Battening Down The Hatches?

Lunch today was at Snooze up in Webster, and we made good use of their app and the waitlist. When we left the park about 12:30 they were showing a 40-45 minute wait, so I joined the waitlist. When we got there, people were lined up outside, and the app was still showing a 35-40 minute wait. But we got seated in just a couple of minutes, hardly had time to sit in the chairs out front.

Jan got her Bravocado Toast,

and I got the Shrimp & Grits, probably the best I’ve had anywhere.

We also split an order of their Bacon But Different.

Then it was on over the nearby Kroger’s for some things that Jan wanted, before we ended up at the HEB down in our area.

I was kind of surprised that the store wasn’t any busier than normal, what with Beryl heading in our general vicinity. Their gas station, however, was the busiest I’ve ever seen it.

We’re still not sure where Beryl’s is going. Right now it’s looking like it will come ashore north of Corpus Christi and south of Matagorda Bay. Maybe.

And it will be either a Tropical Storm or just barely a Hurricane. Maybe.

And we’re going to get 10” to 12” of rain or 2” or 3”. Maybe.

So you might or might not get a blog tomorrow night. Maybe.

News You Can Use . . .

In its latest warning about H5N1 Avian Flu, the CDC has listed the symptoms. And the number one symptom is . . . wait for it . . . NO SYMPTOMS!

Well, that was helpful.


Thought For The Day:

Why is it acceptable for some people to be idiots, but not acceptable for me to point it out to them?


Your Retro-Preview Highlights –

2009 – Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Smithsonian Air and Space Museum

2010 – Llamas And Alpacas

2011 – Pike Place Market

2015 – Petrified Stumps And On To Albuquerque

2018 – No, I Didn’t Get Yelled At. This Time.

And Now On To Today’s Retro-Blogs.™


July 7, 2009

Enola Gay and Enterprise…

This morning we visited the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy part of the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum.

Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center

Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center

It’s out by Washington–Dulles Airport and only about 10 miles from our RV park, so it was a quick drive, or at least as quick as you can get anywhere around DC.  But since the museum did not open until 10 am we stopped off for breakfast at IHOP on the way.

This place is just amazing.  Everywhere you look there are airplanes.

Hazy 1

Hazy 2

The planes are on 3 different levels, floor level, and hanging from two different levels above.  There are two levels of catwalks that get you at eye level to the upper ones.

When you first walk in and look down, the first thing you see is an SR-71 Blackbird.

SR-71 Blackbird

SR-71 Blackbird

I always enjoy seeing planes that I worked on when I was with a Department of Defense contractor, and this is one of them.  I got to play with one of these at Otis AFB on Cape Cod, MA after it had a problem coming back from a flight over Russia.

UH-1 Huey

UH-1 Huey

Seeing a UH-1 Huey gives me mixed feelings since I was on one when it went down, but I survived, so I guess it’s OK.

A-6 Intruder

A-6 Intruder

I worked on the A-6 Intruders at England AFB in Alexandria, LA.

F-4S Phantom

F-4S Phantom

I worked on F-4B and D models at the Marine Corps Air Station in Beaufort, SC, where the Parris Island Marine Corps Training Depot is also located.

Space Shuttle Enterprise

Space Shuttle Enterprise

The Enterprise never flew in space.  It was first used in the Approach and Landing Tests in 1977, where the Enterprise was carried up on the back of a 747 and then released.  This was done to test the landing procedures for the Shuttle as it came back from space.

I helped install some video equipment onboard the Enterprise in early 1979 when I worked for NASA at Johnson Space Center.  But the further tests were cancelled and the Enterprise never flew again.

Later in ’79 it was mated with an external tank and SRB’s to test the Shuttle Launch Pad at Kennedy Space Center.

Originally the Enterprise was going to be reconfigured to actually fly in space, and would have been the second shuttle to fly after Columbia.  However, changes in the Shuttle design after the Enterprise was built made it uneconomical.

Then, after the Challenger explosion in 1986, it was once again considered for retrofit to flight status.  But once again it was decided it would be cheaper to construct the Atlantis from spare parts.

So that’s how the Enterprise ended up in the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum.

Enola Gay

Enola Gay

They also have the ‘Enola Gay’,  the B-29 that dropped the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan.

Enola Gay Cockpit

Enola Gay Cockpit

This is the Hiller Flying Platform.

Hiller Flying Platform

Hiller Flying Platform

Vz1

Hiller Vz1 Flying Platform

I never worked on one of these; they were tested in the mid ’50’s, but I always wanted one.  I had a flying model of one, but it didn’t fly very well.

Of course, neither did the real one, which is why it was canceled and never produced.

They also had a Concord supersonic airliner there.

Concorde SST 1

Concorde SST 1

Concorde SST 2

Concorde SST 2

It’s so big I couldn’t get it all in one shot.  I’m still wondering how they got it in the building.

The Sounds of Earth

The Sounds of Earth

And this is a copy of the “Sounds of Earth” recording that was sent into space on the two Voyager spacecraft in 1977 that eventually traveled beyond the solar system and out into deep space.

It contained pictures, greetings in 55 different languages, and music.

I had no problem with this.

I did have a problem with the fact that, along with the recording, they also told them where we are located in the galaxy.

This was very dumb!

Remember “To Serve Man” is a cookbook.  (If you don’t get this reference, let me know).

We had a great time at the Hazy Center and saw some very unusual planes.  Sometime this week we look forward to visiting the other part of the Air & Space Museum that’s located in downtown Washington, DC at the Smithsonian.

Tomorrow we plan to ride the Metro train into DC, take one or more bus tours, and visit some of the monuments.

Hopefully, we won’t experience a repeat of the crash a couple of weeks ago that killed 9 people.

Especially since we will be riding the same Red Line route.

More tomorrow…maybe


July 7, 2010

On to Waco…NOT!

Well, we tried to leave, but Gina just wouldn’t let us.

About 30 minutes before we were going to pull out, she called about 10 am saying that her ceiling fan/deck lighting system had started popping the GFI.

It had worked fine last night and again this morning, but It had started having problems a little later.

I told her we would be over in a few minutes. Stopping by the office on the way out, I re-upped us for another day, since I doubted I would be finished before checkout time.

Getting over to Gina’s I quickly found the problem. The extension cord connector that I had carefully tucked out of the way under the edge of the deck, was soaking wet.

This had me really scratching my head. The deck was covered so rain couldn’t get to it from the top, and it was shielded from the sides. What the heck?

Well, it turns out that it wasn’t shielded from Gina emptying the large raccoon water bowls out on the deck and refilling them with fresh water. She was dumping about a gallon on the deck right above the connector underneath. Huh!

Well, I would fix that!  I used compressed air to get all the moisture out of the connector and retested the GFI.

Voila! It now worked. I then got a large Ziplock bag, put the connector down in it, wrapped it up, and duck-taped it up tight, I then used a nearby hose to directly spray the bagged connector.

And it still worked fine. Problem solved.

By now it was time for lunch, so we headed over to Wimberley and the Wimberley Café.

The quickest way to get to Wimberley is to take the back way across the Little Blanco River.  But you have to be sure you CAN get across the river. It’s a water crossing, and right now the water is 2-3 inches deep on the road. It can be 2-3 FEET or higher.

When we came through here 3 weeks ago, it was dry, but with all the recent rains, it’s certainly not now. And you have to be careful not to accelerate too fast going over. The bridge has a lot of moss on it, and if your tires start to slip, you will just slide sideways off into the river. Our first time across several years ago, we encountered an SUV half off the road into the water.

Little Blanco 1

A little way down the road past the crossing, we came across these young llamas. At least I’m pretty sure they’re llamas, and not alpacas.

A little googling told me that the main difference between them is size and ears. Llamas are bred as pack animals, and are larger, normally 200-250 pounds. Alpacas are bred for their wool, and are usually smaller, 175 to 200 pounds.

The big difference is the ears. Llamas have longer, sometimes banana-shaped ears. Alpacas have short stubby ears, almost like small horns.

llamas 1

llamas 2

llamas 3

Based on that, and this photo of an Alpaca I found on the Internet, I think the ones here are young llamas.

But I wouldn’t swear to it.

zodiac-alpaca-dante

The Wimberley Café was very good, with excellent soup and sandwiches.

After lunch, we headed back to Gina’s. Jan curled in the recliner with Gina’s two dogs,

Dogs 1

Becky Sue, and

Dogs 2

Bucky.

Dogs 3

Bucky doesn’t seem to like me very much. Maybe it’s because we have regular growling contests.

After helping Gina set up Google’s Picasa photo management program, we headed back to the rig.

I’d been wanting to get a good shot of Canyon Lake, so I found a hill in a nearby subdivision for a good shot.

CL 0

This is really a beautiful area, and we always enjoy staying here.

CL 1

Getting back to the rig we found the deer waiting for us. Unfortunately, Jan had used up all her corn thinking we were leaving today. This young budding 7-point buck seems particularly put out. He stood about 10 feet away, just staring at me.

Buck 1

We’ll try to get to Waco again tomorrow.

We’ll see.


July 7, 2011

Ferries and Eagles . . .

Today’s blog is a two’fer: Yesterday’s visit to Seattle, and today’s visit to the Seabeck mudflats to see the eagles.

We caught the 11:10 ferry for the 60-minute cruise across Puget Sound from Bremerton to Seattle.

Seattle Ferry

During our trip we had a lot of fun watching the gulls swoop and dive in front of the ferry, riding the air currents.

Seagull Feeding 1

One guy had a bag of Cheese Doodles and was hand-feeding the many gulls. They would line up hovering in the air, waiting their turn to come and eat.

Seagull Feeding

As we got closer to Seattle, and with pretty much everything we know about Seattle coming from “Frasier”, we were surprised at how hilly it was.

Seattle Hillside

Seattle Skyline

And we also got our first glimpse of the Space Needle, a leftover from the 1962 World’s Fair.

Space Needle 1

Our first stop after leaving the ferry was at Ivar’s, a famous local clam chowder restaurant that’s been around since 1938. Jan and I each had a cup of white clam chowder to hold us over until supper.

Ivar's

After traipsing up some very steep hills,

Seattle Downtown Hills

our first stop was at Pike Place Market, a combination flea market/farmer’s market.

Pike Place Market

Pike Place Market runs for 6 floors of small shops and stores,

Pike Place Market 1

both inside and out.

Pike Place Market 2

Jan was immediately captivated by the many flower shops, surrounded by large bouquets of very beautiful and very inexpensive flowers.

Pike Place Market Flowers 1

Pike Place Market Flowers 2

Pike Place Market Flowers 25

Jan ended up with this bouquet of Sweet Peas, with a Peony for spice.

Pike Place Market Flowers 3

Leaving the market, we walked a few blocks, all uphill, of course, to the downtown monorail station that would take us to the Space Needle for a close-up view. We thought about a ride to the top, but the $18 each ticket didn’t seem worth it.

Space Needle 2

Coming home on the 5:30 ferry, we had a great view of Mt. Rainer, about 50 miles off to the southeast. At 14,411 feet, it’s considered one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world.

Mt Rainer 2

170px-Volcano_evacuation_route_sign

Mt. Rainier is considered so dangerous that they evacuation signs around. A major eruption on the scale of Mt. Saint Helens, would cause very heavy damage and destruction to downtown Seattle.

Getting back to Bremerton, we headed up to the Silverdale area to have dinner at Red Robin. The food was good, but they had the AC on deep freeze, so we were all cold.

And on top of that, we were all very sore, from trudging up and up all the hills in downtown Seattle. Yes, I meant up and up, not up and down. No matter which direction we walked, it was always up, never down.

I still don’t know how they managed that.

That about wrapped up our Wednesday in Seattle.

Now for today.

Our morning was pretty much spent resting up from yesterday. But about 2 we all headed out to the nearby Seabeck mudflats. We’d been told that it’s a good place to see Bald Eagles at low tide, which was about 4 pm today.

When we arrived, at first we only saw a flock of geese plodding across the flats.

Seabeck Geese

But then we started seeing eagles off around the edges of the mudflats. Here’s a young Bald Eagle who was bathing in one of the small streams still running through the area.

Seabeck Eagles 1

Then we started seeing the eagles zipping around over us, in many cases so fast it was hard to focus on them.

Seabeck Eagles 2

We also got this shot of a Bald Eagle being chased and harassed by this smaller bird.

Seabeck Eagles 3

Looking back our first juvenile had been joined by a second one.

Seabeck Eagles 4

And then a third, this one a mature one. You can even see the water he’s splashing up while bathing in the stream.

Seabeck Eagles 5

Then he spent about 10 minutes strutting around, flapping his wings to dry his feathers.

Seabeck Eagles 6

Seabeck Eagles 7

We had a great time out there, but didn’t get as many photos as we would have liked, since their speed and closeness made it hard to get them in focus.

Leaving the eagles behind, we drove over to Mattioli’s Pizza, a local place we found highly recommended on the Internet, and it was really good. Really great pizza!

Coming home we made a stop at a nearby Barnes & Noble, a Best Buy, and then it was back to the RV park for the night.


July 7, 2013

The Last Supper . . .

I spent this morning finishing up a few chores around the rig before we headed out.

First up, I installed the replacement TireTraker sensor that Daryl and Cheri Lawrence had given me. Because it was a new one, I had to delete the old one from the monitor first, but it only took a few minutes and I was back in business.

Next, I finished repairing the fold-down arm on my driver’s chair. The wooden frame inside had broken so I had to remove the arm from the chair, peel off the cover and the foam inside, and then repair and re-glue the wooden frame. Then I used spray adhesive to reattach the foam to the frame, and then replaced the cover. Then after everything had dried, I reinstalled the arm on the chair.

After taking care of a few more things to get ready to travel tomorrow, Jan and I drove into town to grab lunch at McDonalds, and then to pick up a few things at Wal-Mart.

About 5pm Jan and I headed back into town to have our last meal here. We decided to check out the local Applebee’s.

We’ve always enjoyed them, and this time was no exception.

Getting back to the rig, I went ahead and pulled the truck behind the rig and got it hitched up and to roll tomorrow morning. And at the same time, I got pretty much everything else loaded up too.

It’s going to be interesting to see how easy it will be to get out of here tomorrow. It rained pretty heavily last night, and it’s rained again tonight. In fact it’s raining right now.

Tomorrow we heading about 250 miles east to the East Belvidere SD KOA for the night before traveling on to Sioux Falls on Tuesday, where we’ll get our SD driver’s licenses renewed.

That’s assuming we’re not stuck in the mud tomorrow morning.


July 7, 2014

I Can See Clearly Now!

Not the song. No, that’s what Jan said as she was looking out her new windshield with no cracks, no Gorilla Tape holding things together, and no wind whistling around the edges. Just clean, clear glass.

On yesterday’s blog, I mentioned getting some Diesel Kleen to use with our diesel fill-up today on our way to the Indian Lakes Thousand Trails down in Batesville, IN.

Here’s what I had to say about it when we were gate guarding in July, 2012.

A few days ago I was talking with one of the drivers for Macro Trucking, one of the big haulers in this area for the rigs. They have over 600 semi’s, and we get 3 or 4 a day in here.

The driver told me about Power Service Diesel Kleen with Cetane Boost.

Diesel Kleen

He said the company had started using it in all their trucks about 9 months ago, after doing a six-month trial run on about 50 of them. He said they were getting a solid 5-6% increase in mileage, along with cleaner injectors.

So I’ve used it every 3rd fill-up or so ever since. Can I tell you that my mileage has increased, or my injectors are cleaner?

No, it’s pretty much impossible to really see an MPG change with the varied routes and conditions we drive under. And I haven’t had my injectors looked at since I started using Diesel Kleen, or before, for that matter.

But we just hit 127,000 miles on our coach today, about 65,000 miles of it from our travels, and except for a bad fuel line sensor a couple of years ago, we’ve had no engine problems in our 7 years of travels.

One reader asked if Diesel Kleen was approved by Cummins Diesel. I don’t know, but I kind of doubt it. The manufacturers can’t test every additive, and every combination of additives that you might use. But I’m pretty sure all these trucking companies wouldn’t be using Diesel Kleen if they didn’t think it worked, or that it would harm their engines.


We pulled out of the Elkhart Campground about 10am this morning heading for Indian Lakes about 245 miles away.  But our first stop was the Pilot in Plymouth, IN about 50 miles away.

When I went to use my Pilot RV Plus card at the pump, it wouldn’t take it and said to ‘See Cashier Inside’. When I went inside and the cashier ran my card, it said it was ‘Inactive’.

It’s been a couple of months since I used it, but I’ve gone longer than two months before, with no problems, so I called the number on the card, and the guy said the computer does that sometimes. He reset it and I was good to go in just a couple of minutes.

After a little rain, and a bunch of construction, (but no real slowdowns) we got into the Indian Lakes Thousand Trails about 3pm, and then got signed in, got parked, and got set up.

Then after we goofed off for a while, we headed out a little before 5 to have dinner at The Toros Mexican Restaurant (shouldn’t it be Los Toros? Or how about Los Bulls?)

Their salsa was really good, freshly made and chunky, and Jan and I both enjoyed our meals.

Tomorrow is a goof-off day. Yah!


July 7, 2015

Get Stumped . . .

Since we didn’t unhook last night, we pulled out of the Root 66 RV Park about 8:30am after a breakfast of coffee, pizza, and half a cupcake each. We’ll lose an hour this morning on our 216-mile run to Albuquerque since we’ll be coming into the Mountain Time Zone from Arizona Time. Since Arizona doesn’t observe Daylight Savings Time (except for the Indian Reservations, for some reason), during DST they’re the same as Pacific Time.

As I said yesterday, Root 66 RV Park is a nice little stay-1-night park about 10 miles east of Holbrook with 50 FHU sites for $20 PPA.

Root 66 1

And you can even buy some petrified wood,

Root 66 2

or even a whole stump.

Root 66 3

But it does have a really nice view.

Root 66 5

The only downside is the Verizon service. Most of the night I was alternating between 3G and 1X.

1X!

As I indicated yesterday, I tested my theory on my genset/transfer switch problem by starting up the genset before I disconnected shore power. And the transfer switch worked perfectly. So I went outside, disconnected shore power, and got ready to pull out.

But as my genset is wont to do sometimes when it’s cold, it stopped after about a minute. And when I restarted it, the transfer switch did not kick in. So this time as another test, I went back to the bedroom, lifted the bed, removed the cover on the transfer switch, and pressed down on the generator contactor.

And the contactor latched right up and started feeding power to the coach.

Everything worked fine for a couple of hours until the generator stopped again. But this time I think I might have reached the low fuel point on the tank feed. With this new diesel tank and sender unit I’m not exactly sure where the cut-off point is on the gauge. But luckily the temperature never got out of the 70’s along the way, with the windows open and fans going, it stayed about 75 degrees in the coach. Very nice.

We pulled into the Enchanted Trails RV Park a few miles west of Albuquerque about 2pm, and got parked and set up. Like Root 66, this park is also a $20 50 amp FHU PPA park, but much nicer than Root 66. And even better, this park has a really strong, really fast Wi-Fi system, and I’ve got 5 bars of 4G on my phone. Nice,.

About 3:30 we headed out to have dinner at La Salita, a place that had been recommended.

As we were heading into Albuquerque, we noticed a lot of black clouds to the north, accompanied by some really high winds. In fact this guy in the RV in front of us may have wished he’d delayed his trip.

Albuquerque Winds

When we got to La Salita, we found that they didn’t reopen for dinner until 5pm. So checking Google, we found that the Golden Corral, also highly recommended was only about a mile away, so off we went.

And the recommendations were right again, with this being one of the best Golden Corral’s we’ve ever eaten at.

Not sure yet what’s on tomorrow’s schedule, but I’m sure we’ll have fun.


July 7, 2016

$8 A Day . . .

or maybe not as great a deal as I thought.

I was looking at our Wal-Mart Savings Catcher total today and was really surprised. That’s the one where you scan the QR code at the bottom of all your WM receipts with the WM phone app and they check surrounding competitors to see if they were selling something you bought at WM for a cheaper price.

And in the last year or so we’ve been doing this, we’ve accumulated $72.26. Not bad for 30 seconds on your phone after every WM trip.

Today was also the day I cleaned house on my Galaxy S5 phone. I screen all my calls, so unless you’re in my Contact list, I don’t answer. I let it go to voicemail and then check it out.

But I get 4 or 5 calls a day that either ring once or twice and then hang up, or they go to voicemail but don’t leave a message. They’re trying to entice you into calling them back out of curiosity, or maybe stupidity, I guess.

I’m on all the Do Not Call lists, but it does no good. I still have to check my phone when it rings to see who’s calling. But a while back I discovered Android’s Auto Reject List function which solved the problem.

Every week or two, I will go through my phone’s Recent calls list and anyone I don’t recognize, I will type the number into Google as XXX-XXX-XXXX. This will either bring up the company’s name associated with the number, or a bunch of websites where people complain about Spam calls from that number.

Once I know it’s a Spam number, I click on the number in my Recent calls, like I was going to call them back. Then I click on the 3 vertical dots at the top right of the screen, and select ‘Add to Auto reject list’.

Now when that number calls back, it does show up in your call list, but your phone never rings. And if you put someone on by accident,  just reverse the process.

Nice.

Based on checking my electric meter today, our stay here is not going to be as great a deal as I first thought. We’ve used 278 KWH over the last 4 days, so multiplied by 7 for the 28 days we’ll be here until we leave for Gulf Shores on July 31st, we’ll use about 1950 KWH for the period.

And at 12 cents per KWH that means we’ll owe about $235 for the month. So our stay here will be $375 + $235, or $610 total for the month. When means our power is costing us about $8 a day.

Not as good a deal as we first thought. But as Jan said, not having to pack up and move every two weeks in 95°+ heat is worth it.

Cheap as I am, I have to agree.

For dinner tonight Jan fixed us her famous BEC sandwiches. That’s Bacon, Egg, and Cheese. She toasts the bread and melts the cheese on it in the toaster oven, cooks up Hormel Microwave Bacon in the MW, and then whips up a couple of eggs with a little water, and then cooks them separately in the MW in a couple of saucers.

Quick, easy, and delicious.

But about that time, as she was cleaning up, Jan discovered that we were out of kitty food. So, not wanting a hungry, mad kitty with claws tomorrow morning, around 6pm we drove east to the Wal-Mart in Sealy to pick up a few things.

Coming into town we saw the signs that US-90 and SR36 were both closed. This was due to a bridge collapse earlier in the day.

Sealy Wreck

Sealy Bridge Collapse

Apparently a garbage truck driver, driving one of those trucks that picks up the dumpsters in front and then brings them back to dump them, drove under the US-90 bridge with his boom still overhead.

There are warning signs and lights and horns that go off before you get to the bridge, but it looks like they were ignored.

When the bridge section fell, it crushed a car coming from the opposite direction, killing a 12-year-old girl.

So Very Sad.


July 7, 2017

Sea food, Eat food . . .

About 4:30 we picked up our neighbor, Barbara Spade, one of the Rangers here at Colorado River, and headed up to La Grange to meet up with friends, Debi and Ed Hurlburt, for dinner at Sealand Seafood. We’ve eaten here a number of times and have never been disappointed.

Jan got the 1 Fish, 6 Shrimp Platter, and I got the 1 Fish, 6 Oysters one.

Sealand Seafood = 1 Fish 6 Oysters

Then we traded 3 shrimp for 3 oysters, so we would both have some of each. Really good.

We haven’t seen Ed and Debi since this past March at the Lake Conroe Thousand Trails, right before we left on our western journey, so it was good to be able to catch up.

Sealand Seafood - Barbara Debi Ed

We’ll certainly get together again over at Lake Conroe, since they’ll be coming over there the day after we do this coming Sunday. Looking forward to it.

Coming home we stopped off at the nearby Wal-Mart so Barbara could pick up a few things, finally getting home about 8:30. A really nice time.

Still waiting to hear back from Coleman on whether or no they still sell a ducted RV AC. Hopefully, I’ll hear back from them soon. In the meantime I dug out my Cen-Tech Infrared Thermometer to check the AC temps.

Infrared Thermometer - Cen-Tech

The 15K BTU unit in the front of the rig was showing 70° at the grill input and 49° at the output vent. Just about perfect.

However the AC in the bedroom was showing 69° in and 59° at the output vent. So only a 10° drop, way below what it should be. And a real indicator of a low Freon problem.

So more and more I’m leaning toward just replacing the unit. If I pull the old unit out and take it into a service place, it could easily be a couple of hundred dollars. And I would still have an 18-year-old unit that could burn out the compressor next week.

I can get a new unit for $500 or so, and can install it in an hour or less. So that may be the way I go, even if I can’t interface it into the rig’s duct system.

So now I’ll just wait to hear back from Coleman and then decide.

In other AC news, I thought I would pull the cover off the front AC for our trip back to Lake Conroe on Sunday to see if it made any difference to the weak cooling while we’re on the road. But now it looks like it may be raining on the Conroe end of things, so I’ll have to wait until tomorrow to get another check of the weather to see what I’m going to do.


July 7, 2018

Jan Said I’d Get Yelled At . . .

But I didn’t.

We were up at 6am this morning, pulled out a little before 7, bound for the Marathon station about 3 miles south of our park, with Jan following in the truck.

We always fill up with diesel here on our way back to Houston, or wherever, because the price is good and it’s an easy in and out.

Marathon Diesel Station

And we were topped off with diesel and coffee to go, hitched up, and back on the road by 7:30, heading for Meridian, MS about 240 miles away.

We really lucked out on the weather today, and it looks like it may hold all the way back to Houston. It was forecast to be overcast with a little rain, and temps in the high 80’s, and that;’s the way it worked out. With just the roof fans and a couple of windows open we were comfortable the entire trip.

Traffic coming through Birmingham was negligible, probably due to it being a Saturday, and we were heading southwest on I-20/I-59 hardly even slowing down.

What Would You Do?

Then right after we entered Mississippi I saw the sign for an upcoming weigh station. No biggie, right? But except instead of saying the usual,

Mississippi Weigh Station Sign

like it did last year, it now said,

ALL Vehicles Over 5 Tons Must Enter Weigh Station

That’s me, right? I mean the rig weighs about 16 tons, and the trucks another 2-1/2 tons.

But as I started to exit, Jan said, “They’re gonna yell at you again, just like last time!”

So I said, “It says ALL vehicles over 5 tons and I’m way over 5 tons. Jan just keeps saying, “You’re gonna be sorry, You’re gonna be sorry, I just know it.”

What Jan was referring to was not a weigh station, but a border crossing station coming back into the US from Canada in the Thousand Islands area near Niagara Falls in 2009.

We had entered Canada near Houlton, ME, gone all the way out to Newfoundland and then back through Houlton. Then we traveled up through Maine to Fort Kent, ME and the beginning (or end, I guess, depending on your direction) of US 1.

Of course, the other end (or beginning) is at the buoy in Key West. So we have been to both the beginning and end of US 1, and a lot in the middle.

This was, I think, our 8th border crossing and we’d never had any problems, until now. But this crossing was a little different.

Every other crossing we’d been through had a sign designating whether RV’s were supposed to go through the car lanes or the truck lanes.

But this one had none. And there was not another RV in sight to clue me in.

So knowing a lot of the car lanes were too narrow for a Class A RV, I turned to the right and headed into the truck area, thinking I couldn’t lose this way, right?

Wrong!

I got yelled at for about 5 minutes. After I tried to explain once why I did what I did, he just yelled more. So I just shut up and let him yell.

Yeah, I know. Very uncharacteristic of me.

I’m still not sure exactly what he was so upset about. There were no other trucks around, nor did any try to come through while we were there. But they kept us for about 30 minutes, and then sent us out through the big X-ray machine building.

I guess they figured a little radiation would show us.

But today I didn’t get yelled at. In fact we never even saw anyone. I just followed the lights that said STOP, PULL FORWARD, STOP, EXIT.

So I stopped, pulled forward, stopped, and then exited. And we went on our way.

And no yelling.

About 20 miles outside of Meridian we hit a mileage milestone. Since we picked up our coach January 6th, 2008, we’ve put 85,000 miles on it. And then before we get home on Monday, we will hit a total of 150,000 miles on the coach. (We’re the 3rd owner) Neat!

We pulled into the Benchmark RV Park just a few minutes after noon and got plugged in and set up. Then it was time for a nap since we got up so early.

Then about 3pm we drove into downtown Meridian to have lunch at Weidmann’s, our favorite place here, and, opening in 1870, the oldest restaurant in Mississippi.

Weidmann's Sign

I guess you could call the ambiance ‘Casual Elegance’, with white tablecloths, heavy silverware, and fresh flowers on each table.

Weidmann's Dining Room 2

But kind of belying all this is the crock of homemade peanut butter sitting in the middle of the table waiting for you.

Weidmann's Peanut Butter Crock

This apparently dates back to WW2 when butter was rationed, so a customer suggested they put peanut butter on the table to go with the crackers, and it’s been there ever since.

We both had our usual, with Jan getting the Crab Cake Brunch. Everything is made to order here, including the crab cakes and the crispy fried green tomatoes they’re sitting on. And of course, the fruit is fresh cut to order. Of course.

Weidmann's Crab Cakes

I had the Ribeye Po’boy, with Flash-Fried Onion Strings, and Homemade Kettle Chips.

Weidmann's Ribeye PoBoy

All made to order, of course.

And so much that I could only eat half of it.

But part of that was to leave some room for Jan and I to split a Praline Bread Pudding ala Mode.

Weidmann's Praline Bread Pudding ala Mode

I’m not sure I really left enough room, because I hurt when we left the restaurant.

But it was a good hurt.

Tomorrow we’ve got a 312-mile run down to Breaux Bridge, so I hope the weather stays cool like today.


July 7, 2019

Things Are Looking Up . . .

As soon as we got home from dinner/WalMart yesterday I unpacked and set up the IcyHot TENS unit. I stuck it on my left waist/hip and then turned it on.

IcyHot TENS Unit

But as I said yesterday, the nighttime would be the real test. So before I came to bed, I turned it on and set it for 30 (Out of 63) and went to bed.

That was when I discovered two problems with this unit. First is that it will only run for 30 minutes before it shuts off, and the way the unit pulses through a 15-second cycle of varying pulse durations, and then it repeats. Kind of disconcerting when you’re trying to sleep.

And the fact that it shuts off after only 30 minutes means that you could fall asleep pain-free and then an hour or so later wake up in pain since the TENS had already shut off.

But the new TENS unit that’s due in tomorrow should fix both of those problems.

For dinner this afternoon we ended up at the Chili’s over by I-45 and 646. We both wanted to get their great Grilled Chicken Caribbean Salad,  our favorite dish there for a long time.

Chili's Grilled Caribeann Salad

Just as Delicious as usual.

Then on the way home, we made a Walgreen’s stop so I could pick up some spare 2032 batteries for the IcyHot unit.

I forgot to post in Friday’s blog that we found a new place to eat in this area. We drive past it almost every day, but since the sign says Doreck Meat Market, we can be forgiven for not knowing it’s also an Eat In/Take Out BBQ-Burger place.

Doreck's Storefront

Doreck's Meat Market

They’ve been voted the Best Burger in Galveston County several times, and Jan says it’s a good choice.

Doreck's Cheeseburger

And of course, I can never resist an Angus Ribeye Steak Sandwich.

Dorecks' Angus Ribeye Sandwich

And the Fries were great too. Notice that the steak is twice as big as the bun.

We’ll definitely go back.


July 7, 2020

Next Up: Another Kludge?

I got a number of nice comments on my dryer repair kludge. Thanks.

I did have another, less kludgey idea, but it would have taken me longer to get it up and running since I didn’t have all the parts. But I still may implement it later if I have to open it up again. In fact I went ahead and ordered one from Amazon today to have it on hand.

My idea was to use a 120VAC relay with the coil controlled from a tap off the power being fed to the heating element. This relay would then pull in when the heating element came on, putting power to the blower motor.

I did consider just powering the blower directly from the heating element feed, and it probably would have worked, but I was a little leery about the increased load on the heater timer contacts, even though the fan motor doesn’t draw very much.


July 7, 2021

Just A Coincidence?

Or bad gas?

Jan was going into work with me this morning, and since the Jeep was a little low on gas, I decided to stop off at the CircleK/Valero over on Hwy 6 to just get a few gallons so Jan wouldn’t worry. But I didn’t want to fill up here since they’re so much more expensive than Costco where I had planned to fill up later.

So I only got about 4 gallons, and under the circumstances, I’m really glad I didn’t get more.

Pulling out of the station, we didn’t even get a block away before the Jeep’s engine started bucking and missing, with a very rough idle when I let off the throttle.

Considering the days/weeks of rain we’ve been having, my first thought was water in the gas. Especially since an Exxon station up in Cypress got caught with the same problem last week with cars dying right in the station lot.

As long as I didn’t get on the gas very hard, it would cruise along OK, though I could tell it was missing constantly. So my next stop was the O’Reilly’s on FM517 for a bottle of HEET gas treatment to see if I could get rid of some of the water. And after a few miles, things did smooth out a bit. Enough so that Jan felt comfortable driving it the rest of the day.

Later in the afternoon as we were heading home, I did stop at Costco for another 12.5 gallons. And after a bit, things seemed to clean up some more. I could push it a little harder before it started bucking again. But it was better, though it still had a definite miss.

Since the Check Engine light was flashing I was going to see what code it was throwing, but then realized I had never moved my Bluetooth Scan Tool from our Dodge Dakota over to the Jeep.

Bluetooth Scan Tool

With this plugged into the vehicle’s diagnostic port I can use the Torque Lite app to read the OBD2 fault codes and also clear them later.

So I’ll hook it up tomorrow and see what’s going on.

With the Scan Tool only about $13 and the free app, it’s a great deal

I’m also going to dump in a can of Seafoam Injector Cleaner tomorrow to see if that helps.

After I got to work I called the CircleK and talked to the manager to see if anyone else had reported any problems. But according to the manager, no one else had any problems.

So, just a coincidence that the Jeep started acting up 1/2 block from the station, or not?


July 7, 2022

Better Than . . .

I want to thank everyone for all your kind comments about Jan’s and my origin story. Looking back it’s hard to believe that it’s been 55 years since then.

Since I was batching it today, I decided to check out the new stuff at our local Whataburger.

First up was their new Bacon Bleu Burger.

Whataburger Bacon Bleu Burger

Here’s their description –

This uniquely craveable burger is two, fresh 100% beef patties layered with crisp, smoky bacon, blue cheese, grilled onions, American cheese, Peppercorn Ranch sauce, and fresh-chopped lettuce and tomato slices piled high on a toasted five-inch bun.

And to wash it down, I tried their also-new Banana Pudding Shake.

So along with an order of fries, and some Spicy Ketchup, it made for a delicious meal. Hopefully I’ll get to try it again.

While I was waiting for my food at Whataburger, I noticed 5G on my phone so I decided to check it out here. And now I’m impressed. Well, kind of.

Here was the 5G test.

Whataburger 5G

127 Mbps.

Now that’s more like it. But of course 3.37 Mbps upload isn’t much to write home about.

And now for 4G.

Whataburger 4G

WTH!

That’s just pitiful. Especially with the upload speed being faster than the download.

So what’s going on?

Readers will remember how much I enjoy roller coasters, the bigger, higher, and faster, the better. But this one at Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia, CA takes the cake.

Wonder Woman Roller Coaster 1

This Wonder Woman coaster, which opens later this month, is the 20th coaster at this park. Riders will reach speeds of up to 58 mph and can expect a steep climb up a 131-foot hill, an intense 87-degree drop, and three inversions (like a loop) along the coaster’s 3,300-foot track.

Here’s another picture of it stretched out.

Wonder Woman Roller Coaster 2

Now Jan, Jan’s not so enamored of roller coasters as I am.

CheetaChase

Wrapping up, today’s an important day in history. Well, at least in the history of bread, I guess.

Today is the day, that in 1928 the Chillicothe Baking Company of Chillicothe, Missouri began marketing pre-sliced loaves of bread. And it was all due to a bread-slicing and wrapping machine developed by Otto Frederick Rohwedder.

And it was an immediate hit. Turns out that, apparently housewives didn’t like having to slice multiple slices of bread from a whole loaf, sometimes dozens of slices a day.

And of course, when something’s this popular, the government tries to ban it.

For a very brief period in 1943, sliced bread was banned by Secretary of Agriculture Claude Wickard. It’s not easy to come up with a sillier wartime conservation method.   A letter to the New York Times summed up the reaction of many American women (and men):

I should like to let you know how important sliced bread is to the morale and saneness of a household. My husband and four children are all in a rush during and after breakfast. Without ready-sliced bread I must do the slicing for toast—two pieces for each one—that’s ten. For their lunches I must cut by hand at least twenty slices, for two sandwiches apiece. Afterward I make my own toast. Twenty-two slices of bread to be cut in a hurry!

Initially government officials made threats to take “stern measures if needed” to stop the sale of sliced bread.  But it didn’t take all that long for the ban to be rescinded.


July 7, 2023

Trey From The Fe at The Alvin Opry!

Tonight’s Special Feature was Trey Louis, recently seen on American Idol.

It’s late, so more in tomorrow night’s blog.

 

 

 

 

 

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