No, They’ll Never Return . . .

Hat’s off to The Kingston Trio

Today started off on a bad note at work this morning.

First up, the big 24,000 BTU A/C in the lobby, which also cools the bathrooms, assumed a non-functioning state, i.e. It’s Dead, Jim.

I’ve ordered a new one from Amazon, but it won’t be here until next Monday. I, of course, have my own A/C in my office, and Jennifer has one in hers, so we’ll survive.

But, more important to me, is that the SSD HD in my computer died. I did a recent system image backup, and then I can retrieve the more recent stuff from my iDrive backups.

But it’s still a pain.

I always enjoy reading the reviews of products on Amazon, especially the 1 Star ones. For example, the rubber duck mounting pins

that I ordered to mount our Jeep’s Paddling of Ducks had one that complained that the holes in some of their rubber ducks were too small for the pins.

Which, of course, had nothing to do the order of pins. And it’s not like 5 seconds with a knife blade won’t take care of the problem.

Another one I saw gave a 1 Star review because the box was damaged in shipping by UPS.

Some people!

There’s a rumor going around that Amazon is going to start charging for Alexa services, with several different levels of service from free to $5-$10 per month.

NASA pushes Starliner return to July

(But they don’t say what year)

And they don’t give a day, either.

After numerous delays, NASA said Friday that the Starliner crew would return to Earth in July

If all goes well, Boeing will have completed its first successful crewed mission for NASA, but the company has a long way to go to catch up with competitor and fellow NASA contractor SpaceX, which so far has completed 13 crewed missions.

The latest betting line says it’s 50/50 that SpaceX will have to bring them home on a Crew Dragon.

Thought For The Day:

Dreams: The first things people abandon when they understand how the world really works.

Your Retro-Preview Highlights –

2011 – Columbia River Maritime Museum

2013 – Wildhorse Cafe And Banana Cream Pie

2014 – Drilling For . . . Brain?

2017 – Y’all Don’t Understand Me

2018 – Tom Sawyer And Great Ribs

And Now On To Today’s Retro-Blogs.™

June 24, 2009

Runaway Trucks and The Biltmore, one last time…

We left Asheville about 10 am this morning heading about 210 miles east to Graham, NC to visit my cousin and her family.

Jan started panicking early because this was the same route we had to take to Grandfather Mountain and she was worried about a fairly steep grade that we had to go down, or at least, fairly steep for around here.

It was a 6% grade and had 3 runaway truck ramps along the downgrade, but I kept it slow and used the PacBrake exhaust brake to keep our speed under 45 mph.

We had done 10% grades in Canada so I knew we wouldn’t have any problems here.

But Jan has to have something to worry about.  If she doesn’t have anything to worry about, she worries about that.

We got into Graham about 2 pm and parked the coach at a local WalMart, so we could unhook the toad and drive it out to my cousin’s house.

They wanted us to park at their house and I wanted to check out the driveway first.  I’m glad I did it that way because I found out I didn’t know where her house was.

I had the address, but I found out later that there had been some street name changes and her place was now hard to find.  Even UPS had problems.

But some cell phone directions got us there, and after checking out the driveway and talking for a while,  Jan and I went back to get the coach, which was about 6 miles away.

We weren’t going to hook the toad back up. Jan would just follow me in it.

I had a little problem getting into the driveway because a guy was trying to pass me on the left as I was trying to swing wide left to turn right into the driveway.

I dropped the outside right dual rear wheel into the ditch which made the coach lean over, but I powered it on through with no problems.

Jan, of course, just knew the coach was going to turn over when she saw it happen.  But then, that gave her something new to worry about for a few minutes, so it all worked out.

We’re plugged into their garage for power and using our internal tanks for drinking water and wastewater.  So we’re doing just fine.

I finally got around to scanning the picture we had taken at the Biltmore, so here it is.

Jan And Greg At The Biltmore

Jan And Greg At The Biltmore

June 24, 2010

Last Day in Burnet…

Today was our last day with the family here in Burnet.  Lowell, Brandi, Chris, and Linda all head back to Houston this morning.

But first, we all had lunch together at Brother’s Bakery in Marble Falls. Brother’s is the bakery that made Brandi and Lowell’s great wedding cake.

Wedding Cake

But today we wanted to have lunch at the café that’s part of the bakery. They have great soups, sandwiches, muffins, and breads.

Some of us had breakfast, others had soup and sandwiches, All good. Linda got a loaf of Multi-Grain bread to go, and Jan and I got a couple of muffins for breakfast tomorrow.

After lunch, we all got in our last goodbye hugs, and we headed back to the rig, while everyone else started back to Houston.

After lazing around the rig in the afternoon, and even getting in a short nap, about 5pm we drove over to The Maxican restaurant where we all ate the other night. Jan and I both had the same thing, Marsha’s Plate, a chili relleno stuffed with shredded chicken and Monterey Jack cheese, with 3 Angels on Horseback. The Angels are jumbo shrimp stuffed with jalapeno strips and Monterey Jack cheese, then wrapped in bacon and grilled. Fantastic!

Coming back to the rig we stopped by Walgreens to get some ant traps. Apparently the local Formicidae have found our rig attractive and some have moved in. Hopefully, this will take care of them.

Back at the rig, I started putting some things away, getting us ready for hitting the road tomorrow.

Tomorrow morning we leave here for Lake Pointe RV Park in Canyon Lake about 80 miles south of here near New Braunfels.

June 24, 2011

Lightships and Goat Cheese . . .

Jan woke up with a migraine this morning so we took things kind of easy with coffee for breakfast, and then about 11:30 she fixed us grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch.

But by 2 pm she was feeling better so we headed over to the Columbia River Maritime Museum.

Located right along the Columbia River, the museum tells the history of the river starting from its official discovery in 1792 to the large container ships making passage today.

Columbia River Maritime Museum

Astoria was once the home of over 30 canneries, and fishing has played an important part in its history. Built in 1945, this sturdy boat, or troller, was used for salmon fishing up until 1998, when it was donated to the museum.

Salmon Troller

Something I found really interesting was this photo of the USS Missouri firing its 16-inch guns during Desert Storm. At the far left in this shot, you can see a black speck.

USS Missouri

That is this 2700-pound shell leaving the gun barrel at Mach 2 and traveling over 20 miles before striking its target with deadly accuracy.

16 inch Shell

They also had many displays of sailing tools and equipment,

Columbia Museum Display

including this 1944 Diving Suit. Note the hand-pumped compressor in the box on the left. Better not make the guy running the pump mad at you when you’re on the bottom.

1944 Diving Suit

The museum even had a large display of tattoo art, but no pictures were allowed, so you’ll just have to take my word for it.

We next went outside to tour the Lightship Columbia. A ‘lightship’ is a floating lighthouse, used where a land-based lighthouse can not be used.

There was a lightship on station at the mouth of the Columbia River since 1892, and the Columbia, the last of its kind, was replaced in 1979 by the LNB (Lighted Navigation Buoy) shown in the forefront of this photo. At some point, this buoy was replaced with something else, although I wasn’t able to find out what.

Lightship Columbia

As we were leaving the museum, we saw the Old Riverfront Trolley trundle past. What was unusual was the little wagon it was towing behind. A closer look showed it was a diesel generator!

A little research gave me the answer. This trolley, the only one on the line here, was built in 1913 for the San Antonio Traction Company in San Antonio, TX. It ran there until 1933 when the trolleys were replaced by buses.

Since then it was passed around by several museums until it was obtained by the city of Astoria in 1998. Originally its electric traction motors were powered by pantographs that reached up to overhead wires.

However Astoria decided that rather than wire up the city with overhead electrical wires, they would just tow along a diesel generator behind the trolley to furnish the power. Kind of neat when you think about it.

Riverside Trolley

Then coming home, we stopped off at Fultano’s Pizza for dinner. But the first thing we saw pulling into the parking lot was a goat.

Pizza Goat

I guess this means the goat cheese pizza will be really fresh.

And although the reviews were good, the food was so-so. The salad bar was really good, but it went downhill from there.

So on the way home, we stopped for cappuccinos, and then we had a piece of fresh strawberry pie with homemade whipped cream.

Really good!

June 24, 2013

Wild Horses and Banana Cream Pie . . .

After an easy morning, we pulled out of Yellowstone Valley Inn & RV Park about 9:30 heading for Billings Trailer Village RV Park in Billings, MT about 120 miles away. But our first stop was at the Wild Horse Café about 15 miles away on the western outskirts of Cody.

We were meeting our friends Al & Adrienne for one last get-together breakfast before we headed out. We decided to wait to hook up the toad until we left the restaurant so Jan followed me in the truck and we parked the rig right down the street and across the road in the parking lot of a microbrewery that didn’t open until 5pm.

Wild Horse Cafe 1

Wild Horse Café was a two’fer. Our breakfasts were delicious, especially the Huevos Rancheros. And for Jan, it even had a gift shop where she found a moose necklace that she just had to have.

Wild Horse Cafe 2

Wild Horse Cafe 3

By the time we finally said multiple good-byes, it was after noon before we got hitched up and back on the road. But it was worth it to spend some more time with them.

Back on the road we came to the town of Belfry about 10 miles inside Montana and ran into a problem, or at least a detour. The road ahead was blocked, and I could go right or left. But this was a detour without being told which way to go. And I went left, which turned out to be the wrong way, but turned out to be the right way.

We ended up heading west toward Bearcreek and Red Lodge with no way to turn around. on the two-lane road.  Coming into Bearcreek about 8 miles after our wrong turn, we saw signs for The World Famous Banana Cream Pie served at the Hungry Bear Café. So I stopped.

Turns out I wasn’t the first person to show up lost. The husband and wife owners said I would be able to get turned around by taking one of the dirt roads around the block in town. But if I continued on to Red Lodge and then turned north on US212, it would only be about 2 miles farther to get to Billings than if we hadn’t had to detour at Belfry.

And no, there are apparently NO bats in Belfry, though the high school football team is known as the Belfry Bats.

So I not only left the Hungry Bear Café in Bearcreek with good directions, but also with a couple of slices of their World Famous Banana Cream Pie. So it was all good.

We pulled into the Billings Trailer Village RV Park about 3pm and got set up. We’ve stayed here 5 or 6 times and this is the fullest we’ve ever seen it. Glad we had reservations.

We both ended up napping for a while before heading out for dinner. Neither one of us really had any place in mind, but then we came across Café Rio and decided to give it a try.

Cafe Rio

It turns out that the place is kind of like a Chipotle Mexican Grill, where you choose what you want, I.e. taco, enchilada, burrito, salad, etc., then you choose what what meat, and what other fillings you want.

And it turned out to be very, very, good. They advertise that they make everything by hand, fresh every day, including their tortillas. We both agreed that we’d eat at one of these again.

On the way home we stopped off at a CVS Drugs and a NAPA Auto Parts before getting back to the rig for the night.

Tomorrow we’ll be having dinner with our friend Linda who lives here now. Jan and Linda used to work at the same hospital back in the Houston area before Linda moved up here to Billings.

June 24, 2014

Just in Time . . .

Well, we were up about 6:30 this morning, way too early. I mean, this, and I have to have a hole drilled in my head too?

Anyway, we headed out about 7:15 with a stop for breakfast at a nearby McDonald’s, before getting to Dr. Roger Moore’s office about 7:45.

I was taken back to the treatment room a few minutes before 8, and the doctor came in about 5 after. A very nice guy, he had me carved up in about 15 minutes, and then I went back out to the waiting room to wait for the results. It apparently takes about an hour to freeze the carcinoma, section it, and then look at it.

In my case, he didn’t quite get it all the first time. He needed to go a little deeper.

So it was back into the treatment room for another 10-minute session, and another hour wait. But when I got called back in the next time, the doctor said they got it all that time, and he was now ready to stitch me up. Which again took about 15 minutes.

I never felt the slightest bit of pain from the beginning to the end, even from the local anesthetic needle at the start. All I could feel was dull pressure.

They take digital photos along the way, and I got a look at how my head looked after the stitches and it’s really puckered where the skin was pulled together over the hole.

But right now it looks this.

Head after Op

We were out of the office about 11:30, which meant the entire procedure took about 3 and a half hours, which is about what they said it would be. I will not have to go back since the stitches they put in are dissolvable.

So hopefully, this will be the end of it.

As far as the Just in Time part, we were really lucky that there was a cancellation so I could have the procedure done today. As we were walking into the office there was a sign on the door saying they would be closed all next week for the 4th of July Holiday, so we would have had to delay our leaving on July 7th as scheduled.

To reward me for being such a good patient (after all, I didn’t get a lollipop or anything.), and since it was lunchtime, and we were hungry, we stopped for lunch at the Steak and Shake near the RV Park.

We both wanted to try their version of Cincinnati’s Chili 5 Ways, so we got one and split it.

Jan actually liked their version a little better than the Skyline version we buy.

S and S Chili 5 ways

Jan had the Garlic Double SteakBurger with a bun topped with, what else, garlic butter, and then toasted.

S and S Garlic Double Steakburger

I had the Bacon Lover’s Double Steakburger.

S and S Bacon Lovers Double Steakburger

It’s been a while since we’ve eaten at a Steak and Shake, just like Taco Bell the other day, and like Taco Bell, this was really good today. We’ll have to go back.

I do want to thank everyone for their good wishes and prayers this morning. It’s always nice to know you have friends who care.

June 24, 2015

ECHO . . . Echo . . . echo . . .

About 3pm I drove up to the gatehouse to pick up an Amazon package that had come in earlier today. But what I’m really waiting for is the order that will come in tomorrow.

It’s a backlit computer keyboard like this.

Backlit Keyboard 1

And since the backlight has 5 different colors, it can also look like this.

Backlit Keyboard 2

Backlit USB Keyboard with Large Print keys

Since I do a lot of work at night, this should make it easier, and I know Jan will like the larger letters on the keys. And it’s only about $25.

On the way back to the rig I stopped off at the park office to talk about upgrading our Thousand Trails membership to Elite. We’re looking at doing the East Coast next year and TT parks there on our membership plan are few and far between.

In addition, we would also upgrade from two weeks at a time to three weeks, except during high-use times in resort areas. But we would still only have 50 free days a year.

But the price I was given – $4645.00, was a good bit higher than I’d heard other people paying. We can stay at a lot of regular parks for over four grand, plus I can also pick up more parks with a much cheaper RPI add-on, or even a separate used Coast to Coast membership. So we’re still looking.

Last fall, I got an email from Amazon asking if I would be interested in testing a new Amazon product called Echo. I used to get a lot of these offers to beta-test products back in the late 90’s and early 2000’s. In fact I was a beta tester for Microsoft on both Windows 98 and Windows 98SE. I was also asked to test Windows 2000, but turned them down due to time constraints. In addition, I beta-tested a lot of games both on Windows and the Commodore Amiga.

Anyway, without paying a lot of attention, I turned down the chance to test the Amazon Echo. And now I’m kicking myself.

Echo is a household version of Android’s OK, Google, Apple’s Siri, or Cortana. It looks like this,

Amazon Echo

and sits in your house listening. Apparently you can interface with Echo from 30 or 40 feet away, depending on background noise. Perfect for an RV.

Echo’s wakeup word is ‘Alexa’, and you can use it exactly like you do OK, Google, I.e.

“OK, Google. Navigate to nearest Texas Roadhouse.”

“OK, Google. How far to Houston Texas?”

But you can ask it to keep track of things for you, I.e.

“Alexa, add peanut butter to my shopping list.”

“Alexa, please read back my shopping list.”

“Alexa, please delete peanut butter from my shopping list.”

“Alexa, please print my shopping list.”

There is also a remote control available for when you are out of voice range of the main unit.

Your normal interface with Echo is strictly verbal, both input and output. But you can also use a smartphone app, or your PC for visual stuff.

Actually, in addition to the fact that it’s a neat toy, I’m most interested in the list-making function. I’ve always wanted a way to go through our cabinets and bins, calling out what tool or whatever, is in there, and have it compiled into a computer-based file that I can then search by something like “Alexa, where is my basin wrench?”

So now I’m really looking forward to Echo coming out.

June 24, 2016

Batteries Minus . . .

or their computer lied.

Since we had a two-hour plus drive to Seabrook, we left the rig about 10:40 and headed for Outrigger’s Seafood Grill to meet our son Chris, daughter-in-law Linda, and granddaughter Piper for lunch.

We made a pit stop/fuel up at the Shell station at FM-1493 and then another pit stop at the Buc-ee’s on SR96. And we would have been on time for our 1pm get-together except for the bumper-to-bumper traffic going over the Kemah Bridge. But we did make it by about 1:15.

As with our other trips to Outrigger’s, the food was really good, as were the views.

Outrigger's 1

Outrigger's 2

Outrigger's 3

Outrigger's 4

It was great to see everyone, especially Miss Piper, who’s usually working.

After hugs and goodbyes, we drove back into Webster to the Batteries Plus on Bay Area Blvd to get a new battery for my truck installed, but that didn’t happen.

The guy who was there yesterday, but not today, and told me they had one in stock, was wrong. Or at least, he believed the computer inventory which said they had one in stock. So the computer was wrong.

At least that seems to be the story they’re sticking with.

So after that disappointment, we headed out for a few more chores. Our first stop was at a Chase ATM to activate Jan’s new VISA Chip Card before I dropped her off at the SuperCuts in Friendswood to get her hair done. Then I was off to Lou’s Barbershop to get mine cut.

What I can’t figure out is why Jan’s haircut costs $1 dollar less than mine. I mean, have you compared our respective heads of hair?

With that done, we headed over to our friend Connie’s so I could take a look at her entertainment system problems. She just got a new Yamaha Audio Amplifier/Receiver and was having trouble integrating it into her setup, including a DirecTV receiver, a DVD/CD/VHS player, and a Karaoke machine.

Whenever I’m faced with something like this, I’ve found the best way to handle it is to just unplug everything and start from scratch. And that’s what I did.

Then I started with the DirecTV Receiver, patching the video to the TV, and the audio to Line 1 on the Amp. Unfortunately, this amp doesn’t also switch video like some do.

Then I went down the line, doing the DVD/CD/VHS player on Line 3, and TV Ch. 3. Last up was the Karaoke machine which went on Line 2, and Video 2.

Doing it this way makes it a lot easier than trying to dive in the middle and figure out what was wrong to start with.

We next spent some time trying to program the DirecTV remote to operate the Audio Amp on one of the AV function keys. But although there were 13 codes available, none of them allowed us to control the Yamaha.

So unless Connie wants to buy one of those expensive Logitech Harmony remotes, she’s going to have to use more than one remote to control her system.

By this time it was after 7:30 so we headed off to Cheddar’s for dinner. Since Jan and I had a big lunch, we split an appetizer and still had some to bring home.

Connie et al

That’s Jan on the left, of course, then Connie, her mother Hazel, and our long-time friend Maria, of Bob and Maria fame. Unfortunately, Bob was AWOL. We had a great time, and great food, but we finally had to get on the road, especially since it was 9:30 by the time we left the restaurant.

We made a pit stop at the Flying J  in Brookshire and then hit one of those phantom slowdowns. Just 3 or 4 miles past Brookshire, as we made the big curve there, I could see police lights speeding out in front of the traffic.

Then after a couple of more miles, everything came to a dead stop. After 5 minutes of no movement whatsoever, I checked Waze on my phone and 3 people said they thought it was a big accident up ahead.

Since it looked like we would be there for a while, I told Jan I was glad we’d just gone to the bathroom.

But then after about 10 minutes total, all of a sudden the traffic started moving, quickly reaching the 65mph speed limit. And there was never any sign of police, or an accident. Or anything.

POOF!  It all just disappeared.

We finally got back to the rig about 11:45, and found a loud and complaining Miss Karma, upset that she didn’t get her dinner of canned food at her usual feeding time.

So I sat her down and carefully explained that she always had Meow Mix on tap, so she shouldn’t be complaining if dinner was a little late. I also reminded her that just a few months ago she was living outside in the cold, wet weather and only eating what she could catch. And it probably didn’t taste as good as Meow Mix. And it could be that way again if she wasn’t nice.

Then I gave her a squirt of  Whipped Cream and she was happy again.

June 24, 2017

Y’all Don’t Understand Me . . .

About !:30pm Jan and I headed up to Huntsville about 15 miles north of here. We were going to meet up with Tom and Lynn Conner, long-time friends since 1979 when we lived on the same street for a number of years and our daughters were best friends.

And later our son Chris worked for Tom in his motorcycle business.

Regular readers will remember months back that I asked readers for things they’d like to see in an RV Park, for a friend that was building one. And that was for Tom.

Well, the project is starting to come together up in Crabbs Prairie, a small community just north of Huntsville,

The first part, 25 RV-sized storage units is just about ready to go in the next week or so.

Tom Conner's 2

At the same time, they’re starting the layout and grading for about 30 50amp FHU sites, both pull-thrus and back-ins, many of them around the small lake.

Tom Conner's 1

Tom Conner's 3

Tranquility Lakes RV Park Overhead

The park is located just over a mile off I-45 on a good paved road with easy access, and a really nice layout.

I’ll keep you updated as things progress.

I got a lot of emails and blog comments wondering why we’re traveling around in an RV that I’m constantly working on.

Y’all just don’t understand me.

First off, remember that I’m cheap. Our rig is 18 years old (old enough to vote) and our Dodge Dakota is 13. And both are paid for. And I know both of them from top to bottom, and side to side. And I can, and have, fixed pretty much anything on the rig, or even the truck

So we can keep RV’ing and not spend half our time waiting for an RV repair place to fix our rig. And honestly, based on what I read on FB and other places, newer rigs spend a lot of time in the shop, waiting for parts, or waiting for the repair.

But here’s the part you probably really don’t understand.

I really enjoy fixing things, anything at all. Whether it’s computers, electronics, cars, RV’s, etc. It’s the challenge that interests me. It’s a puzzle that I want to solve.

So if I’m not working on our rig, I’m working on someone else’s.

What can I say? It’s just me.

Tomorrow we move over to the Colorado River Thousand Trails in Columbus for two weeks. ramping up to our big family reunion.

June 24, 2018

Catching Up . . . Kind of

As I said in last night’s abbreviated blog, we had a smooth trip up from Byram, MS yesterday, and stayed pretty comfortable, even without the generator to run the A/C’s.

We left Swinging Bridges RV Park about 8:15 to stay ahead of the heat, and it worked. Of course, as Jan said, it was kind of ‘overcasty’ which helped a lot.

Once we got settled at the Tom Sawyer RV Park in West Memphis, AR, we just enjoyed the view out our windshield, at least while it lasted. Those two open sites will fill up pretty soon. In fact I think the park stays pretty full all the time.

I know I made our reservations on May 3rd, so 7 weeks ago, and still could not get on the front row right on the water. So plan accordingly.

It’s a beautiful park, with friendly staff, free laundry, hiking/biking trails, and garbage pickup 3X a day right at your site. And did I mention it’s right on the Mississippi River, close enough that you can faintly hear the tugboats going by, pushing long strings of barges.

Of course, when the Mississippi floods it’s a whole ‘nother story. Here’s where the water came to in 2011.

Tom Sawyer Flood 4

‘How long can you tread water?’

Later, about 3:30, we headed into downtown Memphis to have dinner at one of our all-time favorites, Charlie Vergos Rendezvous. Located on an alley, it’s been a Memphis tradition since 1948.

They’re known for their ribs, and one taste will tell you why. These are not your slow-smoked over mesquite type. These are grilled over charcoal, not wood, and not slow-smoked, or anything like that. They’re grilled 30 minutes on a side about 18 inches above a blazing charcoal fire.

This produces a delicious crust on the ribs that is then mopped with a mixture of vinegar, water, salt, and barbecue spices. Then before serving, the ribs are sprinkled with the secret Rendezvous seasoning.

Rendezvous Ribs 2018

Jan and I both got the same thing, the small order of ribs, with beans and slaw, and we split a side of their potato salad. Everything was delicious, and had a unique taste, unlike anything else.

For example, the BBQ beans have a Smokey, slightly burnt caramel taste, probably the best beans I’ve ever had.

The only strange is the tea. While I was parking the truck, Jan had already been seated, and she ordered our usual two unsweet iced teas. And was told that they only have sweet tea, not unsweet tea. So why?

I mean, don’t you have to start with unsweet tea before you can get to sweet tea?

I’ve got a lot more to tell you about the last couple of days. But I just realized that it’s almost 10pm, and we have to be up at 5:30 so we can hit the road by 6:15.

I want to get diesel at the Flying J here before we get back on I-55, and we want to get an early start to beat the heat as much as possible on our 320 mile run up to Mulberry Grove, IL and the Timber Trails RV Park, where we’ll be for the next six days.

June 24, 2019

Road Trip!

And it’s going to be a Four’fer.

And in case you’re counting, that’s two, count’em, two, Two’fer’s.

First up, we’re driving up to Waco on Thursday morning to have lunch with our long-time friends, Bill and Carol Alverson.

Bill and I both worked for the Alabama Educational Television Network back in the early 70’s, as well as for a local radio station, as Broadcast Engineers. And we’ve kept in touch ever since, as well as visiting with them several times when we were back in Alabama.

That’s One.

After spending Thursday night there, on Friday it’s something on Jan’s Bucket List, and that is checking out the Silo’s and Magnolia Market area from Chip and Joanna Gaines of TV’s Fixer Upper fame. Hopefully, we’ll be able to have breakfast at their Magnolia Table Brunch place, even if we have to wait in line.

That’s Two.

Then coming back toward home, we’ll take a detour over to the Marble Falls/Kingsland area to meet up with Chris, Linda, and Miss Piper for dinner, hopefully at the Kempner Brick Over, a great local German place.

That’s Three.

And after spending the night in Marble Falls, and having breakfast with the kids the next morning, we’ll head on down to Katy and meet up with Brandi, Lowell, and Landon for a late lunch before finally heading home Saturday evening.

And that’s Four.

And it also completes Jan’s Big Three Trifecta, with Paula Deen’s place, Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Women’s place, and now, Joanna Gaines’ Magnolia Market.

Since I haven’t had a chance to get the truck’s brakes and plugs working yet, we’re going to pick up a rental car from Enterprise Wednesday afternoon.

Hopefully an Impala, and not a Hyundai Tucson like last time.

June 24, 2021

It Wasn’t My Idea, I Swear . . .

When I asked Jan where she wanted to eat this afternoon while we were out and about with our errands, she looked at me with a big smile and said, ‘Twin Peaks…again.”

I know we just ate there the day before yesterday, but who am I to argue with my better half when she wants to eat there again? And since we both had exactly the same thing we had on Tuesday, no new food photos for today.

A while back I talked about the Peacock TV app and how it wasn’t available on the Amazon Fire TV and Fire Stick devices due to contract negotiation problems between Amazon and NBC. Of course, you could do like what I did and ‘sideload’ it to be able to use it, but was kind of involved and a PITA.

But now it seems that Amazon and NBC have gotten over their little tiff and made up, so now the Peacock app is available in native mode on the Fire Stick. So after deleting my sideloaded version, I downloaded the new one with no problems, though I did have to set it up and log back in again. Easy Peazy.

While we were on our recent trip I ordered these two metal flamingos for Jan’s Flamboyance.

New Facebook Flamingos

When I ordered them I was happy to see that the all-metal birds were made in the U.S.A. and shipped from California, unlike most of the things sold on Facebook ads. Plus the ad said that would ship within 3 to 5 days.

They lied.

It was a little over two weeks before the birds were shipped, and according to the tracking info, they were shipped via China Post from Fushan, China.

So it will be interesting to see if they are really metal, and as big as they said they were. Especially since the original ad has disappeared from FB, even from my order page, and has been replaced with a completely different one from the same company.

I’ll let you know what shows up.

Run Far. Run Fast.

Windows 11 is coming soon to (and probably crashing on) a computer near you.

Windows 11 Screen

A recent leak revealed the new look and feel, and a probable release date of Fall 2021.


So get ready for a bunch of stuff that no longer works right, or no longer works at all.

June 24, 2022

Jammed Up . . .

I spent most of today updating prices on the website and our paper catalog. In fact recently, it seems that every time we get something in from a supplier, our price has increased 15-20% from the last time we ordered.

Since it looks like we’ll be driving ‘Ole Smokey’, our 2004 Dodge Dakota for a while until we get our Jeep back, tomorrow morning I’m going outside to work on the driver’s side front window. It will only come up about halfway before it jams. It will go down, but only halfway up.

Dodge Dakota Window Regulator

I’ve already got the side panel off so that will make it go faster. I actually replaced this same regulator back in 2009, when the truck was 5 years old, so the replacement lasted 13 years. Hopefully, this next one will last at least as long.

Hopefully, I can at least get it all the way up since for the first time in about a month, we’re looking at about 4 days of rain starting Monday. Plus with the temps in the high 90’s the AC works a lot better with all the windows up.

Now that I’ve got my Radiator Cooling Fan problem fixed, and now that our temps are starting to bump into the upper 90’s, I wanted to check the freon levels in the Jeep’s A/C. So digging through some bins, I found my spare can of R-134a freon but I didn’t come across my gauge set.

I could have gotten one from Amazon in a day or two, but since I wanted to do this tomorrow, I thought I’d pick one up at our local O’Reilly’s on the way to lunch. And this is what I got.

I did pick one that will connect to both types of freon cans, sealed and self-sealing. The difference between the two is that once a sealed one is connected to the gauge, it can’t be removed without losing any remaining freon, while the self-sealing ones can.

I won’t even hook up the freon can until I plug it into the low-pressure port on the Jeep and check the pressure. After setting the A/C on full and in Recirculate mode, if the pressure is in the green, I won’t need to add any additional freon.

While I didn’t order a new A/C gauge from Amazon today, I did order a roll of Reflectix to put over our windshield. I thought I had some in the back of the truck, but I couldn’t find it. I think the last time I used it was when we were gate-guarding down in south Texas in 2014, so it may have wandered off since then.

The 4’ x 10’ roll should pretty much completely cover the windshield. I plan on putting it on the outside underneath the solar screens that are already there. Hopefully, it won’t take too long to just tuck it up under there.

Lunch today was at our favorite local Chinese buffet, Yummy Yummy!, before we both got our haircut at the Cost Cutter’s. and then it was on over to the HEB right next door.

Another nice day!