SpaceX, Snooze, And A D-Day Recap . . .

The 4th test flight of SpaceX’s Starship/SuperHeavy went off right on schedule at 7:50 this morning, and was pretty much a spectacular success.

They did lose one of the 33 Raptor Engines on liftoff, but that had no effect on the mission.

As planned, the SuperHeavy booster separated from the Starship and then made a soft landing in the Gulf of Mexico. Simulating a ground landing, it came down and then hovered over the waves before dropping in.

The Starship went into orbit and then reentered the atmosphere and also made a soft-ocean landing in the Indian Ocean, all according to the mission plan.

A rousing success!

Jan and I were on our way about 10am, up to Webster for a routine checkup, which as usual, took a lot longer than scheduled. But this not being our first rodeo, we had allowed for that.

Lunch was at Snooze once again, though our first time in a while. Jan got her fav Bravocado Toast,

with a Hard Scrambled Egg.

I got the Shrimp & Grits again,

on which I crumbled my share of our order of their Bacon But Different.

Then after a leisurely lunch/breakfast, we drove up to the Quest Diagnostics so Jan could get some blood work done. Then it was on down Hwy 3 to our local Wal-Mart for a few things before heading home.

Originally we were both getting haircuts at 4:30, but Lesley, our stylist, texted us that SHE was running late at her doctor’s appointment. So we rescheduled for this coming Tuesday.


Since this D-Day blog is down at the bottom of the Retro-Blog™, I thought I’d repost it up here.


D-Day, June 6, 1944 , 80 Years Ago Today

longest-day-helmet

The following is a compilation of several blogs I posted over the years about my uncle Theo and D-Day.


An Honor Delayed . . .

My Uncle Theo Calvin is being awarded the French Legion of Honor from the Consul General of France. He’s also received several awards that were lost in the shuffle after the war.

Theo Calvin

The Legion of Honor is France’s most distinguished decoration and is bestowed for acts of bravery during the fight for the liberation of France during World War II.

Theo landed on Omaha Beach on D-Day, June 6th, 1944, and fought his way across France.

scan0016a

Here he is with my Aunt Virginia in the summer of 1949 in front of their house in Athens, AL.

Oh, and that’s me he’s holding.

Theo 2006

And here he is in 2006.

The Consul General is presenting the award to three other veterans at the same time. You can read more about it here.

http://athensplus.com/VeteransReceiveLegionofHonorAward2012.htm


After catching up for a while, we headed out for lunch at Rosie’s Mexican Cantina over in Huntsville before visiting Buddy at the Floyd Fann State Veteran’s Home.

We always try to eat at Rosie’s every time we visit here since it’s the best place we’ve found in the area for Mexican. So after a great lunch and more catching up, we drove over to see my Uncle Buddy.

He has been at the Veteran’s Home for the last several months getting physical therapy and rehabilitation to help his walking ability.

Buddy

My Uncle Theo (Buddy). who will be 91 next month, is here as a WW2 combat veteran. He fought in the North African Campaign, landed at Normandy on D-Day, and then as a Staff Sergeant, started out with Patton’s Third Army when it became operational in August 1944. Staying with the 3rd all the way to the end of the war, he was awarded the Bronze Star, two Purple Hearts, and was one of a select few to receive the French Legion of Honor medal, awarded by France for conspicuous honor fighting during that campaign.

We spent about an hour catching up since last year. He’s so animated and cheerful, it’s hard to believe he’s almost 91.


R.I.P. to A Real American Hero . . .

My uncle, Theo Wesley Calvin, Jr., died this afternoon at the Floyd Fann State Veterans Home in Huntsville, AL.

He was 93.

I knew from an early age that, like my mother, her brother, Uncle Buddy (what I called him) had been in WWII. But it was only much later that I found out just what that entailed.

My family and I visited my mother’s family in Athens, AL, for as long as I can remember. Here I am with my Aunt Virginia and Uncle Buddy when I was about 18 months old.

scan0016a

This was probably in the Summer of 1949.

Over the years, as I visited, and later lived in Athens, I learned more about his service to our country. One time exploring in my grandmother’s attic, I came across a WWII Army helmet that had ‘T. Calvin’ painted on the inside. And it also had a thumb-sized dent with a crack in it.

When I asked my uncle about it, he looked at me for a few moments and then said it happened the day after D-Day after his landing on Omaha Beach. He said it knocked him down, and his head rang for a week. Then he wouldn’t talk about it anymore.

Theo Calvin

Over the years, I picked up more facts, like that he fought across Europe under the command of General George S. Patton in an Anti-Tank Company

It was only in the last few years that even more of the story came out with the appearance of a mystery envelope full of medals in 2012.

As it turns out, Uncle Theo not only landed at Normandy on D-Day in June 1944, but he was also part of the Operation Torch landings in North Africa in November 1942, and the Operation Husky landings in Sicily in July 1943. In all, he fought in 7 campaigns during the war, and received a Purple Heart with Oak Leaf Cluster, signifying that he was wounded twice, both times in France.

He also fought in the last major offensive of the war, the Battle of the Bulge during December 1944 – January 1945. Dug in near Bastogne, Belgium, he said it was so cold nobody wanted to fight. “We could see the enemy, but we didn’t shoot at them, and they didn’t shoot at us.”

Among the many medals Uncle Theo received were a Bronze Star, the Belgium Fourragere, and the French Legion of Honor.

In 2011, Theo was the Grand Marshal of the Veteran’s Day Parade in Athens, honoring him for his service.

theocalvin

And then in 2012, Lt. Gen. Richard P. Formica showed up to pin that envelope of new medals on SSgt Calvin, medals that had been forgotten and not awarded at the end of the war.

Theo's Awards

Since we’ve been RV’ing, we’ve always made it a point to visit our relatives in Athens, and especially to visit my Uncle Theo in the Veterans Home where he’s been for the last several years.

Our hearts go out to my Aunt Virginia, and the rest of the Calvin family in North Alabama.

Theo And Virginia2

He will be missed.


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.


Thought For The Day:

I certainly say “It Is What It Is.” a lot for someone who has no idea what it is. Or where it is, for that matter.


Your Retro-Preview Highlights –

2011 – Almost As Good As Bears in Weed, CA

2014 – Abracadabra In Magic Town

2017 – Shoot Out In Deadwood, SD

2022 – Family Get-Together In Gulf Shores, AL

And Now On To Today’s Retro-Blogs.™


June 6, 2009

Flea Markets & Flamingos…

We decided to have lunch at Oasis Restaurant over on St. Augustine Beach.

On our way there we just ‘happened’ to pass Nana’s and just ‘happened’ to stop to buy more coconut macaroons.

Quite a coincidence, huh?

After a very good lunch at Oasis, we headed back to the coach, stopping off a fruit stand looking for fresh peaches, but no luck.

Getting back to the RV park we went next door to the large Flea Market that is adjacent to the park. In fact it is owned by the same people that own the park.

Found some new ‘S” hook hangers, a flamingo knick-knack, and best of all,  a spare Direct TV satellite receiver w/remote for only $5.  The remote itself was more than worth the $5.  A new one costs $20 at Walmart.

And now I’ve got a backup receiver, or maybe a 2nd receiver for Jan to use on the bedroom TV, so she can watch a different channel from the one I’m watching on the front TV.

For supper, we headed out without a real destination in mind.

I wanted to go by a Radio Shack to get some diodes for my new taillight setup, and then we thought we’d just see what we found.

And what we found was the New Century Chinese Buffet.  According to their door, they’ve won a lot of awards for their food.  And it was pretty good.

But not as good as the New Peking Buffet in Titusville earlier in the week.

And so it goes…


June 6, 2010

Last Day in Salt Lake City…

We headed for lunch at Sweet Tomatoes about 11 am, but first, we drove through a Holiday gas station right down the street. I wanted to check out access since I want to fuel up tomorrow morning before we hit the road south.

Diesel is down to $2.91, a pleasant change from a few weeks ago where I paid $3.69.

Sweet Tomatoes (also known as Souplantation in some areas) is a really good soup and salad buffet place we first discovered in  Ft. Myers, FL last year, and we try to eat there whenever we find one.

After lunch, we drove over to Walmart to do some shopping, and then Jan wanted to get her hair done for our daughter Brandi’s wedding in two weeks.

Then, heading home we stopped by Camping World so Jan could look at some of their recipe books.

Getting home I worked on some stuff around the coach.

I repaired a connector on the wires that connect the tail lights on our toad to the coach. Then I installed a video camera in my engine compartment so I could monitor the operation of my PacBrake exhaust brake.

Then a little before 5 pm we drove over to Famous Dave’s BBQ to have a last dinner with our good friends, Pat and Judy Benson.

Pat and Judy

We got back to the rig about 7 pm and started getting ready to travel tomorrow.  Then about 8:30 a bad thunderstorm, complete with hail, roared through the area, but I don’t think it was bad enough to do any damage, at least not here.

Tomorrow we head south to Monticello, UT, about 270 miles away, on our way to Show Low, AZ.


June 6, 2011

Almost as Good as Bears . . .

This morning started off with a call from our daughter Brandi just checking in and talking about Landon’s latest antics.

About 10:30 we headed out on our Bear Hunting day trip, but our first stop was for breakfast at the Hi-Lo Diner where we ate dinner last night. Jan had eggs, bacon, hash browns, and biscuits. I had Eggs Benedict with country fries, and it was more than I could eat.

Hi-Lo Breakfast

One thing we had noticed last night was this inscription on their coffee cups.

Al-Can Beginning

Now I would have sworn that Dawson Creek, BC, Canada thinks that they are the beginning of the AL-CAN highway. At least they thought so when we were there 3 years ago.

Dawson Creek BC

So this morning I thought to ask, and their answer kind of makes sense.

The cashier said that US 97 originates in Weed, CA, and goes all the way up to Dawson Creek. And checking it out when we got home shows they’re right.

US 97 runs up to the Canada border at Oroville, WA and there becomes PH (Provincial Highway) 97, and poof!, 1400 miles later you’re in Dawson Creek. And actually PH 97 runs all the way up to Watson Lake in the Yukon as the AL-CAN along with PH 1.

But when you get to Dawson Creek, it’s still another 1500 miles to Fairbanks. A long trip.

For our bear hunt, we left Weed and headed south on I-5 to Mt. Shasta where we got on CA-89 and drove west.

All on a rumor.

A lady at the RV park that someone told her that someone had seen bears out around Dana, CA, so off we went.

And it was a beautiful drive.

Dana is about 50 miles away and about 10 miles before we got there we came down out of the mountains into a wide, flat valley that, although at about 3300 feet, looked like the Kansas prairie.

Fall Valley 1

Fall Valley 2

This beautiful little church is in the small community of Glenburn.

Glenburn Church

Fall Valley 3

Still bearless and heading home, we saw a sign for a Wildlife Viewing area in the Shasta National Forest so off we went. Most of the road was really good, but we kept going until we were on a road like this.

Bear Country

Still finding no bears we turned back to the campground we had passed and stopped to stretch our legs. Hearing running water Jan and I walked over to the river and found these beautiful falls.

Called Lower Falls, it has been fished since the early 1800’s. Salmon and trout run through here still today, and if it was the right time of the year there would be bears here.

A day late, a bear short.

Lower Falls

I also did this short video.

Looking around we noticed that there were chipmunks everywhere, zipping around like hummingbirds. Of course, Jan just had to feed them.

Who knew chipmunks like Rold Gold Pretzels?

Chipmunk 1

They had obviously been fed before because when people show up, they come running . . . or zipping, as it were.

Chipmunk 2

Jan said seeing all the chipmunks running around was almost as good as seeing bears.

Coming home we stopped off at the Dance Country RV Park in McCloud. It’s a really nice park, well laid out with a lot of space.

Getting back to I-5 in Mt. Shasta, we decided to head about 35 miles north to Yreka, CA, and the nearest Wal-Mart. While we were there I stopped in at the Radio Shack, and then it was on to the Wal-Mart next door.

By the time we left the Wal-Mart it was after 4 pm so we decided to have dinner at Black Bear Diner before heading home so we could compare it with the Hi-Lo Diner.

And it was quickly obvious that these two places had the same origin. The menus, made up to look like newspapers, were almost identical, as were most of the menu items. And the food was just as good, too.

As we pulled in, we noticed an Ambassador Motorcoach towing an SUV on a trailer. Jan and I play a game in these cases and try to identify who in the restaurant are the RV’ers. But in this case, it wasn’t hard. It turned out to be someone we knew, Ray Kannada, from the rally in Yuma this past March.

And he was also at the Lake Minden Thousand Trails in Nicolaus, CA about a week before we were there.

It’s really amazing sometimes how small the RV world is.

Coming back to Weed, we had some really scenic views. Here’s another shot of Mt. Shasta still partially covered by clouds. Hopefully, it will clear before we leave on Saturday.

Mt Shasta - Yreka

You could also see the clouds rolling into the valleys as the day

Fog in the Valley

You can also see the fog in how Black Butte looked yesterday,

Black Butte

And how it looked today. It’s hard to tell it’s even there.

Black Butte Clouds

We got home a little after 6 after a 200-mile trip and a lot of beautiful sights. Tomorrow will probably be a nice stay-at-home day.


June 6, 2012

Blinded By The Light . . .

With apologies to Bruce Springsteen (or Manfred Mann’s Earth Band, as your taste may run) I think that’s what happened to this armadillo who wandered into the area the other night. He came out of the trees and grass across the road and seemed to be doing fine until he came into the glare of all the lights. Then he couldn’t seem to figure out what to do, or where to go.

He bumped around the fence for a while, then managed to crawl under the gate, but then turned around and started bumping into the gate again. Finally, he got out of the glare of the lights and continued on his way into the darkness.

Armadillo

And if that wasn’t strange enough, about an hour later, I saw something moving off to my right on the road leading up to the gate. It’s a bunny rabbit, and unlike the armadillo, he seemed to know exactly where he was going, and wasn’t bothered by the lights.

He got directly opposite where I was sitting, stopped, looked over at me, and then continued hopping through the gate. When he got to the crossroad, he stopped again like he was checking for traffic, and then, making a left turn, hopped on down the road and off into the darkness.

If I didn’t know better, I’d think he was hippity-hopping down the bunny trail.

Sorry. I just couldn’t help it.


As a follow-up on some of my recent gadget evaluations, the cooling mister is still working great.

Ocean Beeze Mister

Since we’re starting to see a few days in the upper 90’s, I added a 2nd nozzle to the water line this morning, about two inches below the first one. According to the thermometer, this immediately dropped the temperature another two degrees, and the difference was noticeable.

The Vehicle Sensor alarm that I recently purchased is also working out great. Once I saw that, I ordered a second sensor, and now have one at each end of the approach roads. Each one is located about 150 yards from our rig and does a great job giving us a heads-up on approaching vehicles.

Driveway Monitor

Lastly, an update on the Kindle Fire tablet we got a few weeks ago. Jan uses it at night to read books, play games, and surf the Web. She’s really kind of taken it over. Because of the glare, it’s pretty much useless outside in the daytime, but then she just switches to her regular Kindle.


Ryan Etheridge, the Marathon Safety guy here just came back from his two weeks off and brought us back some great boudin direct from his hometown of Lafayette, LA. Thanks again, Ryan.

And speaking of food, this afternoon we had another great meal dropped off by a rig catering company. Steak, potato salad, green beans, and banana pudding for dessert.

Yum!

Steak Dinner 2

A guy could get used to this.


On a final note, if you’re a Beach Boys fan, they’ve got a new album out called “That’s Why God Made the Radio”. With 12 new, mostly Brian Wilson songs, the album really has that vintage Beach Boys sound. Backed up by studio musicians who played with them in the 60’s, the guys, most of them in their 70’s, can still hit those harmonies just like the old days.

It’s a $4.99 MP3 download on Amazon, so check it out.


June 6, 2013

Three More Days . . .

of 80+ temperatures and using the A/C.

Make it stop!


On the 3-D printer front, now they’re printing in sugar. These photos are from a company that now makes them as cake decorations.

3-D Sugar Vase 2

3-D Sugar Vase 1

3-D Sugar Vase 3

http://the-sugar-lab.com/gallery


The $25 Honey Wagon showed up about 10:30. The guy confirmed that they had really jumped the price since we were here two years ago, and also mentioned that during the summer, the 290 spaces here stay pretty much full, and he’s on the go all the time.

Since everyone probably dumps about once a week, that means during the summer the park makes as much as $7250 a week. Maybe I need to unretire.


Jan and I headed out a little after noon with our first stop at the hardware store right up the road in Sunriver. I was looking for the 3/8” to 1/4” plastic tubing adapter and Jan was just looking.

But as we left the park I checked the water pressure at two other sites, one in the middle and one at the front of the park. Both measured the same 25# as I do at our site. So I guess it’s a park problem and not just me. But I probably won’t worry about it any further, since our new Oxygenic Shower Head more than takes care of the problem of weak shower flow.

We got our stuff at the hardware store and then headed into Bend to have lunch at Baldy’s BBQ, and this time we mixed it up. I had the BBQ Beef Brisket Platter while Jan went with the Fried Catfish, and she said it was some of the best catfish she’s had. My brisket was really good too.

Leaving Baldy’s, we drove along the Deschutes River for a while admiring the many nice homes. We could see how high the water was due to all the snow melt from the surrounding mountains. Mountains like these.

Bend Backyard

Our next stop was OfficeMax where Jan was looking for some ballpoint pen refills, and as usual, found some other stuff too. Then it was next door to Safeway for a few things before we headed back to the park.

While I stopped off at the park office to see if an Amazon package had come in, Jan walked next door to get some more fresh cherries from the produce stand at the entrance to the park.

Then later when I started to work on the water filter install I found the hardware store had given me the wrong 3/8” to 1/4” compression adapter. They gave me one for metal tubing and not plastic tubing, and the sizes are different. However in their defense, the package doesn’t indicate which one it’s for. So it’s back there tomorrow.


June 6, 2014

Abracadabra . . .

Or our version of the Magical Mystery Tour.

Or at least the Michigan portion of it.

We all headed out about 9:30 with our first stop in Marshal, MI at the American Museum of Magic.

American Museum of Magic 1

The collection of magic artifacts was assembled by, and the museum started by, Robert Lund, who, in his day job, was a well-known automobile writer, including Auto Editor for Popular Mechanics magazine.

Although not a magician himself, Lund was fascinated by magic and magicians since he was a young boy and collected everything he could, including the thousands of posters and playbills that lined the walls.

American Museum of Magic 3

I was impressed by two artifacts in the museum. The first is one of the three remaining Milk Cans used by Harry Houdini as part of his famous escape routines.

American Museum of Magic 2

And on a more modern note, they have two suits worn by Penn and Teller, the well-known present-day magicians.

American Museum of Magic 4

After a quick lunch at McDonald’s, we headed over to Colon, MI, home of two magic trick manufacturers, and a yearly Magic Get-Together where over 1000 magic enthusiasts show up.

Colon became a hotbed of magic due to the fact the famous magician Harry Blackstone, Sr. bought a farm here in the 1920’s, and many fellow magicians flocked to the area. In fact, Blackstone, Sr, and his son-magician Harry Blackstone, Jr., are both buried in the local cemetery, as well as many other well-known magicians.

After visiting the cemetery, we headed back to Elkhart after a really fun day. You might even say a ‘magical’ day. Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

Later, after we’d been home for a while, we headed out to have dinner at Culver’s. Really love their burgers.

Back home, about 8pm, blog reader Bob Plaskon stopped by.

Bob Plaskon

We all sat outside talking until finally the dark, and the mosquitos finally drove us inside.

Tomorrow, maybe nothing.


June 6, 2015

Stocking Up . . .

I woke up feeling a little under the weather so I slept late and then didn’t do much after I got up. Come to think of it, I guess that’s really not much different from any other day for me.

Later I spent some more time looking at tires. While we were gate guarding I noted the tires that many of the big trucks were using as they came through the gate. One thing I noticed was that most companies didn’t use what most of us call name brands, brands like Michelin, Goodyear, B.F Goodrich, etc.

Instead, I saw tires like Doublestar, Double Coin, Hankook, Hercules, and Ironman. And I kind of think that if they’re good enough for Schlumberger, BP, Marathon, and Baker-Hughes, they’re probably good enough for our rig.

But I’m still looking.

About 3:30 we headed out for dinner, and decided on Cracker Barrel, even though it wasn’t Thursday Turkey and Dressing Day. But it was Jan’s 2nd favorite, Saturday Chicken and Rice Day. I had the Buttermilk Fried Chicken, and then we shared a really good Strawberry Shortcake.

Finishing up, we went next door to the Sam’s Club to stock up on more of the Campbell’s Slow Kettle Tomato and Sweet Basil Bisque that we discovered the other day. Wanted to be sure we got some more before they either ran out, or more likely discovered how wildly underpriced this is.

Campbell Slow Kettle Soup

As I said the other day, Sam’s is selling a 4 pack of these for $3.91. That’s about 98 cents each. But at the grocery stores, they sell for $2.79 to $2.98 each. So we’re saving about $2 a serving.

But, it got better. When we found the display in Sam’s, they still had plenty, and they had reduced the price to $3.50 per 4-pack. So now it was 88 cents a serving. An even better deal.

As we were checking out with our eight 4 packs, we explained to the checkout guy about the great price, and he said was going to get a bunch too.

Guess what we’re having for supper tomorrow.

I was going to talk with the pharmacy about the discrepancy in prescriptions that I ran into the other day concerning Sam’s no longer offering the $4/$10 pricing like Wal-Mart. But a comment on our blog by Donna cleared things up. Here it is.

Hello, I’ve been following you for a bit but haven’t commented before.

Since I work at a Wal-Mart Pharmacy I can help a bit. Sam’s is no longer allowed to use the Wal-Mart $4 plan, which allows some drugs to cost $4 for a month’s supply and $10 for a three-month supply. Wal-Mart can no longer use the Sam’s discount for meds. This was a change from corporate several months ago.

I know this is a pain, but your best bet is to fill at both. Use Wal-Mart for the items on the $4 list (you can find the list online) and Sam’s for the ones where you get the Sam’s discount. In many places, both stores will be next to each other.

If you’re not sure which will be cheaper, then call them and ask for the cash price. You can save a lot of money this way.

But there were still several strange things about this. One, the Sam’s Club in Las Vegas honored the $4 pricing just a month ago, and Two, the pharmacists at the Wal-Mart here had not heard anything about this change. I would have thought they would have heard.

But Three, I guess was just coincidental timing.  While we were at the Beijing Garden restaurant eating dinner after leaving Sam’s the other day, I went online to the Sam’s Club website, and found they still listed the $4 pricing.

But today it’s gone. (Cue the Twilight Zone theme)

If I was a little more paranoid, I might think Sam’s reads this blog.


June 6, 2016

It Was Late And I Was Tired . . .

or Do We Have Too Many Friends To Keep Up With?

In yesterday’s blog, I tried to marry Judy Mott off to someone named Ed. But it seems she wants to stay with her present husband Dick. So much for my matchmaking ability.

I’m not sure where Ed came from, except as it said, It Was Late And I Was Tired. Jan and I both think we know another couple named Ed and Judy, but couldn’t put a last name to them.

Blog reader Rick Rousseau identified the motor in yesterday’s trike as a GM product.

Schobel's 2nd Trike 2

Rick said that the fact that the two inner exhaust ports were spaced very close together confirmed it.

Schobel's 2nd Trike 1a

Here was my reply to Rick.

Rick,

Well, I had it narrowed down to GM, Ford, or Chrysler, LOL.

The last time I fooled around with this stuff was in mid to late 60’s, with Hemi’s, 427’s, 428’s, 429’s, etc. If it wasn’t at least 400 cu. in, it wasn’t a real motor, just a hamster in a wheel.

All these high-output small blocks came around after my time.

In 1965 I did shoehorn a Buick aluminum V-6 into my Triumph Spitfire along with two Judson Superchargers, one on each bank, when I was racing in the SCCA Unlimited class.

Ran like a bat out of hell, but for some strange reason I kept blowing out rear-ends. Who knew? LOL.

Greg

Today being the 72nd anniversary of the D-Day landing on the beaches of Normandy, France, got me to thinking about my late Uncle Theo.

And that got me thinking about his wife, my aunt Virginia, who still lives up in north Alabama. So I put in a call to her to check in and let her know we expect to be up there around the middle of August to visit.

I didn’t find out until years later that he had landed on Omaha Beach during the first day of the attack. But Omaha Beach was just his third campaign. He was also part of the Torch landings in North Africa and the Husky Landings in Sicily.

All in all, he fought across Europe in 7 campaigns, ending up at the Battle of Bulge in Belgium. Dug in near Bastogne, Belgium, he said it was so cold nobody wanted to fight. “We could see the enemy, but we didn’t shoot at them, and they didn’t shoot at us.”

Here’s what I wrote last May after he died. Check out the rest of the story.

Theo Wesley Calvin, Jr.

Around 3pm, I got the ladder out of the truck and went up on the roof of the rig to check out my leaking rear AC. The first thing I noticed was that there was no water running off the sides of the rig on this one, but plenty from the front unit.

And as usual in a simple job like this, one that should only take about 15 minutes, it took me almost an hour to just to get to the problem. It took me about 30 minutes to get one of the four bolts loose that holds the cover on the AC unit.

Then I started taking the sheet metal cover off the evaporator unit. And of course two of the 30 odd screws that hold it on were also stuck. So out comes the big screwdriver and the hammer.

Getting the cover off and moving the evaporator coil aside, it was easy to see the problem.

AC Drain Repair 2

That white plastic tray is the drain pan and that round hole is the actual drain. There’s  one on each end of the pan and they were both stopped up with all the gunk that was floating around in the pan, and the pan was full and running over and into the intake filter below and dripping down onto the bedroom floor.

I was able to unstop the drain holes enough to get things flowing for today. But I’m going to have to come back tomorrow to finish up by cleaning the evaporator coil, cleaning out the drain pan gunk, and then putting in some bleach to really clean out the drain holes. But I was wiped out for today. I’d been up there for almost two hours and the heat and sun was really starting to get to me. So I covered everything back up and came down.

Jan had been sitting outside keeping an eye on me and could tell I wasn’t feeling well.  When I went up on the roof it was overcast and about 80. When I came down the sun was out, and it was 88. Unfortunately, it’s going to be even hotter the next few days so I may wait a few days to finish up.

But for now, the problem is fixed and it’s no longer leaking into the bedroom.


June 6, 2017

Dead Man’s Hand . . .

After yesterday’s 91°, today’s 75 and partly cloudy was a nice relief, especially since we didn’t get the also-promised rain showers this morning.

Today we thought we drive up north to Deadwood, so after a quiet morning we left the rig about 1pm. Getting into Deadwood about 30 minutes later, our first stop was the Visitor’s Center to pick up some brochures and make a restroom stop.

Then it was on to a recommended place for lunch, Harry’s Spaghetti Western Restaurant

We each got one of their dinners, starting with a salad.

Spaghetti Western Salad

After that, Jan got the Fettuccine Alfredo with Chicken, while I got the Spaghetti with Meat Sauce and Meatballs.

Spaghetti Western Spaghetti

For dessert, I had  the Spumoni Ice Cream that came with the meal,

Spaghetti Western Spumoni

while Jan upgraded to the Tiramisu Cake.

Spaghetti Western Tiramisu

After a very good meal, we drove up the hill to the Mt. Moriah Cemetery, where both Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane are buried . . . as well as over 3,600 other unlucky people. The place is enormous

Mt Moriah Cemetary

We would have walked around a bit, but as you can tell it’s pretty steep and hilly, and since my knee has been acting up, we took a pass.

Coming back down the hill, we drove down Deadwood’s Historic Main Street.

Historic Deadwood

Hence the sign ‘Historic Main Street’.

Deadwood Main Street

Leave it to me to sniff out a model train layout, and there was one right on Deadwood’s Historic Main Street.

The layout of the Northern Hills Railway Society is in the basement of a gift shop, and admission is free, though it costs $1 to run the trains for 10 minutes.

Deadwood Train 3

The layout is 80 feet by 16 feet with over 1200 feet of track, 54  engines, and 400 cars.

Deadwood Train 1

One thing I liked was all the small details and dioramas.

Deadwood Train 2

Deadwood Train 4

Deadwood Train 5

Deadwood Train 6

Note the yellow biplane flying under the bridge below.

Deadwood Train 7

Coming back up to street level we were just in time for one of the scheduled gunfights.

Deadwood Shootout 2

When I saw the poker table set up I thought that they were reenacting the shooting of Wild Bill Hickok, but it was some other famous gunfight.

Deadwood Shootout 1

As it was the whole thing took place right in front of the saloon where Wild Bill Hickok was shot August 2, 1876.

Deadwood Shootout 4

Deadwood Shootout 3

Playing Five Card Draw, the hand Hickok was holding consisted of black aces and black eights, now known as a “Dead Man’s Hand”. He had discarded the fifth card, and supposedly the replacement had not been dealt. At least that’s the way the story goes.

Heading home about 4:30 we drove on into RC for a quick stop at the Harbor Freight for a couple of things. Then it was back to the rig with a stop at the office to re-up until Saturday.

Tomorrow, the Dinosaur Museum and Mt. Rushmore.


June 6, 2018

Lest We Forget!

longest-day-helmet

D-Day June 6, 1944.

Looks Like I Stepped In It Again.

Wouldn’t Be The First Time, And Certainly Won’t Be The Last.

I got more comments on last night’s blog than I have on anything else in a while. Apparently some people thought my Miss America post was too ‘political’. Others had comments, both pro and con, on my ‘Thought for the Day’ graphic.

US Murder Rate

You can find statistics online that will support this. and others that lean the other way.

Some questioned the actual figures listed in the graphic. The problem is who is allowed to ‘torture’ the statistics. Note I said ‘statistics’, not facts. And they’re usually not the same.

In fact, according to the FBI, the most dangerous city in the US is St. Louis, MO. But its 188 murders in 2017 were less than a third of Chicago’s 650+. But on a per capita basis, St. Louis is much more dangerous. It all depends on how far you want to ‘twist’ things.

For example, how is ‘murder’ defined? Sounds like that would be straightforward, wouldn’t it? But not so fast. There’s ‘murder’, and then there’s ‘murder.’

Was it ‘deliberate’, ‘accidental’, or ‘justified’? Or was it even ‘suicide’? Some stats have them all included. Yes, even suicide. Hey, the person ‘killed’ themselves, right?

As another example of this, remember right after the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting back on February 14th? Well, literally just minutes after the shooting, an Internet meme was circulating, saying that in just the six weeks since the beginning of the year, there had been 18 School Shootings.

WOW!  18!

At least until you start looking at the ‘facts’. According to ‘Everytown For Gun Safety’, the organization that came up with this, the first shooting of the year took place on Jan 3rd. And was a suicide.

Yes, a guy sitting in the parking lot of a school killed himself. But there were no students and no teachers anywhere near. That’s because the school had been closed for seven months.

Two more were accidental discharges by licensed peace officers, with no one injured. And another was when a gun accidentally discharged in the glove compartment of a car parked in a school parking lot, before any students were even around. Apparently it too was a ‘school shooting’

That ‘18’ number is shrinking fast. In fact eventually the Washington Post gave Everytown Four Pinocchio’s, their highest (worse) rating for the article.

Another example is the one about how many ‘children’ are killed by guns every day, week, month, or year. Take your pick. One says that 19 ‘children’ are killed every day. That’s almost 1300 a year.

The problem is how you define a ‘child’. Some places have the age as high as 19, or even 24. And of course, now you’re in the ‘gang member’ range.

It all goes back to Mark Twain, channeling English Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli who said, “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.”

On the Miss America front, a number of past contestants have come out lambasting the changes, saying this was a big mistake. And others have come out in favor of the changes. So I guess it’s a toss-up. But I still don’t think it will last much past this next year or so.

Several people, both on the radio and one of our blog readers, John Brown, said with no swimsuit competition and no evening gown competition, the whole thing might as well just be on the radio.

Sounds about right to me.


June 6, 2019

Yummy Yummy . . .

I spent the morning trying to get the credit card module working on the website. Still not sure what the problem is, but sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. But I’m beginning to think that it’s the credit card test site that’s really the problem. I emailed them but I haven’t heard back.

Last week we noticed that the old Ryan’s we used to go to over in Texas City was now an Asian Hibachi Sushi Buffet place called Yummy Yummy, so, even though we just ate at East Star Chinese Buffet on Tuesday, we thought we give it a try today.

I mean, you eat Chinese, and then two days later you want to eat it again, right? And it looks like that’s it’s going to give our favorite East Star a run for its money.

Yummy Yummy

It’s much closer, it’s just as good, with a great selection, including boiled shrimp and blue crab on the lunch menu. And maybe even more importantly, it’s $1 cheaper per person, or $3 cheaper if you consider that they have the shrimp/crab items on the lunch menu and not on the more expensive dinner/weekend menu.

We’ll definitely go back. It was definitely Yummy Yummy.

Finishing lunch we come back under I-45 to make a WalMart stop for a few things. It’s been years since we’ve been to this one until the other day, and it’s probably the weirdest layout we’ve seen. Like the pharmacy is next to the grocery area, and the hardware section is at the very back, with the sporting goods in the front.

Like I said, weird.

I’m not sure what’s going on over there, but I mentioned the other day that the WalMart Murphy gas station was selling gas at $1.99/gal. while everyone around there is at $2.39 or so.

Well, today they had it for $1.97. So, since we’re going up to Conroe tomorrow afternoon to meet up with Chris and ‘Charles Yust, I thought I’d top off the tank. Unfortunately, I only needed about 5 gallons. But at least I didn’t have to wait too long in line.


June 6, 2020

YouTubeTV . . .

I was outside and under the rig by about 1:30 this afternoon, and it only took me about 45 minutes to get the filter off and then remove the 4 bolts that hold on the oil filter adapter. FWIW it sure seems like Dix Diesel Center in Luling, the last people to remove and replace the oil filter last November, tightened it down a lot more than the 3/4 turn after hand-tight specs.

And as before I dumped the oil out of the old filter and then screwed it back on the adapter. Then I hit it a few times with my rubber hammer to break the adapter loose from the oil cooler itself.

As before, the gasket peeled cleanly off the oil cooler flange, but was firmly stuck to the adapter side. So I soaked it for an hour or so in that Permatex Gasket Remover to soften the gasket so I could then scrape it off with a plastic scraper. But by this time it was time to clean up so we could head out for dinner about 5pm.

I’ll try to finish it up tomorrow and then do the high-idle test.

As I mentioned the other day, I signed us up for the two-week free trial of YouTubeTV to see if it will be a valid replacement for our DirecTV satellite service.

It was pretty easy to set up and get started setting up shows that we wanted to record. For a while, we’ll dual record on both YouTubeTV and DirecTV to see how it works out.


June 6, 2021

Sunday Morning . . .

Jan and I set outside on the patio this morning, our last time for a couple of weeks, just enjoying our time, and the view. And while we were out there, I manually filled the Hibiscus Watering Bucket, and then set the timer so that 1 week from today, it will fill the bucket again, and then again, the Sunday morning that we get back.

And just like yesterday, it was nice and sunny, but with grayish clouds off in the far distance. So with that, my next project was to finish putting up the last two solar screens, after adding a few more magnets for a little more grip. Then I cleaned out and vacuumed out the Jeep and checked the fluids.

About 1pm Jan and I headed out to have lunch at Los Ramirez one more time before we leave tomorrow. Got to have one last Tex-Mex fix with our usuals.

Los Ramirez Pechuga Rellana 20210606

Los Ramirez Beef Fajita Taco Salad 20210606

After lunch we made an HEB stop for travel snacks. I mean, you can’t travel without travel snacks, right?

We spent the rest of the afternoon getting packed and moving things out to the Jeep, so tomorrow morning we’ll have just a few things to load and go. I want to be on the way by at least 7am, but earlier would be nice.

Jan also went through the fridge and tossed out anything that might spoil in the next two weeks, and then I walked it all down to the dumpster.

About 6pm Jan and I took Karma over to our friend Jennifer’s. She’s the office manager where I do my IT stuff and has kept Karma several times before, including our month-long European trip back in 2019.

Hopefully, tomorrow’s night blog will be from our halfway stop, Jackson, MS.


June 6, 2022

A Sign Of The Times . . .

Everyone is enjoying the beach, which of course is why we’re here.

And a bunch of them are trying their hand at surfing using Boogie Boards.

Luckily it’s easy to see where the deep water starts here. The dark blue line is where the shallow water drops off, going from walking depth to as much as 30-40 feet in just a few steps.

And down the beach in one direction, we’ve got someone riding a giant Scooby Doo

and in the other direction, we’ve had people flying big kites all afternoon.

We even saw a Carnival Cruise Ship heading out of Mobile and out across the Gulf.

I was surprised to see the big oil rigs offshore.

They look like they’re pretty close, but according to Google the closest one is 9 miles out.

And they’re even pretty at night.

When it gets dark you can see a lot more rigs are out there.

And when they’re not swimming, there’s volleyball . . .  or I guess that’s a group version,

puzzle-solving this 1000-piece puzzle,

or even a game of cutthroat bingo.

Tomorrow Jan and I are getting together with a childhood friend of mine, and having lunch at Throw’d Rolls.


June 6, 2023

D-Day, June 6, 1944 . . .

longest-day-helmet

The following is a compilation of several blogs I posted over the years about my uncle Theo and D-Day.


An Honor Delayed . . .

My Uncle Theo Calvin is being awarded the French Legion of Honor from the Consul General of France. He’s also received several awards that were lost in the shuffle after the war.

Theo Calvin

The Legion of Honor is France’s most distinguished decoration and is bestowed for acts of bravery during the fight for the liberation of France during World War II.

Theo landed on Omaha Beach on D-Day, June 6th, 1944, and fought his way across France.

scan0016a

Here he is with my Aunt Virginia in the summer of 1949 in front of their house in Athens, AL.

Oh, and that’s me he’s holding.

Theo 2006

And here he is in 2006.

The Consul General is presenting the award to three other veterans at the same time. You can read more about it here.

http://athensplus.com/VeteransReceiveLegionofHonorAward2012.htm


After catching up for a while, we headed out for lunch at Rosie’s Mexican Cantina over in Huntsville before visiting Buddy at the Floyd Fann State Veteran’s Home.

We always try to eat at Rosie’s every time we visit here since it’s the best place we’ve found in the area for Mexican. So after a great lunch and more catching up, we drove over to see my Uncle Buddy.

He has been at the Veteran’s Home for the last several months getting physical therapy and rehabilitation to help his walking ability.

Buddy

My Uncle Theo (Buddy). who will be 91 next month, is here as a WW2 combat veteran. He fought in the North African Campaign, landed at Normandy on D-Day, and then as a Staff Sergeant, started out with Patton’s Third Army when it became operational in August 1944. Staying with the 3rd all the way to the end of the war, he was awarded the Bronze Star, two Purple Hearts, and was one of a select few to receive the French Legion of Honor medal, awarded by France for conspicuous honor fighting during that campaign.

We spent about an hour catching up since last year. He’s so animated and cheerful, it’s hard to believe he’s almost 91.


R.I.P. to A Real American Hero . . .

My uncle, Theo Wesley Calvin, Jr., died this afternoon at the Floyd Fann State Veterans Home in Huntsville, AL.

He was 93.

I knew from an early age that, like my mother, her brother, Uncle Buddy (what I called him) had been in WWII. But it was only much later that I found out just what that entailed.

My family and I visited my mother’s family in Athens, AL, as long as I can remember. Here I am with my aunt Virginia and Uncle Buddy when I was about 18 months old.

scan0016a

This was probably in the Summer of 1949.

Over the years, as I visited, and later lived in Athens, I learned more about his service to our country. One time exploring in my grandmother’s attic, I came across a WWII Army helmet that had ‘T. Calvin’ painted on the inside. And it also had a thumb-sized dent with a crack in it.

When I asked my uncle about it, he looked at me for a few moments and then said it happened the day after D-Day after his landing on Omaha Beach. He said it knocked him down, and his head rang for a week. Then he wouldn’t talk about it anymore.

Theo Calvin

Over the years, I picked up more facts, like that he fought across Europe under the command of General George S. Patton in an Anti-Tank Company

It was only in the last few years that even more of the story came out with the appearance of a mystery envelope full of medals in 2012.

As it turns out, Uncle Theo not only landed at Normandy on D-Day in June 1944, but he was also part of the Operation Torch landings in North Africa in November 1942, and the Operation Husky landings in Sicily in July 1943. In all, he fought in 7 campaigns during the war, and received a Purple Heart with Oak Leaf Cluster, signifying that he was wounded twice, both times in France.

He also fought in the last major offensive of the war, the Battle of the Bulge during December 1944 – January 1945. Dug in near Bastogne, Belgium, he said it was so cold nobody wanted to fight. “We could see the enemy, but we didn’t shoot at them, and they didn’t shoot at us.”

Among the many medals Uncle Theo received were a Bronze Star, the Belgium Fourragere, and the French Legion of Honor.

In 2011, Theo was the Grand Marshal of the Veteran’s Day Parade in Athens, honoring him for his service.

theocalvin

And then in 2012, Lt. Gen. Richard P. Formica showed up to pin that envelope of new medals on SSgt Calvin, medals that had been forgotten and not awarded at the end of the war.

Theo's Awards

Since we’ve been RV’ing, we’ve always made it a point to visit our relatives in Athens, and especially to visit my Uncle Theo in the Veterans Home where he’s been for the last several years.

Our hearts go out to my Aunt Virginia, and the rest of the Calvin family in North Alabama.

Theo And Virginia2

He will be missed.


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 hanger 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.


And Now On To Today:

When I saw that we had more thunderstorms rolling in, I went out a little earlier than I had planned, first to reinstall a couple of sunscreens that had blown off in some recent high winds, and then to try and replace the broken strut on our Jeep’s rear window.

First I used a pair of heavy-duty cutters to clip off the protruding part of the old bolt from the mount

and then started drilling it out.

Finally, I got it opened up enough to use my rotary rasp to wobble it out enough

to mount the ball stud into place.

Then it was just a matter of snapping the new strut onto the ball studs and I was done.

I had originally planned on replacing the other strut at the same time, but decided to leave well enough alone for now. Plus the storms had shown up, so I called it a day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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