Just A Little Smokey . . .

I spent a couple of hours on the phone this morning with Godaddy, trying to find out why our electrolysis website had been down since about 10am, but our tattoo site, supposedly on the same server, was working fine.

After going through a bunch of techs, I finally got to a server tech who was able to confirm that it was a server problem, and that it should be back online in the next 30 minutes or so. And it was.

When I asked why the tattoo site wasn’t having any problems, he checked and said it was no longer on the same server as the electrolysis site. It had been moved over a few months ago.

I got off work a few minutes early this afternoon but it came back to bite me. A few minutes after I got on I-45S, all 5 lanes came to a halt. Then for the next 15 minutes or so, it was start-stop until it all stopped completely for the next 45 minutes.

Finally about 4:30, the police on the scene started letting one lane at a time past this right in the middle of the Interstate.

So, instead of getting home about 3:25, it was about 4:45pm. It was only later that I found out what had actually happened.

League City I-45 Crash

According to police, witnesses informed 911 about someone driving recklessly and traveling into the city.

Police said the driver of a white Ford Expedition hit an outside freeway barrier as he approached FM 518, traveling across all lanes of traffic and hitting the inside barrier.

At the same time, the driver’s door was opened, and the driver was thrown from the vehicle onto the shoulder, investigators said.

According to police, the unoccupied vehicle kept driving, moved back into the travel lanes, and hit a Toyota Corolla in the middle lane.

The driver was the only occupant of the Ford, while three people were inside the Toyota. Emergency responders rushed all four people to the hospital.

Joe, my mechanic, called this afternoon saying he had our Jeep ready to go. The A/C compressor had pretty much come apart inside, spewing debris throughout the system. He was afraid he wouldn’t be able to finish it until next week, but the parts came in more quickly than he thought.

We’ll pick it up tomorrow, and then put Old Faithful back out to pasture, with Stabil in the gas tank and a trickle charger on the battery, all ready to go for next time. She’s never failed us yet.

And on a final note, on the way into work this morning, Old Faithful hit 315,000 miles, still going strong.

Just a little smokey.


Thought For The Day:

Why Is No One Ever The Right Amount Of Whelmed?


Your Retro-Preview Highlights –

2010 – RV’ing Through Utah Scenery

2011 – D-Day And Mt. Shasta

2017 – Reptiles, Dinosaurs, And Mt. Rushmore, NOT

2018 – Shiny Wheels And Pan-Cams

And Now On To Today’s Retro-Blogs.™


June 7, 2009

Nana’s Café…again!

Today I wanted to work some more on the toad tail lights so we headed out for breakfast early.  I wanted to get back to the coach before the regular afternoon rains showed up.

We decided to have breakfast at Nana’s Café where we ate a couple of days ago, and got hooked on their coconut macaroons.  And they have great breakfasts too!

When we got back I started pulling the wiring harness underneath the toad, ty-wrapping it as I went.  I’m not quite sure how I’m going to wire this thing up.

As usual, I’m mostly making it up as I go.

I got everything done I was planning to,  and buttoned everything up right before the rains came.

Tomorrow, after we do some touristy stuff, I’ll work on it some more.


June 7, 2010

Moab and Monticello…

We pulled out of our park about 8 am, heading first right down the street to take on about 140 gallons of diesel. And for a change, the price had gone down.

When we got here, the price was $2.97, then yesterday the price was $2.91. Today it was $2.89. And this is the first time in a long while that diesel is cheaper than unleaded, if only by 4 cents.

We left the station and pulled onto I-15 South about 8:30, heading toward Monticello, UT, about 270 miles away. We had a great time spending a few days with our friends Pat and Judy, and they did a fantastic job showing us around Salt Lake City. Hopefully, we’ll be able to catch up with them again soon.

The first thing I started checking after we got on the road was whether or not my PacBrake exhaust brake is working, or at least activating.

I know it’s not working, or at least it doesn’t seem to slow me down any more than just the downshifting that happens. But what I didn’t know is whether or not it’s actually moving into position.

But now I do. Last night I mounted a video camera in the engine compartment under the bed and ran the cable to a small monitor up on the dash.

In the first photo, you can see the PacBrake valve in the rest position.

Video 1

In this photo the valve has moved.

Video 2

So now I know that the air actuator is working and moving the valve. I think this means that I have one of two other problems.

The PacBrake is a butterfly valve that is installed right after the turbocharger and provides back pressure to the system when it closes. So this means that either the valve is not closing all the way, or I have a leak in my exhaust system.

So now I’ve got to try to figure out where to go next with this.

Actually I was really hoping that the PacBrake wasn’t activating. That would mean that I had a bad relay or a bad air solenoid or actuator, something that would be easier for me to fix.

Oh, well. Back to the drawing board.

About noon we hit a 25 mile stretch of I-70 so we stopped in Green River at an Arby’s located in a truck stop so we had no trouble parking.

Along the trip today I noticed that my engine temps were running hotter than normal. Usually, my water temp runs rock steady at 175 degrees, with an occasional excursion up to 180-185 on long hills. But today I’m hitting 190 – 195 on the hills with one 199 observed. I knew I wasn’t low on water, so what was wrong?

Then it suddenly dawned on me that it was about 95 degrees outside. This is the first time we’ve seen 80 degrees this year, much less 95. Most of our travels this year have been in the 50-60 degree range. So now it made sense. One less thing to worry about.

During the trip, we saw some great scenery along the way. These photos are in no particular order.

Utah Scenery 1

Utah Scenery 20

Utah Scenery 19

Utah Scenery 18

Utah Scenery 17

This is Wilson Arch, about 25 miles south of Moab, UT.

Utah Scenery 15

Utah Scenery 16

Utah Scenery 14

Utah Scenery 13

Utah Scenery 12

Utah Scenery 11

Utah Scenery 10

Utah Scenery 9

Utah Scenery 8

Utah Scenery 7

Utah Scenery 6

Utah Scenery 5

Utah Scenery 4

Utah Scenery 2

About 2:30 we pulled into Mountain View RV Park in Monticello, UT. The note on the office door said to find a site and pay later, so we did.

Monticello 1

I did have to reposition sideways a little or there would have been some serious ‘slide kissing’ going on. Even now there’s not a lot of room.

Monticello 2

This park has about 30 spaces, and is basically an RV park in someone’s large front yard. That’s their house in the back there.

Monticello 3

Our daughter Brandi called just as we were getting parked. She and Jan talked a good while going over the wedding plans for the 21st.

We had leftovers tonight so we didn’t even unhook the toad. Just one less thing to do before we leave for Show Low, AZ tomorrow morning.


June 7, 2011

D-Day – June 6th, 1944

Just had to post this early today.

This is how they celebrated D-Day in France yesterday, with 1000 ‘peace turtles”, made up of U.S., Russian, and German helmets, crawling up Omaha Beach at Colleville sur Mer to “protest global violence”.

Maybe they would be better off speaking German.

D-Day Turtles

This is a much better photo.

D-Day

Or this.

Arlington-shade-trees

More blog later.


Was up about 10:30 with coffee and a muffin. Today was just a stay-at-home day along with some chores.

A little later, Sue, the camp host, came by to drop off some brochures about things to do in the area. Nice lady.

Then I went outside to check out Mt. Shasta, and,

FINALLY!

Mt Shasta - Finally

Mt. Shasta was clear of clouds, and it is very impressive. Its highest point is over 14,000 feet, and since it’s not part of a mountain range, it really stands out and dominates the area.

It turns that Mt. Shasta is actually a dormant (Note – Not extinct) volcano made of four distinct cones, and is home to seven named glaciers. We know it is still active because of the ongoing outgassing of sulfur gases and steam on the mountain. The last observed eruption was in 1786, and another one is expected in the next several hundred years. Just think Mt. St. Helens.

Around noon, while Jan was doing our rugs at the park laundromat, I drove into downtown Weed to drop off a package to our daughter Brandi.

Then around 4:30 Jan and I went right down the street to Silvia’s BBQ, another Weed restaurant recommended by people here at the park.

Being from Texas, we’re always suspicious of other state’s BBQ.

I mean, California BBQ?

But our impression began to change when we got out of the truck and smelled the meat on the grill. You can’t fault a BBQ joint that has its pit out in front of the restaurant for all the world to see.

Silvias BBQ Pit

We each had a combo plate, with Jan having the Ribs and Chicken, while I had the Tri-Tip and the Pulled Pork, and we both had the Steakhouse BBQ Beans.

And, Surprise! It was really good BBQ. The sauce was tangy, and a little sweet. The only way it could have been better was a little more heat.

Hopefully, we’ll be able to go back before we leave on Saturday.

Tomorrow we’re going to take another drive out into the countryside and check out a fish hatchery.


June 7, 2013

I was right. They were wrong.

About 10 I headed down to Sunriver to try and find the correct adapter so I could finish up my drinking fountain/water faucet install. The one I got yesterday should have worked but it didn’t seem to match up with the 3/8” tubing I had.

And when I got to the hardware store, I found out why. I left the old one at the checkout counter when I went back to find the right one. But as I looked, my eyes kept coming back to the same one I got yesterday. And in looking closer, it looked bigger than the one I got yesterday which was too small.

I had brought a piece of the 3/8” tubing with me and compared it with the adapter. And it sure looked to me that it would fit. So I took it back up to the counter and checked it against the one I had brought back. And they were different, even though the part number on the package was the same.

At first, I thought maybe someone swapped it out and brought it back, but looking closely at the packaging, I could see only one set of staple holes in the cardboard. So it had apparently come from the company that way.

After the hardware store, I went next door to the Shell station, picked up some lottery tickets, and then headed back to the park.

Jan had been wanting to whip up a batch of her World Famous Chili, but hates smelling up the coach for several days with the aroma of grilling hamburger and onions. So I took her, the hamburger and onions, and her electric skillet, and set her up on the picnic table outside. Worked like a charm.

I hooked up all the water lines on my project but didn’t mount everything so I could check for leaks first. I did have one very small leak, but I’ll wait and see what it’s doing tomorrow. I just put a bowl under it for now.

About 4:30, after cooking in the slow cooker all afternoon, Jan served up the chili with corn tortillas, grated cheese, and crunchy tortilla strips. Really, really delicious, and we’ve got plenty left for more meals.

Brandi, Lowell, and Landon are just finishing up their first week in their new home. Looks like they’ve really settled in.

Brandi's New House


June 7, 2015

Six Weeks and Counting . . .

So hopefully they’ll make some headway on the windshield tomorrow. I’m going to call American Coach Parts to see if they have a part number for it, and I’m also going to look for my invoice from last year’s replacement to see if it has a part number on it.

The last couple of days it’s been cool with temps in the low 70’s, but today it jumped back up to 79. Still very nice. Then it looks to be in the low 80’s for the next week or so. Hope it holds out.

I went into the Thousand Trails website today and canceled all of our dates for back east, I.e. Indian Lakes, Wilmington, Hershey, etc. As it stands now we’ll head back over to Verde Valley for a couple weeks after leaving here. This will let me check out any problems with the repair while we’re still only about 50 miles away from here, in case I find any problems.

Then we’ll resume the first part of our original journey, I.e., Albuquerque, Amarillo, and then Oklahoma City, before heading south down to the Dallas area. We plan on checking out the 4 Thousand Trails parks encircling Dallas, only one of which we’ve ever visited. That was Lake Whitney, and it was only for one night, passing through.

That should keep us occupied until the last part of August when we’ll be back in the Houston area for Landon’s birthday. Then we’ll decide if we’re going gate guard this year or not. If we don’t, then we’ll have to figure out where we’re going from there.


June 7, 2016

Still in Trouble . . .

After my mis-matchmaking fiasco in yesterday’s blog trying to marry off Judy Mott to some guy named Ed, now I’ve got Jan mad at me.

When I was talking about the D-Day landings yesterday, and my Uncle Theo’s landing on Omaha Beach, I had also planned to mention that Jan’s father landed on Utah Beach. But somehow it slipped through the keys and I left it out.

Jan said that her father always said that he worked in a hangar during the war. She didn’t know any different until she read his obituary. Turns out he fought his way across Europe much like my uncle did. And like my uncle, he didn’t like to talk about it.

After leaving the Army at the end of the war, he later reenlisted in what was by now the US Air Force, and went career, retiring in 1966 as a Senior Master Sergeant, the year before I first met Jan.

Yesterday’s AC drain repair is still holding and no more water is dropping into the coach. Hopefully, it will hold until I can get back up on the roof and finish the job.

I need to find a way to block water and gunk from dropping into the bedroom when I clean the coil. Right now I  plan to put a piece of plywood over the hole and then cover the area with garbage bags and seal it up with Gorilla tape. This will let me spray the coil with cleaner and then hose it off.

One thing I noticed yesterday was the fact that the freeze sensor thermistor had come loose from the coil and had fallen down on the base, which explains why the unit sometimes freezes up. I’ll use a paperclip to make a new bracket to hold it in place.

My next project is to get our Sharp microwave down from its over-the-counter bracket and repair the door latch. So right now I’ve been Googling for some idea on how it comes down. It seems like every different model does it differently. Supposedly the unit weighs about 70 pounds, so the real problem may be getting it back up in place after I fixed it. We’ll see.

And of course, there’s still the water pump replacement waiting the wings.

Coming off the 3rd (and usually last) day of a migraine, Jan was ready to go out for dinner, so about 4pm we headed down to the Woodlands Waterway area to have dinner at Grimaldi’s Pizzeria.

We’ve loved Grimaldi’s ever since we ate at the original one in NYC in 2009, and were really happy to find they had spread out across the country since then.

And by using the same coal-fired brick ovens, the same coal, the same water, and the same ingredients from the same companies, the pizza here in Houston tastes just as good as what we had in NYC.

We did do something a little different this time by trying a new salad.

Normally we get the House Salad, which is very good. But they’ve added a Kale Chopped Salad with Kale, Romaine Lettuce, Artichokes, Cucumber, Red Onion, Shaved Italian Cheese, Sun Dried Tomatoes and Kalamata Olives and tossed in a Lemon Vinaigrette.

So now we have a new favorite salad.

As far as the pizza, we got our usual Large with Pepperoni, Mushrooms, Italian Sausage, and Meatballs.

We always get the Large because we then have half to bring home.

Grimaldi's Pizza

Just the best pizza around.


June 7, 2017

Rushmore Not . . .

Last night I was thinking that, although I now could start the generator, I still didn’t really know if it actually worked, you know, generated.

So this morning I decided to do a full test on the generator and transfer switch. Going outside, I extended the generator, and while pressing the Start button, I touched the solenoid wire to the power lug and the generator started right up.

I realized that when I started it up the other day, I did not press the Start button, but just used the solenoid wire, and that was why it took 5 or 6  tries for it to catch. As it turns out,  there is a sequence of 9 different things that happen with the press on the button.

Generator Start Sequence

So with the generator running, I went inside to wait for the transfer switch to change over.

And I waited.

And I waited.

And I waited.

Since I recently had replaced the transfer switch, there was also a question about its function too. So to see if it made any difference I went outside and shut off shore power, and then came back inside.

And waited.

And waited.

And then it dawned on me. I had turned off the output circuit breaker on the generator while I was working on it. So back outside to flip the breaker back on.

And by the time I got back inside the rig, I had power. So we’re good to head south now.

I have not yet been able to figure out what the actual problem is. It could be a broken wire, or it could be a problem with the controller board not sending out the start signal to the solenoid.

In many cases, the wire might be the most likely problem. But in this case, the wire goes right into a wire harness encased in a cover and comes out about 18” later and goes into the controller housing. So with no damage obvious to the harness, a bad wire is not high on the list.

And, according to Cummins, a new controller board is $995.00. So my temporary-for-now/permanent-maybe idea is to use a remote starter switch from O’Reilly Auto Parts to start the generator from inside while I’m also pressing the Start button.

Bosch Remote Starter Switch

Once I determine where the problem really is, which may not happen until we get back to Houston, I’ll decide how to proceed. If it turns out to be the controller board, I’ll see if I can get one cheaper than $1000. If not, the aux starter switch will become permanent. But since I have two blank switch positions on the dashboard panel I may wire it in permanently. We’ll see.

About 1pm Jan and I head south back down to the Mt. Rushmore area for a couple of more touristy things. And our first stop was at the Dinosaur Museum, located right next door to the Reptile Gardens.

DM 1

DM 2

They did have a large number of both skeletons and mockups.

DM 3

A pteradon.

DM Pteradon

DM 5

A Dimetrodon

DM 6

Mr. T-Rex himself.

DM 9

This is the skull of a SuperCroc. At over 40 feet long it could swallow any of today’s gators and crocs whole.

DM 10

Two of the Sea Lizards.

DM 8

DM12

The next two are ‘Not-Dinosaurs’. But I guess they had the skeletons so they put them to use.

This is the ‘Short-Faced Bear’ which only died out about 11,000 years ago.

DM 7

This is the Smilodon, a sabre-toothed cat that also died out at the end of the last Ice Age, about 11,000 years ago.

DM 11

A very nice visit.

Next up was our visit to the Mt. Rushmore itself. We decided to first drive some of the scenic loops and stop at the monument on the way back. But finally coming back about 6pm, it was raining hard so we decided to bypass until tomorrow. in fact it rained on us a good bit while we were on the Needles Highway.

So tomorrow we’ll visit the monument, and then drive the Wildlife Loop. So I’ll wait until tomorrow to post all our Rushmore stuff at one time. But I will leave you with this photo.

MR 2

There were black storm clouds silhouetting the monument, really making it stand out.

Coming back into Rapid City, of course, it stopped raining, so we decided to have dinner at Millstone Family Restaurant on La Crosse. Highly rated on Yelp, it was good for us also.

We both had the Soup & Salad Bar, Jan just getting a salad, while I also got a cup of the Corn Chowder.

Millstone Soup & Salad

For her dinner, Jan got the Chicken Strip Dinner.

Millstone Chicken Strips

I got the Double Cheeseburger with Bacon, as well as a bowl of their other soup of the day, Bean N Ham.

Millstone Burger

And as per Yelp, everything was really good.

As I said, tomorrow we’ll revisit the Mt. Rushmore area, and then if we have time, the Dinosaur Park which Jan visited when she was in the 2nd grade, and also the South Dakota Air & Space Museum out near Ellsworth AFB.

A busy day.


June 7, 2018

Wyzing Up . . .

First up, I want to thank everyone for your kind words about yesterday’s blog on Statistics, Lying with Statistics, and Damned Statistics. I really appreciate it.

I had originally planned to power wash the rig this morning, but it just didn’t work out. I guess my get-up-and-go just didn’t get up.

I’ll try again on Saturday morning.

I want to get it done before we leave on our upcoming trip on the 21st. Besides the normal grime, I want to get all the oil off the rear of the coach and also the Blue Ox tow bar that was left over from our hydraulic fluid fan motor leak.

I also want to get some more Busch Aluminum Wheel Wash to clean up our rig’s wheels like I did last March. The front wheels went from this

Rig Front Wheel Before

to this.

Rig Front Wheel After

And the rear wheels went from this

Rig Rear Wheel Before

to this.

Rig Rear Wheel After

And the stuff is really easy to use. No scrubbing or polishing. Just spray it on, let it sit, and then rinse it off. It did take a couple of spray, sit, rinse iterations because the wheels were pretty dirty, but they came out great.

Jan and I headed up to Webster to have lunch at our now-favorite Chinese buffet, East Star. Then after our usual delicious meal, we made a stop at my client’s office to pick the Learning Remote for our new TV SoundBar that came in yesterday.

Then it was on over to the El Dorado WalMart to drop off a prescription and get some groceries. After that, it was home about 5pm.

After we got settled in, I unwrapped our new Learning Remote and got it set up. And that only took a couple of minutes. I had ordered it so both of us would have a remote to control the volume of the SoundBar that we got to increase the volume from our TV.

Learning Remote 2

All it takes to program it is to just press the SET button until the red light comes on and then point the two remotes at each other about an inch apart. Then press and hold the function button you want to copy, and press the corresponding button on the new remote. Easy Peazy.

I programmed the Mute and Volume buttons for the SoundBar, the Power button for the TV, and the A/V button for the TV Input to switch between the DVR and the Computer. As of yet, I haven’t decided what if anything I’m going to do with the CH Up and CH Down buttons, since they won’t really work with our DirecTV DVR.

I think the real problem with it is going to be keeping track of it.

I’ve got another new toy coming in either tomorrow or Saturday. It’s a new Wyze Cam, but this is the new Pan Cam.

Wyze Pan Cam

Not only can it be set to automatically pan back and forth, and tilt, it can be programmed with multiple detection hotspots. Even better it will pan to track any action that enters its field of vision. And all this at 1080p and for only $30.

You can check out the video here.

I mentioned before that I’m not real happy with GoDaddy’s Website Builder programs, both the old one and the new one. So I’ve started looking at other programs.

I started this afternoon with WIX’s version, and so far I like it. It’s easy, intuitive, and pretty powerful. But before I switch anything over, I want to look at a couple of other programs first.


June 7, 2021

A Nice, Easy Trip . . .

After running through my checklist, turning off stuff, like the water and the water heater, and turning on stuff, like the lights on timers, etc., we were pulling out of the park about 6:50am, a little ahead of schedule.

Traffic was not heavy at all, and our first stop was about an hour later at the Buc-ee’s in Baytown for coffee, kolaches, and gas, and restrooms, of course.

Next up was the rest area as we entered Louisiana about 90 minutes later for a pee-break, due to the Buc-ee’s coffee.

Two more hours found us at the Pilot/Flying J in Beaux Bridge, LA for restrooms, gas, and Jamocha Shakes from the Arby’s, which was our lunch. We had plans for a big dinner.

Ninety minutes later, we were turning north on I-55 heading for Jackson, MS (actually Brandon, MS), our overnight stop. And with one more rest area rest stop, we arrived at our destination about 2:30, and the reason we were staying out in Brandon, Sonny’s BBQ.

Sonny’s BBQ is one of our long-term favs, for two reasons. It’s really good BBQ, with an emphasis on Sliced Pork, and personally, because it’s where Jan and I went on either our first or second dates. It’s a tossup.

It was either Lum’s Hot Dogs, the ones steamed in beer, or Sonny’s. And neither of us can remember which was which.

And of course, I have a little Lum’s trivia. After peaking at over 450 restaurants in the early 70’s, with locations in every state, except Alaska, and even in Puerto Rico, but with a lot of bad decisions by new owners, the chain, like many others, faded away, with the last one closing in either 2009 in Davie, FL, or in 2017 in Bellevue, NE, depending on which article you read.

So now you know.

And like most places we go, we have our favorites here too.

Jan always gets the Big Sliced Pork Sandwich with Beans and Fries,

Sonny's BBQ Sliced Pork Sandwich

while I get the Pork 3 Ways Platter with Beans and Beans.

Sonny's BBQ Pork 3 Ways 20210607

That’s Sliced Pork, Pulled Pork, and Ribs. All great.

Finishing up, and really full, we were only about 2 miles away from our La Quinta hotel, and we were in our room by 3:30pm.

Our room here is pretty disappointing, especially for a La Quinta. But more about that later.

We’re getting another early start tomorrow, because we’ve got another surprise lunch stop, ending up at Jan’s sister, Debbie’s, tomorrow afternoon.

There’s a reason the subtitle for our blog is Eating Our Way Across the USA.


June 7, 2023

Nazi’s In Alabama?

After my BPPV attack this past Monday, a couple of our loyal blog readers asked me if I had tried the exercises that are supposed to relieve this problem.

Yes, I’ve tried 2 or 3 different ones, for several months at a time, with no discernible results that I can tell. I still get 3 or 4 attacks a year that last for a couple of days and then disappear until the next one.

And, strangely, the attacks always start at night, and announce themselves by flipping me head over heels when I just turn over in bed, and then it gets worse.

This came on me out of the blue back in December 2017, almost two years before my Spinal problems showed up, so I doubt there’s any connection there.

Yesterday I was able to replace one of the nose pieces on Jan’s glasses using this kit from Amazon.

Eyeglass Nose Piece Repair Kit

Not only does it have the replacement nose pieces and the very tiny screws, it also has the tweezers and screwdrivers needed too.

Our new/old friend, Bill Bergman, (new to Jan, I’ve known him since grade school) recommended a book to us, The Heart Mender. Set in the Gulf Shores area during WWII (Nazis in Alabama?), Jan said it was fun to read about all the locations that she recognized.

The Heart Mender

Jan says it’s a great book. Check it out.

And something really spooky about this is that when Jan recommended the book to our friend Susan Springall, who we visited in Montgomery on our recent trip, Susan said that she had already read it, and that a friend of hers had babysat the author, Andy Andrews, when he was little.

Tomorrow it’s back up to the Spring area for our monthly meet-up with Debi and Ed Hurlburt, again at El Palenque Mexican Restaurant.

Looking forward to it as always.

 

 

 

 

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