Happy 4th . . .

Lunch today was of course the BBQ we brought home from Rudy’s yesterday. Just as great as always, especially the Cream Corn. After that we pretty much just read, napped, and computered.

Very nice.

After their almost total success of #4, SpaceX is hoping to launch StarShip #5 by the end of July, and also hopes to try out Mechzilla, the ‘Chopstick’ system that SpaceX hopes will be able to catch a returning StarShip in mid-air at the launch pad like this.

This will allow much faster turn-around in stacking the ship on top of a new booster.

Here’s an animation of the process.

And here’s a photo of a recent nighttime SpaceX Falcon 9 launch over San Diego.

I mentioned before at the new Buc-ee’s that recently opened out west in Luling. The Luling location was the first ‘big’ Buc-ee’s, opening in 2003. The previous versions were pretty much just regular convenience stores, though larger than most.

But over the years, as they opened locations around the country, the Luling location became the smallest one.  So a couple of years ago they embarked on a plan to fix this. But rather than enlarge the old one, they built a new, 80,000 sq.ft. one right next door.

And Buc-ee’s is saying that the Luling location will never be eclipsed by another bigger one.

So I was wondering what they were going to do with the old? I thought maybe a warehouse, or something else. But I didn’t expect this.

Original Texas Buc-ee’s location is destroyed in massive fire

Buc-ee’s superfans were left heartbroken after the original location of the iconic chain was destroyed in a massive Monday fire.

Emergency services from multiple agencies responded to the blaze around 10.30am at the store in Luling, Texas, and blocked off the area as fire crews fought to control the blaze.

Photos shared online by the Luling Fire Department showed enormous plumes of smoke, contrasting with the chain’s happy, smiling beaver mascot.

I mentioned a while back about my wayward Amazon package that was shipped out via the U.S. Post Office on June 20th. Well, as of July 4th, it’s still wandering in the wilderness.

According to the USPS tracking, it left Wesley Chapel, FL on June 20th and was at the North Houston Distribution Center on the 23rd. Now normally it would move down to the Santa Fe PO and be out the next day. But in this case, it disappeared for 5 days before showing up in Friendswood. And according to the tracking, there it sits.

So this past Tuesday. July 2nd, I called the Friendswood PO to see if I could get it moving in the right direction. But in 4 tries, I never got an answer. So I called the Santa Fe PO, and seemed to get some help.

But the guy said that his tracking said the package was still at the North Houston location, and not Friendswood, but that he would get it moving. However, as of now, it’s still in Friendswood. Or maybe North Houston.

I don’t know, and it seems the USPS doesn’t either.

Thought For The Day:

We’ve been a country for 248 years.

A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government.

It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury.

From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship.

The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations has been 200 years.

These nations have progressed through this sequence: From bondage to spiritual faith; From spiritual faith to great courage; From courage to liberty; From liberty to abundance;

From abundance to selfishness; From selfishness to apathy; From apathy to dependence; From dependence back into bondage. — Alexander Fraser Tytler, 1747-1813

Your Retro-Preview Highlights –

2009 – Happy Birthday, America

2010 – Fredericksburg 4th Parade And Camels

2020 – Pizza With Miss Piper

And Now On To Today’s Retro-Blogs.™

July 4, 2009

Happy Birthday, America!

Today is our country’s birthday, and where better to be, then the birthplace of the writer of the Declaration of Independence,  Virginia and Thomas Jefferson.

Happy Birthday, America!

Tomorrow, we will visit Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson, but today we’re going to stay around the coach and enjoy the day.

We’re staying at the Small Country Campground in Louisa, VA, about 20 miles southeast of Charlottesville, VA.

Small Country Campground

This place is really out in the country, but our site is basically a large gravel parking lot.  This area is the only one left that will fit our rig, so we really can’t complain.

Well, we can’t… but Mister can.  He doesn’t like it, at all.  The large chunks of gravel hurt his feet, and of course, there’s nowhere for him to roll around on the ground.  He’s not a happy camper.

We are having BBQ this 4th of July.  We have leftovers from our stopover at Famous Dave’s yesterday.  Ribs, pulled pork, baked beans, corn on the cob, fried apples, with peaches and ice cream for dessert.

Hmmm, Gooood!

We were happy to see the park was having a fireworks show, but weren’t expecting much.  Boy, were we surprised!

The show lasted over 30 minutes.  It didn’t have as much variety as some city/county shows we saw around Houston, but it made for it in quantity.

Everyone started setting up about 8 pm with the kids being given sparklers to play with.


Fireworks 1

And then about 9 pm the show began…

Fireworks 2

Fireworks 3

Fireworks 4

Fireworks 5

Fireworks 6

Fireworks 7

Fireworks 8

Fireworks 9

We’re really enjoying the cool temperatures here.  It was 59 last night and will only get to about 69 tomorrow.  Of course, it is also supposed to rain, so we’ll see.

As I said, tomorrow we’re going to visit Monticello, and maybe, if we have time, Appomattox Courthouse, where the South surrendered at the end of the Civil War.

July 4, 2010

Happy 4th of July…

Our friend Gina was under the weather this morning, so about 10:30 am we headed out for Fredericksburg by ourselves, promising to bring her back supper.

Our first stop after arriving in Fredericksburg was Der Lindenbaum, our favorite German restaurant. We’ve been eating there for a number of years with our family. Our daughter-in-law Linda’s mother was born in Germany, and Linda knows good German food. And she says this is some of the best she’s eaten.

Jan and I both had the Jager Schnitzel, which is a thin breaded pork cutlet in a wine sauce with fresh mushrooms, and comes with German potato salad and red cabbage. And it was delicious!

And we got the same thing to take home to Gina.

And along with the great food, our timing was perfect too. We left the restaurant just in time for the 4th of July parade.

Parade 1

Everybody needs their own tank.

Parade 2

A great-looking SS396 Chevelle.

Parade 3

Parade 4

Parade 5

Parade 6

First time I’ve seen a real airplane as a float. Apparently, it’s flyable. They just took the wings off for the parade.

Parade 7

Parade 8

And what’s a Texas parade without horses?

Parade 9

And, as they say in Fredericksburg, TX, “Das ist Alles, Y’all!” ***

Parade 10

After the parade was over we headed back toward Canyon Lake, stopping off at the Walmart just outside of Fredericksburg to get the wire nuts I needed to complete Gina’s deck project.

A few miles further out of Fredericksburg, we encountered camels. Why we don’t know. But there are 6 of them, including a baby.

Camels 1

Camels 2

Camels 3

About 2 miles out of Johnson City, we saw this chrome sculpture of a bull along the side of the road. It’s been here for years, but today we decided to investigate further.

Scuplture 1

But you’ll have to come back here tomorrow to see what we found out.

How’s that for a cliffhanger?

We got back to Gina’s about 4 pm and dropped off her Jager Schnitzel, and then headed back to the rig.

*** That’s All, Folks!

July 4, 2011

4th of July–Redux . . .

Things started up about 10 this morning with coffee and bagels, the coffee courtesy of our new Mr. Coffee.

Mr. Coffee

Our old one apparently met his untimely end due to our recent electrical problems.

Then around 12:30 Jan fixed us some lunch while we waited for our LandonSkyping call.

About 1pm the call came thru and we were on the air. Brandi, Lowell, and Landon are in Oklahoma this weekend visiting Lowell’s parents, so they were Skyping from the hotel where they had Internet service.

It looks like Landon is just about ready to walk. He stands up on his own now, he just needs to take a few steps.

And he’s also got two upper teeth coming in to match his two bottom ones.

Landon Skype 171

Landon Skype173

Our call lasted for about 15 minutes, and reminded us how wonderful this technology is that lets us keep in touch like this. And it’s also nice to realize that we’ll be seeing everyone in the middle of August at the family reunion at Jan’s sister Debbie’s place in southern Illinois. We’re really looking forward to it.

When we were finished with the call I headed to the Camping World in Tacoma about 40 miles away. They were having a sale today on the Winegard CarryOut Automatic Satellite Dish and I wanted to check it out.

Winegard Carryout

Our old manual dish is starting to show its age and at our last two parks, I’ve had problems getting a good signal. In fact yesterday, I helped the RV’er behind us get a 90 on his dish, and when I sat mine right by his, all I could get was 49.


So it was time to think about updating, and I liked the idea of just being able to set it down, plug it in, and let it find the satellite signal on its own.

I was concerned about whether or not it had two outputs for our DVR, but after looking at it, it looked like it would work, so I brought one home.

When we first got it home we couldn’t get it to lock onto a signal, but after moving it to another location it worked fine and locked on almost immediately. I then was able to hook up the 2nd video line and got both tuners to work. So it looks like it’s a keeper.

Tomorrow we’re going to take the Ferry over to Seattle and explore the market area. Should be fun.

July 4, 2013

It’s Was A Tie . . .

Jan was up early this morning because she wanted to attend an 8:30am seminar. Lucky for me, she took the golf cart shuttle taxi over to the Cam-Plex so I didn’t have to get up early.

That’s my sweetie!

I got up at my usual 10am, and after coffee, Jan was back at the rig for the afternoon. We both ended up having nice naps, before we all headed over to the Cam-Plex about 5pm for the closing ceremonies and the dinner buffet.

It was after 7:30 when we got back to the rig, but the night wasn’t over. Fireworks were scheduled for either 9:30 or 10:00, depending on which brochure you wanted to believe.

We had all planned to meet over at Charles and Chris Yust’s rig to watch the fireworks from there, but Mother Nature had other ideas. A little after 9pm, a light rain and a lot of lightning moved into the area. After checking the weather radar, we decided to just sit in our truck and watch the lights through the windshield.

In fact it seems like they started the show early because of the oncoming weather.

Escapade Fireworks 1

Escapade Fireworks 2

Escapade Fireworks 3

Escapade Fireworks 4

The really spectacular part of the show was the fact that the fireworks were interspersed with a lot of big lightning bolts, many of them cloud to cloud behind the fireworks. It was kind of like dueling banjos, but with fireworks. A really neat sight.

Brandi sent over these pics of Landon’s 4th, watermelon and all.

Landon on 4th- 10

Landon on 4th- 7

Landon on 4th- 8

Love those Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead) swimming trunks he’s got on.

Landon on 4th- 5

Not sure what we’re doing tomorrow. It kind of depends on the weather. I’ve got a couple of things I want to do around the rig, but that might have to wait. We’ll see.

Last up, a big Thank You to Daryl and Cheri Lawrence of Lawrence RV Accessories for their usual great customer service. Cheri had given me some replacement caps for the sensors on my TireTraker Tire Pressure Monitoring System since I had a couple that were cracked.


But on one of them, the top part of the cap broke off but the threaded part was stuck on the sensor. I used successively more force trying to get the stuck part off until I broke the battery clip on the sensor. Oops.

I called Daryl and Cheri to see if they left the area yet because I wanted to buy a new sensor to replace the one I broke. They were still in the area, and a little while later appeared at our rig door with a new sensor at no charge. Now that’s what I call service.

Every RV’er should have a tire pressure monitoring system for both his RV and his vehicle, and the TireTraker is one of the best. Check it out.

July 4, 2014

Back To Shipshewana . . .

About 11am, Jan and I (and Mister) sat outside for a while with our coffee and just enjoyed the nice cool weather, 67 degrees at 11am.

I’ve almost got the new blog ready to go. I finally got the blog subscription widget to work, so you will be able to receive the blog post via email just like on the old blog. But you will have to re-subscribe. There is no way to transfer subscribers to the new blog.

The only thing I’m still trying to do is to add vertical separator bars between the sidebars and the content. I tried several different things so far, including writing some new CCS code. But it either doesn’t work at all or completely screws up the page. But I’ll keep working at it.

A little after 2, Jan and I headed out for some shopping. Our first stop was a craft store right up the road that’s having a Going Out of Business Sale. Jan found a couple of pair of earrings she liked and I found this T-Rex wooden puzzle for Landon.

Big Tyrannosauras

Big Tyrannosaurus

It’s really neat. He loves dragons and dinosaurs, so I hope he likes it too.

Our next stop was Martin’s for a few things, especially their made-in-the-store pimento cheese, really, really good.

Coming back to the park, we dropped off our pimento cheese and other stuff, before Jan and I headed down to Wal-Mart for some things that Martin’s doesn’t carry. Wal-Mart was busy, but not as busy as you might think on July 4th.

Getting back about 4:30, we settled in for a while before Jan heated up some of the pizza from our Mancino’s Pizza visit the other night. Just about as good as then.

Tomorrow we may do a drive down to the Shipshewana area one last time. We’ll see.

July 4, 2015

They Lied . . .

Based on our visit to La Fonda the other day, their sign said they’d be open until 2pm today, July 4th. But when we got there a few minutes after 1pm for our last Mexican fix here at Verde Valley, they were already closed for the day.

They lied.

But a family in the parking lot with us recommended Concho’s up in Cottonwood near the DQ so off we went. And it was well worth the trip.

Concho's Mexican Restaurant

Like many of our favorite places, it’s another hole-in-the-wall place right off the main drag in Cottonwood. it was only after we got inside that I checked Yelp and found they had 4 1/2 stars

And when they brought our meal, it was easy to see why.

Concho's Platter

We both got #18, with a Chili Relleno, Ground Beef Enchilada, and a Ground Beef Tostado, and of course, with Rice and Beans. It was all great, the salsa, the chips, and everything on the plates, especially the Chili Relleno. It was stuffed full of cheese, and actually had some heat to it. And the portions were so big, we had some to take home.

The only downside, at least for Jan, was the iced tea. Unfortunately, it wasn’t fresh brewed, but came out off a soft drink dispenser like Coke or Pepsi. It has a taste that Jan just doesn’t like. Me, I just add more lemon and sugar, well, Equal, anyway, and struggle through.

When we come back to this area, probably in a couple of years, it’s going to be hard to decide between La Fonda and Concho’s. But better too many choices than not enough, right?

Leaving Concho’s we drove on into Old Town Cottonwood to pick up some cupcakes from Wild Irish Rose. And we were almost too late. They bake cupcakes in the morning, and when they run out, they’re out.

So we got the last 3, a Chocolate Chip, and two Salted Caramels. Guess we’ll have to get there earlier next time. Or two years from now.

Coming back toward home, we made a stop at Hog Wild BBQ to pick up a pound of BBQ to go, a half pound of Pulled Pork and a half pound of Beef. We plan on vacuum-sealing and freezing it to have later on the road. Lastly, we made a quick Wal-Mart stop for a few things, and then home.

We had thought about taking in the fireworks show at the Verde Valley Fairgrounds in Cottonwood, but it rained on and off pretty much all day, and was supposed to be raining tonight, so we passed.

Tomorrow we’ll start wrapping up and packing up to get ready to leave Monday morning. We both agree we’re really looking forward to getting back on the road.

July 4, 2019

Happy 4th of July . . .

Since my sciatica seemed to be tapering off the last couple of days, I was hoping that today would continue in that direction, but no such luck.

My leg pain returned about 4:30 am and that was pretty much it for sleeping the rest of the morning. And because my problem seemed to easing up, I had decided not to call my doctor yesterday and try to get an appointment for next week.

So now I’ll have to wait until Monday to try for an opening. Actually what I really want is to get some more Tramadol. Though when I say ‘more’,  I really mean ‘some’ for me.

Because what I’ve been taking is some that Jan had from her latest kidney stone problem. I tried Tramadol because nothing else worked, not Advil, and not the Salon Pas patches, both of which have worked on other pains.

But the Tramadol only lasts 4 to 6 hours before I have to take more. However, so far the only real side effect I’ve noticed is that it’s harder to pee. Which strangely enough is not one listed on any side effect list I’ve found.

Kind of important to me, though

And though Tramadol is listed as an opioid, it was originally an over-the-counter analgesic. but due to addiction problems being reported, it was listed as a Schedule IV narcotic in 2014.

However, I haven’t noticed any of that. In fact, I’d rather not take it, if something else would work. But it’s pretty much the only way I get to sleep at night. So we’ll see what my doctor says.

About 1:30 pm Jan and I drove over to Texas City and our favorite Yummy Yummy Chinese Buffet. They were having a 4th of July special at $9.99 and were really busy. Especially since they had Crawfish on the buffet.

Not many places have all you can eat Crawfish for only $10. Saw one guy on his 3rd or 4th plateful. Of course, I can’t really talk since I kind of do the same thing with the Cold Boiled Shrimp.

Later, coming home we took a detour to check out the new FM646 underpass at I-45. Glad to see it finally open.

Miss Piper is embarking on a new path in her career. Recently she’s been working on an internship at a local psychologist’s office, and really enjoyed it. But that wound down when the office, having financial problems, shut down.

And Piper, deciding she liked the Texas Hill Country life that her mother and father have moved to, and with her apartment lease up in Clear Lake, moved up to the Burnet area near Chris and Linda.

And then in one of those serendipity moments, she got a call from a company based on her LinkedIn profile. They were looking for someone with her psychology experience to work as a C.C.J.A.P. (Certified Criminal Justice Addiction Professional).

And then they said, “Would you mind moving up to Burnet?”

“Well, as it happens . . .

She’s being hired to counsel individuals who are incarcerated and/or receiving court-ordered substance abuse treatment services. She’ll be working at a minimum security women’s prison in the Burnet area, one that houses only substance abuse inmates.

She starts Monday, first of course, with HR, and an orientation. And a Self Defense class too.

But the big thing is that they’re sending her off to school to get her CCJAP certification, which supposedly is pretty expensive if you try to do it on your own. But they’re paying for everything, including travel, hotel, and a car.

She’s really looking forward to it.

Finishing up, I was just researching sciatica treatments, and one of them is a TENS unit. So I checked Amazon and found this one.


TENS Plus Unit

It’s only about $37 so I ordered one that will be here on Monday. Hopefully, it will work. But we’ll see.

July 4, 2020

Pizza and Piper . . .

Happy 4th of July

Happy Fourth of July!

Jan and I headed up to Katy about 10:30 to meet up with our granddaughter Piper where she was housesitting at her aunt Brandi’s while they were up in Oklahoma visiting Lowell’s parents.

After a short conversation, Jan and I drove over to the nearby Grimaldi’s Pizzeria, followed by Miss Piper in her car. We had been to this location several times before, nice because it’s only about 10 minutes from Brandi’s.

We started out with our usual, the Small House Salad, which is small in name only.

Gramaldi's Small Salad

And the ‘small’  salad was enough for all 3 of us with some leftover that didn’t get eaten due to saving room for pizza.

Piper went the white pizza route with the Prosciutto Arugula Pizza, topped with thinly sliced prosciutto, shaved cheese blend and fresh arugula.


While Jan and I did the more traditional thing with The Don, topped with Italian Sausage, Meatballs, and Pepperoni. To which we added Mushrooms, Bacon, and Jalapenos.

Grimaldi's Pizza Piper

Really, really good, and we all had some to bring home.

July 4, 2021

Happy 4th of July, America!

While we were outside with our coffee this morning, we made what I hope is the final addition to our sticker collection.

When we were over in Gulf Shores we made our usual stop at the Ron Jon Surf Shop in Orange Beach and got one of their stickers for our Jeep.

Jeep with Ron Jon Sticker

Unlike a lot of places, Ron Jon’s gives these away free, which is why you see them everywhere. And now on our Jeep.

Ron Jon’s also has kind of a personal connection for Jan and I. On one of our first dates, we drove over to Cocoa Beach to check out their store. I had used a couple of their boards for several years, so I wanted to see where they came from.

Now back then, Ron Jon’s was a small, narrow storefront, basically a double-wide aisle with surfboards propped up side by side down the way.

Ron Jon's Cocoa Beach

And I was told that if you said the magic word, you could buy pot in the back room. And I think the word was ‘pot’, though I never tried it.

Of course, now Ron Jon’s is big-time conglomerate with the Cocoa Beach store now covering a full block of prime beach real estate.

Ron Jon's Cocoa Beach Now 2

And of course, now they’ve got locations all around the world, and even several vacation resorts.

About 2pm I set up the cooler and, after stacking the rib packs inside, I filled it up to the immersion cooker water line using the 130° water from the rig.

Sous Vide Rib StartUp

According to the InkbirdSmart’s control panel, the water temp dropped down to about 110° due to the cold bags of ribs. But I was surprised at how quickly the water temp started to rise, and in less than 30 minutes, the temp had reached 150° and the 24-hour cycle countdown started.

Cooler Cooker at Work

So our meal should be done about 2:45pm tomorrow afternoon. Yum!

Right after I got things started, we headed over to our local Denny’s for our Ultimate Omelets. Then coming home we made an unplanned stop at Cowboy Coffee here in Santa Fe. I say ‘unplanned’ because normally they’re closed on Sunday, and especially on a Holiday Sunday. But not wanting to pass up a chance for Cowboy’s coffee, we pulled in. Turns out this was a one-time thing, opening from 12pm to 4pm, since it seems a lot of people were out and about, and stopped by just like us.

And when we left, we had our Cold, Blended Sugar-Free Hazelnut Lattes, a copy of the Constitution and Declaration of Independence, and a bunch of sparklers for our own celebration tonight.

A nice surprise.

July 4, 2022

All ALF, All The Time . . .

Happy 4th of July 2

The Fourth of July demands BBQ so about 1pm we drove over to the nearby Spring Creek BBQ on I-45 for our BBQ fix. And it was as good as always.

Jan had the Baby Back Rib Plate with Beans and Beans, both Green and BBQ.

Spring Creek Jan's Ribs 20220704

For me, I got the Baby Back Ribs and their Hot Cracked Pepper Sausage, also with Beans and Beans.

Spring Creek Ribs and Sausage 20220704

Then, before heading home, I made a quick stop at the Lowe’s next door for some 10-24 Wing Nuts, but they had every size but that. I only needed two, but I ordered a pack of 10 from Amazon for $7.93. And they’ll be here on Wednesday.

In a quick change of plans, tomorrow I’m taking Jan up to Brandi’s to Landon-sit next week, picking her up on Saturday. So it’s just me and Karma next week.

While she’s gone, and with no rain on the schedule, maybe I’ll have a chance to install the new window regulator on the Dakota. It will be nice to be able to raise and lower my window again.

Window Regulator Old and New

That’s the new one on the left, and it’s noticeably heavier and sturdier. So hopefully it will last as long as the Dakota will.

A couple of days ago I discovered the free Freevee streaming app. Formerly known as IMDB TV, it’s from Amazon.

Available on pretty much every streaming device, it has 1000’s of TV shows and movies, everything from more recent stuff like Madmen and Bosch, along with all 47 seasons of Saturday Night Live, along with every episode of Columbo, Banacek, and Bewitched. And it goes all the way back to Petticoat Junction, Dick Van Dyke, Ozzie and Harriet and Father Knows Best.

And it even has an All ALF channel. Every episode of all 4 seasons.

Jan and I watched the first few episodes this evening, and it really holds up well, and in some cases, it’s laugh-out-loud funny.

July 4, 2023

Happy 4th To One And All . . .

A while back I mentioned the Total Eclipse coming through Texas next April, but there’s actually another, not-so-total one coming up later this year, on Saturday, October 14th.

Called a Ring Of Fire Eclipse, it will transit “Nine western states within a path about 135 miles wide will have front-row seats to the annular or ring eclipse, according to the Farmers’ Almanac; those include Oregon, Idaho, California, Nevada, Colorado, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. “

Also known as an annular eclipse, it happens when “the moon’s orbit is at its farthest point from Earth. This causes the moon to appear slightly smaller than usual. For this reason, it will leave a ring of light around the sun as it crosses in front of it and its appearance as a “ring of fire.”

Here in Texas, it can be seen from a little before noon to a little after, lasting only about 5 minutes.

And be sure to use the correct glasses to protect your eyes.

Solar Eclipse Glasses

And No, using a candle to smoke a piece of glass will not work.

Be safe out there.

On the subject of Solar, I mentioned last week about the 14,000 panel solar farm that encountered a Nebraska hailstorm. Well, as it turns out, with almost 95% of the panels damaged, they decided to total the entire complex, tear it down and start over.

So this one lasted 4  years before the supposedly ‘hail-proof’ panels were destroyed. Wonder how long its replacement will last?

Someone suggested that they should just build a cover over it to protect it from hail.

Tomorrow it’s back to work after having a very nice 4 straight days off. Then on Thursday, we’re heading up to Conroe to meet up with Debi and Ed Hurlburt for our monthly lunch get-together, this time at the Golden Corral.

Can’t wait.








One Response to Happy 4th . . .

  1. Rob says:

    We are a republic….or we used to be.

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