Mmmm! Steak . . .

Lunch today was our monthly Alvin Opry get-together at Saltgrass Steakhouse, but with only four of us due to some medical problems with our other regulars. We’ve known Bob & Maria since the mid-80’s, so it’s always good to see them again.

Our steaks were really good, probably the best we’ve had in a while.

Then after saying our goodbyes, Jan and I drove over to the nearby HCA Hospital so she could pick up some scans to take with her on her doctor’s appointment next Wednesday.

Then it was on home for the day.

Another great 3:00 minute video of the SpaceX Heavy Launch a couple of days ago, including my favorite part, the return and landing of the two side boosters.

If you just want to see the landings, start at about 1:50 into the video.

I’ve been blogging the last week or so about the two NASA astronauts stuck on the ISS Space Station due to problems with the Boeing Starliner capsule that took them up there. And after pushing the return date back several times, now they’re just saying ‘July’. No date or even a year.

So now people are wondering if SpaceX might have to send one of their Crew Dragon capsules up to bring them back home.

And now it looks like SpaceX has been selected to bring the ISS back to Earth in about 6 years.

NASA taps Elon Musk’s SpaceX to bring International Space Station out of orbit in a few more years

NASA has awarded SpaceX an $843 million contract to build the vehicle that will bring the International Space Station out of its longtime orbit of Earth when its operating lifespan ends in a few more years.

SpaceX, a privately held company controlled by technology mogul Elon Musk, will build the vehicle that will bring down the space station, but NASA will still oversee the eventual mission.

The International Space Station, launched in 1998, is expected to be needed to be brought out of orbit by 2030. The station is operated by space agencies from the U.S., Europe, Japan, Canada and Russia. All the countries involved have pledged to operate the station until 2030 except Russia, which has only committed to participate until 2028.

SpaceX will build a rocket that will connect to the ISS and deorbit it, bringing it down safely in an uninhabited area, probably in an ocean somewhere. Due to possible problems with this, some people wondered why they don’t push it out of orbit and into outer space.

The problem with this is that it would take about 400 tons of thrust to do this, much more thrust than we have available with any rocket now available.

Thought For The Day:

I don’t go crazy. I am crazy. Just ask Jan.
But I occasionally go normal just to keep everyone on their toes.

Your Retro-Preview Highlights –

2009 – Kitty Hawk and Kill Devil Hill

2011 – Evergreen Aviation Museum And The Spruce Goose

2014 – New RV Windshield, Part 1

2019 – Crossing the Brazos at Waco

2022 – More Immersive Stuff

And Now On To Today’s Retro-Blogs.™

June 27, 2009

Kitty Hawk and Kill Devil Hill…

Today we drove the toad about 50 miles south to Kitty Hawk and Kill Devil Hill, NC to see the Wright Brothers Monument celebrating the first powered flight on December 17, 1903.

Here is the picture of Kill Devil Hill where the Wright Brothers first tested their gliders starting in 1900.

Kill Devil Hill

Here is a pic of the 1900 glider that they flew from this hill.

1900 Glider

Here is a couple of pictures of the 1903 Flyer that Orville Wright used to first achieve powered flight.

1903 Wright Flyer from the left rear

1903 Wright Flyer from the right rear

They made 4 flights that first day before a gust of wind overturned the craft while the brothers were discussing the 5th flight, ending their flying for that year.

The first flight traveled 120 feet,  the second traveled 175 feet,  the third traveled for 200 feet, and the last flight traveled for an amazing 852 feet and lasted for 59 seconds.

You can see the relative distances in these two pics.

First Flight Distances 1, 2, 3

First Flight Distances 1, 2, 3

First Flight Distances 2, 3, 4

First Flight Distances 2, 3, 4

I had to spread them across two different pics to get them all in.

It was really amazing to contemplate while looking at the Wright Flyer, that less than 66 years later, we landed on the moon.

After leaving the monument area we drove around the area doing some sightseeing.

Later we headed up north to Virginia Beach, VA to eat at El Pollo Loco and stop off at a Sam’s Club for ‘stuff’.

Due to running out of time, we decided to visit the Military Aviation Museum tomorrow.

June 27, 2010

Another Day at the Lake…

Today was a good relax and do stuff around the rig day. Jan got up about 8 am but I slept in until about 10.

After I got up I fixed coffee and then hung up the front solar shades on the windshield to help keep out some of the heat. Since we’re facing east the morning sun heats things up pretty quick, and the shades really help.

Jan has finally taken the Facebook plunge, so we spent some time getting everything set up for her. She’s already got a bunch of friends signed up.

About 2:30 we drove over to Gina’s so I could work some more on her deck project. Then, a little after 5 pm we drove over to El Casa del Lago, a Mexican restaurant down FM 306 on the way to New Braunfels.

On the way back to Gina’s we stopped by the rig to let Gina feed the deer. Just as yesterday, they will come up and eat right out of your hand.

LakeDeer 1

LakeDeer 2

Then coming back to the rig after dropping Gina off, we came back to the rig to find more deer still waiting for us. Seems like the word is out.

June 27, 2011

Sometimes it’s all worthwhile . . .

After a quick stop at the Post Office, we hit the road this morning about 10 am heading for McMinnville, OR 120 miles away to visit the Evergreen Aviation Museum, and of course, the Spruce Goose, aka the Hughes H-4 Hercules.

Because of road repairs and the sucky weather, we didn’t get to the Museum until about 2 pm.

And the first thing I noticed about the Evergreen Aviation Museum was the many ‘exceptional’ one-of-a-kind items on display.

For example, the C-47 / DC-3 below. Pretty much every aviation museum has one. Heck, Jan and I have even flown in several. But this one is special.

It flew in the D-Day Landing, dropping paratroopers in Normandy, France. How’s that for special?


And besides the Spruce Goose, Evergreen has another ‘Goose’. The ‘Tin Goose’, Ford’s entry into aircraft manufacturing. Since the Model T was nicknamed the ‘Tin Lizzie’, the Ford Tri-Motor became the ‘Tin Goose’.

About 200 were built including the ones I flew on in the early 60’s in South America. However by then, the centerline engine had been removed and the two wing-mounted engines replaced by newer, more powerful ones.

Ford Tri-Motor 2

This photo shows a better view of the Tri-Motor’s unique corrugated sheet metal skin, making it light, but very strong.

Ford Tri-Motor 3

Next, we have this beautiful example of a 1939 Beech D17A Traveler, better known as the ‘Staggerwing’ Beech, because its lower wing was mounted ahead of the upper wing, the reverse of normal at the time. This aircraft is the last of the 17A’s known to exist, and is probably the one used by Winston Churchill during his 1963 Idaho fishing trip.

The Staggerwing, introduced in 1932, was the first aircraft produced by Beech, and was in production until 1948 when it was replaced by the Beech V-Tail Bonanza.

Beech Staggerwing

Another plane I had never seen in person before was this Republic RC-3 Seabee. This little civilian amphibian’s claim to fame is that it was used in several movies, including 1974’s James Bond flick, ‘The Man with the Golden Gun’.

RC-3 Seabee

And this B-17 is also a James Bond alumni, 1965’s ‘Thunderball’.

B-17 Thunderball

Here’s another one under the heading of ‘aircraft I’ve never seen before’, McDonnell’s 1946 version of Germany’s V-1 Buzz Bomb. Also using a pulse jet, it was used as a target drone by the US Navy, and unlike the V-1, it could be radio-controlled.

KDD-1 Katydid

This P-38L Lighting is considered one of the finest examples of that aircraft still in existence.


In 2007 we got to see ‘Glacier Girl’ at the ‘Wings Over Houston’ Airshow. ‘Glacier Girl is the P-38 that was recovered from almost 300 feet under the Greenland Ice Sheet, and restored to flyable condition.

Glacier Girl

Done up in the paint of the ‘Flying Tigers’ the P-40 Warhawk were the only few planes to get in the air during the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941.

P-40 Warhawk

Another plane I had never seen in person is this de-Havilland D.H. 100 Vampire fighter. Originally named the ‘Spider Crab’ (glad they changed that!), it was the 2nd single-engine British fighter to go into service right at the end of WWII.

Vampire Fighter


These next two are examples of Hitler’s ‘Vengeance’ weapons. This V-1 ‘Buzz Bomb’ is actually the American version, the JB-2 Loon, one of what was to be thousands of mass-produced copies, launched from ships and submarines during the Invasion of Japan, which of course never happened due to the dropping of the A-Bomb.

V-1 Buzz Bomb

Germany’s V-2 rocket was the world’s first ballistic missile, over 3000 of which rained down on London and Antwerp.

JB-2 Rocket

Then we have the other end of the ballistic missile spectrum, and again, something I’ve never seen in person, a Titan II missile, complete with its launch complex.

Titan 1

Titan 2

110 feet tall, the Titan II could carry a 35-megaton warhead, and until it began being replaced by the Minuteman ICBM in the mid-60’s it formed the backbone of America’s missile defense.

The Titan II was later repurposed by NASA to launch twelve Gemini space flights.

Tital Control Room

This is the Hiller 1031 ‘Flying Platform’, kind of a modern flying carpet. What a way to commute.

Hiller Flying Platform

Of course, if the engine quit you just fell out of the sky.

Never mind.


Next we have probably my favorite aircraft of all time, the SR-71 Blackbird, the fastest plane in the world. Although officially its top speed was about Mach 3 (2200 mph) pilots have said whenever they pushed the throttle forward, it just went faster. Some have said they think it would just fly faster and faster until the engines blew up, but no one knows at what speed that would happen.

Every time a missile was fired at it, they just pushed the throttle forward a little more and outran it.


Here’s a better shot.


I’ve seen SR-71’s all around the country and I’ve never seen one with its Start Cart.

Powered by two Buick Wildcat V-8 engines, it was the only way to light off an SR-71 unless you had a high-pressure air source.

SR-71 Start Cart

And the gray box in the center of this photo is something I haven’t seen on display before, at least at a museum.

SR-71 Black Box

The last time I saw one was a late night in 1971 at Otis AFB on Cape Cod in Massachusetts. I was working as a DOD civilian contractor on the night shift in the Electronics Shop, and was commandeered by an Air Force Colonel and two armed MPs, taken to the far side of the base, shown a very strange-looking plane surrounded by flood lights and more armed MPs.

I was then told that that gray box was broken and I needed to fix it. When I asked what it was, I was told, “You’re not cleared for that”. When I asked what it was supposed to do, “You’re not cleared for that”.

When I asked if I could see some tech manuals or schematics, guess what?

Yep! I wasn’t cleared for that, either.

So I took the box back to the shop and got to work.  And after about two hours I kind of figured out was it was supposed to do, and tracked down a bad relay, luckily a standard one I had in stock, and got it working.

And it’s not easy working with two armed MP’s standing over you, believe me. They even followed me to the bathroom. I mean why, I didn’t take the box with me!

So back to the flight line we go, and reinstall the box. Then, getting out of a station wagon parked over to the side, a guy in a flight suit climbs into the cockpit, flicks a few switches, waits a few seconds, and then gives the colonel a thumbs up.

Back in the jeep, we go, and back to the shop. After we parked and I got out, the colonel said, “We were never here, you were never there, you never saw that plane”.

I said, “What plane?” He smiled slightly and drove off.

And that was my last adventure into the world of black ops and spy stuff.

Below, this is the D-21 drone, made to be launched from the M-21 variant of the A-12, which was a predecessor to the SR-71. (Are you getting all this?) It was supposed to overfly reconnaissance targets even faster than the SR-71, drop its film package to be recovered later, and then self-destruct.

It was never really successful, and actually caused the crash of an M-21 and the death of one of one of the crew.

M21 Drone

sr71 with piggyback drone

And now for the big, and I do mean BIG, finish to our trip. We got a personal tour by Larry Woods, the Evergreen Aviation Museum’s Executive Director, of the flight deck of the Spruce Goose.


Spruce Goose 1

It’s hard to imagine how big this plane is. At almost 220 feet long, and a wingspan of 320 feet, it is one of the four largest planes ever built, and still the one with the largest wingspan. With its 8 4000 hp engines, it was designed to carry 120,000 pounds of cargo over 3000 miles.

Spruce Goose Flying

It only flew once, in November of 1947, in the middle of Congressional hearings on cost overruns on the project. That flight covered about a mile, and got about 70 feet in the air.

And it’s almost made out of wood. But not spruce. It’s most birch.

But I guess ‘Birch Goose’ just doesn’t have the same ring.

Spruce Goose 2

And suddenly there we were there, on the actual flight deck, walking where Howard Hughes had walked.

Spruce Goose 3

Jan even had to go up and touch the seat where Hughes sat.

Spruce Goose 4

These are just part of the gauges to monitor the 8 engines.

Spruce Goose 5

This shot looks down into the interior of the wing itself. Mechanics could crawl down into there and work on the engines IN FLIGHT! That’s how big it is.

Spruce Goose 6

And here’s a wider view of the flight deck. You could dance in there.

Spruce Goose 7

Jan and I are both plane ‘buffs’ and we’ll always remember this.

After a full three hours we headed home about 5 pm, well, not exactly home, but to Angelina’s Pizza in Seaside where we met Eldy and Jeanne for dinner.

Eldy and Jeanne

They said the pizza was great, and they were right. Much, much better than Fultano’s Pizza a few days ago.

And no goat, either.

June 27, 2013

Not Much . . .

Today was pretty much a do-nothing day. But about noon we headed out for some errands and sightseeing.

I ran into a Barnes and Noble to get a magazine, and noticed that they had really cut the prices on the Nooks now that B&N is getting out of the Nook hardware business. They will continue to sell Nook ebooks and apps, and also Nook reader software for other machines, just like there are Kindle reader apps for many different devices.

It’s possible that another company will buy the Nook and keep it going, but that’s up in the air right now.

Our next stop was a car wash for the truck. I’ve mentioned before that I don’t care for the so-called “touchless” car washes that only use water pressure to clean the vehicle. But this one was a little different. It had both.

And the water pressure was much higher than any other one I’ve used. In fact, after it was over, I was relieved to see I still had paint on my truck. But it did get it clean.

About 2:30 we stopped in at a Golden Corral for linner, or lupper, if you will. And it was really good. They were actually still pretty busy, and, in addition, they seemed to be going out of their way to keep the buffet stocked with fresh, hot items by rotating through small batches of food.

Next, after a quick stop at the Post Office, we stopped off at Sam’s Club for some prescriptions and a few other things. Coming out I accidentally left a bottle of mouthwash in my cart, and when I came back less than a minute later, it was gone.

At first, I thought maybe someone had taken it back into the store, but when I checked, the greeter lady said she saw a lady grab it and walk off. She then took me over to the floor supervisor located at that little desk you see in the front aisle. The greeter lady told the supervisor lady what had happened and that she had seen the lady do it.

The supervisor told me how sorry she was that this had happened, and to just get another one off the shelf. I was pretty much dumbfounded. This took place after I had left the store, and I planned to just buy another one. But they almost seemed to be insulted that one of their customers would dare to do such a thing.

That’s really good customer service.

Getting back to the rig, I took the water input line off the toilet valve, and as I had figured, the filter screen was clogged with carbon granules. Flushing the line and cleaning out the screen restored the toilet water pressure. Another job done.

June 27, 2014

I love it when a plan comes together . . . or not!

Well, today got off to a good start. We were up about 7am, had our coffee and muffins, cranked up the rig at 8:40, and then pulled out at 8:45, heading about 6 miles up into Michigan to Coach Supply to have our passenger-side windshield replaced.

We pulled into the bay about 5 after 9, and a few minutes later Josh and his helper started removing the old windshield.

Windshield Repair 1

The driver’s side took a little longer because they wanted to be careful to get it out in one piece since it would be reused.

Windshield Repair 2

Next, the old gasket came out and the area was cleaned up and the new gasket started to go in.

Windshield Repair 3

But then the first problem showed up and it was a big one. The gasket was the wrong size. It was too big.

So after a lot of back and forth with the supplier, Josh headed down to south Elkhart to get a new gasket.

And after comparing the old-new gasket with the new-new gasket, the new-new gasket was noticeably smaller. So things were back on track.

Soon the new gasket was installed and they were ready to reinstall the driver’s side glass. The new-new gasket still seemed to be a little large, but they were hoping that the glass would seat it into place.

Windshield Repair 4

But when they got the glass in place the glass was still gapping around the gasket. So they took the glass back out, and the gasket back off. So we went back and compared the original gasket with the new one, and the differences were obvious.

Windshield Gasket

Not only the size difference, but even the corners were rounded differently.

So now we’re stuck. I suggested they get a new gasket from American Coach down in Decatur, IN. But now RV Glass is sending a guy out on Monday morning who says we don’t know what we’re talking about and he can make it work. We’ll see.

So now Jan and I will be spending the night in a motel for the weekend until at least Monday, maybe Tuesday.

June 27, 2015

Prime Rib and CFS . . .

Today started out a little cooler for a while. When I got up it was only about 95 degrees when it’s usually over 100 by then. Around 9 I kinda thought I heard a good bit of thunder so I thought maybe we’d gotten some rain that made it cooler. But when I got up there was no sign of any moisture. And by later in the afternoon, it was up to its usual 106 degrees.

I’m liking my new keyboard more and more as I get used to it. As I said, the key feel is good, with a crisp break, and the backlight is great in dim light.

Backlit USB Keyboard with Large Print keys

Backlit Keyboard 1

About 4 Jan and I drove down to the Homestyle Grill here in the park to have their Prime Rib Dinner. Or rather I had the Prime Rib,

Homestyle Prime Rib

and  Jan went with the Country Fried Steak.

Homestyle CFS

Both were really good, even the green beans, made with garlic, onions, and bacon, were delicious. And except for a tough outside rind, my steak was as good as the one from The Tavern Grille last Sunday. And a lot cheaper.

After we got back to the rig about 5pm, I waited until my 7pm work period to reinstall my outside grab bar. Since I finally got the stuck screw out yesterday, it only took me about 5 minutes to get it installed and checked out.

New Grab Bar

Another chore checked off.

I’ve got a few more things I want to work on, but unfortunately, it’s only one hour a day.

Brandi sent over this photo of Landon, apparently all ready for a day at the beach.

Landon with Straw Glasses

Jan and I are really looking forward to seeing the little guy in a couple of months.

Monday I’m going to go down to the park office and see if we can extend for 3 days so we don’t leave here at the beginning of the 4th of July weekend.

June 27, 2016

DashCams and DayCare . . .

After two recent very busy days, it was nice to not do anything today. At least anything outside the coach. Well, I did walk the garbage over to the dumpster, but that was it.

It was fun opening the Amazon packages we picked up at Brandi’s yesterday, almost like Christmas.

First up were the new DirecTV Remotes we ordered to replace our flakey ones.

Direct TV Remote 2

Blog reader Art Raeck did clue me in on the secret to getting them open. But with 3 of them to repair, and the fact that I can get newer, better ones for $4 each on Amazon led me to take the easy road and just get replacements.

It only took me a couple of minutes to program them for our RCA LCD TV’s since the needed code was the first on the list. It’s really nice to have all the buttons working again.

Next up was a pair of EMT or Trauma Shears. They were all over the TV  ads a few years back, and we bought one a good while ago, but it disappeared.

EMT Shears

These type of scissors are used by EMT’s and in ER rooms, to cut people out of their clothes, belts, shoes, pretty much anything, including metal. In fact you can actually cut a penny in half with one. So they’re nice to have around.

The final package was a second mounting kit for my A-118 dashcam.

A-118 Dashcam

The kit that came with the dashcam I used for the truck, but didn’t get one for the rig. I had kludged one up, but still had to swap the power cable back and forth. So this way it will just take a couple of minutes to move the cam back and forth.

I’ve had this dashcam for about a year and a half, and I really like the quality video it puts out.

DashCam 1

I really wish I’d had it mounted in the RV when we had our blowout in May of last year. It would have shown what a wild ride we had as we came to a stop.

We’ve talked before about problems people have had being forcibly upgraded to Windows 10, whether they wanted to be or not. Well, here’s a story about a lady whose travel business computer was trashed by a rogue Windows 10 install, causing her to lose business. So she sued Microsoft . . .  and won. S10,000, in fact.

You can read about it here. Lady Sues Microsoft

Three days a week, Landon goes to a Summer Daycare that sounds more like a summer camp. Anyway, the other day they did a Robotics Class, with a kit for each student to assemble on the table.

After everyone sat down, the teacher started talking about robotics, but before the teacher could start giving instructions on how to put the kit together, they discovered that Landon had already assembled his kit . . . perfectly.

The teacher said he’s way beyond the other kids in his skill level. Must be all those Lego kits we got him.

I mentioned the other day about Karma and Jan fighting over who gets to use Moose The Footstool, so this time Karma got there first.

Karma Won This Time

So this time Karma won.

June 27, 2017

Nobody Knows What They Are . . .

We really like the site we’re in, A25, and it’s one of our favorites. We’ve been here at least once before, as well as A24 and A23 right next door. They’re all really nice.

There’s a couple of large oak trees for some nice shade, without shading our satellite access. Just about perfect.

Colorado River A26-2

Our water was off for a few hours this morning, but not a problem for us since we always keep our fresh water tank at least 3/4 full. You never know when you’ll need it.

Before we left Lake Conroe I was trying to make us TT reservations for the next several months, but ran into a problem when the Thousand Trails website wouldn’t let me book 9/3 to 9/17 because it said I was trying to book more than two holidays at the same time. Since the only other holiday I had booked was for July 4th, I couldn’t understand why I had a problem.

But when I called TT I found that it’s not the actual holiday itself that’s the problem, but the ‘holiday period’, I.e. the week before the holiday and the week after. But the lady also said once we left Lake Conroe and moved to Colorado River, I should be able to book the date. And she was right. When I tried it today, it went right through.

Yesterday I called Passport America to see about what it would take (and cost) for my friend to sign up his RV park under PPA.. Turns out to be Easy-Peazy. And it’s free.

All he has to do is to give’em a call with all his park info, and it’s done.

Later in the afternoon I did get under the bed and lift the engine cover to see if I could get access to the top of the hydraulic fan motor that came loose last week.

Rig Engine under Bed

And here’s the motor off to the right side.

Hydrualic Fan Motor Under Bed

And as I told Jan, even if I was skinny and she held me by my ankles, I couldn’t get to it. In fact I don’t think it can be accessed at all from the top.

But now I’ve got another question, and so far, nobody knows what they are. I don’t know why I never checked them out before, but I was curious as to what these two red buttons/switches? are for.

Rig Engine under Bed w Arrows

By proximity, they seem to have something to do with the PacBrake. The control valves, the air lines, and the electrical power are all right in that area. Each red button has ‘120’ printed on it.

I didn’t explore more because a lot of heat was coming from the opening, so I closed everything up, deciding to just call American Coach and find out.

And American Coach had no idea, but didn’t think it was anything of theirs, and said to call Spartan, our chassis manufacturer.

And Spartan had no idea either. So next I called PacBrake, thinking it might be theirs.

And PacBrake had no idea either.

So I’m throwing it to the blogosphere. What say you?

Otherwise, I’m going to be forced to open up the compartment again and actually press a button.

Save me from the temptation.

June 27, 2018

The Gang’s All Here . . .

Once again we were up early this morning, at 6am, to be at the local WalMart at 7. I discovered yesterday that I needed a new tire on the front passenger side of the truck, and we wanted to beat the crowd.

We got there a few minutes after 7 and found only 2 people ahead of us. But by the time the service writer had taken care of them and then us, it was 7:30. No problem, though since we didn’t need to meet everyone at the Denny’s right across I-70 until 9.

Jan and I did some shopping while we waited, and then they called us about 8:20 to say it was ready. But before we left I pulled the fuse cover off the driver’s side end of the dashboard to check and then replace the 15A fuse that powers the cigarette lighter where our GPS and Dashcam are plugged in. It had suddenly gone dead yesterday, but a new fuse fixed it right up.

Getting over to the Denny’s, we had still more people this time. Besides Gwen, we had 3 more of the grandkids, Ella, Avery Jane, and Anniston, so eight in all this time. We get more people every day.

After breakfast, we all piled into Debbie’s SUV, well, except for her husband Jim, who went back home to get mowing on his 10 acres. We were heading over to Winfield, MO, the other side of St. Louis, about 2 hours away.

There we meeting up with Brandi, Lowell, and Landon, who had flown into St. Louis this morning on a redeye flight and were meeting us at Tana and Curtis’ place to check out their new house.

Tana had a delicious lunch of shredded chicken sandwiches, beans and chips ready for us by the time we got there. While Curtis, Lowell, and I talked guns and cars, the wives talked redecorating, and the kids all hung out in the media room.

Kids in Tana's Media Room

Finally a little after 3pm, we started back to Vandalia with Brandi, Lowell, and Landon following us back in their rental car, where they’ll be staying at Debbie’s until Sunday. So by the time Jan and I picked up the truck we left at Denny’s,  and got back to the rig, it was almost 6pm. A really nice, fun day.

Tomorrow it’s Denny’s again, (I think Jan and I are considered regulars now) with even more family this time. Then Jan, Debbie, and Brandi are taking all the kids over to the Children’s Science Museum in St. Louis.

But I’ll be coming back to the rig to dig into the generator problem. Reading a lot of RV blogs, I’m more and more hopeful that the fuel pump is the problem.

But as usual, we’ll see. I really would like to get it fixed before our trip back home starting this Sunday.

June 27, 2019

Crossing the Brazos at Waco . . .

Jan and I were on our way up to Waco by 9am, right on schedule. And as I had hoped, the morning rush had tapered off, leaving us to breeze right through downtown Houston with hardly a slowdown.

We made a quick bathroom stop at the Pilot/Flying J in north Houston, before continuing on up I-45. We like this for a stop coming and going along I-45 since it’s an easy off-and-on.

The traffic was a little heavy until we got past Huntsville and then it thinned out. And picked up speed. I stayed in the middle of the pack, matching speed with everyone else without paying any attention to how fast we were all going.

Until I looked down to see that I was doing 90!  As was everyone else.

I love Texas highways.

Our next, and last stop was at the Buc-ee’s at the Madisonville exit. Another easy off and on, and with kolaches.

Then about 25 miles further on, we turned west on TX-164, another example of those Texas rural roads that I love. Straight as an arrow and not much traffic, it’s two wide lanes, with wide shoulders, very few towns to slow things down, and a 75 mph speed limit. Which meant cars were passing me doing 85-90.

I love Texas highways.

We got to the Saltgrass Steakhouse about 1:30 and got a table to wait for our friends to show up from doing the Chip and Joanna Gaines Silos/Magnolia Market thing.

Bill-Carol-June Waco

As I mentioned Bill and I worked together back in the early 70’s when we were living in Birmingham and we’ve kept in touch ever since. That’s Bill and his wife Carol on the ends (I’ll let you figure out which is which) and Bill’s cousin June in the middle.

It was a lot of fun dredging up old times, and counting off all the people we worked with who are now dead. Well, not fun that they’re dead, but more that we aren’t, I guess.

Jan and Greg Waco

And in our talking, Jan was interested to find out that they weren’t really impressed with the whole Magnolia Market thing, and thought it was over-priced. However, I don’t know if that will deter Jan from still wanting to visit it or not.

We’ll see.

Finally, after a good meal, and several hours of reminiscing, we said our goodbyes, with Bill et. al heading back to the Dallas area, and Jan and I going right down the street to the Comfort Inn & Suites for the night.

Comfort Inn Waco

Since they noted that we’ve stayed at Choice/Comfort hotels in the past, they bumped us up to a nicer room than we had reserved. Nice.

Tomorrow we’ll check out the area, and maybe do the Magnolia thing, we’ll see. Then later in the afternoon we’ll head down to the Marble Falls area to meet up with Chris, Linda, and Miss Piper for dinner, and then a Motel 6 for the night.

And after breakfast with them the next morning, we’ll head back toward Houston with a lunch/dinner stop with our daughter Brandi and her family,

Very Nice!

June 27, 2020

The Next Ones To Cave . . .

Jan and I had lunch once again at our nearby Spring Creek BBQ with both of us having the Baby Back Ribs and splitting a basket of their Fried Okra.

Spring Creek BBQ Ribs

All really good.

It looks like two more companies are caving to the recent events in the news.

The Winn-Dixie grocery store chain is looking to change their name. W-D has been around since 1925, but became Winn-Dixie when they bought the Winn & Lovett chain in 1934, and then later the Dixie Home chain, thus becoming Winn-Dixie.

And Dixie Beer, the oldest brewery in New Orleans, around since 1907, is also looking for a new name and logo.

So who’s next?

June 27, 2021

Without Photos, It Never Happened . . .

In yesterday’s blog I mentioned one of my former co-workers, Sharon Hosea, and the fact that she used to live in our subdivision. In fact, our daughter Brandi and her roommate’s daughter, Candy, were good friends, so good in fact, that they both were brought home by the police early one morning.

I think Brandi was about 12-13 at the time, and she decided to sneak out one night, and meeting up with Candy, they ended up at the community pool a couple of blocks away, and then climbed over the fence enclosure and went for a midnight swim.

But Brandi, having an ear infection, didn’t go all the way in. But that didn’t stop the po-po from hauling them both home, dropping off Candy first, since she lived closer.

So Sharon put in a call to us, telling us to expect a delivery. And it wasn’t FedEx.

I think initially we grounded Brandi for about 8 years, until she was 21, but later reduced that to a month or so for good behavior. Or more likely so that we didn’t have to listen to her moaning and complaining anymore.

I will say however that Brandi was never again brought home by the police.

I do want to mention that for the last 20 years or so Sharon has owned a highly-rated pet-sitting service in the Clear Lake area here in Texas.

Sharon Hosea and Friend Clear Lake Pets

Called Clear Lake Pets, they offer both in-house and boarding services. Knowing Sharon, your pets will be in good hands.

For lunch this afternoon, it was once again to Denny’s for Ultimate Omelets, our first time since we got back from our trip.

Denny's Ultimate Omelet 20210627

And it was really good to find Staci, our long-time regular server back at work.

Finally, one of our readers complained about my recent blogs about our visits to Twin Peaks. The phrase he used was – “Without photos, it never happened.”

And he wasn’t really interested in the photos of our food.

I replied that it seemed kind of strange to be posting photos of Twin Peak’s girls when they were wearing masks.

Twin Peaks Izzy

This is Izzy, who has family in Bogota, Colombia where I used to live. So we had fun talking about places in the area. But with the mask, it just loses something.

Now this is Lauren Bell, our favorite server from a few years back.

Twin Peaks 4 500

Twin Peaks 4a - Lauren Bell 500

She was there for a couple of years while she was going to school, but when we got back from our RV travels one year, we found that she had graduated college and left to get married.

But now with the masks coming off, I promise I will be more diligent about getting photos whenever Jan makes me take her there.

June 27, 2022

Random Stuff . . .

First the good news.

The problem with our Jeep was just some loose bolts on the transmission’s torque converter. They’ve ordered new bolts which should have come in this afternoon. So we should have it back tomorrow, or Wednesday at the latest.

This will work out well for us, since this Thursday we’re heading up into Houston to see another ‘Immersive’

Last year we did two different Immersive Van Gogh presentations, one in October and one in November.

Immersive Van Gogh

And then later this summer, date TBD, Immersive King Tut is coming to town.

Immersive King Tut Placard

And of course, we saw a great Pompeii exhibit last August,

Museum Pompeii Body 3

and an even better one about Ramses the Great last month

Ramses Exhibit 1

And now on Thursday, we have tickets to see the Immersive Monet & The Impressionists, including Renoir, Degas, and others.

Immersive Monet

And of course, lunch at Cleburne Cafeteria beforehand.

Next Up, Sports You’ve Never Heard That Are Shown On ESPN

We saw both of these

Corgi Racing – Yes, they have national races for those little dogs with really short legs.

I wonder if Queen Elizabeth races hers.

And even stranger, the Slippery Stairs World Championship

And like a bucket of crabs, if one person starts to fall, they try to drag everyone else down with them.

Jan and I are really enjoying our new MyPillow 3” Mattress Topper, probably sleeping the best we have in years.

And for me, it sleeps much cooler than our old one.


Finishing up, coming home from work today, I got a chance to check out Chick-fil-A’s Peach Shake. And it’s just as delicious as I remembered. It’s made with actual peach chunks and peach puree in a vanilla milkshake.


Now we just have to hope that Whataburger will bring back their Coffee Shake soon.

June 27, 2023

Who Do You Trust?

Boy, that brings back memories.

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve posted about Amazon goings-on, where they canceled a guy’s Amazon Alexa account because they thought his doorbell was racist.

A Racist Doorbell

And then canceled another guy’s Amazon Affiliate account who wrote about it.

Blood, Sweat, and, Well, Blood

And now they want your private health information through their Amazon Clinic.

Here’s what Tech Guru Kim Komando has to say about it.

Should you think twice before trusting Amazon Clinic with your health records?

It’s another thing entirely for Amazon to have your health records. Book an appointment through the new Amazon Clinic, and you’ll meet with a clinician who can prescribe medication for anything from depression to thyroid issues.

Amazon does not provide the care itself. It’s an intermediary between you and the people who will treat you. That’s where the problems begin.

Amazon has the right to “retain, use and disclose this information” for two purposes: If a health care provider you used through Amazon Clinic leaves, Amazon will set you up with another one.

Amazon can also use your protected health information to “facilitate services from other providers.” It’s unclear who these providers are. Doctors? Or businesses looking to target you with ads related to your condition?

Though Amazon declares it is “compliant with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act,” there’s more to the fine print.

Say you’ve given it a lot of thought and are OK with this. You grant Amazon permission to use and disclose your protected health information. Amazon may also “redisclose” this information, and “this redisclosure will no longer be protected by HIPAA.” If you’re confused, you’re not alone.

So if you can’t trust Amazon with your doorbell, how do you feel about trusting them with all your private medical info? And considering that last paragraph above, how much do you trust them not to sell your information?

Sometimes even though you don’t actually need something right now, you just have to have it anyway. And this is one of those things.

These are Metal (Stainless Steel) Zip Ties. They’re about 12” long and will hold almost 200#.

Metal Zip Ties

I don’t have a use for them right now, but I’m sure I’ll find something. I always do.

Apparently, if you can’t see it, you can’t steal it. Or at least that’s what DensityUSA says.

They’ve developed a non-toxic fog machine that can very quickly fill an area with an impenetrable fog.

Check this out.

“DensityUSA’s instant fog technology is pretty unique,” said Mike Egel, president and chief executive officer of DensityUSA. “When a criminal breaks in after hours, the alarm deploys; the fog deploys, and in seconds, your business is going to be protected.”

Interesting to see how it works out.