Synchronicity . . .

Today was our usual Sunday fare, with Omelets at Denny’s, and HEB-stuff and gas at HEB before getting home about 2:30.

A Nice Day, and a Nice Weekend.

I’ve talked about the concept of Synchronicity in the blog before, where we ate at the same place, or did the same things on the same day, but years apart. It’s happened a number of times, and last week it happened at work.

The Brother laser printer that we use in the Shipping area died, and I suggested that we replace it with the same Canon D570 laser printer that we use in the Point of Sale area. We’ve had it for a number of years without any problems, so I thought another one would be a good idea.

I knew that we had bought the first one from Amazon and found we had purchased it on June 18, 2019, so it had been going for 5 years. And what was the date that I was ordering another one.

Why, June 18, 2024, of course.

Several of our readers wanted to know how the Wal-Mart Scam worked that I talked about in yesterday’s blog. Well, the main way is that someone will scan a gift card into the system, and then leave taking the card with them, but without actually checking out and paying for the card.

They’re hoping you will come along and start scanning your stuff and then checkout without noticing the card amount is included. As soon as the amount is paid, the gift card immediately becomes activated.

They are monitoring this, and then they quickly transfer the cash from the card to another card. So even if you discover the problem, you’ve only got a few minutes before the money is gone.

Take Care!

Only got a couple of things going next week, with a doctor’s appointment for Jan on Wednesday and then our Alvin Opry Get-Together at Saltgrass Steakhouse on Thursday.

Thought For The Day:

“Take sides! Always takes sides!”

“You will sometimes be wrong, but the man who refuses to take sides must always be wrong.” – Robert Heinlein

Your Retro-Preview Highlights –

2009 – Grandfather Mountain

2009 – Biltmore Estate

2011 – Hardware Stores And Museums In Washington

2013 – Cody, WY

2014 – Maleficent And An Upcoming Hole In My Head

2021 – Our Second Worst Hotel Ever

And Now On To Today’s Retro-Blogs.™

June 23, 2009

Estates and Rocks…

Today was Biltmore Estate day, the main reason we did a 500 mile jog in our trip up the East Coast to Nova Scotia.

It’s hard to realize how big this place really is.  The house is 175,000 square feet inside.  That’s FOUR acres!

It has a total of 250 rooms, with 35 bedrooms for family and guests, and 43 bathrooms.  It is/was the largest private home in the US.

It took about 6 years to build and was completed in time for its first party on Christmas Eve, 1895.

It was built by George Vanderbilt,  grandson of Cornelius Vanderbilt, the shipping magnate.  No one knows exactly how much it cost to build, but it’s estimated to be about 10 million dollars, and that’s in 1895 dollars.

The Biltmore

The Biltmore

The Biltmore Stables

The Biltmore Stables

The stables shown above are to the right of the main house.  I couldn’t get back far enough to get everything in one shot.

Originally, the Biltmore Estate consisted of 125,000 acres.  Now it sits on 8,000 acres.  The rest is now part of the Pisgah National Forest.

I was also amazed at the landscaping involved.  They used over 2 million plants to landscape the grounds.

What I found even harder to believe was this view from the loggia (porch) at the back of the house.

View from the Porch

View from the Porch

When the house was built in 1895 this view was of scrub brush and bare hills, with eroded gullies and fire-blackened tree stumps.

So Vanderbilt decided to have this area completely re-forested.

They resculpted the hills for the rolling look you see today, and then planted 10 of thousands of large trees and 100’s of thousands of bushes and scrubs.

It’s amazing what you can do if you have more money than you know what to do with!

After our tour of the house which took about 3 hours, we ate lunch at the Stable Cafe, which as the name indicates, is in the old stables.

The stalls have been converted into dining areas with tables also out in the center.

The Stable Cafe

The Stable Cafe

Our Stall at the Stable Cafe

Our Stall at the Stable Cafe

The food was very good, with Jan having a Chicken Salad Sandwich with Sun-dried Tomatoes on a croissant, and I had the Harvest Turkey Sandwich with melted brie, arugula, and blackberry mustard spread on a panini.

In addition to the Cafe, the stables also houses several gift shops and guest services.

After we left The Biltmore, we headed out about 25 miles northeast to Chimney Rock State Park.

Chimney Rock has been a tourist attraction since 1885.  Over the years paths,  staircases, and trails have been added to make access easier.

Finally in 1946,  a 198 foot tunnel was tunneled into the side of the mountain,

Tunnel to the Elevator

Tunnel to the Elevator

and then a 268 foot vertical shaft was blasted down from the top to provide an elevator to the top.

After taking the elevator to the top, the path leads through the obligatory gift shop and then out on a walkway to the stairs that take you up on Chimney Rock at a height of 2280 feet.

Jan only made it 2270 feet, but I was really proud of her. She has a real fear of heights and I think she only does things like this to humor me.  She made it to the top of Chimney Rock, but couldn’t do the last 10 feet to the edge.  Honestly, I was really surprised she made that far.  After 42 years, she still manages to surprise me.

Chimney Rock

Chimney Rock

Chimney Rock Closeup

Chimney Rock Closeup

From there you can see for 75 miles on a clear day.  Our day was a little hazy, but still a great view.

Chimney Rock View 1

Chimney Rock View 1

Chimney Rock View 2

Chimney Rock View 2

After having ice cream at the cafe on top of the mountain, we headed home about 4 pm.

A long day, indeed.

June 23½, 2009

More Moose and Mountains…

Today was our last full day in Asheville and we had one more ‘touristy’ place we wanted to visit.

But before we headed down the road we stopped for lunch at our new favorite restaurant, the Moose Café.

There is kind of an interesting story about the large moose that greets you as you walk in the door.

Moose Cafe Moose

They don’t really know who gave it to them.  One day a stranger just showed up and asked them if they wanted it.  Of course, they said ‘Yes’!

When we first walked in the door and saw the giant moose, I just looked over at Jan and said “No, you can’t have it”!   I’d probably have to cut it in half to get it in the coach, and Jan already has her large moose footstool.

And another great meal was had.  Jan had the Chicken Pot Pie with green beans and baby carrots, and I had the Fried Chicken with mashed potatoes and sliced cantaloupe.

After lunch we traveled about 75 miles northeast to Grandfather Mountain.  This is another one of those high, scary places that Jan really doesn’t like,  but I drag her to anyway, usually by telling her there’s a gift shop involved.

But the scenery on the way there was great too.  There are a lot of Christmas tree farms in this area.  In fact, pretty much around every curve is another hillside covered with trees.

Christmas Tree Farm 1

Christmas Tree Farm 2

But before I could Jan to the top of the mountain, I had to deliver on the gift shop.  And I did it one better by also delivering…wild animals.

It was a twofer!

Along with the nature museum/gift shop about halfway up the mountain, they also have a small animal habitat area, with bears, bald eagles, otters, cougars, and deer.

The bears were neat because you could buy bear food (Purina makes Bear Chow?) and feed the bears in their enclosures.  And they seem to love it.

Bear 1

If you look closely in this next shot, you can see he’s almost got the pellet in his mouth.

Bear 2

Feed Me!!!!!

Bear 3

Here are some other pics.

Bald Eagle

River Otter



After dragging Jan away from the animals and the gift shop, we headed another 1000 feet up the mountain to the top.

Grandfather Mountain is 5282 feet high with a 228 foot long swinging bridge crossing an 80 foot chasm between the two peaks.

It looks like this.

Mile High Swinging Bridge

This next picture shows the overall view of the bridge on the far left that leads to the peak toward the right.

Mountain Overview

This picture shows what it looks like back toward the bridge from the cliff edge.

Cliff Edge

There is not really a path from the bridge.  You just walk/climb over the rocks.

And now for the amazing part.  I got Jan across the bridge!!

I was really proud of her.  I didn’t expect her to go to the edge, so what she did do was great.

That’s Jan in green just to the right of the left-hand vertical support.

Jan on the Bridge

And here’s a closeup.

Jan on the Bridge Closeup

And here we both are, thanks to a kind passerby.

Mile High Bridge

Before we headed back to Asheville we stopped at a local produce stand and bought some fresh peaches and tomatoes.  As we left the stand Jan said she wanted to buy some daylilies as a gift and wanted to stop at a place nearby that we’d seen a sign for.

It turned out to be a private home surrounded by day lily beds. They even had their own bee hives for pollination.

They had 40 – 50 different varieties, including some rare ones that went for $30 – $40 a plant.  They had so many it was hard to pick.

And here are some pictures.


Day Lily 2

Day Lily 3

Day Lily 4

Day Lily 5

Day Lily 6

By the time we drove the 75 miles back to our coach, it was almost 6:30 pm.  And since we had to drive right by the Moose Café,  it wasn’t a hard decision to also have supper there.

So we did.

June 23, 2010

Last Days at the Lake…

Today was another take-it-easy day here in Burnet TX.  It didn’t help that it was in the mid 90’s. We’ve got to start heading north soon before we melt.

We just hung around the rig all morning and then around 2pm we drove into Burnet to mail a package before heading out to the lake house.

After lazing around some more, Linda fixed a great meal of fajitas. Then about 7:30pm we took another pontoon boat ride around the lake.

Finally, around 9 we headed back to the rig for the night.

Tomorrow the last of the family heads back to Houston, everyone except us. We won’t leave until Friday, when we’ll head down to Canyon Lake for about 10 days.

Here’s some more wedding photos.

This is, left to right, Ken, Lowell, Brad, and Doug.  Brad was Lowell’s best man, and they were all college roommates.


Here’s new family, old family, and a great friend. Left to right, it’s Sonja, Lowell’s mother, Chris and Linda, our son and daughter-in-law, my wife Jan, and Gina Ellis.


And here’s Piper, our beautiful granddaughter.


And this is what Piper gets for playing with my camera when she’s supposed to be just holding it.


And this lovely lady is Shawna Oakley, Brandi’s best friend, honorary sister, matron of honor, and wedding planner extraordinaire


June 23, 2011

Alligators and Kangaroos . . .

After coffee and bagels this morning today was pretty much a ‘touristy’ stuff day.

It started about noon with a walk down to the beach almost a half mile away thru the grassland.

Beach Walk 1

Beach Walk 2

It’s a long, flat beach leading down to the water’s edge

Beach Walk 3

Beach Walk 4

Beach Walk 5

I saw this barnacle-encrusted rope lying on the beach, then on looking closer, I thought it was a power cable.


But when I picked it up, I discovered it was a type of rope seaweed. The clump of green leaves is connected to that large knot. The rope floats vertically with the clump of leaves near the surface and the rest of the rope dangling below.

Seaweed 2

About 2 pm we headed out to Jack’s Country Store about 10 miles north in Ocean Park.

Jack's Country Store

This place is really something. It’s been in business since 1885, and is the oldest retail business in Washington. A combination of old-time hardware store and grocery store, they stock over 200,000 items, from kerosene lamps to I Love Lucy lunchboxes to Radio Flyer wagons to fresh seafood. It has been called the largest hardware store in the world.

This is a place you could spend days in, just walking the aisles, checking out all the neat stuff you haven’t seen for years.

I would like to go back just to see all the stuff I probably missed the first time.

Finally coming back to Long Beach, we next stopped in at Marsh’s Free Museum, a cross between a tacky seaside gift shop with shells, live hermit crabs, and saltwater taffy,


Marsh's 1

to a freak show with a two-headed calf,

TwoHeaded Calf

and Jake, the Alligator Man,

Marsh's Jake

to a museum with stuffed animals, and old coin-operated machines,

Marsh's 2

including this 1937 World Series Baseball machine that still works.

Marsh's 3

Oh, and they also sell funny hats.

Moose Hat 2

By the time we left Marsh’s, we were hungry so we decided to check out The Lost Roo, as in kangaroo.


Though primarily a sports bar, their food is excellent, and the good online reviews were very accurate.

Jan had Fish and Chips Tempura with lemon fennel slaw and I had the Roasted Prime Rib Dip sandwiches, which were both delicious. This is one place we both agreed was worth a repeat visit.

June 23, 2013

Irma’s and Old Friends . . .

A little while after we got up this morning, Jan saw this guy in the next field over, where along with his friends, were leaping over the fences like they weren’t even there.

Yellowstone RV Park Horny Visitor

About 10:45 Jan and I headed into Cody to meet our friends Al and Adrienne at the Irma Hotel & Restaurant. Built in 1902 by Buffalo Bill Cody as a destination for tourists on their way to Yellowstone National Park.

Irma Hotel 1

And it still serves that same purpose today, although it’s grown a little bit over the years.

Irma Hotel 2

We were meeting Al & Adrienne there at 11:30 for what turned out to be a delicious Sunday lunch buffet. Grilled Chicken, Grilled Cod, BBQ Pork Ribs, and some really good Prime Rib. And for dessert, their famous Bread Pudding with Whiskey Sauce.


And of course, we sat around for another hour and a half just catching up. Finally, we followed them back to their rig so we could see Banjo, Cassie, and Abby. We’ve known Banjo the dog, and Cassie the cat, since we met Al & Adrienne in Fairbanks, AK in 2008

Leaving their rig we all drove about 15 miles out toward Powell, WY to visit the Heart Mountain Internment Camp. Built in the summer of 1942, the first internees arrived by train in August.

Heart Mountain Old

Heart Mountain was one of 10 camps built around the country in 1942, and at its peak held almost 11,000 people.

Heart Mountain 1

The Heart Mountain Center has a number of rooms filled with exhibits about the place and the people, many of them done by people who were in the camp.

Heart Mountain 3

Heart Mountain 5

All four of us were moved by our visit to the Heart Mountain Center, and it’s well recommended to our readers.

Coming home we passed the Wal-Mart and noticed it looked like an RV sales lot. It’s hard to tell by this photo, but there must have been 40-50 RV’s lined up all the way back and more were coming in as we watched.

Either that or Wal-Mart’s started holding RV Rallies now.

Cody WalMart RV Parking

As I was getting the truck packed up for tomorrow’s trip to Billings, I said ‘Hi’ to a couple walking by. Then the lady looked over at me and said “I know you. You’re Greg”. It turned out to be LeRoy and Anne Willis, who we’ve met at past rallies. They’re here in the Cody area until the middle of July. It was good to catch up again.

Tomorrow we’re meeting Al & Adrienne at the Wild Horse Café for breakfast on our way through Cody and up to Billings.

June 23, 2014

Everything Comes Together . . .

When I was blogging about the two movies we saw on Saturday, Maleficent and The Edge of Tomorrow, I spent some time Googling about the films.

The first thing I found out was that Tom Cruise’s part in Edge was originally written for Brad Pitt. But when he dropped out, it was rewritten for Cruise.

In fact, the entire script was written and rewritten several times, including even after filming had started. They didn’t even have an ending to the movie when they started.

As far as Maleficent, they really did a great job matching up the original Disney Sleeping Beauty Maleficent

Maleficent - Old

with the Angelina Jolie version.


One thing I found funny was a scene in the movie where Maleficent meets up with Aurora (Sleeping Beauty) as a young child.

Maleficent and Aurora

They tried three different young girls to play the part, but even after Angelina got to know them and played with them ahead of time, they would run away screaming as soon as they saw her in costume.

Then someone noticed that in between takes, Angelina’s daughter would run over to her and ask to be picked up.

So someone got smart and suddenly Brad Pitt and Jolie’s daughter Vivienne was in the movie.

For the last couple of weeks, we’ve been wondering how things were going to play out over the next couple of weeks. We’re scheduled to leave here July 7th, and head down to the Indian Lakes Thousand Trails Resort at Batesville, IN.

But we’ve had two things in the works that might have disrupted that schedule. The first is getting our cracked passenger-side windshield replaced before we leave the area,

We set everything in motion a few weeks ago, but then everything seemed to grind to a halt.

And also a couple of weeks ago, I went to a dermatologist because I thought a bump that suddenly appeared on my head might be skin cancer. So we’ve been waiting for the pathology report to come back.

But then today, everything fell into place.

I called my National General Insurance agent, Chris Yust, of C and C RV Insurance this weekend to see what she could do. She and her husband, Charles, are RV’ing up in Alaska, so there’s a 4 hour time difference, and since it was the weekend there wasn’t a lot she could do until this morning, but boy, did she get things moving.

I got an email forwarded from NG saying the claim had been approved and RV Glass had been notified. About 5 minutes later I got a phone call from RV Glass telling me the claim had been approved and they had contacted the repair place. And about 30 minutes after that I got a call from Josh at the repair place giving me a tentative repair date of this Friday at 8am.

Then at about 2pm I got a call from the dermatologist’s office confirming the initial diagnosis of squamous cell carcinoma, and after finding out they had a cancellation for tomorrow morning, I’m scheduled to have MOHS surgery, starting at 8am and lasting from 2 to 4 hours. It will be done under a local anesthetic as an outpatient.

So by the time most of you read this, they’ll be carving a new hole in my head. And as hard-headed as I am, I figure it will take the entire 4 hours.

June 23, 2015

Cupcakes and Sweet Peas . . .

I’m not sure what’s happened, but our Internet access here at Verde Valley has gotten really sucky the last couple of days. And it’s across the board. My Verizon 3G air card, the 4G LTE hotspot on my Galaxy S5, and the Wi-Fi here at the park, it all sucks.

At least until sometime after 11pm, when it all starts working better. So I don’t know if everything is just overloaded here at the park, and most everyone goes to sleep by 11, or if Verizon is working on something during the day and not at night.

Whatever it is, I wish it would stop . . . or go . . . or whatever.

Jan and I headed out about 4pm to have dinner at Georgie’s, a highly-rated local diner. But we discovered it closes at 3pm every day except Friday. But we did find Bing’s Burger Station.

We never found the place open when we were here a couple of months ago, But we enjoyed it when we were here a few years back. I really liked their Ribeye Steak Sandwich, but we’d been told they don’t have any longer, which turned out to be true.

So Jan and I went with burgers and accessories. She had the regular Cheeseburger and onion rings, while I had the Bacon Cheeseburger with Green Chilies, and their really good chili.

Bing's Burger Station

Then being so close, we had to stop off at the Wild Rose Tea Room for some cupcakes. Jan got a Chocolate Chip and a Blueberry Chocolate Chip, and I got Salted Caramel and a Key Lime. YUMM!

* * * * *

A few weeks ago I mentioned the Sweet Pea trigger mod available for the Ruger LCP .380. The only real problem with this pistol is the very long trigger pull, and Sweet Pea mod takes care of this. It allows you to adjust the trigger to exactly how you want it, You just dial in the feel you want.

They also have several other products for your LCP, including a new magazine spring that allows your magazine to hold one extra round, and several different types of holsters.

In addition, they all carry modification products for a large number of other pistols. Check ‘em out.

June 23, 2016

Rebates and More Remotes . . .

Today turned out to be really nice, with a high of 90 and a lot of clouds cutting down on the sun,

Of course, the two big oak shade trees overhead didn’t hurt either.

With the help of reader Art Raeck, I did figure out how to get the DirecTV remotes apart. What was confusing me was that I took one apart about ten years ago for this same problem, and although it looked the same on the outside, it came apart completely differently from the way it does now.

But of course, I’ve already got new ones coming tomorrow, so it’s all kind of moot now.

Don’t know about y’all, but a couple of days ago Amazon gave me money back. After a recent court settlement with Apple for anti-trust violations, involving them illegally jacking up the price of e-books, they had to give money back to buyers. So I got $20.14 credited to my Amazon account.

Amazon Credit

I had assumed that the credit would just apply to more books, but it applies to anything you order.


Of course lawyer’s who negotiated the settlement got $50 million.

I’ve looked a little more into the long-term annual/semi-annual lease situation here at Colorado River and found a couple of pluses and at least one minus.

The pluses are that we get a physical address, and can receive both US Mail and packages without the extra service charges. The minus is that we become responsible for the site upkeep, I.e., mowing, trimming, etc.

I don’t know if we can pay extra to have the park guy do it or not. We’ll see.

Tomorrow we’re heading down to the Clear Lake area to meet Chris, Linda, and Piper at Outrigger’s in Kemah for lunch. Outrigger’s, located under the Kemah Bridge, is one of our favorite local fresh seafood places, and we try to eat there whenever we can.

Next up, I going to get a new battery for the truck. This one seems to be on its last legs. The best deal I found online was a Duracell from Batteries Plus. And there’s one down in Webster, so that works.

I actually didn’t know that the Batteries Plus places even sold car and truck batteries, but I guess they do. I did call them this afternoon to be sure they had one in stock.

Then after Jan and I get haircuts, we’re meeting up with a friend so I can get her new stereo/DVD/TV system wired up correctly. And finally it’s on to dinner with them, and then head toward home.

On the way, we’ll make a stop at Brandi’s to pick up our mail and packages.

June 23, 2017

One Upping Ree Drummond . . .

Our Huntsville trip got put off until tomorrow so it was another nice day around the rig for Jan and me.

So I decided to get out my Karcher Pressure Washer and clean the road grime off our Dodge Dakota truck. And of course, I picked one of the hottest days of the year so far to do this.

But Awesome and the pressure washer made pretty quick work of the job. I then used wheel cleaner and tire black to finish it up.

Clean Truck

Looks pretty good for a 13-year truck with almost 260,000 miles on it, plus another 80,000 miles chasing the rig around the country.

Looking back over our RV Park stays during the last 3+ months, I figured we saved over $1200 dollars by using our Passport America membership.

Not bad for $44 a year.

Jan and I have been talking about our next trip, probably in the next few weeks. We’ll probably travel over to Gulf Shores where we’ll stay for a couple of weeks this time, but not at the Gulf State Park again. They’ve gotten just too expensive.

Our favorite sites on the canal are $299 per week, or a standard site is $249. But buried in the fine print is the fact that in addition to the 11% lodging tax (why? I’m bringing my lodging with me.) there’s also a 15% resort fee.  So that $299 a week becomes $376 a week, and even the $249 becomes $314 a week.

But we can stay at the Island Retreat RV Park right off the Gulf Shores Pkwy on the Fort Morgan Road for $211 per week, all taxes included. Or we can stay at the Luxury RV Resort just a quarter of a mile from the beach for only $216 a week, also all taxes included. Decisions, decisions.

Then after Gulf Shores, we’ll head up to Athens to visit my relatives, probably with a stopover in Montgomery and Birmingham to visit old friends.

Based on Ree Drummond’s Seven Can Soup Recipe, Jan did her version today, but one upping Ree with another can of beans, and also adding some seashell pasta. And rather than use regular meat-only chili, Jan used a couple of the small cans of Skyline Chili, from our time in the Cincinnati area. And of course, Jan added a lot of heat to spice it up.

8 Can Soup

And as expected, it turned out to be delicious, with the distinctly different note of flavor from the Skyline Chili. Really good.

June 23, 2018

Rolling On The River …

We got into the Tom Sawyer RV Park in West Memphis, AR a little after noon.

Later we had a great meal of ribs at Charlie Vergos’ Rendezvous in downtown Memphis. Came back about 5pm to find the power off at the park.

First, they said it would be fixed by 10pm, but that came and went. Now, at 10:45, they’re saying 11:45.

We’ll see. But this is all the blog you get for tonight.

June 23, 2019

A Nice Stay-at-Home Day . . .

As I’d hoped, today was a nice stay-at-home day. The only excitement was when Jan was fixing dinner, using both the toaster oven and the microwave, and the 50 amp breaker on the pedestal blew.

We’ve done this plenty of times before with no problems, but I did notice that the breaker itself was very hot when I went to reset it.

We also had one die a couple of years ago, so I’ll keep an eye on this one, and maybe tell the park owner about it if it pops again.

I spent a good part of the day going over the new company website, making small changes here and there, fine-tuning it, so to speak. I also went on Godaddy and set up and configured the Automatic Backups and purchased the Website Security package.

At the same time I’ve got data recovery software running on the old website Linux hard drive, trying to at least recover the database and the image files folder for the tattoo site. Otherwise, I’ll have to re-enter it all from scratch.

Hope not.

Not sure yet about my schedule this week, since we may be traveling up to Waco on Thursday, but I would like to get the rear brakes done on the truck, and also change out the spark plugs.

But whatever happens, we’ll almost certainly rent a car for the trip.

I mentioned yesterday that my BPPV had returned, and as I thought, it’s gradually fading away just like last time. When I got up this morning, it was just like a really good carnival ride for a few seconds and then it was gone.

Well, it was fun while it lasted.

June 23, 2021

The Second Worse?

Catching up with our recent trip.

June 8, 2021

At the end of our first day, and after a great meal at the nearby Sonny’s BBQ, we checked into our La Quinta hotel just down the road. But things quickly went downhill.

Our first clue was that when I asked what time the free breakfast was, I was told that it was from 6am to 9am, and that it was just coffee. Nothing else.

Just coffee.

I don’t know what this is, but it’s not a luggage cart.

La Quinta Brandon Luggage Cart

This is a luggage cart.

Luggage Cart

We finally ended up pretty much just carrying our luggage into the room since everything just kept falling off the ‘cart’.

And as we were doing that we encountered the First Floor Vending Area.

La Quinta Brandon First Floor Vending Area

And the Second Floor Vending Area.

La Quinta Brandon Second Floor Vending Area

As well as the Second Floor Guest Laundry Area.

La Quinta Brandon Guest Laundry 1

La Quinta Brandon Guest Laundry 2

Now, in La Quinta’s defense, the room itself was very nice.

Well, mostly.

It was very cold. In fact, this cold.

La Quinta Brandon Thermometer

So I went over to the thermostat on the wall to turn it up. But this is what I found.

La Quinta Brandon Thermostat

Dead as a doornail. So I decided to try to turn it up at the AC unit itself. But as soon as I touched the control panel, this happened.

La Quinta Brandon AC

The entire front panel just fell off.

Looked like someone had tried the same thing I had in mind. And the control panel on the AC was dead too. So I tried to just unplug it.

But that didn’t work either, since the power plug was buried in the wall behind the unit. So we just bundled up all night.

Yeah, I know we could have probably gotten a new room, but we were tired and just didn’t want to fool with it.

And to top things off, later in the evening Jan said the TV remote had stopped working. And this was why.

La Quinta Brandon Remote

The tape holding the batteries in had come off. It’s the little things, I guess.

Not what we’ve come to expect from La Quinta hotels. And though as I said, the room itself was nice, overall it would have to be rated as the second worst hotel we’ve ever stayed in.

But I will have to say it’s a distant second, since the worse one, a Best Western in Pensacola, FL, had actual bullet holes in the wall, a pile of trash just swept into the corner, and the roll of toilet paper just sitting in the hole in the wall where the toilet paper roll holder should have been.

Good times!

The next morning, sans the ‘free hot breakfast’, we made a quick stop right across the street for Chicken Biscuits at Chick-fil-A before we got back on the Interstate heading for Vandalia, IL about 550 miles north.

We had planned our detour around Memphis to avoid the I-40 bridge closure and the resulting 3-5 hour backup across the I-55 bridge. But for a while it looked like even getting to Memphis, much less getting around it was kind of doubtful.

Though it was fairly sunny when we left Jackson, MS, about halfway to Memphis, the bottom dropped out. One of those ‘the road just disappears’ bottom-droppers. So I did my usual, which was to find the brightest-lit semi-trailer I could find and then keep them just in view, while hoping that they could see the road better than I could.

What really amazed me in all this was how many IDIOTS drive along in a rainstorm like this without any headlights. And with a light-colored vehicle, they just disappear in the storm. But after a harrowing hour or so we were finally in the clear. And though our planned detour route had a few more zigs and zags than we had figured, we arrived in Sikeston, MO for our lunch stop about 1:30.

We’ve eaten at the Lambert’s Throwed Rolls here a couple of times, so since we were passing through again, we couldn’t pass it up this time either. And it was just as delicious as always.

Jan got the Fried Chicken Dinner while I got a Veggie Plate. Then we divided it all up, and along with the pass-arounds, we were stuffed by the time we were back on the road. And with only a few more rain showers we got to Vandalia and Jan’s sister Debbie’s about 5:30pm.

Looking forward to the next days with all the family.

I mentioned that Jan brought home a new addition to her flamingo flamboyance that she got in Gulf Shores.

Tallulah's Treasures Flamingo

Good to see he’s among friends.

June 23, 2022

Well, That Went Well . . .


Jan and I left the rig about noon, on our way to our Alvin Opry group luncheon over at the Olive Garden in Pearland. But first I wanted to stop off in Webster and get a haircut. Since it had been over a month since my last one, before our Alabama trip actually, I was getting into what I call Summer Santa Claus mode, I.e. pretty bushy.

So Jan stayed out in the Jeep while I was inside getting sheared. But when I came out about 15 minutes later, she had turned the Jeep off and had the windows open.

Rut Roh!

Jan said that the Jeep had been making a rattling sound, and then she heard a loud bang and a very loud whirring noise. So she turned it off.

And when I then cranked it up I immediately heard what she was talking about. But just to see, I put it in Reverse and tried to back out. And found myself stuck out in the street, because when I put it in Drive, it still made the noise, and it would only creep forward at about a crawling pace.

Luckily I made it over to a nearby parking space and put in a call to Snider Transmission. And they had us connected with a towing service in just a few minutes, and we were told they’d have a flatbed tow truck there in an hour.

Thinking, ‘Yeah, Right!”, we adjourned to the nearby Time Out Bar & Grill right there in the strip center for lunch, since it didn’t appear that we were not going to make our Olive Garden get-together.

And for a spur-of-the-moment place, it turned out to be pretty good.

Jan had a Grilled Chicken Salad,

Time Out Bar & Grille Grilled Chicken Salad

while I had the Grilled Brat with Onions, Sauerkraut, and Waffle Fries.

Time Out Bar & Grille Grilled Brat

Both very good.

And almost one hour to the minute, our tow truck showed up, and about 10 minutes later, we were on our way back down to Santa Fe.

And then we just Ubered back to the rig. And that was our day.

How was yours?

Luckily we’ve got our backup Dodge Dakota for now.

I mentioned the other day about Amazon seeming to overbuild local warehouses/distributions, specifically the new one over on SR96. It looks finished, but it’s never opened.

Amazon Warehouse Hwy96

Amazon mothballs nearly complete $30 million building in League City

Amazon does say that they expect to open it eventually.

June 23, 2023

Blood, Sweat, and , well, Blood . . .

I was surprised that no one mentioned this photo I posted in yesterday’s blog showing the installation of my new Radiator Cooling Fan Relay, but then I didn’t notice it myself until this morning.

It was a very tight squeeze getting my arm down in there to plug in the relay, and the photo shows it. Those bright red drops right above the relay are the results of this. Wouldn’t be the first time I’ve bled on a job, and probably won’t be the last.

When you’re in a hole, stop digging.
Amazon does it again.

Last weekend I posted this story about Amazon turning off Brandon James’ house due to a ‘false/mistaken’ complaint from an Amazon delivery guy about his doorbell making a racist slur.

Well, now Louis Rossmann, a YouTube commenter, posted a video about this happening. So, doubling down, Amazon turned off his Amazon account too, his Affiliate account, which is one way he made money from his YouTube posts.

So since I’ve now made two blog posts about this, I guess I’m next.

So if there’s no blog tomorrow, you’ll know why.