They Keep Pushing It Back . . .

Looks like they’re still having problems with NASA/Boeing Starliner crew capsule that docked with the ISS, so they keep pushing back the return date

NASA astronauts Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams were launched aboard Starliner June 5 and arrived at the ISS following a 24-hour flight in which the spacecraft encountered four helium leaks and five failures of its 28 maneuvering thrusters.

The new delay of the return of Starliner is intended “to give our team a little bit more time to look at the data, do some analysis and make sure we’re really ready to come home,” Steve Stich, NASA’s commercial crew program manager, said during a news conference.

NASA is targeting a departure no earlier than June 26, leaving open an opportunity for further extensions of time at the ISS. Starliner, while designed for future six-month missions, can stay docked to the ISS for a maximum of 45 days during its current mission.

As I said before, if the thrusters aren’t working right, they might not be able to safely undock from the Space Station, and more importantly, might not be able to reenter the Earth’s atmosphere at the correct angle, thus risking burning up on reentry.

Stay Tuned.

They also keep pushing back the arrival of our oncoming PTC1. That Potential Tropical Cyclone 1 to our readers. Originally, the storm was supposed to arrive this past Friday evening. We did finally get .28” of rain this afternoon, and then faded away.

Looking at the radar track of the Rainy Days app seems to show that so far it’s bypassing us and moving further east. So whether or not we actually get the 6” to 12” of rain seems to be up in the air.

As usual, we’ll see.

Willie Mays, one of the people on my Famous People I’ve Met list died today at the age of 93. Along with Jesse Owens, I met him while I was working as a Broadcast Engineer at WENN, a black radio station in Birmingham, AL. Both of them seemed to be really nice guys.

Thought For The Day:

Cats Have 32 Muscles In Each Ear. And Each One Used To Help Them Ignore You.

Your Retro-Preview Highlights –

2009 – Magnolia Plantation in Charleston

2010 – On To Brandi’s Wedding

2013 – Jackson Hole And Moose Up Close

2014 – Visiting The Great Wall of China

2015 – Almost Gone From Prescott

2016 – Swapping Heads

2019 – New Ignitors And Plugs For The Truck

2020 – Erasing Our Past . . . Again

And Now On To Today’s Retro-Blogs.™

June 18, 2009

Plantations and Peacocks…

Today we did the Charleston tourist thing.

We started out at 10:30 am with a bus tour out to the Magnolia Plantation and Gardens.

Magnolia Plantation was established in 1676 by the Drayton family and is still owned by their descendants today.

The first house stood from 1676 till 1810 when it accidently burned down.  The second house lasted until 1865 when it was burned to the ground by retreating Yankee troops.

The present house started out as a small cottage built on the old foundation and gradually added on to until the present day.

Magnolia Plantation House

Magnolia Plantation House

The plantation originally consisted of about 2200 acres. After the Civil War, the family gradually sold off land to finance the rebuilding of the plantation.  Today there is about 500 acres remaining.

And amazingly family members still live on the grounds, although not in the main house, which is open to the public.

After a 1-hour walking tour through the gardens and grounds, we had a 45-minute tram ride around the plantation itself.

We finished up with a 30-minute guided tour through the house itself.

Here are a few pictures.

They have a small petting zoo on site,  including ‘white’ peacocks.

White Peacock

White Peacock 2


Live Oak

Resurrection Fern

Resurrection Fern

This metal frame is all that remains of the first greenhouse built in North America circa 1690.

First Greenhouse

First Greenhouse

The View from the back porch

Baby Gator catching some rays

Baby Gator catching some rays

Mama Gator

Plantation Reflecting Pond

Plantation Reflecting Pond

After we returned to Charleston about 2:45 pm, we hopped on another tour bus for a 90-minute tour of downtown Charleston.

It was interesting to find out that although the town itself dates from 1670,  the oldest houses only date from the early 1700’s.   This is because of several accidental fires sweeping the city in the late 1700’s and early 1800’s, the Yankees burning part of the city in 1865, and then more recently, a devastating 7.5 earthquake in 1886.

And Hurricane Hugo in 1989 didn’t help things either.

There are only about 12 houses left from the 1700’s.  Nothing earlier.

At the end of our tour, it was almost 4:30 pm so we decided to have dinner at a nearby restaurant both tour drivers had mentioned called Jestine’s Kitchen.

This was good ole Southern cooking at it’s finest.

We started off with an appetizer of Fried Green Tomatoes and then Jan segued into the Fried Chicken with 3 cheese macaroni & cheese and green beans.  I had the Pecan Crusted Chicken Breast with mashed potatoes and collard greens.

We then topped this off with Coconut Cream Pie for Jan and I dove into Blueberry/Peach Cobbler with ice cream.

Jan had so much chicken on her plate that she brought half of it home, and we each brought home half of our desserts.   Mmmmmm, leftovers!!!!!

After that, we waddled back to the truck and headed home.

Tomorrow a Charleston Harbour tour is on the docket.  We’ll see…

June 18, 2010


Since we’re kind of near Austin, here’s Austin by Blake Shelton.

We left the Abilene KOA about 7:45 am heading to Burnet, TX about 190 miles away. We took a slight detour about 5 miles down the road to stop for breakfast at the Cracker Barrel in nearby Albany, TX, the same one we ate at for dinner last night. Since the Cracker Barrel backs up to a WalMart parking lot we had no trouble parking the rig for a while. In fact, when we got there we parked right next to another RV also eating at Cracker Barrel.

We were back on the road at 8:45 heading east on I-20 for about 50 miles before turning south on  US 183.  As yesterday, the roads were good and we had no real problems.

The only noticeable thing was the wind, a lot of it.  We took some pretty heavy gusts as we got further and further into the beautiful Texas Hill Country.


We arrived at the Inks Lake RV park about 12:30 pm. The park is kind of primitive in a way with gravel roads and a few trees. But it has all the necessary things for a good RV park for us – 50 amps, good water pressure, level sites, and a clear view for the satellite dish.


And the other big plus, especially for Jan, was animals, lots of them. They have six different kinds of deer, and llamas.

InksDeer 1

InksDeer 2


InksDeer 3

They’re all very tame, and most of them started moving toward the fence where I was taking pictures. I’m sure we’ll be checking them out further in the next few days.

About 2 pm I drove up the road a couple of miles to get a good cell signal so that I could finalize the wedding dinner plans at Salt Lick BBQ in Driftwood, TX about 20 miles southwest of Austin.

Just like the other day in Ft. Sumner, NM,  I have pitiful cell phone service down in this valley where we’re parked, but my Verizon AirCard works just fine on the Internet.

About 4 pm we drove over to the lake house to meet our daughter Brandi and future son-in-law Lowell, our son Chris, daughter-in-law Linda, granddaughter Piper, and her friend Ian.

Chris had brought up his speedboat and a jetski, and quickly got them launched in Inks Lake so the kids hit the lake to get cool.

The rest of us sat around and just relaxed. It’s nice to know that we’ll be here for a week just gelling with our kids, and kids-to-be.

About 7:30 pm we all headed into Burnet to have dinner. The place we were originally headed was closed, so we ended up at Jardin Corona, a new Mexican restaurant that turned out to be very good.

Next Friday, we’ll head about 80 miles south to Canyon Lake for 10 days before heading out on the road again.

June 18, 2011

Kindle and the Pirates . . .

After coffee and bagels about 10, I started back on trying to get my new Kindle to connect to my Cradlepoint CTR-500 router.

I tried all the tricks I knew, including turning off DHCP and setting a static IP address, and updating the firmware on the router. I had already turned off all encryption so an incorrect password wouldn’t be a problem. And as before, my Blackberry and HP laptop still logged in to the router with no problems.

Finally, about 12:15 I drove down to the park office to try their WiFi. Trying out their WPA2 encrypted signal, I was still unable to connect.

Bummer! And it is starting to look like the problem may be with my Kindle. The ranger said they also had an open signal down at the lodge, so off I went.

And lo and behold, I got connected! I was able to register the Kindle and download some books with no problems. So hoping that once I had been able to log in and register the Kindle, it might work on my router.

Getting back to the rig, I wanted to see if I could now connect. And . .

Nope! Still no connection.

I’m starting to want to see how good a Frisbee the Kindle would make.

Finally, I decided to call Kindle Support to see if they could offer any help. But unfortunately, I got Peggy from the credit card company, or at least her sister Paula. Paula was no help whatsoever, and kept telling me to do things that had absolutely nothing to do with my problem.

She then asked me what version of the software was on my Kindle. I told her  “3.2.1”. She said I need to upgrade to the latest version, 3.1.

I asked her how 3.1 was newer than 3.2.1. She said it was and that she would send me a link to download the upgrade to my computer so I could upgrade directly.

And as I thought, the Kindle refused to upgrade to an older version.

By this time I wanted to try another WiFi hotspot, and since with the cloudy, overcast weather today, we had not done our Lava Butte visit, we decided to take in a movie and then try Starbuck’s WiFi afterward.

We made the 3:30 show of Pirates of the Caribbean, which we both really liked, and then it was on to Baldy’s BBQ for another great meal. And some more good leftovers.

Leaving Baldy’s we drove down the block where I tried the WiFi signal at the Safeway/Starbuck’s.

And for the second time, I was able to log in. And, although this was an unencrypted connection, it did require logging in through the built-in browser, and that worked too.

I guess I’ll give Cradlepoint a call on Monday and see if they have any ideas.

Coming home we dropped off a letter at the Post Office in Sunriver, and then filled up the truck with gas.

We got home a little after 8 pm and were in for the night. We’ll see how the weather is tomorrow for a possible Lava Butte visit.

June 18, 2012

A Method to Their Madness . . .

or I’m not mad at Verizon anymore.

This just in . . . I now have 3G data service here at the Gate!

As I’ve mentioned before, our Verizon cell phone/data service comes from a tower a little over 19 miles away located along the I-37 corridor near Campbellton. Of course, to get a signal this far I have to use a Wilson DB Pro 65 Antenna/Amplifier setup I brought on Amazon. The problem with this tower is that although I get 4-5 bars of cell service, I only got 1X data speeds.


At first, I thought it might be a problem with my amplifier setup, but when I later drove down the Interstate near the tower, I found that the signal was indeed 1X only. There is a 3G tower in Pleasanton that’s actually about a mile closer, but because of some hills in between, I can’t get a signal from it. I might if I went up another 10 feet on the directional antenna, but I’m already at 20 feet as it is, and really didn’t want to buy more antenna mast sections to have to haul around.

Besides being slow, the other thing that bugged me about the 1X speed is that it kept going away for hours at a time late at night before it would suddenly come back on. My cell phone signal was OK, but the data service kept going away. I do this blog around 2am, and several times I wasn’t able to post it until the next day because I had no data service.

In the back of my mind (Boy, it sure is dusty back here . . . and what’s that big black slimy thing in the corner . . . ah, never mind.), I was hoping that maybe they were upgrading the tower. But this off-and-on thing has been going on for the entire month we’ve been at this site, and I’d about given up hope. But right before I started this blog tonight, I checked the AccuWeather app on my cell phone and noticed something looked different.

Wait . . . there’s a big colorful 3G at the top of my phone screen, and not the pale dinky 1X that I usually see, and the cell signal is now a rock steady 5 bars. And even better the AccuWeather information just popped right in.

Checking with I got 1.25 Mbps download and 700 Kbps upload, much better than the 200 Kbps / 150 Kbps I was getting with 1X.

Way to go Verizon. Now get to work on 4G. No resting on your laurels.

Several people asked for Jan’s Crockpot King Ranch Chicken recipe so here it is straight from Jan.

Here’s how I do my crockpot King Ranch:

First I put a crock pot plastic liner in the pot (what a timesaver later), then I tear up 4 or 5 corn tortillas and place them in the bottom of the pot.

Add a can of black beans (I drain just a bit of the liquid that’s at the top),

1 chicken breast (one that has already been cooked and I cut it up into bite-size pieces)

Grated cheese

1 can of Rotel tomatoes (I use the hotter Habanero kind) mixed with a can of diced tomatoes.

I mix those together and add Cumin and Penzy spices plus Arizona Spice that has chipotle and other southwest spices in it.

Another layer of torn corn tortillas, another can of black beans, the rest of the tomato/Rotel spiced mix, and then another chicken breast.  Oh, and grated cheese (the cheddar Mexican cheese mix) then top it all with single corn tortillas.  I cooked this for 7 hours on high in the crock pot

There you have it, and boy, is it good. Give it a try.

As I mentioned in the last blog, yesterday (Sunday) was our day off. We found a lady to work our gate from 1pm to 11pm while we spent the afternoon/evening in San Antonio.

I think the best part was just being together, since although we eat our meals together, when one of us is on the gate, the other one is usually sleeping.

Anyway, we did some shopping and then just drove around for a while. Then about 4:30 we headed over to have dinner at the Magic Time Machine where we ate back in April before we got our first gate.

All the waiters and waitresses dress up like cartoon, movie, or book characters. Last time our waitress was Wonder Woman, this time it was the Mad Hatter(ess). Jan had a New York Strip and I had my usual Ribeye, both very good and big enough to have leftovers to take home.

After a nice, leisurely meal we drove around some more, before ending up at Starbucks for an after-dinner coffee. Then it was time to head over to the movie theater where we saw The Avengers, the latest in the Marvel comic book series.

We both really enjoyed the movie, and of course, we used RunPee to tell us when was a good time to take a bathroom break (especially needed since this movie was 2 hours and 22 minutes long) What was funny was that at the Run Pee time recommended as the best one, several people got up besides Jan. First time we’ve seen this happen. Guess it’s getting more popular. RunPee also tells you what’s going on while you’re gone, but even better, they tell you if there are any extra scenes after the credits. And in this case, there were two.

The first one, which pops up about two minutes into the credits, sets up the next Avengers movie, and the last one, at the very end of the credits, is a hilarious take on what superheroes do after a hard day of fighting evil.

Jan and I couldn’t believe how many people left without seeing these scenes. We did tell a few people around us and they stayed, but Jan wouldn’t let me shout it out to the entire theater when we saw everyone leaving. Spoilsport.

And now a shameless plug.

And one last tip before wrapping this post up. I’ve never had much trouble with allergies, but about three weeks ago, I started getting this tickle in the back of my throat that made me want to cough. No runny nose, no congestion, no cold or flu symptoms.

Just the tickle and the cough. And the cough got so bad sometimes it sounded like I had whooping cough. In fact I was coughing so hard it was hard to sleep and my chest muscles started to ache. So at Jan’s suggestion, I decided to try Zyrtec

And boy did it work. By the next day the cough, and the tickle, were just gone. Being cheap, after I finished the 14-day supply of the name brand Zyrtec, I switched to the Wal-Mart house brand, which for a 90 supply was cheaper than my original 14-day supply. And the Wal-Mart brand seems to work just as well.

Check it out.

June 18, 2013

Going Back To Jackson, Jackson, Jackson . . .

Jan and I left for Jackson, WY about 12 noon, heading over Teton Pass’ 8500 foot summit and 10% grades. But the scenery was great.

Teton Pass 1

Teton Pass 2

The 24 mile trip over the mountain saves you about 60 miles from the long way around, taking US26. But it can be a long, slow climb with a lot of hairpin turns and switchbacks. But cresting out at the summit makes up for it.

Teton Pass Summit 1

From up here you can look out over the entire valley.

Teton Pass Summit 2

Finally coming down off the mountain, we turned north on Moose-Wilson Rd. for the drive up to Moose Junction. And almost immediately Jan let out a squeal, “MOOOSSSEE”.

At first, all we could see were two females in a pond only about 20 feet off the road. It looked like one of them was trying to chase the other one off. They both took out running along the far edge of the pond bank and then disappeared into the trees.

Jackson Momma Moose

Jackson Momma Moose 2

Then from the other direction, this baby appeared and seemed to be trying to figure out what happened to momma moose. The baby kept going back and forth getting more and more anxious.

Jackson Baby Moose

But finally, momma showed back up and the baby ran back into the trees.

Jackson Momma Moose 3

Momma then crossed the pond and followed the baby out of sight.

After waiting a few more minutes with no more moose, we resumed our 15-mile drive up to the Visitor’s Center at Moose Junction. Jan wanted some more moosey things from the gift shop, and more importantly, we had seen moose in the river there when we were here two years ago.

Jackson Jan Moose Statue

Jan did get up close and personal with this big guy, but said he didn’t have a lot of personality, and as it turned out, he was the last moose we saw today.

The river by the Visitor’s Center bridge was too high and running too fast at this time for moose, so we moved on to our next surefire moose place about 25 miles up US89 heading toward Yellowstone.

Along the way, we passed the Teton Village Ski area,

Jackson Hole Skiing

and a lot of beautiful mountain scenery.

Grand Tetons 1

Grand Tetons 2

Grand Tetons 3

For a while some dark clouds moved into the area, threatening rain, but it never showed up.

Grand Tetons 4

And our ‘surefire’ moose place didn’t pan out either. They were doing road construction right in that area and our access road to the pond was closed off. So we headed back to Jackson for dinner.

We did however get to see the large herds of buffalo grazing alongside the road.

Jackson Buffalo Herd 1

Even got to see some calves.

Jackson Buffalo Herd 2

Getting back into town we found more road construction that made it hard to even get to our dinner destination, Bubba’s BBQ. But we finally made it about 4:15.

We ate at Bubba’s several times when we were here two years ago and really liked it. And this visit didn’t disappoint either.

Before heading home, Jan bought some postcards and I stopped off at a Maverik’s for a cappuccino before we headed back over the mountain, getting home a little after 6pm.

Getting back in the rig, we discovered the power had gone off and back on while we were out. The only problem it caused was screwing up our DirecTV HD DVR. Everything was working fine and it had signals from the dome, but it said it couldn’t find any channels.

I tried both a Reset Button reset and an unplug the power reset with no luck. So I finally called DirecTV for help. We tried a bunch of different things, before the tech suggested unplugging both the power AND the satellite cables and then reboot. And that fixed it.

Tomorrow we’re driving back over to Idaho Falls for some shopping.

June 18, 2014

Walking the Wall . . .

Today was pretty much a rest-up day after yesterday’s all-day road trip. We thought about sitting outside with our coffee this morning, and some delicious homemade bread, but the chairs were still wet from last night’s rain, so we gave it a pass.

I mentioned right before we left Houston that I was helping my beautiful great-niece’s Stahlie and Darby get their visas for a visit to China. And now they’ve been and come back, so we have pictures.

The Great Wall

Great Wall 1

This is Stahlie

Great Wall 9

And this is Darby.

Great Wall 3

Great Wall 2

Here’s Stahlie doing her ‘Praying Mantis’ karate move atop the Great Wall.

Great Wall 4

Great Wall 5

Great Wall 6

Great Wall 7

And this is Darby doing her scene from ‘Titanic’, or maybe James Cagney from ‘White Heat’

“Top of the World, Ma!”

Great Wall 10

The Forbidden City

Forbidden City 1

But I think this one is my favorite.

Great Wall 8

How many other people can say they’ve been photobombed by a Chinese Communist soldier?

Looks like Stahlie and Darby had a great time, and Jan and I are glad they made it back safely. Hopefully, we’ll see them in about six weeks.

Since we’re on family stuff, Brandi sent this photo of Landon making pizza at his daycare. (Landon says it’s not daycare. It’s SCHOOL!)

Landon Makes Pizza

Doesn’t seem like he’s too enthused about the whole process.

Looks like we really dodged a bullet storm-wise this afternoon. Weather alerts were coming on saying there was a line of thunderstorms coming through the area, with 60 mph winds and quarter-size hail. Said to expect roofs being blown off and hail damage to vehicles.

But although we got the heavy rain for a while, it looks like the really bad stuff stayed north of us. Good.

Don’t have anything scheduled for tomorrow.


June 18, 2015

Wrapping Up Here in Prescott . . .

We hope. We haven’t actually left yet, so there’s always a chance something else will go terribly wrong.

I was up at 9:30 expecting the tire guy at 10am. Of course, he didn’t show up until about 11:30. I could have slept a while longer.

He was trying to figure out where to put his jack to lift the front of the rig, but I told him I could lift it with the levelers with no problem. Strangely he’d never seen that done, even though he’d apparently worked on RV’s before. I’ve heard some people say you’re not supposed to do this, but Spartan, our coach’s chassis manufacturer, says no problem, and they do it all the time.

And then it took him almost two hours to change the tire, because he couldn’t the lug nuts off. They hadn’t been off since the tires were first mounted on the rig in January 2008. His 500 foot-pound impact wrench wouldn’t budge them, even after spraying them with penetrating oil. He also tried tapping them with a hammer, again with no luck.

I suggested that he try a breaker bar with a galvanized pipe extension, and was surprised he’d never heard of doing it that way, and didn’t have one on his truck

1 inch breaker bar

But when I went out a little later, I saw a big breaker bar and extension pipe on the ground, and all the lug nuts were off. Apparently he borrowed them from the shop here.

When you have a eight-foot bar and put 200 pounds on the end, that’s 1600 foot-pounds, and that’s going to either break the nuts loose, or twist off the lug bolts. Hopefully, it’s the former, and not the latter.

Later I took a look at my patio light problem. Regular blog readers will remember that a while back I converted my patio lights to remote control using modules like these.

12V Remote Control Module

12V Remote Control Module

So the next thing I did was to get the ladder from the truck and disassemble the patio light. At first, I was confused because I had 12 volts going to the light, but it didn’t work. Then I realized what the problem was.

The polarity of the 12 volts was wrong. Whoever had done the repair had swapped the positive and negative. But I really don’t blame them. As I discovered when I looked at the shredded wire harness after the blowout, the wires are not color-coded or marked. It’s a bundle of identical gray wires.

And if the patio light just used a regular light bulb it wouldn’t have made any difference. But my remote control module expects 12 volts on the positive line, and not on the negative line. So a quick flip of the wires fixed the problem.

Around 2pm I went around to the office to settle up on our $500 deductible, though actually I only had to fork over $109. This was because we had been credited with $391 for a new tire from the insurance company, but I had already paid the tire company for 6 new tires so that just balanced out.

I also confirmed that I’m not allowed to drive the coach out from here. Instead one of their guys will drive it about 50 feet, and then I get to take over. Seeing as how there are no coaches between here and there, I’m not sure what the point is, except “It’s the way we’ve always done things.”

About 3:30 Jan and I headed for our last dinner here, and Jan chose Golden Corral. By getting there at 3:52, we got the Early Bird Meal at $7.59 including a drink. Eight minutes later we would have paid $11.49 (senior discount)  plus a $2.19 drink, for a total of $13.68. So for eating dinner a few minutes earlier, we saved a total of $12.19.


And it’s not like they bring out the Filet Mignon and the Crab Legs at 4pm. As far as I can see, the only difference is the price.

When we ate here last week, I mentioned how they weren’t doing a very good job keeping the buffet stocked, with quite a few empty dishes. But this time someone was walking around directing which dishes needed refilling, and keeping on top of things. Much better than last time.

We plan on heading out about 9:30 tomorrow, with our first stop at the Sam’s Club on the way. Diesel there has dropped another 6 cents, and is now $2.37. Here’s hoping for another drop tomorrow.

Then it’s a couple of more miles down the road to Alvarez Tires to have them all balanced and replaced. That will take a couple of hours, so Jan and I plan on having lunch at Origin Bistro one last time.

Then it’s on to the Verde Valley Thousand Trails for a couple of weeks. After that, who knows?

June 18, 2016

Heads Up . . .

I mentioned yesterday about a story behind this photo that I took at Vernon’s Kounty Katfish last night.

The Motts at Vernon's 3

I actually took two photos. This one where Jan looks like she would rather be somewhere else entirely.

The Motts at Vernon's 1a

And this one where Judy looks like she’s just fed up with the whole thing.

The Motts at Vernon's 2a

So I carefully selected Judy’s head from the ‘smiling photo’ and moved it over to the other photo. You can see it in progress here.

Judy Switching Heads

Luckily I didn’t have to do any resizing or other manipulations to make it work.

So again, here’s the final product.

The Motts at Vernon's 3

Everybody’s smiling, even Dick.

About 3pm I drove into Conroe to pick up Jan’s prescriptions at Wal-Mart. According to the text message, they all should have been ready. But only two were.

And one of the two, Anastrozole, that Jan takes for her breast cancer had a 9X jump in price. When we last got it, at this same Wal-Mart pharmacy this past March, was $22.74. But this time it was $185.05.


When I asked why the increase, the young lady said that my discount card was no longer covering it. I said that my present discount card is GoodRx, so did GoodRx drop Anastrozole, or did Wal-Mart drop GoodRx? She looked kind of sheepish, and then said Wal-Mart dropped GoodRx.

Thinking a second, I told her we should still have other discount cards on file and she said yes. So I ask her to try the other cards. And after a couple of minutes running through the cards, she said she found one that would get it for $53.51 for a three-month supply.

Not $22.74, but a lot better than $185!

I mentioned before about these pharmacy discount cards that you find in doctor’s offices everywhere.

Pharmacy Card

I’ve been amazed at how much money these free cards have saved me over the years.

Check it out.

A  little before 6 we drove over to the Activity Center to meet up with Judy and Dick Mott, and their grandson Logan. I was a little worried about finding a parking space nearby, but we lucked up and didn’t have a problem.

When we got inside at about 10 till, we found card games still going on, but people were already dropping off their dishes. We went ahead and staked out seats at a table, saving three for the Mott’s, et al.

The line started forming pretty quickly, so we queued up too.

Father's Day BBQ 1

Besides the BBQ, there were a lot of delicious dishes, veggies, salads, bread, and dessert. Jan prepared a double batch of her Heavenly Hash, always a crowd-pleaser.

In fact she’s learned to dish us out some ahead of time, before we leave the rig. Otherwise, we often don’t get any if we’re not toward the front of the line. And as before, when Jan went to retrieve her bowl, it was completely empty.

Father's Day BBQ 2

Unfortunately, I didn’t have another Logan head with open eyes to swap out.

After we got our hugs, and said our goodbyes,  we called it a night.

Getting back to the rig a little before 8pm, I put away the hoses, both sewer and water, now that we have a working water pump. I also stowed the ladder and the outside chairs away in the truck, as well as everything else I could.

Tomorrow morning we’ll do our usual Cracker Barrel breakfast before we head for Columbus about 10am. I’ll also crank up the engine and raise the levelers before then so I can stow the pads away. So the more I have done before breakfast, the better.

June 18, 2017

On To The Valley . . .

A really heavy thunderstorm roared through Bartlesville about 6am this morning. But by the time I went out about 9 it had all passed. But it did cool things off.

We were able to hitch up at our site so we pulled out about 10am and got on US75 south heading for Pauls Valley and the Pauls Valley City Lake RV Park a little over 200 miles away.

Just south of Tulsa we stumbled onto the I-44 Turnpike. I say ‘stumbled’ because in Oklahoma they seem to make a habit of springing toll roads on you without a lot of notice.

You’re just driving along and overhead you see a small yellow sign that says “Turnpike”, and now you’re caught. But $11.00 for 87 miles wasn’t bad at all.

Although we started out running the generator and the A/C’s we realized that it was not that hot and the AC’s weren’t really running much, so we shut it off. The previous two days had been in the high (very high) 90’s, today was in the 70’s for most of the trip.

Very nice.

We pulled into the RV park and got set up about 3pm. Last time we were here it was $13/day for a 50amp FHU, but this time we only have 50am W/E. However since the guy hasn’t come around to collect yet, I don’t know how much it will be this time.

Pauls Valley City Lake Park 1

Jan’s happy again that we have satellite for the first time in 4 days. Yeh!

We headed out about 4:30 to meet Sonja and Lendel, our son-in-law Lowell’s parents for dinner at the Happy Day’s Diner.

Really good food, and one of the best Chicken Fried Steaks I’ve had.

Happy Days Diner - CFS

And the Fried Okra was great too.

Tomorrow Jan’s hemming some pants over at Sonja’s while I work on her computer, then dinner out.

June 18, 2018

Like Sands Thru The Hourglass . . .

I left for my clients this morning about 30 minutes early so I could stop off at the local WalMart to drop off my bad tire to have them mount a new one on it.  Then I could come back later and have them swap it out on the truck.

But it was all for naught. This WalMart normally seems pretty good, with a lot of checkouts open and well-stocked shelves. But their automotive department is just pitiful.

They had a room full of customers and only one of the three terminals was manned. When I got there they were just finishing up with one customer, with the next one right in front of me. But there everything pretty much stopped.

The customer and the service guy would talk for a few minutes and the service guy would disappear for 10 minutes or so, then come back and it would start all over again. And by this time the waiting area was starting to fill up with people. Worse they were letting anybody come in and check out, even with no automotive items, just groceries.

So finally after about 35 minutes, I left, as well as a number of other customers who were tired of waiting.

Work today consisted mostly of me trying to anticipate and then prepare for what could go wrong while I’m gone, as well as being sure that they had plenty of labels printed up and copies of the instructional DVD’s made. We’ll see if I have everything covered.

Coming home I  stopped off at the nearby NTB Tire place, dropped off my tire, and was out the door in less than 10 minutes. And I have an appointment tomorrow morning to have it installed. Should have done this to start with.

Getting home I loaded up the truck with just about the last of the stuff for the storage room and we headed out. But our first stop was up in Webster to have dinner at East Star Chinese Buffet once again.

East Star Plate 3

They really go all out, with shrimp, oysters, crawfish, crab legs, steak, and all the standard stuff, too. And they’re constantly bringing out small batches to refill the serving trays, so everything’s always hot and fresh.

One of the best Chinese Buffets we’ve eaten at.

Then it was off to, first Sam’s Club for a prescription, then WalMart for a few things for our trip, and then the storage room on the way home to drop off our cargo.

Time is short and we still have a lot to do before we leave.

June 18, 2019

Well, At Least It’s A Different Code . . .

I went out this morning to install the new ignition coil and spark plug in cylinder #7 on our Dodge Dakota. I had double-checked the procedure on YouTube for any surprises, but it looked fairly straight forward and it was.

Ignition Coil Change 1

I first tried to unplug the connector but the wiring was too short.

Ignition Coil Change 2

So I just removed the 10mm nut and was able to pull the coil out far enough to unclip the connector,

Ignition Coil Change 3

and pull out the coil.

Ignition Coil Change 3a

At this point I was planning to remove and replace the spark plug, but dark clouds were starting to move in, and we had planned to head out for lunch, so I just decided to just install the new coil.

Ignition Coil Change 4

I had thought the odds were that it was the coil anyway, so I would save the spark plug for another day.

But sometimes the odds go against you.

When I started up the engine it was still missing and stumbling.  #%*^&%$/

But when I used my Torque phone app to check the codes, my P0307 code was gone. But now I had a P2320 code.

Which decodes to Ignition Coil G Secondary Circuit. And when I looked this up on Google, these were the possibilities:

Bad spark plug wire or boot
Malfunctioning relay or blown fuse (fusible link)
Open or shorted wiring or wiring connectors (wildlife damage)
Defective ignition coil
Faulty camshaft or crankshaft sensor or wiring

The only one that really seems to apply is a Defective Ignition coil. Which means that my new coil might be bad. It wouldn’t be the first time I’ve installed a new part and found it bad.

So if I have time tomorrow I’m going to pull the new coil, replace the spark plug, and then reinstall the new coil. And then see what happens, see if the code changes.

If I still have the same P2320 error, then I’ll reinstall the old coil and see if I go back to the old P0307 error. If I do, that will probably indicate that the new coil is bad.

So we’ll see.

For those of you who were fans of Microsoft’s late, lamented Flight Simulator, it’s coming back!

And it looks amazing. Check out this promo.

OK, people. Heads up out there.

Our grandson Landon still needs some more subscribers to his YouTube channel, Mr. Pug.

So drop by and click the Subscribe button.

Remember, it’s for the children.

Or, at least the child.

Your clicks are much appreciated.

June 18, 2020

R.I.P. Nancy Green . . .

Back in 2016 I wrote a blog called What If We Erase Our Past, a post that’s turned out to be very prophetic with everything that’s going on today.

Winston Churchill said, “I am quite sure, that if we open a quarrel between the past and the present, we shall find that we have lost the future.”

In the last few days, I’m sure you’ve heard about a number of companies dropping or modifying their long-time corporate symbols. One’s like Uncle Ben, Mrs. Butterworth, and several others.

And of course now, Aunt Jemima.

But there was a real person behind Aunt Jemima, a person whose history should not be lost.

Nancy Green was a freed slave.  She was born into slavery in Montgomery County, Kentucky, on November 17, 1834. Part of her experience included cooking for the family of a judge and serving as a nurse for his two sons.

Eventually, she moved to Chicago where through the years she perfected her cooking talents.

She took her talent and created a cooking brand.  R.T. Davis Milling Company bought her likeness almost a hundred years ago and created ‘Aunt Jemima’. It is currently owned by Quaker Oats.  She passed away in 1923 as one of America’s first black millionaires.

Her career allowed Green the financial freedom to become an activist and engage in anti-poverty programs. She was one of the first African-American missionary workers. She used her stature as a spokesperson to become a leading advocate against poverty and in favor of equal rights for individuals in Chicago. She’s a hero and so is her brand.

You can read more about her story here, but why would anyone want to deny this?

So with all this, here’s a rerun of my article from back then.

November 19, 2016

What If We Erase Our Past?

Erasing History2

George Santayana famously said,“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Or maybe you like Mark Twain’s version better when he said, “History doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme.”

But you can’t remember the past if it’s disappearing right before your eyes.

Stalin’s Communist regime was probably the first modern government to make a consistent effort to erase the photographic past, as seen in this famous comparison.

joseph stalin with nikolai yezhov photoshopped out_edited-1

Makes you really appreciate how much harder this was in the pre-Photoshop days.

In Stalin’s case, whole Cabinets, as well as top generals, would just disappear from history. I guess this is what they mean by “Out of sight. Out of mind.” Poof! You’re gone.

And it wasn’t just the Russian Communists, but the Chinese Communists too.

Bo Gu

Bo Gu, a protégé and senior adviser to Mao Tse-tung, apparently got on Mao’s bad side, and Bo and a bunch of other senior leaders died in a plane ‘crash’ in 1946. Almost immediately, Bo and the others, AND the plane crash pretty much disappeared from history.

Even Hitler got in on the act when he was mad at Joseph Goebbels about something. Goebbels also disappeared from official photographs for a while until he got the message.

hitler with joseph goebbels photoshopped out

At least Goebbels only disappeared from photographs, and not permanently as most did.

Even the ancient Egyptians were not above erasing a Pharaoh from history. Akhenaten, son of Amenhotep III, husband of Nefertiti, and father to King Tutankhamun, or King Tut, as Steve Martin calls him, tried to move the populous away from the many different gods they worshiped to a belief in only one supreme god, Aten, the sun god.

Akhenaten even built a great new city dedicated to Aten called Amarna. But it only lasted about 10 years until Akhenaten’s death. Then the people and the priests revolted, reinstalled their pantheon of gods, and did their best to rid history of any mention of Akhenaten and Aten. They tore down the temples to Aten, destroyed Amarna, and even removed Akhenaten from all official king lists, even going so far as to chisel his name from all monuments and stonework.

And we see the same thing happening in the same area today with ISIS, the Taliban, etc., destroying ancient Mesopotamian relics because they’re not mentioned in the Koran, so they can’t be allowed to exist.

Taliban Buddha Statues

And now we see this happening in America today.

There seems to be a concerted effort to erase the Confederacy, the South, and even the Civil War from present-day knowledge, to the point of pulling down mountains. Or at least mountainsides.


There has been a call to remove this sculpture from the side of Stone Mountain outside Atlanta.

Depicting Confederate President Jefferson Davis, General Robert E. Lee, and General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, at three acres it’s the largest high-relief sculpture in the world, even larger than Mount Rushmore. And some people want it dynamited or sandblasted to get rid of it.

And all over the South flags are coming down, and streets, parks, buildings, and even high school football teams are being renamed.

And on a somewhat more personal note, Vanderbilt University is spending $1.2 million to remove the word “Confederate” from “Confederate Memorial Hall” that is on one of its buildings on the Peabody campus. I say ‘personal’, because I actually lived there for about six months.

Confederate Hall

In 1957 my mother went back to college to get her Master’s in teaching at the then Peabody College for Teachers in Nashville, TN, one of the best schools in the south. At the time we lived down in Gulf Shores, AL, where my father was in the commercial shrimping business with seven of the big ocean-going shrimp boats. So my mother and I moved to Nashville for her school. We were supposed to be in family housing, but there was a delay due to a delay with new construction. So my mother, with the help of some college friends, snuck me into Confederate Hall.

I say ‘snuck’ because I wasn’t supposed to be there. You see, Confederate Hall was the women’s dorm – single female coed women. I kind of became a mascot, and the girls would help sneak me in and out to avoid being seen by the resident dorm ‘mothers’. And yes, I do remember seeing coeds in the hall in various states of undress.

Unfortunately, I was NINE!  But I digress.

Confederate Memorial Hall was built in 1933 by the United Daughters of the Confederacy and donated to Peabody with the stipulation that it would always bear the name “Confederate Memorial Hall”. In fact early on it was reserved for the female descendants of Confederate veterans who were able to live there free.

Well, some years later Vanderbilt University took over Peabody, and since 2002 they have been trying to change the name of Confederate Hall but that pesky ‘stipulation’ kept getting in the way. But finally this past August 2015, Vanderbilt paid the United Daughters of the Confederacy $1.2 million (the equivalent of the $50,000 the UDC paid for its construction in 1933) and gained the right to remove the word ‘Confederate’ from the building and just call it ‘Memorial Hall’. Ironically they had already been calling it that in all their literature for years. So they paid $1.2 million to chisel some stone off a building that didn’t really change anything.

Is it just me, or would it not have made more sense to use the $1.2 million for minority scholarships? Did they ask anybody, “Do you not want to see the word “Confederate” or would you like a free scholarship?” Seems a pretty easy choice to me.

Finally, I’m now waiting for someone to call for the renaming of Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. You see, the name Arlington comes from the ‘Arlington House’ estate which passed down from George Washington’s family to the wife of Robert E. Lee. Yeah, that one.

So at the beginning of the Civil War, the estate of Arlington House, and the present location of Arlington National Cemetery, was owned by Robert E. Lee.

Rename it quick before it offends.

So, are we becoming too Politically Correct?  If we erase all the bad things from our past, how will we know what to avoid next time.

Time will tell, I guess.

June 18, 2021

Hard To Believe . . .

that Claudia and I haven’t seen each other for over 50 years.

But it’s like we just picked right up where we left off.


And I was happy to see that she and Jan hit it off right away.


It was amazing how many memories came pouring back as we talked, names, places, happenings, etc.

And it was so much fun that Jan invited her to spend the day with us tomorrow as we drive down to Gulf Shores to check things out.

But first, Buc-ee’s on the way.

Really can’t wait.

June 18, 2022

A Trifecta . . .

Today was another lunch/shopping day, with lunch being at Yummy Yummy, our favorite local Chinese Buffet. Just as delicious as always.

Then it was on up to Webster for a WalMart/Sam’s/Costco trifecta. Actually a nice, easy day.

My next project kit came in from Amazon a couple of days ago, and hopefully, I’ll have time to get to it sometime next week. It’s a new battery and the installation tools to replace the battery in my Galaxy Tab 4 10.1” tablet.

I’ve had it since 2014 and it’s been a real workhorse. But now the battery needs replacing, not because it’s not holding a charge, but because it’s starting to swell. Enough so that the case is starting to come apart.

Galaxy Tab 4 Battery Kit

This is actually a good thing because it means I won’t have to spend time getting the case apart myself. Overall though, it looks to be a pretty easy changeout.

June 18, 2023

A Racist Doorbell?

When Your Smart Home Turns On You.

My Father’s Day Lunch was at King’s Bierhaus over in League City, our first time back since 2019. And it was just as good as before. Don’t know why we haven’t been back since then.

I started out with their Sunday Brunch Wedge Salad, though it’s actually more of a Stalk Salad, since it was made with Romaine, not Iceberg. But it was good.

Then for our entrees, Jan had her long-time favorite Jaeger Schnitzel

with Spaetzle Noodles and a Cucumber Salad. The noodles are buried under the Jaeger topping.

Jan said it was delicious, and big enough that she had half left to bring home.

I went with the Sausage Sampler, with Bratwurst, Kielbasa, and Kasewurst. And after the salad, I brought half my sausages home too.

It comes with a Spicy Mustard, but I bring my own Mustard too.

We first had this mustard in Regensburg, Germany at the Old Sausage Kitchen.

And by ‘Old’ they mean it’s been continuously operating since 1146 A.D.


We bought a couple of bottles to bring home with us, but they accidentally ended up in our carry-on bags, rather than our checked ones, so some TSA guy got to enjoy it. But when we got home I found that I could order it online.

It’s both sweet and very spicy. Very good.

And it was perfect with my Sausage Sampler.

Finishing up we made our weekly HEB run before ending up back at the rig about 4pm.

A nice Father’s Day.

On May 24th Brandon James’ house turned on him. Or at least, turned off. At first, he thought he had been hacked. But then he found that Amazon had turned his home off. Nothing worked, not his door locks, his lights, or his TV’s and Stereo’s.


It took him a week to find out that Amazon had turned everything off because his doorbell camera had made a racist slur. Or so the Amazon delivery man, who had dropped off a package, and while walking away, and wearing headphones, had thought. So he filed a complaint with Amazon and Amazon turned Brandon’s house off.

Turns out that what his doorbell said was, “Excuse me. Can I help you?”

And it took him another week to get everything turned back on.

And just for the record, both the Amazon driver and Brandon are both black.

Well, despite their promise, Amazon failed me as well today. The relay for my radiator cooling fan didn’t show up and is now scheduled to be delivered tomorrow.

And the order I did receive was delivered to the wrong address, #9 rather than our #7.