan was afraid we’d run out of time and not get to visit The Lodge on the Drummond Ranch, which closed at 4pm. So I guess that’s for next time.

When we decided to come to Bartlesville, it was just a place to park the RV while we did the Pioneer Woman thing, not realizing how much stuff was in Bartlesville. So our next visit we’ll have to allow more time here.

The Drummond family lodge is not only used for parties, banquets, and overnight guests, it’s also where her TV shows are taped.

Following the directions on our pass, we left US60 and headed north out into the ranch. We passed a couple of oil production areas with a number of large storage tanks, and off in the distance we could see at least 30 large wind turbines.

Along the way, we also saw several large herds of the controversial wild mustangs that the BLM pays the Drummonds to house on their land.

Drummond Ranch Mustangs 1

Drummond Ranch Mustangs 2

Finally, we arrived at the Lodge and found a place to park.

Ree Drummond Lodge 1

From the front entrance the place is not real impressive, but once you get inside you realize how large it really is.

Ree Drummond Lodge 2

Ree Drummond Lodge 3

It just keeps going back, and back.

Ree Drummond Lodge 8

With four large bedrooms,

Ree Drummond Lodge 5

multiple storage areas for dishes, pots and pans, and small appliances

Ree Drummond Lodge 4

it’s much bigger on the inside than it looks on the outside.

And then there’s the area where the TV shows are taped.

Ree Drummond Lodge 6

Ree Drummond Lodge 7

A really beautiful place.

Wrapping up our tour of the Lodge, we drove back into Pawhuska to once again have dinner at the Merc. We got in line at 4pm and were inside by 5:10, a longer wait than yesterday, but then we were an hour earlier.

Ree Drummond's The Mercantile 5

This time we each got the Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese Dippers, which as I  said yesterday, is a 3 Cheese Grilled Cheese sandwich on homemade bread, sliced into dipping sticks.

Ree Drummond's The Mercantile Tomato Soup

And of course, we split an order of the Whiskey Glazed Carrots.

Ree Drummond's The Mercantile Whisky Carrots

These things are addictive.

I mentioned in the title about Jan’s Trifecta. Well, the first two were to eat at the Merc, which we did, twice, and to visit the Lodge, which we did.

And then came the last leg of the Trifecta.

We were seated near the area of the open kitchen, and as we were finishing our meal, Jan looked up and said, “Ladd!”

And who should walk out of the kitchen but Ree’s husband, Ladd. When he heard his name called, he came over and talked to us for a couple of minutes and then posed for a photo

Jan and Ladd

I want to commend Jan for not ‘babbling’ as she is wont to do in moments like this. Especially when the next thing Ladd said was, “Ree’s right behind me.”.

I’m actually surprised Jan didn’t just faint at that point, but she managed to keep her cool, even when Ree walked out of the kitchen and started talking to her.

Jan had questions about several of Ree’s recipes and Ree took the time to answer each one.

And then of course the obligatory photo.

As you can tell from the photo, at this point it’s all Jan can do to not giggle uncontrollably.

Jan Ladd and Ree

As it turned out, Ree was there to have dinner with her family, Ladd, her brother Mike, and her father and stepmother. And they were sitting at a table right behind Jan.

Ree Drummond Family

I think it’s telling that rather than eat upstairs in their private dining room, they were right here in the middle of the place, just like us regular folks.

Deciding we had room for dessert, we split an order of the Tres Leches.

Ree Drummond's Tres Leches

Once Jan figured her shaky knees would support her, we left about 6:45, noticing there was still a line waiting to get in.

What’s kind of ironic is that we almost didn’t eat at the Merc this evening, since Jan wasn’t sure she wanted to wait in line again. Now she’s really glad she did.

BTW Ree is just a nickname. Her real name is Ann Marie.

Tomorrow we’ve got a 200-mile run down to Pauls Valley, OK to visit for a couple of days with our son-in-law Lowell’s parents, Sonja and Lendel. Really looking forward to it.

June 17, 2018

Getting Close . . .

Jan and I spent most of the day sorting through the last of the stuff, deciding what goes to the storage room and what stays with the rig.

But taking a break for a bit, I took a look at replacing the oven light in our Sharp 1850 microwave. It died a week or so ago, which I guess is pretty good, since in 11 years we’ve never had to replace it before.

I have the service manual for it, but at first, it wasn’t very encouraging. It seemed to say that to replace the oven light I would have to drop the unit from its hanger on the wall.

Well, that would be pretty stupid.

But I finally figured out that since this was a complete factory service manual, like replacing the computer board, or the magnetron, or the stirring motor. So that every repair starts with removing the unit from the wall

After that, it was just a matter of pouring through 38 pages of fine print to find the side note about how to replace oven light. And when I got into it, I found this.

Microwave Broken Bulb

The glass bulb, though still intact, had broken off, leaving just the base stuck in the socket. It took some finagling, but I finally got the base out using a pair of needle nose pliers. It’s just a standard 30W appliance bulb so I’ll pick one up tomorrow from WalMart.

While I was researching all this, I did come across a couple of interesting websites that those of us who like to repair things might like. Check’em out.



Another thing I did this afternoon was to lay out the maps of our upcoming travel days, entering them into my Delorme Street Atlas GPS program, including any planned stops along the way.

For those of you wondering or debating about a Passport America membership, we will save $155 on this trip using PPA. That’s more than 3 times what the yearly PPA membership will cost you.

And on our Western trip last year, from February 2017 to June, we saved over $1000, including two weeks at a park in Apache Junction, and three weeks at a park near Rapid City. All at half price.

Tomorrow and Tuesday will be my last two days this week with my client until we get back on July 9th, but I’ll be handling things online as much as possible.

June 17, 2019

A Great Day In History . . .

No, not O.J.’s slow-speed chase, but something much more important. It’s the birthday of Ruth Graves Wakefield. Born in 1903 she is acknowledged as the inventor of the Chocolate Chip Cookie at her Toll House Inn near Whitman, Massachusetts.

And to do that, she had to also invent the Chocolate Chip, by chopping up a bar of Nestlé’s Semi-Sweet Chocolate and dumping them in the cookie batter. And in doing so, causing the sales of Nestlé’s bars to skyrocket after Ruth published the recipe.

Nestlé’s later hired Ruth as a spokesman, a position she held until she died in 1977.

So now you know.

I spent most of the day at work touching up some things on the website, updating some, and deleting others. Seems like the customers are happy since the orders and new customer registrations are rolling in. At least, my client is happy, so I’m happy.

On the way home today I stopped off at the Santa Fe O’Reilly’s Auto Parts to pick up a new Ignition coil and spark plug for my truck’s “Cylinder #7 Misfire” problem. I was afraid I was going to have to buy a full set of 8, but luckily my truck is not one of those.

I’m pretty sure it’s the coil, but I thought I’d replace the plug while I’m in there. And it looks like I should be able to get to both with no problem. But we’ll see.

And while I was there, I also ordered another set of ceramic disc brake pads for the truck. No, not another set for the front, but a set for the rear wheels.

As it turned out, the noise from the front brakes was masking the noise from the rear ones. So now I have another brake job in my future, as soon as I recover from the first one.

Our Office Manager, Jennifer, has been hand-raising two tiny kittens that she found. She thinks they’re now about 6 weeks old. And really cute.

Jennfier's Kittens

Tomorrow, if it stops raining I’ll see if I can’t install the new coli and plug in the truck before we head out for lunch.

When we were having lunch with Debi and Ed Hurlburt, he mentioned that he’d read that Amazon had built too many warehouses/distribution centers during the pandemic, thinking the big online ordering boom was going to continue. But now people are again out and about, and Amazon sales are off enough that they’re rethinking their expansion.

Which explains why the new one over on TX-96 has not opened even though it looks like it was done months ago. And I’ve never seen any of our orders coming from there, just the one on I-45 down in La Marque, and occasionally the one up in Pasadena.

Of course, I really like the fact that I can order something at 3pm to be delivered between 5pm and 10pm, and have it show up at 7:03pm.


We got our new ice maker this afternoon, and so far we’re really impressed.

Vivohome Ice Maker

I set it up, and per the instructions, let it sit for an hour so the refrigerant could settle. And when we filled it with water and turned it on, it started spitting out ice within about 10 minutes. And within a couple of hours, we had a big Ziploc Bag full of ice in the fridge.


Skywalking . . .

My new radiator cooling fan relay should be here tomorrow and I’m hoping that it will fix my problem. But I’ve still got a question in my mind about what happened to start with.

When I first noticed the problem leaving HEB and checked under the hood when we got home, I found that the wiring harness feeding power to the fan had come loose and was rubbing up against the fan belt, long enough that it had chewed through the power wire, leaving the adjacent ground wire intact. Which should have meant that by just reconnecting the power wire it should have fixed the problem.

But it didn’t.

But none of this should have affected the relay in any way. But I guess I’ll know sometime tomorrow.

On a related note, I was wondering why the fan has a 40 amp fuse in the line. I didn’t think it should be drawing anywhere that much so I got out my clamp-on ammeter to check it out. Well, it wasn’t anywhere near 40 amps, but it was more than I thought.

Turns out that it’s pulling 19 amps, more than the 10 or so I had figured.

About 1:30 Jan and I headed up to the League City Kelley’s to meet up with long-time friends Bob and Maria. We just saw them at our Alvin Opry group get-together this past Thursday, but it’s always hard to really talk in a big group.

Jan had her usual Grilled Fish with Fried Okra, Green Beans, and Carrots,

while I went with my favorite Chile and Eggs with Grits.


This is the first time to eat at this location in years, since we normally visit the one over in Alvin. And this location has only been reopened since March after being closed for a year after a fire.

Then after a great time together, we said our goodbyes and Jan and I headed over to Wal-Mart for weekly Wal-Mart stuff, and then home.

Grand Canyon National Park has recently been named the deadliest national park in the United States. In the last 5 years, 6 people have died and 56 more have gone missing (so dead too, right).

And though it wasn’t in the National Park part of the Grand Canyon,  a man recently fell (or jumped) to his death from the Grand Canyon Skywalk.

And he’s not the first, though I wasn’t able to get an accurate count on how many.

The Skywalk is actually a tourist attraction located on the Hualapai Indian Reservation off US93 between Las Vegas, NV and Kingman, AZ.

Jan and I thought about going to it, since we drove by the exit off 93 a number of times, but Jan didn’t want to go out on it, but she would have still had to pay the $70+ fee anyway. Also, no cameras or phones are allowed, and you have to keep moving with no stopping or lingering to take in the view allowed.

Tomorrow looks to be King’s Bierhaus for my Father’s Day lunch, and then our weekly HEB run. Looking forward to it.